Pitino Previews the Season

Rick Pitino is set to tip off his 16th season on the UofL bench. The Cards’ head coach is 391-134 in his first 15 years in Louisville, with three Final Fours and the 2013 NCAA Championship. Pitino was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. He joins me weekly for “Inside the Cards with Rick Pitino” on WAVE 3 News starting in late November. The Cards’ second Red-White scrimmage is Friday, October 21 at 7 p.m. at the KFC YUM! Center.

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino coaches his team during the game against Pittsburgh on January 14, 2016 in Louisville, Ky. Photo by Adam Creech

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino coaches his team during the game against Pittsburgh on January 14, 2016 in Louisville, Ky. Photo by Adam Creech

Did Deng Adel make the progress in the off season that you had hoped for?

He did.

What do you have to get from him this season?

He’s got to be one of scorers on the team. Obviously we only have one person who averaged nine points per game. We don’t have a double figure returning, so he’s got to give us a lot of points and, along with V.J. King, make up for Damion Lee’s points.

What do you expect from the big guys early, Anas and Matz?

Anas and Matz, it’s been a toss up. I don’t know if our bench is that deep, one day Anas looks better, one day Matz looks better. Another day V.J. looks better, another day Deng looks better, Ray and Jaylen, Jaylen looks better one day, Ray looks better the next day. I’m hoping that’s just good depth, but nobody has really stuck out, with the exception of Donovan Mitchell at his position and Quentin Snider at his position.

Has Donovan lost weight?

Donovan took off, and you won’t recognize him. I mentioned it last year, I couldn’t figure out why he was getting beat so much defensively, eventhough he was a low body fat guy. I just felt 213 lbs for a 6’2” guard is way too heavy. I didn’t realize he was 213 because he was low body fat, but now he’s at 195. When you take off 18 lbs, that’s going to make you a lot quicker and much more athletic and he looks terrific.

Is Tony Hicks your backup point guard?

He’ll probably be the first sub off the bench. He’s the most athletic guard we have, in terms of speed. He’s got Russ Smith type of speed.

Is Ryan McMahon ready to contribute?

Yes.

What is he better at now?

He’s a good scorer, shoots it real well.

How much of an issue has the NCAA investigation been?

It’s not, we have put it behind us. We haven’t talked about it with the team.

Ray Spalding showed so many flashes last season, what has he improved on?

Ray and Jaylen are both terrific and the thing that’s exciting about both of those guys is they are so different. Ray is, his wing span, some of things he does amazes you sometimes. He’s not real consistent at it. Jaylen is a much better rebounder. Ray is a much better defensive player. They bring two different things to the table.

Has David Levitch exceeded your expectations for him?

I’ve always been very, very lucky with walk-ons. From Kyle Kuric, who originally came in here as a walk-on, to Tim Henderson. Going back to Kentucky, Anthony Epps. We have guys that have determined whether or not we were going to go to a Final Four or not. They develop into scholarship players and Levitch is one of those type basketball players.