It took four seasons, for Rick Pitino to take Louisville into
the Final Four. But in his fifth year, after the Cardinals
lost a lot of experienced players, the team started slowly
and finished with a 21-13 record. This year, despite the
graduation of Taquan Dean, the coaching staff and fans alike
have high hopes for another deep postseason run. We'd like
to thank one of the most accomplished coaches in NCAA history
for taking the time out to chat with CHN.
do you expect the strengths and weaknesses of
this year’s team to be?
I think depth will be a strength for us, as will being a very
hungry and dedicated team. I think this team is very hungry to
rebound from last year’s NIT team a year ago. We didn’t
deserve the early rankings we had last year because those
numbers were based on our Final Four team from the previous
season. I think this group has show that they’re very hungry
and very dedicated. I don’t know of a glaring weakness we would
have without seeing our team together in practice.
CHN: Talk for a moment about which of your guys deserve more credit for working
hard in practice, in the workout room, and being leaders off the
One of the reason’s that we had an average to good team last
season was that we did not have good leadership. That’s not a
knock on our captains, but we had a very young team and no one
really stepped up to show leadership. That’s an area we hope to
improve upon. Our players have always been great about giving
great effort in practice.
CHN: Discuss the incoming guys for a bit. Who will make the
Sosa will probably battle Andre McGee for the starting point
guard position. Even if he doesn’t start, he’ll play
significant minutes and play a major factor on our team. Jerry
Smith is healthy after suffering a foot injury and he’ll see a
lot of playing time at the ‘two” and possibly the “one.” Earl
Clark will play a lot at the wing position. How far along he
comes in gaining strength will be the biggest factor in
determining his playing time. Derrick Caracter is very talented
but is just the opposite of Earl. He needs to lose weight and
get into shape for the first time in his life.
CHN: How hard will it be to
replace Taquan Dean?
Taquan Dean (Louisville's lone senior last year), the junior,
will be very hard to replace. He was behind the eight ball a
little bit as a senior. He didn’t have the same experienced
talent around him last year, so he was keyed on a lot. He
didn’t really get a chance to showcase his abilities because he
was a focus of opposing defenses. Our injuries limited our
effectiveness in the low post and we didn’t have anyone to get
him shots that weren’t difficult. I think Terrence Williams and
Juan Palacios have the most promise in having a breakout year
CHN: Which of your guys is
ready to take their game to the next level?
Terrance Farley probably gained the most of any player on the
team last year from the injuries we sustained as a team. He got
the chance to be a starter and play a lot of valuable minutes.
He’s probably going to make the most significant improvement
from last year from what he gained on the court. If he ever
becomes really passionate about the game, the sky’s the limit to
how good he can become. He’s someone who could rebound and block
shots with about anyone in the country.
CHN: What other coaches really helped you reach the level of
success you’re at now? How does their advice and teachings
still help you to this day?
Hubie Brown had the greatest impact on my life. I’ve been a
very big admirer of Pat Riley. He’s from the Hubie Brown school
of thinking from the statistical standpoint, preparation,
scouting, defense. With the exception of the way they dress,
they’re very similar. Hubie had the most impact on my
basketball life. I’ve been a big admirer of what Pat
accomplishes at the pro level. I believe in a lot of his system
in the way he prepares and does things.
CHN: What are your realistic goals and
hopes for this season?
I have very high expectations for this team. They were very low
last year because of what I saw in our individual workouts and
team practices in the fall. It shows on the court. I think
this team is very hungry again and we have great depth. Depth
is very important to any basketball team, particularly with the
way we like to play. We have not been able to play at the tempo
we want to over the last few years because of a lack of depth.
We’re a very deep basketball team right now with gifted
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obtain more information on the University of Louisville at
UofLsports.com and on head coach Rick Pitino at