Rick Pitino Gives Cardinal Fans A Summer Update

Rick Pitino appeared on The Early Birds with Drew Deener this morning and gave some updates on how his players and his team are looking this summer. You can listen to the full interview here, or be lazy and just read the following highlight.

--The new NCAA rule allows teams to practice two hours per week right now. Because the staff needs to spend so much time recruiting, they're now using their two hours up in one session every week. Yesterday was the day they practiced for this week.

--Yesterday was the first session the team has had with Montrezl Harrell. He's an extremely raw talent. His wingspan is incredible and he's extremely athletic. He didn't look great yesterday, but the sky is the limit as far as his potential is concerned. When you have a raw athlete that plays as hard as he does, they get so much better as their career goes along and they develop their skills. He'll improve dramatically over a short period of time because of his athleticism and work ethic.

--The best thing that can happen for a college player's skill level is to go up against someone who's about as good as you are every day in practice. So for guys like Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng, having Montrezl Harrell here is a godsend because if they take a play off in practice now, they'll be embarrassed. Chane had his best practice of the summer yesterday because he's learned from pickup games that if he doesn't bring it, Montrezl is going to embarrass him.

--Doesn't think there's a player in the country who will block more shots than Gorgui Dieng this year.

--Peyton Siva dominated practice yesterday. He "just kicked Russ' little butt." No one played poorly at practice yesterday, but Peyton stood out above everyone else.

--Kevin Ware was the second best player at practice yesterday, then he would have put Chane three, Gorgui four and Wayne five.

--The only definite staters right now are probably Peyton and Gorgui. Chane will more than likely start, but there's definitely not a set starting lineup at this point. The fact that Montrezl is here actually makes it more likely that Chane will start because now he'll have to work. He's the type of guy who, if he's in the weight room, will lift the bar six times if there's no one else there and 60 if there are other people watching. He needs to be pushed and this is perfect for him.

--The main problem with Kevin and Wayne last year was that they both came in late and weren't in great shape, Wayne especially. Now, for the first time, Wayne is in great shape. His body fat and conditioning are both where they should be, and now he can just play basketball.

--There wasn't anyone yesterday who did not look good during yesterday's practice.

--Regarding Stephan Van Treese, when Pitino heard that he was looking to transfer to another D-I school, he went to him and said "Stephan what are you doing? You need to come back and be a Cardinal." He said, "coach, I want to come back," and that was the end of it.

--This is a very deep team. What we really have to work on is our shooting technique. We have to improve technique in order to improve field goal percentages. Working really hard with Wayne, Chane and Kevin on this.

--Peyton seems to have mastered his shooting stroke. He looks really good right now.

--Michael Baffour is Russdiclous's side kick. Russ is the one who gave him the nickname "Dark Slime." The Dark is because his skin is a very dark pigment. And Slime, which Pitino didn't like at first, is a Brooklyn term which means "main man." "He's my slime, he's my main man."

--Pitino is in Indianapolis today and from there will head to D.C. and then Las Vegas next week. He's excited to see how the recruits he evaluated last summer have developed.

--Every single player on his team right now wears the "Louisville" across his chest as a badge of honor. When he's on the recruiting trail he focuses in on the guys who really think it's special to be a Louisville Cardinal, not so much the guys who are entertaining 10 or 15 potential schools.

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