Rick Pitino took to the internet yet again this Sunday, and as always his insights were very interesting.
He began by talking about each individual player and how he performed during the team's weekly hour and 15 minute practice session. Some highlights include:
Juan Palacios- One of the few players that is in great condition. He has to concentrate on getting his weight down eight pounds. We need him to possibly back up T-Will at the three spot. He will need to be quicker to defend smaller forwards.
Terrance Farley - Still performing well. A question that comes up is will we possibly red shirt him? Probably not. Although there is some merit to that thought, Derrick Caracter and David Padgett have missed too much time in the past to take that gamble. We will keep thinking about it, but it's highly unlikely.
Terrence Williams - Had an average practice. He's also a well-conditioned athlete. He didn't do enough things defensively to get me excited. Not good, Not bad. He was just ordinary when extraordinary is expected.
Andre McGee - Just read the comments on T-Will. Andre and T-Will are roommates and they had the same ordinary practice.
Will Scott - He is well-conditioned and hard working. Passing and defense are the roadblocks to playing time. Great threshold for work.
Derrick Caracter. - He has never been in great shape in his life, but that's his key to greatness.
Bottom line: First 20 minutes- unbelievable.
Second 20 minutes- average
Third 20 minutes- below average
Last year, DC was able to get his body in good condition. You saw then his obvious talent. Because he is a large man, throughout practice his performance declines because fatigue sets in quicker, and then his performance dips. If -- and it's a big if -- we can get him into peak shape -- watch out! He jumps incredibly high for a man his size. He passes well and is a great post-up player. When the day comes that he maintains an optimum level of conditioning, he has a chance to be one of the best in college basketball. Since this has yet to happen in his young career, the challenge is great but exciting.
Earl Clark - Struggled a bit at times also with fatigue, but is a talented forward has a great love of the game.
Jerry Smith - In good condition, but he must improve defensively. He has to learn defensive spacing to stay out of foul trouble. He's a great competitor and will learn it quickly.
Edgar Sosa - Back from his ankle injury. Looked surprisingly good for his first day. He picks up things quickly. Should be in the groove by October 12th.
The thing that jumps out the most to me here is the possibility, however minuscule, that Terrance Farley could redshirt. It sounds like T-Far is finally making the strides Pitino has waited three years for, and now coach is wondering how good the 7-footer could be if he had another year to keep improving. Farley has always been a tremendous shot blocker, had a solid 15-foot jump shot, and decent post moves, but whenever he gets into the game he refuses to move and looks timid on the offensive end. Perhaps he's finally getting over this, and if that's the case then redshirting really isn't that crazy of a thought.
Pitino then goes on to give his take on the topic that has gripped Planet Red for the past month or so: booing the football team.
Here's my take on what's happening. Coming off a Final Four in 2005, we lost four key players and a young, inexperienced team was a pre-season top ten selection. I was shocked. People were disappointed in our performance. They should not have been. The same with our football team. Coming off a great season and an Orange Bowl victory, expectations were also unfairly high.
Bottom line is we lost seven starters on defense and several NFL picks, and incorporated new coaches to U of L. We have great experience on offense, and inexperience on defense. Conclusion: A.) Defense wins. B.) Coach K will prove to be a great football coach at U of L. This is not blind optimism; he's a proven coach who has had much less to work with. C.) There's nothing wrong with our defensive coaches -- experience wins.
New coaches need time and patience. If booing annoys you the way it does us, stand up and say something (politely of course) to the fans that are hurting the recruiting efforts of all our sports. We brag on the spirit of our fans. Don't make us out to be liars. Support and be positive, be proud of what we represent. Just think of what booing represents. By the way, don't tell me that blarney about lack of hustle. They had a bad game. It's easy to high five when you're up twenty. Dig in and support our team when times are tough.
We tell our team that greatness is the result of four occurrences: 1.) A work ethic second to none. 2.) Your goal. 3.) How to execute that goal through repetition and practice; and 4.) Feedback on how to correct and improve. Here's feedback for our fans: Every year cannot be Camelot. How can you make the team be better? Support. Cheer. Encourage. Show loyalty. Demand discipline. Look forward to next week.
Oddly enough, booing is not part of this equation. It won't happen again. You're too intelligent to knowingly hurt our teams. Continue the booing and our future talent will be long gone. Sometimes we forget what sports is all about. Have fun!
While I, like Pitino, am anti-booing, I do have to disagree with his comparison of this team to the '05-'06 basketball team. I think the majority of us knew heading into the season that that team wasn't a top five squad, and even though it was a team with the talent to make the NCAA Tournament, having to play arguably the thoughest conference schedule ever assembled (four games against eventual No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, nine games against tournament teams) killed that chance. This football team brought back Francisco Garcia, Larry O'Bannon and Taquan Dean, and only lost Ellis Myles.
Pitino ends his entry with a rather hostile "Question of the week."
This appears to be (read: is) a shot at C-J columnist Eric Crawford, who referenced local message boards and used a quote from the blog Every Day Should Be Saturday in a column last week. It also sounds like the coach is taking a shot at my pulse, and frankly I can't stand for that because my heart rate is exemplary.