He doesn't mention conference realignment, make an ill-advised analogy or take shots at the school in Lexington. This was all basketball; Louisville basketball. Strictly business Rick is my kinda Rick.
At Saturday's scrimmage, the Red team, whose starters were Peyton Siva, Kyle Kuric, Chris Smith, Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan clobbered the White team, which started Jared Swopshire, Mike Marra, Zach Price, Russ Smith and Elisha Justice. The final score was 105-60 and it was a blowout from the beginning.
Leading the Red squad, Dieng scored 23 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked four shots while Behanan led all scorers with 32 points. The White team's stats weren't great, but if you're bored or feel like over-analyzing small details from a scrimmage, the full box score can be found here.
Highlights from Pitino's post-scrimmage press conference:
-- Pitino said he knew it would be a non-competitive scrimmage when they stacked the Red team with the actual starting lineup, but that it was important to let the first team work together in preparation for Wednesday's exhibition against Pikeville.
-- Kuric and Dieng stood out; they understood what the coaches wanted to do offensively and defensively; a couple other guys played ok but the White team was "not very good," were weak physically, and did not play defense well.
-- Team depth, which is what the coaches had thought would be a strength this season, has turned into a "major weakness," but Pitino assured the media it will be a strength eventually as guys like Stephan Van Treese (two weeks), Wayne Blackshear (Monday) and Rakeem Buckles (2 months) heal from injuries and return to the team.
-- Since practice started up again, Pitino has been very impressed with how consistent Gorgui, Siva and Kuric have been. Pitino kept emphasizing that the second unit is so weak the first unit isn't getting any competition, so it's tough to tell where the team's at right now.
-- Bullet made great moves and played well, despite not finishing shots or filling up the stat sheet.
-- Buckles is probably six weeks away from practicing and two months from playing in a game.
-- Swopshire hasn't played organized basketball in 18 months and is still making strides to become the player he was before suffering a sports hernia injury; Pitino's confidence in Kuric playing at the four spot provides flexibility in the lineup to overcome injuries to the forwards; if Behanan continues to "play like a point guard" like he did in Saturday's scrimmage, the team knows they can go with Kuric at power forward (not sure if serious).
-- Pitino has made it a point of emphasis with Gorgui that he needs to stay out of foul trouble; the team needs him to play "33 or 34 minutes" per game because when Gorgui sits on the bench, the level of play on the court sinks significantly; Gorgui did a great job staying out of foul trouble throughout the scrimmage by moving his feet, staying in his stance and trusting his teammates to help out on defense.
-- Even though Behanan scored 32 points, Pitino said it was the weakest he'd played so far because he didn't play like a power forward and didn't take advantage of his match-up with Swopshire by taking the ball inside more. Pitino felt like Behanan reverted to his high school mentality in the scrimmage, citing that he only shot three free throws and didn't have an offensive rebound or an assist.
-- Redshirt freshman walk-on Mark Jackson has been hard to evaluate because he hasn't been in good enough shape to play the game; he's "not quite there" at 10.3% body fat, but he's a smart basketball player and looks much better than when he arrived in 2010. Jackson won't play against Pikeville on Wednesday, but Pitino said he should "make it" (editor's note: I assume "it" = under 10% body fat) for the Bellarmine exhibition.
-- There is concern for the lack of depth at the power forward and center positions, but that will change when Van Treese and Blackshear are able to contribute, which will allow Kyle to play the three or four. It's not a big problem right now because they're not playing regular season games yet.
-- Blackshear hasn't touched a ball in six months and won't be the same player we saw in high school until December or maybe even January; he'll need two weeks to get in shape and another month after that to get back to the level of basketball he played before the initial shoulder injury. To his credit, Wayne has gone from 17% body fat to 8% and will give the team "great dimension."
-- Chris Smith, Siva and Behanan were "solid" during Saturday's scrimmage; they didn't play extremely well but didn't play poorly either; Pitino clarified that it was tough to judge the Red team because it was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters pick apart the Washington Generals due to the lack of defense played by the White team.
The Pikeville exhibition game on Wednesday will tip-off shortly after 7pm in the Yum! Center and will be aired on WHAS locally. If you know of an online host that will be streaming the game live, feel free to share the link below. Don't be greedy.