Louisville fans got their first look at the 2016-17 Cardinal basketball team Wednesday night, and it was a fresh face who wound up leaving arguably the strongest first impression.
Tony Hicks, a graduate transfer from Penn, scored 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting to lead his Red Team to a 105-102 victory over the White Team in the first of two Red-White scrimmages this month. Hicks' scoring total was outdone only by Quentin Snider, who netted 27 points for the White squad.
Despite the strong scoring performances from the dueling floor generals, it was another guard who most-impressed Rick Pitino Wednesday.
"The guy that impressed me the most the whole game was Donovan Mitchell, because he played with pace," Pitino said. "The other guys played too fast. They didn't change their pace. Donovan looked like a complete basketball player. He never got tired, he changed his pace, and he looked really good."
Mitchell played more minutes than any player on either team (38), and finished with 22 points and a game-high seven assists for the Red Team. The sophomore also showed off a much-improved outside shot, burying four of six attempts from behind the 3-point line.
Returning power forwards Jaylen Johnson and Ray Spalding also put up big numbers in the post, with the former scoring 21 points and snatching 20 rebounds, and the latter posting totals of 18 and 15.
"Jaylen was a workhorse," Pitino said. "He was relentless. Now he's just got to get inside more and post up more. Ray is very difficult to pass over. It's a very scary thing for a guard to do. If you can't dribble around him, you've got problems."
Also making strong first impressions on Wednesday were true freshman forward V.J. King, who scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and redshirt freshman guard Ryan McMahon, who connected on six of his eight field goal attempts, all of which came from beyond the arc.
Both teams spent the bulk of the 40-minute game playing at a frenetic pace, which led to a number of transition baskets, but also a number of turnovers and fouls. Pitino said he was pleased with the pace, and hopes the team can play the same style while turning the ball over fewer times when they take the court again for the next Red-White scrimmage on Oct. 21.
"They're all going to get better," Pitino said. "That's the great thing about this basketball team, they all have so much potential.
"This was a great start. I'm really pleased."
Here's your final box score: