Rick Pitino met with the media today as Louisville held the appropriately titled Media Day. The Slickster touched on a lot of subjects, but spoke at length about the new style of play the Cards would be implementing this year.
The style will be a very fast paced featuring quick passing and aggressive defense. Pitino has many times referred to it as the classic Loyola-Marymount style, but with defense. In terms of defense, Rick said they would play about 75-80% man to man, which means the Cards should get away from falling back to a 2-3 zone as they have done the past several years.
Pitino also mentioned certain players would benefit from this style, specifically Terrence Jennings, Stephan Van Treese, and Mike Marra. Obviously, getting out on the run suits TJ’s game which is running the floor and blocking shots. Slick Rick pointed out Mike Marra has surprised them with how good of a passer he is and passing, specifically quick passing, will be critical to the success of this system.
On the injury front, forward Jared Swopshire is not progressing as much as they had hoped. Swop is going for an MRI today and his targeted return date is December 1. Freshman guard Russ Smith, battling a foot injury, should be ready to go in 2-3 weeks. Right now, the Cards have Elisha Justice backing up Peyton Siva at point guard, so adding another body at that position will help a great deal.
As a team, Rick said he believes this team’s whole will have to be greater than the individual players, which basically means they are not very talented and will have to win with total team efforts. He said they will have to manufacture points with their defense and style of play. Rick said many times this new style, which does not have a name yet, will be fun to watch, but difficult to play and play against.
Rick also touched on the topic of recruiting, specifically the possibility of the July recruiting period being eliminated which Rick said was ridiculous, and the “news” of him not doing his television show this year. As far as the elimination of the July recruiting period, the reaction from those involved seems to be negative. I am not a recruiting guru in any way, but I don’t see the point of eliminating it. It just seems to be a move done for the sake of making a move with no real reason for it.
On the topic of him not doing his television show, this is completely overblown. First of all, there cannot be more than one hundred people who watch and love that show. Anyone who is in an uproar over this needs to take a giant chill pill and re-evaluate their priorities in life.
Here’s video from Pitino’s presser, courtesy of Courier-Journal.com