By Noah Allison–
Card Nation got their first glimpse at the 2012-2013 men’s basketball team Saturday in the annual Red v. White scrimmage. The scrimmage showcased the preseason powerhouse pinning its talent against each other. Peyton Siva, Gorgui Djeng and others were on the Red team, going up against the likes of Chane Behanan, Russ Smith and Luke Hancock on the White team.
“For the first day I thought that the Red team was very well organized; they looked like a really good team in terms of distributing the basketball,” Coach Rick Pitino said.
The red team beat the white 74-58. Throughout the game the Cardinals struggled with their perimeter shooting. Making a combined 53 of 143 shots, they showed that with their size and athletic ability, points in the paint will be at a premium this year.
“I think we are going to shoot better, I wouldn’t say that we are going to be a great three point shooting team, but I think Luke Hancock, once his shoulder gets better, he’s going to make a lot of shots,” Pitino said. “That’s what these games are for, to look at things that you like and things that you need to work on. I’m very impressed with Chane Behanan’s play. He still has to get in the gym and spend more time on his shooting; he still has a lot of weaknesses there, and he has to stop spin dribbling because the defense plays it. But if you take that away, he was spectacular.”
Behanan did impress, posting 20 points and 22 rebounds. A truly dominant force in the paint, he had no problem poster-izing teammates in the friendly scrimmage.
“The whole red team I like. My first impressions of Montrezl were that he looked very good. I thought Peyton played like a professional tonight; he just ran the team, and he was in total control,” Pitino said.
The scrimmage not only reunited fans with familiar faces, but also introduced them to some key new editions for the team this year. Two that will play a big role in U of L’s success are transfer Luke Hancock and freshman Montrezl Harrel.
“I’m real impressed with Montrezl Harrel. Everybody remarks about Gorgui’s wingspan, but Montrezl has got a 7’3” wingspan. He has a strong desire, he’s a sponge, he’s always trying to learn,” Pitino said. “The key to our team though, no question, is Luke Hancock. We need him on the floor, he’s an 80% foul shooter, a good three point shooter, he knows how to pass, knows how to play and he will be ready.”
The scrimmage was the team’s first real day of practice, for until now they have only had limited time to meet and work together. Now, they can meet regularly and get to work on making it a little bit deeper in the NCAA tournament than last year.
“What we need to do right now is work on our shooting. We need to work on our passing ability, but I think you’re looking at a very good basketball team,” Pitino said.
Photos: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal