Prior to Louisville’s trip to Puerto Rico we had several questions that we hoped to find answers to during the Cards’ trip.
Are the Transfers Legit? – Yes
Damion Lee certainly answered this with authority with his scoring throughout the trip. Trey Lewis really struggled to find his shot in P.R., but I think did enough defensively to say that Louisville really does have two great weapons coming in for their final season. The question now is, how does Louisville get these two to reduce their bad shots? Too often, Lewis and Lee both took ill-advised looks with plenty of time remaining on the shot clock. This is a symptom of both players coming from less successful programs with fewer options and the teams requiring both Lee and Lewis to be more assertive than what is prescribed here at Louisville.
Pitino has been focused on Puerto Rico primarily and the Cards have had just limited time together (it’s August) so this isn’t so much a problem as it is something that needs to be developed.
How Are the Freshman? – GOOD
Ray Spalding’s potential is tantalizing. He’s no where near a finished product but his ability to affect the game without registering statistics really stands out while watching him play even in standard definition. Donovan Mitchell has the same issue that Terry Rozier had as a freshman in that he plays too fast, too eager, and too excited. Mitchell will learn to allow the game to come to him the same way Rozier did, his energy is a blessing he’s just got to harness it effectively. Deng Adel has some serious athleticism, he’s just a bit rough right now. Pitino praises him for his strength and defense and we saw both vs. Puerto Rico. His ability to drive the lane and get to the free throw line was unexpectedly much better than anticipated. Haven’t seen enough of Ryan McMahon and that’s one of the reasons why the redshirt is extremely likely for Ryan in 2015-16.
Power Forward? No Answer Found
There are still a lot of options here for Louisville. In 3 months Ray Spalding might just be that guy. Jaylen Johnson, Mangok Mathiang, and Anas Mahmoud give the Cards all kinds of options at the Power Forward spot. There doesn’t appear to be a guy who has grabbed a hold of the spot above all others, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The talent here also can often play the 5 spot and most of these guys have the agility to check smaller PFs in college.
It will be very exciting to see how much further Anas, Ray, and Jaylen come in the next 3 months.
Quentin’s Role? – He’s Your Starting Point Guard
With the way Lee & Lewis shoot the ball, it makes perfect sense for Quentin Snider to be Louisville’s point guard in 2015-16. Quentin had a nice week in Puerto Rico and Louisville’s offense flowed much more smoothly when he was on the floor. Having players who hit a high percentage will only help Q in his development and confidence. Snider also has a nice stroke and should be able to find a great deal of space to create and find his own shot when necessary.
What We Didn’t Expect
We didn’t expect to see the progress Chinanu Onuaku has made. Or Matz Stockman. Both players are a work in progress, but Nanu played some inspired basketball in Puerto Rico vs. some really nice competition. Stockman is always in the mix and while he is unlikely to really impact Louisville basketball in 2015-16, he’s gotten so much better than the last time we saw him. Lastly, We also didn’t expect for Jay Henderson to be as good of a scorer as he appears to be.
Now that Louisville’s trip to Puerto Rico is over. It’s time to turn our full attention to Football who kicks off against Auburn in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome in just 19 days.