Potential is the scariest word in sports. It’s even more frightening to Louisville Basketball. Remember Derrick Caracter? Remember Chane Behanan? The reputations of guys like these are quite different than what we were told about Peyton Siva or Russ Smith upon arrival. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. When it comes to Louisville Basketball the Cards have the potential to be great….but have plenty of questions to be answered.
Montrezl Harrell will be Montrezl Harrell. Terry Rozier should take a leap forward. After that, the constants stop.
It’s a weird place in regards to where expectations are for Louisville hoops heading into the season. We can guess a lot of things, we know very little.
Louisville can be really good, most pollsters must agree as the Cards have been ranked at least in the Top Ten.
Wayne Blackshear could finally become the McDonald’s All-American that Rick Pitino recruited, but we have no reason to believe that will actually happen – how many times have we seen him play like that? The sensational writer Margaret Atwood once said ‘potential has a shelf life’, Wayne Blackshear should remember that.
“I believe he is about 80 percent of the way there. Remember, in high school you are bigger than everybody else, so you can bully them,” Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino said about the Chicago Senior. “I think he is 80 percent of the way there. I think he is playing great basketball right now. I think our starters are playing really, really well, now we have to pick up with the other guys.”
Mangok Mathiang can be physical, dominant even, but then there is the memory of Julius Randle treating him like a child.
“Mangok’s gotten better,” Pitino noted. “What I’m hoping is that Mangok can give us what Montrezl gave us last year – a lot of blocked shots, a lot of dunks, just a lot of hustle plays.”
Louisville has guys that can come off the bench and contribute. Anton Gill can become a reliable perimeter threat, Shaqquan Aaron will become eligible and provide relief at the 3, and Chinanu Onaku can be good, like really good.
It’s not negativity. It’s reality. With freshman, and this Louisville team has a lot of freshman, immediate readiness is not guaranteed. Louisville Coach Rick Pitino would say the same. There’s a learning curve and a bench that needs to contribute. UofL Basketball has possibilities but zero certainties. The potential for Louisville Basketball is limitless but even if they don’t reach much of that potential, Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier make the Cards a legitimate Sweet 16 team. If they do become what they can be, they can be National Championship contenders. Thats a sharp line but it’s simply the case.
Louisville should beat Minnesota. The Gophers are a good team but one that Louisville should handle, even early in the season. Louisville has superior athletes, faster players and so on, so forth. Additionally you really think Rick Pitino is gonna get outwitted by his son on a National Showcase? In words of every Italian ever ‘Fuhgeddabodit’. After that, you’re dreams can run wild.
“This is a heck of an opener for us so I wanted to see what I saw in the first half to get our guys some confidence,” Rick Pitino said of the Gophers.
Rick Pitino has a job on his hands with this team. But if there is one guy that can maximize that potential thing, it has been Rick Pitino. For that, you have to feel good. It’s not like he’s working with chopped liver. He’s got an All-American, a McDonalds All-American and a guy that could be a Top 15 draft big. The potential is immense. Yet still, it won’t stop questions from being asked. How exceptional can they be? Who is Wayne Blackshear? Who gives this Louisville team the lift off the bench? These are questions. It’s up to Louisville to decide how long they go unanswered.
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