LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell has elected to return for the 2014-15 Cardinals’ men’s basketball season, ending speculation that he may enter the NBA draft.

“This is obviously great news,” said UofL Coach Rick Pitino. “Like (former UofL/current Minnesota Timberwolves center) Gorgui Dieng, he will benefit tremendously from playing his junior season. We hope, like Russ Smith, that he can become a first-team All-America selection. Montrezl is a Louisville man and we’re all very excited to have Montrezl as a co-captain with Wayne Blackshear.”

The American Athletic Conference Most Improved Player and a first-team all-conference selection, Harrell averaged 14.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and blocked 49 shots as a sophomore for the Cardinals (31-6). He was sixth nationally in field goal percentage, connecting on 60.9 percent from the field, as UofL shared the American Athletic Conference title, won the league postseason tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.

Harrell produced 12 double-doubles during the 2013-14 season, including 11 in the final 22 games. He was named to the AAC all-tournament team, totaling 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots in the championship game against UConn. His 97 dunks during the 2013-14 season shattered the previous season record of 59 and his 141 dunks in two seasons ranks third on the UofL career list.

A co-captain as a sophomore who will retain that role next season, Harrell was named to the Wooden Preseason Top 50, and was a second-team preseason All-America section by USA Today and was a third-team preseason choice by The Sporting News. He will enter his junior year 255 points short of 1,000 for his career.

Harrell won a gold medal with the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s U-19 National Team in the 2013 FIBA U-19 World Championship, played in the summer of 2013 in the Czech Republic. The team was named the 2013 USA Basketball Team of the Year.

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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