Sports

Pitino Readies Restructured Louisville Ream for Title-Repeating Quest

[USA Today]
Russ Smith, right, returns to Rick Pitino's backcourt after bypassing a chance at the NBA. (Photo: Andy Lyons Getty Images)
Russ Smith, right, returns to Rick Pitino’s backcourt after bypassing a chance at the NBA. (Photo: Andy Lyons Getty Images)

Eight hours of practice time per week has allowed University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino just enough of a window to feel good about the summer his players are having.

Pitino joked the biggest challenge wasn’t in keeping his team hungry for another national title run, but in remembering what conference the Cardinals are playing this season. His greater concern came from losing center Gorgui Dieng and guard Peyton Siva to the NBA.

“When you lose a Peyton Siva you not only lose a great player but you lose a great attitude,” Pitino said. “I don’t know if we can replace that attitude of Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Siva, but I think we can replace the abilities of those athletes.”

Starting at point guard, where Pitino said junior college transfer Chris Jones has lived up to his considerable advanced hype. He’s been especially pleased with the battles Jones and co-captain Russ Smith have had in practice.

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