Exhibition games don’t count for much, if anything.
But if Jared Swopshire’s performance in the University of Louisville’s 72-62 win over Bellarmine is any indication, he may finally be ready to contribute.
During his first two seasons, Swopshire often appeared to be taking a casual approach to the game, holding back, rarely displaying any emotion. Tall and lanky, a good physique, the kind that had some NBA scouts making notes. But the body language always seemed to me to demonstrate a lack of total commitment.
Then, of course, came the groin injury, all the uncertainty about whether he would ever return. Rick Pitino, the way he is, going back and forth on his future.
Swopshire arrived Thursday at the KFC Yum! Center with a new closely-shaven haircut, possibly a hint of a new mindset. He also brought with him an aggressive approach heretofore unseen. The 6-foot-8 junior found the Division II competition to his liking, scoring 14 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Going aggressively to the basket, mixing it up for rebounds for a change.
Maybe the new look had something to do with Rick Pitino’s warning that the train might be leaving the station. Possibly the elation of prevailing over the effects of a serious injury. Or getting a second chance at the game he loves.
Whatever it was, UofL fans liked the Jared Swopshire they saw Thursday night.