Stockman eyes more playing time at Minnesota

 Still waiting for Matz Stockman to make that breakthrough to the next level? Not going to happen, at least not at the University of Louisville.

Hopes that the 7-foot, 240-pound Stockman could someday be a dominant force in the middle for the UofL basketball team were dashed Tuesday. Stockman is transferring to the University of Minnesota.

Rick Pitino was obviously involved in the decision, possibly frustrated with Stockman’s lack of progress during three seasons at UofL. He was rarely used this year, playing only 74 minutes in 18 games and averaging 1.7 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.

But the elder Pitino is also aware that if someone with Stockman’s physique and personality were to somehow become motivated, he could make a difference for some team. Best to keep him in the family, encouraging Stockman to play for his son Richard at Minnesota. 

Stockman will have to sit out a season, becoming eligible for 2018-19 campaign. “Matz has been a great team member with our basketball team and we appreciate his efforts,” said Pitino.  “Transferring to Minnesota is a great move for him, as he’ll have an opportunity to make an immediate impact when he becomes eligible to play.” 

Stockman is looking forward to getting much more playing time. “I’ve been looking for an opportunity to play quality minutes for a long time now and I think this will be a great situation for me,” he said.

Hopefully a motivated Stockman doesn’t come back to haunt his old UofL coach in a couple of years.

Big guys have small impact in UofL exhibition game

University of Louisville freshman V. J. King launches a shot over Bellarmine's Alex Cook (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
University of Louisville freshman V. J. King launches a shot over Bellarmine’s Alex Cook (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

An impressive first half in which the University of Louisville basketball team couldn’t do anything wrong, followed by a second half of putting on the brakes, seemingly to allow Bellarmine to save face. 

Mentor Rick Pitino going easy on former assistant Scott Davenport after seeing UofL race to a 49-17 lead at halftime? Or Davenport peeling the paint off the locker room, motivating his team to keep the score respectable in the second half of the 81-60 loss to UofL? We will never know for sure, but both were completely different teams the final 20 minutes.

Quentin Snider had four assists but UofL turnovers outnumbered assists 12-11 in the exhibition game (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Quentin Snider had four assists but UofL turnovers outnumbered assists 12-11 in the exhibition game (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Could it be that UofL may be back to where it was a couple of seasons ago, of having only a token presence at the center position? Former Cardinal Felton Spencer, now an assistant at Bellarmine, providing a reminder that big men often take longer to develop.

Mangok Mathiang and Anas Mahmoud  towering guys, in the 7-foot range, looking all but lost, managing only 11 points and six rebounds between them. Matz Stockman never getting off the bench for some reason. All of the aforementioned playing in their junior and senior seasons.

Really too early to draw any conclusions, especially from an exhibition game. Pitino maybe not expecting his big men to provide any offensive punch at present, wanting them to focus on defense, expecting baskets to come from other areas?

Pitino’s offensive approach has always been pretty much an enigma but it always seems to work out, having already won six conference championships, made three Final Four appearances, and cut down one national championship net during his 15 seasons at Louisville.

Adding to that impressive list of accomplishments would be more likely to happen and definitely much more fun to watch with more contributions from the big men.


Deng Adel answers bell, Louisville downs Pitt again

Dang, that Deng is good.

Rick Pitino has been telling anyone who will listen that Deng Adel is going to be a great basketball player at the University of Louisville. He’s said that about a lot of players over the years, and they rarely disappoint him.

Adel actually started the first two games this season, remember? Injured a knee early on, had to sit out a month, work his way back into shape, take his turn on the bench, play sparingly in January, and become a contributor in late February.

Pitino has been known to throw seldom-used players into critical situations at the most unexpected moments. Deng saw four minutes of action against Notre Dame and four minutes against Syracuse. Didn’t score in either of those games, but Pitino was watching, making mental notes.

Deng began growing up in the win over Duke, getting 28 minutes of playing time, pulling down five rebounds, making two assists and scoring 12 points.

Pitino apparently convinced, drawing a starting assignment against Pittsburgh, Deng making the coach a genius. Wowing his teammates at the 7:38 mark, Chinanu Onuaku screaming, after an awe-inspiring one-hand dunk serving notice that the UofL drought was over. Following that up with a 3-pointer and a layup less than two minutes later.

Deng finished the game with 12 points, seven rebounds, and an assist, along with a new level of respect from the head coach, his teammates and fans. Raising expectations in Louisville’s 67-60 win over Pittsburgh. Giving them something to look forward the final three games this year, and three more seasons for the freshman.

David Levitch also is familiar with getting thrust into the spotlight, prime time playing time, inserted midway through the first half. He would respond with eight points, including two 3-pointers, one of them a dagger at the 2:38 mark, giving UofL a three-point lead.

As is one Matz Stockman, the backup, backup seven-footer, who keeps looking more respectable all the time, another one of those guys Pitino says is really going to be good. Just three rebounds, two points and a block in this one but his time is coming as well.

Pitino watches newest, tallest recruit

Rick Pitino was in New York Wednesday to see his latest University of Louisville recruit in action, the 7-foot-2 Matz Stockman from Norway.

Stockman is not going to be a dominating force by any means. The good news is that he doesn’t appear to be awkward or skinny for his size. Just far enough along talent wise that Pitino can develop this young man into an effective big man.

Continue reading “Pitino watches newest, tallest recruit”

Pitino lands big catch from Norway

One way to change the subject is to sign a 7-foot-2 center. That’s exactly what Rick Pitino did Tuesday, receiving the paperwork from Matz Stockman who hails from Norway.Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 6.18.51 PM

According to his coach, Stockman also has a 7-foot-6 wing span “and is extremly agile. He has the potential to be elite, it’s just a matter of time.” Add a little beef to that 238-pound frame and he could become an intimidating force in the middle.

“The addition of Matz makes it one of the strongest classes we have ever had at Louisville,” said Pitino. “We’re really excited to have him in our program.  He has great size and wingspan, shoots it well and has great spring in his legs.  This is a class that fits our needs for our future.”

He’s the third big man in the University of Louisville’s 2014 recruiting class, joining 6-foot-9 Jaylen Johnson from Michigan and 6-foot-10 Chinanu Onuaku from Maryland, along with small forward Shaqquan Aaron from Seattle and guard Quentin Snider from Louisville Ballard.