Some teams get it right away. Others take a while, like the current University of Louisville basketball team, some 20 games into the season, grasping that defense is key to being competitive, maintaining a lead, or having a chance to win.
Or maybe it just takes Rick Pitino a little longer to get through to people, with all the motivating, the generalizing, and the pontificating. He often does the exact opposite of what he says he’s going to do, what analysts or fans expect him to do, or what logic dictates needs to be done.
One has to wonder if even his players are trying to figure what he really means sometimes.
Maybe the direct approach is the most effective, like the one with Reginald Delk, telling him that he has to become more active, play defense, go after rebounds. This Louisville team can’t afford someone whose only contribution is being a spot-up shooter, interested only in his next shot. Get involved or get lost, in essence.
Delk chose to get involved against Cincinnati, becoming a significant factor in the outcome, putting the clamps on Lance Stephenson after he had scored 12 of his team’s first 16 points. That would be it, zilch the rest of the way. Delk would go on to collect his first double-double, contributing 13 points, getting 10 rebounds, a blocked shot, and an assist.
Delk said after the game the reason he transferred to Louisville was that Pitino would make him a better player.Â Never too late for that to happen, even if it is his last semester of college basketball.