Delk Gets Message, Leads Louisville Past Cincinnati

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.  Never too late for that to happen, even if it is his last semester of college basketball.

Louisville-Cincinnati Box Score

The Missing-David Padgett Syndrome

A new attitude has to be permeating University of Louisville basketball practice sessions, now that the worship and adulation has been replaced by realism and disappointment. If the UofL basketball team were the stock market, a depression would have been declared.

The first clues that all was not well should have been picked up when Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa were not introduced as the starting guards. Smith apparently focused on something other than weight and basketball during the summer. Sosa had that familiar look of frustration and an inability to manage a dribble drive.

Based on Sunday’s performance, this team closely resembles last season’s team before David Padgett returned to the lineup. Samardo Samuels is playing, to be sure, but at least one opposing coach has figured out how to stop Padgett’s replacement. Other coaches will be applying the same measures to stop Samuels.

Padgett bequeathed his ability to manage the floor and find open shooters to Terrence Williams but T-will apparently left it on the bus.

Excluding Samuels with 36 minutes in the game, the other additions to the active roster accumulated only 11 minutes of playing time — Reginald Delk had five, Terrence Jennings had three, Jarod Swopshire had two, and George Goode had one.

Coach Rick Pitino’s apology is accepted. This team has to be reshaped and reinvented. The tools are available but he’s got a lot of work to do. David Padgett is not walking through that door.