Free throw shooting is apparently getting more attention during University of Louisville practice sessions, with UofL connecting on 86 of 110 attempts over the past five games.
Just in time for UofL’s first men’s basketball game ever Sunday as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference at Wake Forest at 8 p.m.
The Cardinals were making free throws at a clip of 78.2 percent during the five-game streak, a vast improvement over 59% during the first eight games. For the season, they’re are now at 65% at the charity stripe.
Terry Rozier led the way, with 29 of 35 for 85.3, followed by Chris Jones, 17 of 20 for 85%, Montrezl Harrell 7 of 10 for 70%, Wayne Blackshear 18 of 27 for 66.7%, and Anas Mahmoud 4 of 4 for 100%.
Blackshear has actually slipped a bit during that period but remains the leading free throw shooter for the season, with 43 of 58 for 74.1%. A couple of those misses standing out, two clunkers in three attempts with 1:32 remaining in the nail biter against Kentucky.
Rick Pitino may want to consider giving Mangok Mathiang a little extra time at the line. He’s good for only eight of 20 attempts for 40%.
The discussion among many fans as the University of Louisville takes on Cincinnati is how will the return of Chris Jones affect the chemistry so evident in three consecutive wins while he was nursing an injury.
Jones is, after all, the third leading scorer, averaging 11.3 points per game, and had started 15 games, sharing point guard duties with Russ Smith. He will be back, but not in the starting lineup, according to Rick Pitino.
Pitino will continue to go with Terry Rozier who was essentially filling in at point guard. He did such an impressive job of directing the offense during Jones’ absence that many fans believe he may earned a starting spot. Over three games, Rozier had 11 assists, seven steals, 22 points and six turnovers.
The question is how Jones will react if he’s on the bench at tipoff time. Pitino, of course, says it doesn’t really matter who starts but who plays the best, particularly on defense. Those who know Jones says starting is really important to him.
The UofL says he doesn’t start players returning from injury so we may have to wait for the answer to the question until Sunday when UofL faces South Florida at the KFC Yum! Center.
Rick Pitino doesn’t expect it to be an issue. We hopes he’s right.
Terry Rozier, who signed a letter-of-intent with University of Louisville men’s basketball, will not join the Cardinals’ roster for the 2012-13 season. He will instead enroll at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. for a year of prep school.
“We have spoken to Terry and without question, he is headed to the ideal spot for him to improve his academic standing and to play with teammates very familiar with him,” said Rick Pitino. “A.W. (Hamilton, Hargrave’s head basketball coach) is an outstanding coach and was a terrific backcourt player himself. Another year academically and athletically in prep school will be a great opportunity for Terry.”