Blackshear still hurting, not practicing

Rick Pitino continues trying to be outwardly optimistic at his pre-game press conferences these days despite receiving a daily dose of bad news from the guy he calls the Grim Reaper, trainer Fred Hina.

“The attitude of this team is off the charts, they work their butts off, and they don’t get discouraged,” he said. “This will help them win games. I don’t which games they will be, but wins will come.”

But the University of Louisville basketball coach doesn’t expect any relief from anyone on the injured list.

He revealed that Wayne Blackshear has yet to be cleared to practice, contradicting previous reports to the contrary. “Wayne hasn’t practiced yet, he said. “It’s more than just his shoulder. He has some asthma related issues, and doesn’t look real strong.”

Ditto for Stephan Van Treese, who was expected to be returning soon. “It doesn’t look good,” he said.

He noted that Kyle Kuric is still experiencing pain with the injured ankle, and couldn’t promise that he will be available for the Pittsburgh game Saturday.

Because of Rakeem Buckles’ most recent injury, Pitino said he probably will have no choice but to play Zach Price more. “He’s not ready, not a good passer and he gets beat on defense a lot. But in certain situations, he has to play now.”

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Russ Smith also appeared at the press conference, admitting has to make smarter decisions, get better at finding open teammates.  “I’m always looking for the open man, just can’t find them a lot of times. It’s something I have to really work on.

“If something isn’t going right, I’m going to try to step up. If it works good, if not we have to move on, keep working at it.”

He expects Pittsburgh to be physical. The 9 p.m. tip off suits him just fine.

Wayne Blackshear coming soon

For the down and out.

There is a Wayne Blackshear in the wings. He’ll be in a University of Louisville uniform soon, mending, practicing, he’s on his way. A natural, a player who can create his own shots, a three-point shooter, a mid-range shooter, a rim-rattling dunker, the complete package. Averaged 14 rebounds per game as a senior in high school.

Wayne Blackshear

He’ll take pressure off of Kyle Kuric, allowing Kyle to do what he does best from the corner, ease the load on Russ and Chris Smith, permitting them to become role players (if that’s possible with Russ). Peyton Siva will have a go-to guy for a change, making his decision making easier. He will motivate Kevin Ware as well, speeding his acclimation process.

And he was recruited by Rick Pitino.

  • Averaged 32.6 points, 14.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 3.7 steals as a senior to lead Morgan Park to a 20-7 record and the 3-A sectional finals, beating defending 3A state champions Hillcrest in the semifinals.
  • 2011 McDonald’s and Parade Magazine All-America selection.
  • Named the 2011 Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year and was a two-time all-area selection.
  • Ranked No. 16 nationally by Scout.com, No. 26 in the ESPN 100, 36th by Rivals.com, No. 29 by USA Today recruiting analyst Rob Harrington, and third among shooting guards nationally by Scout.com.
  • Top scoring effort as a senior was 56 points against Chicago Ellison, adding 21 rebounds, nine blocked shots and seven steals.

And did we mention that Pitino recruited him?

Blackshear won’t suit up for Louisville

Surprise.

More bad news. Wayne Blackshear will miss the 2011-12 season with his ailing shoulder.

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test performed at Jewish Hospital points to a torn labrum in his right shoulder, which will require surgery to repair. With an expected recovery time of at least four months, Blackshear will effectively miss the entire season.

Blackshear had just been cleared by the NCAA initial eligibility center to participate as a freshman a week ago. He had suffered an injury to his left shoulder as he closed out his high school career, had surgery to repair it, and had spent the summer rehabilitating that shoulder.

Just great.

Louisville warms up the Yum! Center

A nice little break from football and the conference realignment drama, this exhibition basketball game against Pikeville.

The defending champs of the NAIA play pretty sound basketball. A few seasons ago, a team like UPike may have claimed a win against the University of Louisville. Not this year, however. Too much talent, experience and togetherness to allow anything like that to happen.

  • Gorgui Dieng may be ahead of schedule in his development, with surprising dexterity to go with his newfound physique, turning in 15 rebounds, six blocked shots, 14 points and zero fouls. An added bonus is the positive work ethic he brings to the game, the maturity he conveys anytime he gets in front of a microphone. A very likeable player, the kind we’ve seen on championship teams in the past.
  • Chane Behanan is a bruiser but he gets up and down the court quickly, outrunning the opposition for most of his 16 points while turning in seven rebounds. The kind of physical strength Pittsburgh usually brings. He will push and shove with the best of them and, as Rick Pitino said after the game, “he will get better, better, better and better.”
  • Peyton Siva out there having fun again, creating, motivating, slipping down the middle for those twisting lay ups. Becoming more and more comfortable as a point guard, a natural spot for him with his sharing spirit.
  • Kyle Kuric, defending homecoming king who may give up his title to Peyton Siva at this week’s UofL-Syracuse football game, displaying his always surprising quickness and jumping ability to go with those daggers from the corner.
  • Jared Swopshire, for whom the coach says the clock is ticking, needs to get back in the flow. Always a casual presence before getting injured, the coach is going to expect and demand more intensity.
  • Wayne Blackshear, back in the game after a five-month absence, has some ground to make up quickly. He wasn’t about to force anything and that says a lot about him. This probably will be the first and last time he winds up with zero points in any game.

Et tu, Wayne Blackshear

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The University of Louisville has an exhibition game against Pikeville College next Wednesday you know.

So now we have Wayne Blackshear still attempting to become eligible with the start of the college basketball season less than a week away.

That’s on top of the news that Kevin Ware was not cleared academically for the first semester.

No need for a laundry list but the issue of promising players not quite eligible to play for the University of Louisville in recent years has become a recurring theme. So much so that fans aren’t surprised anymore. Almost expected.

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