University of Louisville basketball was back at the KFC Yum! Center on Wednesday, seemingly ahead of schedule after the hard-to-shake memories of last season’s disastrous start for Coach Kenny Payne. The annual Red and White scrimmage hopefully providing a preview of better things to come.

Have to give credit where credit is due. There did seem to be a new attitude.  This UofL team is bigger, faster, and passes the ball better. In a 32-minute scrimmage the Red beat the White 62-51 in front of a crowd of 5,719.

The score wasn’t what was important. It was how this team meshed and interacted on the court. They played with enthusiasm, purpose and toughness. No denying that even for the cynics who lost faith last year.

After last years debacle (4-28) fans need something more to look forward to during this winter. With football rolling, the fan base can hopefully add men’s basketball to their list of priorities. Don’t miss a game at home or on the road (television).

Two players that looked like they were the closest to being ready for real competition. Tre White, the new point guard, and Dennis Evans a freshman 7-foot-1 center.

“Dennis changes a lot in there,” said guard Skyy Clark. “He had five blocks and you’re going to see that all year long. He changes things in there. We see it everyday in practice.”

“He comes to work hard everyday to get better,” added Kenny Payne.

White, a sophomore transfer from Southern Cal was impressive. He had 17 points and nine rebounds with four assists and a steal. “I feel like it’s going to be special (this season),” said White. “We push each other every rep and I feel like that shows on offense and defense. I’m excited for what’s to come.”

Offensively the teams shot a combined 42 of 96 for 45.6%.  Not great but better than a year ago. That included 12 of 30 three pointers. The teams combined for 23 assists, which would have good last season.“I just thought there were some good things out there,” said Payne. “We had some nervous guys out there to start which is normal.

“I think you could see this is a talented group. This group plays together,” added Payne.

Only a scrimmage but hope springs eternal. Simmons College arrives at the Yum next Wednesday at 7 p.m. for the first exhibition game.

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By Ed Peak

Ed Peak has covered UofL sports since 1973, as a student reporter, as a correspondent for the Courier-Journal, a freelancer for the Associated Press and United Press International, as well as ScoreCard, Fox Sports and CBS radio.

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