Cardinal Basketball

Freshman Guard Shaqquan Aaron Is Eagar To Learn

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Photo: Pete Cautilli

When you’re a consensus top 30 recruit nationally you’re expected to make an impact in your first season in college. For Louisville freshman guard Shaqquan Aaron, it may take a little more time. Aaron is an extremely skilled guard with great length, but at 170-pounds, getting stronger will very important.

“It’s a big difference,” Aaron said when asked about getting acclimated with Pitino’s practices. “Everyday we’re competing. There is no going through the motions or resting, every way we’re competing and getting better. I’m just trying to improve on all aspects of the game. I’m trying to learn the game of college basketball. It’s not the same as high school so I’m just trying to learn.”

Shaqquan Aaron – Louisville Media Day from The Cardinal Connect on Vimeo.

Chris Jones Is Happy That Pitino Made Him Lose Weight

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Louisville senior point guard Chris Jones had big shoes to fill in his first season with the Cardinal program. Jones had to replace national champion Peyton Siva, arguably one of the best point guards to ever play for Louisville. The 2013 National Junior College POY had an up and down season last year and learned a lot.

“Last year taught me that you’re not going to have a good game every night,” Jones said during a media day interview. “It’s something you’ve got to deal with. If you’re not going to have a good night scoring, you’ve got to lock down on defense. That is what I did a lot last year.”

Jones has always been a scoring point guard and averaged close to 30-points per game at the junior college level. During last year’s season, he had to adjust to a new role for the first time in his career.

“We had a lot of scorers so I had to play that defensive role,” Jones said. “It was a roller coaster, but I got through it. This year will be a better me and a quicker me at that. When you’re on this level, no one is going to baby you, so I got through it.

Rick Pitino praised Jones multiple times throughout the off-season and states that Jones losing ten pounds has done a lot for his game. Pitino considers Jones to be one of the quickest players in the country now that he’s dropped the weight.

“I didn’t know my game was going to be impacted like this,” Jones said when asked about the weight loss. “It was a big shockers because I was so used to my weight and just being stronger than everybody, but being quicker is such an advantage for me. I’m really happy that he made me lose weight.”

Chris Jones – Louisville Media Day from The Cardinal Connect on Vimeo.

Jeff Walz & The Lady Cards Picked To Finish Third In Their First Season In The ACC

Photo: Jacob Zimmer

Photo: Jacob Zimmer

Louisville women’s head basketball coach Jeff Walz is in Greensboro, N.C. this morning for his first ever appearance at ACC media day. In their first season in the league, the Lady Cards have been picked to finish third by the media and by the Blue Ribbons Panel.

Senior forward Sara Hammond was named to the preseason all league team while freshmen McDonald’s All Americans  Mariya Moore and Myisha Hines-Allen were named to the newcomer watch list.

Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason Poll
1. Notre Dame (835 points, 38 first place votes)
2. Duke (733, 1 first place vote)
3. Louisville (724, 2 first place votes)
4. North Carolina (707)
5. Florida State (545)
6. Syracuse (536)
7. Georgia Tech (508)
8. Miami (421)
9. NC State (407)
10. Virginia (334)
11. Wake Forest (295)
12. Virginia Tech (184)
13. Boston College (178)
14. Clemson (169)
15. Pittsburgh (144)

Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason All-ACC Team
Elizabeth Williams, Sr., C/F, Duke
Kaela Davis, So., G, Georgia Tech
Sara Hammond, Sr., F, Louisville
Allisha Gray, So., G, North Carolina
Stephanie Mavunga, So, F, North Carolina
Xylina McDaniel, Jr., F, North Carolina
Lindsay Allen, So., G, Notre Dame
Jewell Loyd, Jr., G, Notre Dame
Brittney Sykes, Jr., G, Syracuse
Dearica Hamby, Sr., F, Wake Forest

Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason Player of the Year
Jewell Loyd, Jr., G, Notre Dame

Blue Ribbon Panel Newcomer Watch List
Sierra Calhoun, Fr., G/F, Duke
Rebecca Greenwell, R-Fr., G, Duke
Shakayla Thomas, Fr., F, Florida State
Mariya Moore, Fr., G, Louisville
Brianna Turner, Fr., G, Notre Dame

ACC Head Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Notre Dame (223 points, 14 first place votes)
2. Duke (196, 1 first place vote)
3. Louisville (194)
4. North Carolina (193)
5. Florida State (152)
6. Syracuse (149)
7. Georgia Tech (136)
8. Miami (117)
9. Virginia (98)
10. NC State (87)
11. Wake Forest (82)
12. Virginia Tech (54)
13. Clemson (44)
14. Pittsburgh (43)
15. Boston College (32)

Coaches Preseason All-ACC Team
Nikki Dixon, Sr., G, Clemson
Elizabeth Williams, Sr., C/F, Duke
Kaela Davis, So., G, Georgia Tech
Sara Hammond, Sr., F, Louisville
Allisha Gray, So., G, North Carolina
Stephanie Mavunga, So, F, North Carolina
Lindsay Allen, So., G, Notre Dame
Jewell Loyd, Jr., G, Notre Dame
Brittney Sykes, G, Syracuse
Dearica Hamby, Sr., F, Wake Forest

Coaches Preseason Player of the Year

Jewell Loyd, Jr., G, Notre Dame

Coaches Newcomer Watch List
Sierra Calhoun, Fr., G/F, Duke
Rebecca Greenwell, R-Fr., G, Duke
Shakayla Thomas, Fr., F, Florida State
Myisha Hines-Allen, Fr., F, Louisville
Brianna Turner, Fr., G, Notre Dame

Anton Gill Ready For An Increased Role In His Sophomore Season

Photo: Petey Cautilli

Photo: Petey Cautilli

Louisville sophomore guard Anton Gill was the first original member of Rick Pitino’s 2013 recruiting class. Unfortunately, of the five signees, only Akoy Agau played less than Gill last season.

Gill, a Raleigh, N.C. native, was highly regarded during his prep career and was tabbed as a five star prospect by Scout.com. Unfortunately for Gill, Louisville’s back-court was loaded in 2013-14 and he wasn’t quite ready defensively to make an immediate impact.

With perimeter players like Russ Smith, Luke Hancock and Tim Henderson gone, there are minutes to be had and Gill is up for the opportunity.

Anton Gill Louisville Media Day from The Cardinal Connect on Vimeo.

Terry Rozier Transitioning From Rookie To Veteran In Just One Year

Photo: Petey Cautilli

Photo: Petey Cautilli

No player on this year’s Louisville basketball roster will have to make a bigger transition than sophomore guard Terry Rozier. The Cleveland native had a solid freshman campaign, but it was difficult for Rozier to show just how good he was due to the fact that he was playing behind a consensus first team All American.

Rozier played in every game last season and at times was on the floor with Russ Smith, but as you could expect, Rozier deferred to Smith most of the time. In his second season at Louisville, Rozier won’t be deferring to anyone.

“He (Rick Pitnio) looks at me and says you’ve got to step up,” Rozier said at media day. “We’ve got six freshmen so the sophomores are like seniors. He can’t be getting on us so mean and teaching us when he has six freshmen to deal with so we have to be ready.”

Rozier says he’s played a big role in helping get the newcomers acclimated with the program.

“That’s something he (Pitino) has been asking since day one,” Rozier said. “It’s the right thing to do and it’ll help everyone. We (returning players) can’t play a full game and we know that. It would be selfish for us to think we can play a full game because we wouldn’t be playing at 100%. People can get hurt or get in foul trouble so they’ve got to be ready to play.”

It’s normal for freshmen to experience a culture shock when they go from high school practices to Rick Pitino practices. Rozier says he’s doing the best he can at helping the rookies adjust to life in the Pitino system.

“I just tell them next play. Only worry about the next play,” Rozier said when asked what type of advice he’s giving the newcomers. “You can’t be worried and dwell on what happened. You’ve got to be ready for the next one. If you miss two shots, you’ve got to just think about the next one. That is something that I had to work on last year. I just tell these guys to worry about the next play.”

Terry Rozier – Louisville Media Day from The Cardinal Connect on Vimeo.

Photo Gallery From The Louisville Basketball Tip-Off Luncheon

Photo: Jacob Zimmer - ZymagePhotos.com

Photo: Jacob Zimmer – ZymagePhotos.com

The University of Louisville basketball program had their annual tip-off luncheon on Monday afternoon at the downtown Louisville Marriott. Each player was introduced followed by a positive speech from head coach Rick Pitino.

Photographer extraordinaire Jacob Zimmer was on hand and got some great shots of the event. You can check out all of Jacob’s great photos at ZymagePhotos.com.

Anas Mahmoud Isn’t Your Typical 7-Footer

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Louisville freshman Anas Mahmoud isn’t your typical 7-footer. Mahmoud has already been tabbed as “The Big Egyptian” by Rick Pitino and although he’s big in stature, his style of play isn’t like your average big man.

Throughout his recruitment, West Oaks High School head coach Shaun Wiseman said multiple times that he expects Mahmoud to play power forward at the college level because of his versatile skill set.

“I don’t really play center. I play power forward,” Mahmoud said. “Everyone just see’s a seven footer and says he’s a center, he can block and he can dunk, but I don’t play that way and just stand under the basket the whole time. I like to move, run and go out to the three point line. I love to shoot three’s, set screens and dive. I just love to move a lot.”

Fans got their first glimpse of just how skilled Mahmoud is during Sunday’s red-white scrimmage. The freshman finished with 12-points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

Anas Mahmoud – Louisville Media Day from The Cardinal Connect on Vimeo.

Photo Gallery From Louisville Basketball Media Day & Red-White Game

Photo: Petey Cautilli

Photo: Petey Cautilli

Cardinal fans got their first chance to see this year’s Louisville basketball team on Sunday afternoon on the first of two Red-White scrimmages. Prior to the scrimmage, the program conducted their annual media day. Below is the photo gallery from Sunday. All photos were taken by Cardinal Connect photographer Pete Cautilli.

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