Prior to the UofL Opening Weekend Kickoff Party at Captains Quarters on Wednesday evening, Rick Pitino spoke to the media to provide a late summer update. Here is a recap.
Jaylen Johnson being cleared.
It’s something we anticipated, but we’re glad,” Pitino said. He later went added that he was surprise that Johnson wasn’t as far behind as initially expected.
The 2014-15 schedule.
I don’t know if excitement is the word. It is an extremely tough schedule for a team that lost a lot. We’re going to play a Minnesota team that has every player back that won an NIT Championship. We’ll play Ohio State, we’ll play at Western of course Kentucky, Indiana. So, it’s quite challenging and that’s not to mention the ACC.
We’ve been in that situation before when we entered the Big East, but this is a little different because we don’t know the waters we’re about to swim in and we’re about to learn.
Chris Jones injury.
He’s fine. It’s those little injuries that you have this time of year that you never really concern yourself with. It’s the DeVante Parker type injury that really worries you because that is during the season where you’re going to miss games.
On the starting five.
One of the strengths of our basketball team is that we have a very strong starting five. One of the question marks is how strong can our bench be. In the last four years we’ve lost four dynamic players in Luke, Russ, Peyton and Gorgui. Guys who played the secondary roles like Montrezl, Chris and Terry are all stepping into primary roles. So we need to know who is stepping into their roles.
Terry Rozier’s big summer.
I think with our guys you generally see tremendous improvement from freshman to sophomore year. I certainly see that with Chris Jones who is not a sophomore, but he’s in his second year. It’s the same thing with Terry. Wayne is playing terrific. Like I said, our starting five is a very talented group. Mangok has gotten a lot better. What you don’t want to do with a bench is have a big drop off. I’m not saying there is yet, because I haven’t seen us practice, just individual instruction.
When asked about possibly redshirting 7-foot newcomers Matz Stocman and Anas Mahmoud, Pitino seemed a little hesitant. He did note that both are candidates for a redshirt but says you have to be careful when redshirting. He also mentioned a scholarship numbers crunch.