Rick Pitino says only Damien Lee is ready for the season

08/18/2015 06:00 PM

Basketball season is still a few months away, but the Louisville team learned a lot about its strengths, and more importantly, their weaknesses in their international exhibition series against Puerto Rico. In a Blog Post on his website, Pitino provides a player-by-player evaluation for his entire roster.

Pitino said of the Puerto Rico trip, “These games were crucial to a team that lost so much scoring. The Puerto Rican players were great to our guys and it was much appreciated by everyone.”

Apart from one 30-point blowout, the Puerto Rico games were competitive, and Louisville pulled out victories in the final two games of the seven game series. Pitino explained that the experienced Puerto Rican players were offering advice to the younger UofL team throughout the matches.

In his final evaluations, Pitino says Lee is more than ready to start the season and praised his ability to score and handle the ball. But Damien Lee was the only Card that Pitino would feel confident sending out on the floor if the season started today. He still has confidence that his team will be where it needs to when their season opens on November 1.

Here is what coach Pitino had to say about his full roster:

Damion Lee: explosive scorer with great size for a guard. Handles the ball well and plays extremely hard at both ends. More than ready

The rest of the team needs time. That is not a negative but rather a fact that it is August.

Nanu & Mangok had productive summers.

Mangok Mathiang: has improved his low post game and mid-range jumper. Extremely vocal player and leader. His passing skills must improve over the next few months. He gives away to the defense where he is passing. Pivoting and ball faking is much needed. Will be ready!

Chinanu Onuaku: Won a gold medal for the USA team. Was a major factor in the last two games. Has improved his overall game. Still has a difficult time sustaining his stamina during games. Gets fatigued and that leads to mistakes. Better conditioning will make him a strong post player. Will be ready!

Trey Lewis: We have played with two point guards the last few years. It’s an adjustment for Trey playing at a much faster pace. Both Trey and Damion were very well coached at Drexel and Cleveland State, but our pace is an adjustment. Good scorer and strong defender. Will be ready!

Quentin Snider: Had his ups and downs but will be ready! Don’t need to say anymore. Will be ready!

Deng Adel: Tough defender, strong driver. Must work on developing a consistent arc on his jump shot. Will be Ready!

Donovan Mitchell: Explosive guard and a freak athlete. Super attitude but must learn to change pace and get to the free throw line. Potentially a great defender. Just needs to focus on creating contact on drives, using the pick & roll correctly and developing a dependable jump shot. Will be ready!

Jaylen Johnson: Like Q, had his ups and downs. The good news is also his bad news. He has multidimensional skills. He can post up, handle on the wing, rebound and is tough. What needs to be worked on most is becoming great in two areas. For example, a great rebounder – a great mid-range shooter. Average to good in many areas, must develop good to great in a few. Will be ready!

Ray Spalding: Complex evaluation. Has a similar personality to Larry O’Bannon as a freshman. Introverted and sometimes plays shy on the court. Off the court, outgoing. As I said, complex! I will say this, I’ve not seen anyone in my 15 years at Louisville with more potential. Needs time, but when he gets it, look out!

Anas Mamoud: Also had an up & down week. Time for him as a sophomore to step up. A sense of urgency would be a great step for him. Loaded with potential! Will be ready!

Matz Stockman: Sometimes he does things that excite everyone in the gym. Flashes of dominance, but they are not often. Wonderful young man who just beats himself up too much when he makes a mistake. He knows the problem, it’s time to find the solution. Needs time!

David Levitch: Just was awarded a scholarship for this season. Dependable player who will help us in tough situations. If he had a consistent jump shot he would definitely see action. Not sure if he is ready.

Jay Henderson: walk-on from St. John’s. Was the surprise of our trip! Good size and work ethic. Will be ready!

Dillon Avare: Had a chance to play major minutes in our preliminary games. Definitely improving and making strides. Needs time.

Ryan McMahon: Shooter with a strong work ethic and great attitude. Probably will redshirt. Defense needs a lot of work. Hoping he grows, if not, must learn how to make players better at the point guard position. Needs time.

Garrett Moore

Garrett joined cn|2 as Sports Producer in July 2015. Garrett is a Kentucky native who has been enveloped by Kentucky sports culture his entire life. He is excited to contribute to the cn|2 team by covering sports in the state he loves. Outside the office, Garrett enjoys golfing, hiking, fishing, and being a sports spectator at every level.

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