2005 Louisville Cardinals Basketball Preview
2005 Louisville Cardinals Team Preview
Cardinal coach Rick Pitino eschewed the NCAA a bunch of years ago for the NBA. But Pitino never enjoyed the type of success in professional ball that he had experienced in the college ranks. In the four years since he’s been back in the college game, Pitino has led his team to a 97-35 record and last year the Cardinals made it to the Final Four! The team from Louisville also won the USA Conference last season. This year the Cardinals joined the Big East—considered by many, including Pitino, to be the best and most competitive conference in college basketball.
For Pitino the transition to a different conference occurs right when the Cardinal team is also undergoing a major change in personnel as it welcomes seven new players. Louisville saw three starters leave, including first-round draftee Francisco Garcia who went to the Kings. But despite the key loses this is still a very talented team capable of making it deep into the big tournament.
Point guard Taquan Dean offers excellent defense and 14.4 PPG. His field goal percentage last season was 44.5, while his 3-point conversion rate stood at 44.7! At the foul line he hit 81.3% of the time. He’s the only senior on the team and the cagey guard is indispensable if Louisville is to be successful.
Teammate Brandon Jenkins, a junior, is a versatile guard who can certainly make a difference, while freshman Andre McGee, who can pass quickly and accurately, has the potential to make the point guard position his own.
Frontcourt and inside, forward Brian Johnson, measuring 6’ 9” and weighing in at 245 pounds, can be an inside force if he’s fully recovered from last year’s knee injury. The defensive specialist can be a force, while 6’ 8”, 245-pound sophomore forward Juan Palacios can control the boards and hit off the rebound.
The Cardinals will have their work cut out from them this season, especially with the challenges inherent in being a part of the Big East. If Pitino can get this team to gel Louisville could be back to the Final Four sooner than later.
For more info on the 2005 Cardinals check out the official Louisville athletic site.