Ok, this is a bit late but better late than never. Right? I wrote this a few days ago and intended to post it sooner but between working and studying I just never quite got it up. Hope you'll take a glance anyway.
“It was the turning point in our season,” Rick Pitino replied when asked about David Levitch in his post game press conference Friday night. Levitch had nailed a three point shot, grabbed a rebound and out hustled the defender guarding him all in about 30 second of game clock during the Louisville Cardinals 99-54 win over Cornell. Pitino was, of course, being more than a bit sarcastic and joking with the press following his team’s route of the undermanned Big Red of the Ivy League but if anyone knows how valuable a walk-on guard can be it’s Pitino and the Cards.
Pitino went on to say “I think David Levitch is a very good basketball player. I think he needs strength and how to play defense but he knows how to play the game. He can shoot, he can pass, he can cut…He’s going to be every bit as good a walk-on as Tim Henderson” comparing him to another walk-on guard who came up big in last season’s run to the National Championship when he hit two big three point shots against Wichita State in the Final Four.
The Cards have a long history of walk-on players coming up huge in big games as well as smaller, early season games like Friday’s match-up with Cornell. On the 2005 Final Four team, Brad Giannini hit big shots as well as all-important free throws late in games and was the guy Pitino inserted into the line-up when he knew the other team was going to be fouling the Cardinals. Later it was Will Scott, who ironically enough turned down a scholarship offer from Cornell to walk on for the Cards. The best known walk-on turned key player was, of course, Kyle Kuric who went from unkown to starter after his performance against Syracuse in Louisville’s last game in Freedom hall.
Can Levitch turn out to be part of that illustrious group of Cardinals? Maybe he can. His coach seems to think so. Levitch, for his part says he just wants to keep getting better and help his team any way he can.
“It meant a lot to score, especially for my first points to get them at home. It was a good experience.” Levitch replied when asked about hitting the three and getting to play in front of the fans, especially his fellow students. He went on to say he wants to get stronger and work on his defense so he can be a contributor for the Cards echoing what his coach had said about him. In the mean time, he seems to be well on his way to being a fan favorite.