Hometown: Tarboro, N.C.
High School: Hargrave Military Academy
Height / Weight: 6-8 / 235
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With star Louisville SO PF Chane Behanan out for the Seton Hall game saddled with an ankle sprain, the load shifts to the young freshman shoulders of the wildly athletic FR PF Montrezl Harrell. Ever since I first saw Harrell play at the college level, I have been saying he is one of the BEST true athletes on the Louisville roster, along with JR SG Russ Smith. I am not saying that they are per se the best basketball players on the team, but their athleticism is among the top in the nation. I have been saying all season that Harrell is a beast, and other than short of experience, Harrell is just as good as Behanan at the power forward position. There is no drop off in talent when Harrell comes in for Behanan. Harrell's athleticism is stunning. Lay-ups? No sir, not with Harrell. He has that prowess that you want in your big men: THE TEAR THE RIM OFF MENTALITY. Harrell does not want to lay it up. Harrell likes to feel the cold steel of the rim caressing his hands as he executes one of his ESPN Sports Center Top 10 type acrobatic flushes that sends the Louisville fan base into a crazed frenzy.
Thank the good Lord that when Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenburg was released, that our program was graced with Harrell flipping to the Cardinals.
Tonight on the road in Newark against Seton Hall, the Louisville fans will taste the real flavor of freshman power forward sensation Montrezl Harrell. What you lose in SO PF Chane Behanan in rebounding as the leading rebounder on the team, you gain in blocks with Harrell, who is the second leading blocker on the team only behind Dieng. Harrell averages 19.3 minutes per game with Behanan healthy, with Behanan averaging 26.4 minutes per game. Now the freshman Harrell is "that man" at the power forward position, and I believe that Louisville basketball fans are in for a real treat tonight in witnessing Harrell's showcase of athleticism. Fans have gotten a taste of his explosive dunks and his 12 monster blocks on the season thus far in limited playing time. Harrell's role tonight will be to fill Behanan's shoes and take on the lead role of power forward. Pitino will place a lot on the youngster Harrell's shoulders while Behanan is rehabbing. Tonight, expect the freshman Harrell to rock Newark like we have never seen before.
It will be interesting to see how Pitino employs Harrell tonight and splits-up the playing time. I anticipate seeing SR PF Stephan Van Treese and SO C Zach Price being used heavily in the player rotations to compensate for the loss of Behanan, and they will get some much needed playing time that will be invaluable experience later in the season for post season play.
It is heartbreaking to lose Behanan, a 2012 John R. Wooden Award preseason Top 50 player, but looking at the cup half full, Harrell, Van Treese and Price will get some invaluable playing time while the sophomore power forward sensation Behanan is recovering from his ankle sprain.
Did I happen to mention that Harrell is extremely athletic? Yeah, you already know. Instead of mourning the loss of Behanan, let's look at this as an opportunity for other Cardinals to shine in his absence. Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 to see Harrell's coming out party, and as always, GO CARDS!