#44 Stephan Van Treese 6-9 250 C/F RS SR Indianapolis, Ind. (Lawrence North)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With Louisville football forced to playing basically a scrimmage game against the #131 Temple Owls on the road this Saturday due to conference realignment, I will just skip the scouting report this week for Louisville football. Like my pregame report last week for the Louisville victory 72-0 over the FIU Golden Panthers, look for this game to get out of hand. Louisville football offensive coordinator Shawn Watson says he is going to open up the playbook. Enough said.
But we have other fish to fry this week with the impending basketball season on the horizon, with Louisville head coach Rick Pitino stating that SR C Stephan Van Treese will likely start the 2013-2014 season for the Cardinals at center.
But why Van Treese? What about Harrell? What about "Mango"?
Many Louisville fans seem to want star SO F Montrezl Harrell to get the starting nod at center for Louisville, but I disagreed with that notion from the very start. Harrell is a TRUE forward, and he would have to play out of position at center, where as Van Treese is a TRUE center. Why would Pitino try to saddle Harrell's athleticism at the center position all season? As Louisville fans watched Van Treese battle with issues on both knees in his career at Louisville, "Van Diesel" as I nicknamed him last season, is fully healthy and played like a BEAST to end last season. Against Duke in the Bahamas, Diesel padded the stat sheet with 8 points and 8 rebounds in just 21 minutes of playing time, and at times last season, I personally thought Diesel played better than Dieng against certain match-ups.
Personally knowing our fans, along with knowing Pitino's thinking and his system, some of you are wondering, "what about RS FR 6-10 Mango?", who has been practicing with the Cardinals all the past year. Well, #12 Mangok Mathiang 6-10 200 F/C RS FR Melbourne, Australia (IMG Academy (Fla.)) still has some work to do, and we all know how Pitino feels about conditioning and being physically ready. "Mango", at only 200 lbs. at 6-10, needs to pack-on a little more muscle and needs a little more cultivation. Plus, Pitino's defensive and offensive systems, are among the most complex in the NCAA. Even ex-Louisville forward Earl Clark, who started for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA last season, came off the bench at Louisville for quite some time, due to the speed and complexity of Pitino's system, trying to get a bead on mastering it. Diesel knows Pitino's system like the back of his hand, more so than any other player on the team, being a fifth year redshirt senior.
Now there will be match-ups against opponents who use a mobile two forward system, where Pitino will match with a two forward system as well, with Harrell and JR F Chane Behanan. Harrell will take the "big" forward position, which is much like a center, yet more mobile. So those of you that are wanting to see action from Harrell in the paint playing a center-type role, breathe easy, because it will happen often through the upcoming season.
I think many Louisville fans have overlooked the power of Diesel, due to battling knee issues over his career at Louisville, and have wrote him off as a "bench player". If I was Pitino (which I certainly am not), I would be starting Diesel at center also. Wouldn't you?
Diesel is a BEAST in the paint, and is not afraid to do the "dirty work" with a blue collar work ethic mentality. MONSTER box-outs for the rebound, posting-up his man in the paint with his 6-9 250 lb. frame, a great shot blocker, a great basketball I.Q. and a team player. All the qualities that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino looks for in a post player at the center position. A perfect compliment to Pitino's diverse, hybrid #1 ranked defense, which facilitates the explosive fast-break Louisville offense. Diesel's offense improved dramatically last season. By far the BEST choice at center for Louisville basketball.
Welcome "Van Diesel" as the new starting center for the 2013-2014 basketball season at Louisville.