Gorgui now driving the roads
Senior point guard Peyton Siva was having fun with center Gorgui Dieng in a recent interview, warning the residents of Louisville that Dieng now has a car.
“Stay off the road if you guys see Gorgui,” Siva said.
Dieng recently took a trip home to Senegal and Siva said when he returned, the junior got a car to drive around Louisville.
“I’m kind of scared to ride with him,” Siva said.
Dieng just laughed off the ribbing by his point guard.
“I drive, yeah I drive,” Dieng said. “I learned how to drive and have my license, so there’s nothing really different.”
Home sweet home
Dieng did say he spent some time recently back home with his family and “it was nice to see them,” noting he maybe saw his family 25 days last year.
“It was fun,” he said. “I had a good time with my family and friends and all the people I missed. It’s good to be back, but I had to come back here and take care of school work and work on my game.”
Siva said after his return that Dieng, “came home speaking a lot better English, surprisingly.” Siva joked – again – with Dieng saying he only returned to Louisville because “he really missed us, otherwise he would have stayed.”
“I spend more times with my teammates than my family,” Dieng said. “It was good to see my family. But I also feel like my teammates are part of my family. I missed them. So, I was gad to be back here.”
Dieng was fourth in the nation in total blocks last season with 128 and said he “loves the summer,” because he can work on his game.
“You only have the summer to work on your own and improve a lot,” he said. “The summer is a time you have a chance to get better.
“I’m just working on my game and trying to get better.”
Harrell likely to help Behanan
U of L coach Rick Pitino has said during two recent interviews with Cardinal Authority that the addition of Montrezl Harrell will help in the development of Chane Behanan.
“Chane needs to be pushed,” Pitino said.
Behanan and Siva weighed in on the newest addition, with Behanan noting that Harrell has been “helping me a lot” during the offseason practices.
“It’s a really big help with him there,” Behanan said. “He gives us another rebounder, another long body, just a body that is ready to work.”
Behanan added, “He’s really good.”
Siva called Harrell “a very aggressive player,” and then added “very talented but very raw.” He spent last season at Hargrave Military School in Chatham, Va.
“He's going to compete with Chane for minutes,” Siva said. “I love his attitude, love his work ethic. He's a workhorse, he loves to be the first one in the gym working hard. He's got the same wingspan as Gorgui so he's able to go up there and dunk it and you know coach lobs and go get rebounds.
“He's really going to help us out a lot on the boards this year. He’s going to be pushing Chane, which will then help Chane.”
No fuzzy send offs for Boeheim
The final run through the Big East Conference this winter isn’t likely going to be a fun one for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.
Syracuse is leaving the conference for the ACC and Boeheim isn’t making many friends on the way out the door. He’s likely to get a lot of boos on the road after his recent comments, the second week in a row he’s trashed the Big East.
Boeheim, an assistant on the USA Basketball team, told USA Today this week that he’s now a believer that the ACC is “a good option.”
“The way the Big East has broken down now, the Big East isn’t what it was and the ACC . . . at least all your schools are in the same time zone and they’re all quality schools,” Boeheim told the paper. “Now some northern schools with us and Pittsburgh, Boston College and Maryland is kind of . . . there’s more of that so it’s a better fit now than it was and I think it is a basketball league.”
Boeheim went on: “The Big East is you’re playing SMU, you’re playing Houston -- it’s different. The old Big East was the best, but it’s no longer the Big East.”
A few leftovers
*Pitino came off the road early in the final five-day evaluation period, which ends Sunday at 5 p.m. Pitino is already back home and is expected to put his current team through a practice on Sunday morning.
*U of L sports information director Kenny Klein tweeted a photo of Peyton Siva during a photo shoot for Athlon Sports late in the week. Any chance we could see Siva on the cover of the basketball magazine? That’s a pretty safe bet.
*Former U of L star Jerry Smith tweeted last week that was joining Bennet Cantu next season in Italy's Series A league.
*Pitino was excited to see the Big East honor his team with the Conference Team Academic Excellence Award, which recognizes the highest collective GPAs in each of the 24 sports played by Big East schools. The team’s GPA was 3.13 in the spring.
*ESPN.com reported this week that despite appeals, the NCAA has decided to stick with its APR standards in the Connecticut case. That means the Huskies will be ineligible for postseason next year. UConn won’t compete in the Big East Tournament or any other postseason tournament.