MANGKO CHECKS IN WITH CARDS
It has been a wild month or so for Mangok Mathiang.
The 6-foot-10 native of Sudan, who spent time in Australia, at a prep school in Chicago and finished up at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., told the University of Louisville coaches in late July that he wanted to attend the school.
Mathiang had to clear several eligibility issues, including getting a transcript from Australia to the NCAA, before the school could announce he was added to the roster. He enrolled about 10 days ago and on Wednesday it was announced by U of L that he had cleared all of the eligibility hurdles.
U of L coach Rick Pitino said he has “a great future.”
Mathiang is the second late signee the Cardinals have landed in this class, including former Hargrave Military Academy forward Montrezl Harrell, who signed after getting out of his letter-of-intent to Virginia Tech.
Pitino called them “two great late additions,” noting after the first three individual workouts that Mathiang could be redshirted this year.
The coach said his strengths were that he’s “extremely quick at 6-foot-10,” that he “runs the floor” and is a “good defender and superb athlete.”
But Pitino also said, like junior center Gorgui Dieng, Mathaing came in with “great upside,” but needs to work on his strength since he weighed only 187 pounds on his first day with the Cardinals.
INJURY UPDATE ON THREE CARDS
On his blog last week, Pitino gave a little injury update on Luke Hancock, Mike Marra and Tim Henderson. All three have been out during the offseason.
Pitino said the three injured Cardinals “will all start working out soon.”
Hancock, who is eligible after sitting out last season following a transfer from George Mason, has been out with a shoulder injury that occurred in the spring.
Marra suffered a torn ligament in his knee early last season.
DEALING WITH EXPECTATIONS
One of the biggest changes for the Cardinals this coming season will be the lofty expectations heading into the new campaign.
Pitino will point out that U of L always has high expectations and have been ranked high in the preseason many times during his tenure.
But being ranked in the top two or three nationally will be new and senior point guard Peyton Siva said he doesn’t think it will be a problem. The Cardinals lost to Kentucky in the Final Four last season.
“We try to block it out,” Siva said. “What happened last year, happened last year. We had our fun for a week after. We celebrated. We enjoyed it.
“But now we have to worry about this year. We had high expectations last year. We were ranked in the top 10, and you know fell and dropped in the middle of the season. So right now we're just trying to stay humble and hungry. And injury fee. I think everybody's got that taste of what a Final Four feels like.
“Now we want to move on past that.”