Inside Cardinal Basketball: Weekly notebook

Gorgui Dieng

Cleaning out the notebook after a long month. Cardinal Authority has a weekly University of Louisville men's basketball notebook, including a look at how Gorgui Dieng is rising in the eyes of NBA Draft experts.

DIENG MOVING UP DRAFT BOARDS

University of Louisville junior center Gorgui Dieng has left town and is beginning his workouts for the June 27 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-11 junior center opted to forgo his senior season at U of L and enter the draft after helping the Cardinals to the NCAA national title last month.

"It's going great," Dieng told Cardinal Authority on Friday. "Everything is just good for me right now."

Dieng has seen his stock rise.

U of L coach Rick Pitino told Cardinal Authority that the interest level from NBA teams about Dieng is "really, really high right now. They love him."

Dieng, who was considered a low first-round pick a few weeks back, has now crept as high as No. 12 in on NBA Mock Draft. The lowest any of the credible mock drafts has Dieng going is at No. 22.

"He's going to be just fine," Pitino said.

HUBIE BROWN IMPRESSED

I spoke with Basketball Hall of Famer and Pitino mentor Hubie Brown just after the U of L coach was selected for induction into the Hall of Fame on the day he guided the Cardinals to the school's third national title.

Brown, a head coach with five different pro organizations and currently a television analyst, said he was "very impressed" with the U of L team this season.

"They're so tremendously talented," he said. "What impressed me was the two guards and the relentless pressure they put on teams and the bench play. It appeared to me that every kid on the team had an opportunity to make a major contribution and that's a big thing these days.

"I was very impressed watching them."

BEHANAN TIES DUNK RECORD

U of L sophomore Chane Behanan had a dunk in the national championship game and tied Pervis Ellison for most dunks in one season.

Behanan finished with 59 dunks on the season, while Ellison also had 59 during the 1987-88 season for the Cardinals.

Freshman Montrezl Harrell finished seventh on the list with 43 dunks.

Behanan now has 109 dunks in two seasons and ranks fifth on the school's all-time list heading into next season.

Ellison is tops on the career list with 162, followed by Darrell Griffith (156), Alvin Sims (123) and Cornelius Holden (117).

CARDS DOING BOARD WORK

Pitino showed the U of L team Kenneth Faried video tapes on rebounding early in the season and it seems to pay off.

The Cardinals held a rebounding advantage in 22 of 40 games – going 21-1 in those games – including five games with 14 or more rebounds than their foe.

"We just had to rebound," Dieng said. "It was a big key for us. We watched tapes a lot and coach really showed us what we needed to do."

The Cardinals were ranked 66th in the nation in rebounding margin at 3.7. But several key games on the rebounding battle, including the NCAA second round over Colorado State (No. 3 in margin) and NCAA Elite Eight over Duke (37-31).

PITINO ‘COACHED HIS TAIL OFF'

U of L senior point guard Peyton Siva had been around for four years and saw just about anything and everything from Pitino during his time.

Siva said the coach always worked hard and made sure things were headed in the right path but this year he "really coached his tail off."

"Not that he didn't before but every game meant the world," Siva said. "He treated every game like it was his last and I think he knew what we were capable of doing and that's why he did it.

"He watched hours and hours of film and we just listened to what he had to say and the direction that he pointed us. It was the right direction."

PITINO CALLED IT

Looking back at some old clips and here's one of the first quotes Pitino told the media assembled in New York at Big East media days in mid-October:

"The only thing that can stop us is ourselves as far as reaching our potential. We have a group that can really accomplish some things this season."

And he wasn't kidding.

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