The defending national champion University of Louisville men's basketball team started practice for the new season on Saturday.
U of L coach Rick Pitino told CardinalAuthority.com publisher Jody Demling on The Early Birds this morning that he was "very excited" about getting the new season underway.
"It's going to be hard to replace the leadership of Peyton (Siva) and Gorgui (Dieng)," Pitino said. "But I'm excited to work with this team."
A few points from the conversation:
**Pitino said "as of today" that senior Stephen Van Treese would start at the center noting that he "would rather start with Stephen and end games with Montrel (Harrell) and Chane (Behanan)" in the lineup.
**Luke Hancock is sidelined now with an ankle issue and Pitino noted he will "take it slow with Luke." He said Hancock will be limited in practice but should be fine by the Nov. 9 opener against the College of Charleston.
**Freshman Anton Gill didn't practice on Saturday because he's still recovering from a recent concussion.
**Pitino said Kevin Ware is "one X-ray away" from making his return to the team after his gruesome broken leg last year against Duke in the NCAA Elite Eight game. Ware is "in the gym a lot" and Pitino said he close to getting back.
**Pitino will sign copies of his books on Thursday from 7-8:30 p.m. at Molly Malone's at 3900 Shelbyville Road in St. Matthews.
Here's the complete interview: