The two off-season focuses for Louisville’s Peyton Siva: health and jump shots

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Louisville’s season didn’t take a turn towards the Final Four until their point guard, Peyton Siva, improved his level of play.

The Seattle native helped lead the Cardinals to a Big East tournament title (earning MVP honors) and their first Final Four since 2005, averaging 12.8 points and 6.8 assists per game over Louisville’s final eight games.

Siva’s turnover numbers (3.6 per game; season average of 3.4 turnovers/game) were similar but his assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9) over the final eight games of the season was better than his season average (1.6).

So what is the rising senior focusing on this summer? According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Siva’s got two goals: getting his sprained ankle back to full health and improving his jumper.

Siva injured the ankle back in November and it was something he had to deal with throughout the season.

Yet while the injury limited Siva’s effectiveness (during one stretch he reached double figures just once in ten games) he continued to play. A full off-season of recuperation should do wonders in that regard.

“It was a longer ankle sprain than a lot of people thought,” he said. “It was probably like an 8-10-week (injury), and I came back after the first week. I didn’t want to sit out that long; I didn’t want to do that to my teammates. It’s getting healthier now, and I’m just now starting to get back to jumping off of one foot.”

Just as important is the work on his perimeter shot following a season in which he put up career worsts in both field goal (40.2%) and three-point percentage (24.6%).

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said toward the end of the season that the coaches had tweaked Siva’s shot. Pitino said the main adjustment they made was correcting the junior’s tendency to fade away instead of jumping straight up on his shot. The result helped him shoot 42.8 percent (6 of 14) from 3-point range in the postseason after making just 20 percent (11 of 55) during the regular season.

An off-season to improve from a health standpoint while also getting repetitions with his improved form should pay off for Siva.

And by extension Louisville as a team should benefit. For a team that will have all the tools needed to be a national title contender in 2012-13, improvement at the point could be the difference between merely arriving in Atlanta and leaving with the title.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.