Louisville has some holes to replace this season with the loss of experienced seniors like Russ Smith and Luke Hancock and they’re experimenting with unique lineups.
One of the players who could move around is forward Montrezl Harrell. Harrell spends most of his time as a potential All-American power forward, but could see some time at small forward this season.
The 6-foot-8 junior is a question mark as a perimeter shooter and driver off the dribble, but he would be a monster rebounder and another post option on the floor in that position against a smaller defender.
In the Louisville scrimmage earlier in October, Cardinal Authority’s Jody Demling noted that Harrell was playing more at the three in the game and it could be a look that Pitino uses this season:
1. Harrell playing some at the 3: U of L junior Montrezl Harrell is considered one of the best power forwards in the country but on this day he played a little at the three position and looked pretty good. Pitino noted that Harrell needs to realize when he’s playing the three he needs to do more work inside because it will be a matchup nightmare for opponents. Harrell is shooting better from outside – even though he was just 1 of 7 from three-point range. He hit a couple of long jumpers. You will still see a lot of dunks and most of his work inside, but Harrell can now do work on the perimeter as well.
But the scrimmage wasn’t the only time this has happened. In Louisville’s exhibition win over Barry on Saturday, Harrell also spent some time at small forward, as noted by the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Jeff Greer.
“Perhaps the most interesting element of that rotation was watching Harrell — considered one of the best, if not the best, power forwards in the country — play some small forward,” Greer said in the story.
I’m skeptical that Harrell to small forward would give Louisville enough floor spacing to be successful in half-court settings. Harrell is laterally quick enough and strong enough to defend many threes, but as his shot showed at adidas Nations this summer, his jumper just isn’t consistent enough for him to play offense on the perimeter.
We’ll have to see if this is just an extended preseason experiment or something Pitino looks towards regularly.