Montrezl Harrell

Louisville to lose Terry Rozier, Montrezl Harrell to NBA Draft; Anton Gill to transfer


Rick Pitino announced during a press conference on Monday afternoon that both Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier will be declaring for the NBA Draft.

“They are both leaving,” he told reporters. “100 percent.”

It’s not a surprise that either player is leaving. It was long assumed that Rozier would be off to the NBA after this season, and Harrell actually surprised some folks when he decided to return to school for his junior season.

The Cardinals also lost sophomore guard Anton Gill to transfer on Monday, a source confirmed to

Rozier finished his sophomore year averaging 17.1 points and 3.0 assists, proving himself to be one of the smoothest scorers in this year’s draft class. A 6-foot-1 combo-guard, Rozier certainly has the athleticism and scoring ability to play in the NBA, but his lack of pure point guard skills limit his upside.

Harrell averaged 15.7 points and 9.2 boards as a junior, although he didn’t exactly improve his perimeter jumper the way that he had hoped. Harrell, who has a future in a Kenneth Faried-esque role at the next level, shot just 9-for-37 from three this season. Three of those nine threes game in the season-opener against Minnesota.

Draft Express currently projects Harrell as a mid-to-late first round pick while they have Rozier slotted in the early second round.

Gill played in 31 games and averaged 2.5 points per game during his sophomore campaign. He had a key stretch against N.C. State in the Sweet 16 in which Gill had three baskets during a six-minute stretch. The sophomore averaged 9.5 minutes per game.

No. 4 Louisville advances to Elite 8 with 75-65 win over No. 8 NC State

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Louisville, the No. 4 seed in the East Region, took down conference foe NC State, 75-65 , to advance to the program’s third Elite Eight in the last four years.

Terry Rozier led the way with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Montrezl Harrell had a game-high 24 points. Although, arguably the biggest contribution came from reserve guard Anton Gill, the Raleigh, North Carolina native. The sophomore guard was called upon in the second half after Wayne Blackshear picked up his fourth foul with 8:30 remaining. Gill responded by scoring seven of Louisville’s points during a critical 12-3 run.

NC State was up 54-53 when Gill connected on a go-ahead jumper. He followed that with a 3-pointer. After a pair of Rozier free throws, Gill knifed through the lane for a layup.

To put this all in perspective, Gill hadn’t scored a single point since Feb. 28 in a win over Florida State.

That was a month ago. It was during that time that the Cardinals stood at a crossroad in their season. Rick Pitino had dismissed senior guard Chris Jones from the program earlier that week, a necessary move after several off the court incidents. Without one of their top defensive pieces, the Cardinals had their questions entering March. Yet once again, Pitino has the Cards as one of the last eight teams standing:

Tom Izzo has received credit, and rightfully so, for another NCAA tournament run with Michigan State, a team Louisville could potentially face in Sunday’s East Regional final. But Pitino deserves some of his own for the work he’s done with this roster. Sure, Louisville has future NBA Draft picks Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier, but he’s also had to rely heavily on freshman guard Quentin Snider, and has been forced to turn to players like Gill. Even without Jones, Louisville’s defense has been effective, holding teams to under 40 percent shooting in the last two tournament games.

Critics will say Pitino has had an easy route to the Elite Eight. Northern Iowa was underseeded at No. 5, don’t make any mistake about that. Take a look at NC State’s roster. It doesn’t really fit a No. 8 seed’s profile. The Wolfpack proved talent was there with wins over Duke, North Carolina and Louisville. But losses to Wake Forest, Boston College and Wofford explain their inconsistency.

Pitino is one-game shy of another trip to the Final Four. A place that seemed unlikely a month ago.

Rick Pitino questions Miami and Jim Larranaga’s handling of potential concussion following Louisville’s win

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Louisville head coach Rick Pitino had some interesting words for Miami and head coach Jim Larranaga for their handling of Hurricane center Tonye Jekiri’s alleged head injury.

During the first half of Louisville’s two-point ACC home win over the Hurricanes on Saturday, Cardinals junior forward Montrezl Harrell threw the ball off of Jekiri’s face while the Miami big man was out of bounds to regain possession. The ball hit the Miami big man in the face at a good velocity and Jekiri didn’t start the second half as the broadcast crew calling the game on television mentioned how he wasn’t on the bench for the Hurricanes.

So what was the situation with Jekiri and his health status?

According to Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal, Pitino questioned to reporters after the game how Jekiri could be healthy and back in the second half so quickly after allegedly hearing Larranaga say to officials that the center had concussion concerns. Here’s Pitino’s take on the exchange regarding the injury incident:

“Here’s the ironic thing: Coach Larranaga walked over to the officials, all the way over to the other side. I’ve never seen that. I wanted to know what (Larranaga said). The official says, ‘Well, he wanted to let me know that the big guy has a concussion on that play.’ I said, ‘What motive do you need to know that? He’s back in the game.’

“So I called (Louisville football coach) Bobby Petrino — this is no joke — I said, ‘Get a hold of that Miami doctor because, in 15 minutes, a kid went from a concussion to playing and totally healthy.’ We’re sending a plane down to hire that doctor for football. We will never have a concussion ever again. He was back 3-4 minutes later. He walked all the way over there to tell him he had a concussion, then he was back in the game.”

The play did change the course of the game for Harrell, who had a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Most of that damage came after the controversial play involving Jekiri. The Louisville junior was given a technical foul upon review of the play — Pitino said he was okay with the tech call, per Greer’s story — and Harrell called it a “basketball play” after the game.

It’s really hard to say if Miami and Larranaga went through the proper concussion protocols regarding Jekiri because we haven’t heard the coach’s potential response to Pitino or know the details of how the trainers handled Jekiri. Hopefully Jekiri wasn’t concussed and can continue playing the rest of the season with no further incident. The Pitino comments do make you think about the handling of concussion symptoms, however.

By coming back in the second half and winning, Louisville (21-6, 9-5) staying tied for fourth place in the ACC with North Carolina while Miami dropped to 7-7 in league play and 17-10 overall.

No. 12 Louisville struggled on both ends in Wednesday’s loss at Syracuse

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After winning seven of their first nine ACC games, No. 12 Louisville has hit a rough patch in its season. One day after it was announced that starting guard Chris Jones was suspended indefinitely by head coach Rick Pitino, the Cardinals lost 69-59 at Syracuse Wednesday night and there were problems on both ends of the floor.

As a team Louisville shot 42.6% from the field and 6-for-20 from beyond the arc, with Terry Rozier needing 18 shots to score a team-high 17 points. In total three Cardinals scored in double figures, with Montrezl Harrell adding 15 and freshman Quentin Snider 13. But that wasn’t enough, as Wayne Blackshear went scoreless and the bench was able to produce just six points with four coming from Anas Mahmoud.

With that offensive production more was needed on the defensive end of the floor, and the effort just wasn’t there. Without Jones, the guard who sets the tone for them defensively, the Cardinals had to dial things down pressure-wise and that led to Syracuse getting too much room to operate. Remove Trevor Cooney, who shot 1-for-10, and the other Syracuse players combined to shoot 21-for-37 (56.8%) from the field overall.

Also of note is the fact that Syracuse committed just seven turnovers, a number that’s far too low for a Pitino-coached team regardless of who’s out of the lineup. And according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, the lack of activity on the defensive end was a topic of conversation following the game.

They aren’t talking enough on defense. They aren’t working together enough on defense. Maybe it’s time for a team meeting.

“I’m going to talk to (Montrezl Harrell). I’m going to call a team meeting for us, just for the players,” Rozier said. “We have to figure out something we have to do to come together on defense … There’s too much individual (stuff) from the defensive standpoint. We’re not talking enough. We’re not going to win games if our defense is not together.”

How long Jones will be away from the team remains to be seen, but regardless of his status the Cardinals have some important issues to address. The problem? When it comes to both getting consistent production from Blackshear and creating more turnovers defensively, these are issues that Pitino’s had to deal with all season long. And solutions have yet to be found.

The good news for Louisville is that three of their final five games are at home, with the road games being at Georgia Tech and Florida State. But this doesn’t look like a confident basketball team right now, and that’s a concern as the season edges closer to March.

Louisville’s Quentin Snider, Montrezl Harrell combine for an impressive alley-oop that didn’t count (VIDEO)

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After falling at No. 2 Virginia on Saturday, No. 9 Louisville rebounded with a 69-53 home win over Pittsburgh. The star of the game for the Cardinals was junior forward Montrezl Harrell, who accounted for 28 points and 12 rebounds. And he was also part of a play that, had it counted, would’ve gone down as one of the most impressive in college basketball.

After forcing a turnover freshman guard Quentin Snider lofted a pass ahead to Harrell while falling to the floor. But instead of simply catching the ball, Harrell turned the play into an alley-oop. With the referee ruling that Snider was fouled by Pitt’s Sheldon Jeter while making the pass, the play was waved off.

But that doesn’t change the fact that both the pass and the dunk were highly impressive.

Video credit: ACC Digital Network

Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell channeled his inner Grant Hill Saturday afternoon (VIDEO)

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Duke great Grant Hill produced one of the greatest finishes in Final Four history during the Blue Devils’ national title game victory over Kansas in 1991, reeling in a Bobby Hurley pass and throwing down a dunk in one motion. Saturday during No. 10 Louisville’s comeback win over No. 13 North Carolina, junior forward Montrezl Harrell made a similar play.

Chris Jones’ lob was a bit off the mark but that was no issue for Harrell, who needed just one hand to not only keep the ball from flying out of bounds but to finish with authority. A highly impressive play by arguably the most powerful athlete in college basketball.

Which alley-oop would you pick between the two: Hill’s or Harrell’s? I’d go Hill, but not by much.

Video credit: ACC Digital Network