Stephan Van Treese

Kevin Ware returns in Louisville’s romp over Cornell

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The game was never in question. Louisville jumped out to a 22-2 advantage in the early stages of the first half to put Cornell away early, ultimately winning 99-54.

The story of the night, however, was Kevin Ware’s return to the floor. Ware played 13 minutes and scored just five points, but to see him effortlessly running certainly was encouraging. He was 2-3 from the floor, and pulled down three rebounds to go along with two assists.

It wasn’t just seeing Ware back on the floor, it was how he moved out there. He drove to the basket without any hesitation and looks to be back at 100% — in fact, it’s safe to say he is without a doubt because Rick Pitino wouldn’t let him touch the floor if he wasn’t at full-go.

While Ware was the story for the sole fact that he is back, Wayne Blackshear and Montrezl Harrell led the way. Blackshear had 20 points on just eight shots; he was 4-6 from 3PT. Harrell had just seven points, but corralled 14 rebounds.

More than anything, what makes this Cardinal team so potent is just how deep they are. Having Chane Behanan, Luke Hancock, and Kevin Ware all coming off the bench tonight bodes well for the rest of the season. Given the pressing nature of Rick Pitino’s defense, having depth is an absolute must. Fifth year senior Stephan Van Treese, who has been nothing more than a role player for his career, contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.

Van Treese was used to spell Gorgui Dieng last year, and he filled that role nicely. Still, he has flown under the radar with many focusing on Behanan and Harrell ahead of him. Van Treese won’t be counted on to score, but he’s active on defense and a strong rebounder.

The one downside — if you can find one in a 99-54 victory — was Louisville’s shooting at the free throw line, where they were just 18-32.

Louisville next plays at home against Hartford on Tuesday.

Stephan Van Treese reportedly not transferring, will remain with Louisville

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Just when it looked like Stephan Van Treese was one of three Louisville players to be transferring, the news has changed.

Van Treese will not be leaving the Cardinals’ program, despite the fact that he was granted a release earlier this month, multiple outlets are reporting.

“I said, ‘Stephen, that’s not what this whole thing was about, you need to play,’” coach Rick Pitino told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “If you’re going to sit out, stay at Louisville. It’s silly to sit out again that’s three years without playing. So he agreed and that’s exactly what happened.”

His scholarship had freed up room for Top 100 recruit Montrezl Harrell, who committed to Louisville after decommitting from Virginia Tech, but now it appears Van Treese will be back.

Since the announcement of his intention to transfer, the school announced that forward Rakeem Buckles would be transferring to Florida International to play for former U of L assistant Richard Pitino.

It will now be Buckles’ scholarship opening that gives Harrell a spot on the team in 2012-13.

Van Treese missed all but three games this past season with a left knee injury, but averaged 2.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Cardinals during his sophomore season in 2010-11.

The Cardinals are coming off a season in which they finished 30-10, including 10-8 in the Big East, and made a run to the Final Four in New Orleans.

Three key pieces of the team are returning in the fall. Peyton Siva, Chane Behanan, and Gorgui Dieng, to go along with the 2012 recruits Harrell and guard Terry Rozier.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_