The Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team lost two key players in Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier to the NBA this summer, but graduate transfers Trey Lewis and Damion Lee appear to be making up for that void.
According to Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal, Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino and the rest of the team have had nothing but good things to say about Lewis and Lee and how the two have emerged as excellent leaders despite not having been with Louisville last season.
The graduate transfers, who had already completed careers at other schools but had one year of eligibility left, joined a Louisville team in transition and made it their own, assuming key leadership roles alongside redshirt junior Mangok Mathiang.
To their teammates, it felt natural. To coach Rick Pitino, it was exactly what his team needed.
“(Pitino) could’ve gone around the country and recruited a bunch of scorers who were going to the put the ball in the basket, but they do a bit of both,” [Mangok] Mathiang said. “Their leadership carries this team.”
Both players are likely going to be the two main contributors on Louisville’s scoring attack next season. Formerly of the Horizon League’s Cleveland State Vikings, Lewis averaged 16.3 points per game and shot 45 percent from the field and 42 percent from long range while running the point. With a phenomenal shooting stroke, he should fit right into Pitino’s system once he ups his on-ball defense.
Then, there’s Lee, who ranked fifth in the nation in scoring with 21.4 points per game playing for the CAA’s Drexel Dragons last season. He also added 6.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 44 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from beyond the arc and at 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, he will play the 2 for Louisville.
Louisville still has some holes to fill in the frontcourt next season but so long as Lee and Lewis can consistently put points on the board and be great leaders on and off the court, the team will have every chance of getting back to the Final Four in 2016.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports