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Ware’s absence hurts Louisville’s depth
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On April 1, 2013 @ 10:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
There’s no telling how significant the loss of a teammate – to a gruesome, on-court injury nonetheless – will be to this Louisville team on an emotional level. But losing Kevin Ware on the court will certainly have a negative impact on the Cardinals’ depth beyond Peyton Siva and Russ Smith.
“Kevin really, really hurts our basketball team not being there because we were short on backcourt substitutions,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said on a conference call Monday. “Our fourth guard is a walk-on, Tim Henderson. As you all watched, Kevin has great speed and length. He was playing the best basketball. Now you don’t have any backcourt rotations. You only have two backcourt players, Russ and Peyton. You can’t play them all those minutes.”
Pitino said he expects Henderson to step up in his unexpected role, and Pitino may also toy around with Luke Hancock (a 6-6 forward) and Wayne Blackshear (a 6-5 swingman) in the backcourt. Henderson averages just 3.5 minutes a game, and he doubled that during Sunday’s game against Duke after Ware’s injury.
“We’re just going to have to mix up,” Pitino said. “We have a lot of front court depth, but we don’t have a lot of back court depth. That’s pretty much it.”
Depth at the guard positions wouldn’t be as big an issue if it weren’t for Siva’s occasional – and inconvenient – habit of getting himself into foul trouble early in games. He played just 19 minutes against Oregon in the Sweet 16, which paved the way for Ware to score a career-high 11 points in 25 minutes of action.
He’d been playing his best basketball of the season entering the Duke game; Ware averaged 5.5 points in 16.5 minutes this postseason.
“We played them early in the year, and Ware was still unproven,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “As the season went on, he got really, really good. Earlier in the season, if Siva or Smith got into foul trouble, they were vulnerable.
“Late in the season by the Big East tournament, Ware had developed into a big-time Big East player. They … [For more on Kevin Ware's absence hurts Louisville's depth in Final Four, click here.]
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