July 11, 2006

Cards are young... so is everyone else.

The Louisville basketball team is focusing on new beginnings this summer. Gone are the bad memories of the team's disappointing inaugural go-round in the Big East. Also gone are all but two of the contributors from the school's 2004-05 Final Four squad.

The time is now for a new group of Cardinals to form their own chemistry and forge what the Louisville coaches expect to be the foundation of the program for years to come.

Like last season, the Cards have just one senior - Brandon Jenkins - who can be counted on for leadership. The rest of the team consists of underclassmen who all have big hype, but have yet to live up to their full potential.

"We're going to have 10 freshmen and sophomores who we're going to rely on to play," said second-year assistant Steve Masiello. "Playing early in the year and getting the experience is something that we're really looking forward to in these guys," he said.

While the Cardinals will be young at every position in the upcoming season, their youth should not be mistaken for inexperience. Juniors Tello Palacios and David Padgett know what big-time college basketball is all about. Meanwhile, sophomores Brian Johnson, Terrence Williams and Andre McGee played in crucial stretches for the Cards against the best of the Big East. Masiello believes that when it comes to experience, the Cards are in the same boat with every one else.

"The way college basketball is now there are very few teams out there like George Mason who have mostly seniors," he said. "So many players leave after their freshman or sophomore years that its rare to find teams with heavy junior and senior classes. Most teams out there are playing with a couple freshmen, a couple of sophomores, a few juniors and maybe one or two seniors."

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