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Pitino: Cards Will Be Strong Next Season With Key Players, New Faces

Adam Glanzman/Creative Commons

University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino said with the return of some key players next season, along with some new faces, the Cardinals will have another strong team.

During a news conference Tuesday, Pitino confirmed that sophomore forward Deng Adel will not remain in the NBA draft and will be back on the U of L roster. Underclassmen Donovan Mitchell and Jaylen Johnson have hired agents and will stay in the draft.

Pitino said the Cards will again have one of the toughest schedules in college basketball.

“We’ll play Kentucky on the road, Memphis at Madison Square Garden," he said. "Of course, we’ve got the ACC play and we’re playing Indiana at home. So again, we’ll have one of the top schedules in the nation."

Pitino declined to discuss his appearance last month before the NCAA Committee on Infractions, calling it an “excruciating” experience.

“It was one of the most difficult days and I don’t even want to relive any of those hours, so I’d rather not answer your question," he said. "And I don’t mean that it went bad or good, it was just excruciating, long, tedious.”

The NCAA is expected to issue its final report next month on its investigation into claims that former basketball staffer Andre McGee paid an escort service to entertain Cardinal players and recruits over a four-year period.

U of L has admitted that some violations occurred and self-imposed some punishments, but is disputing an NCAA claim that Pitino failed to monitor McGee.

The committee is expected to announce any additional punishments sometime next month.

Rick Howlett was midday host and the host of LPM's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." He was with LPM from 2001-2023 and held many different titles, including Morning Edition host, Assignment Editor and Interim News Director. He died in August 2023. Read a remembrance of Rick here.

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