BOZICH: Siva Showing Cards How To Shoot -- And Lead - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH: Siva Showing Cards How To Shoot -- And Lead

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Peyton Siva had career highs in assists and three-pointers Wednesday. Peyton Siva had career highs in assists and three-pointers Wednesday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Peyton Siva made five three-point shots against Florida International Wednesday night. That was a month's worth of three-pointers for Siva last season. Siva distributed 12 assists. That's also Siva's best career total in the 115 games he has played for the University of Louisville.

Siva did other things that reminded the world why he was voted the Big East Conference pre-season Player of the Year. U of L defeated FIU, 79-55, Wednesday night in the KFC Yum! Center as Siva scored 15 points. The Billy Minardi Most Outstanding Player award was tucked in Siva's locker.

"He's been putting in the work, so for him to come out here and knock it down, I'm not really too surprised," U of L guard Russ Smith said. "That's Siva for you."

This is also Siva for you: Guess which player was on the listening end of full-court Rick Pitino verbal pressure because of a pair of sloppy passes?

"Coach P gave me the trophy, but I don't think he really wanted to because of those five turnovers," Siva said, with a laugh. "I'm just glad I didn't have a career high in turnovers today."

When a team's senior star can take full-force correction with a smile, what reason do sophomores and freshmen have to grouse? File that under Leadership. Siva does not pout. He listens, the same way Tim Duncan listens to Gregg Popovich or Tom Brady processes what Bill Belichick says.

Wayne Blackshear tied a career-high with 18 points against FIU. Blackshear attracted the largest crowd of microphones in the U of L locker room after the game. Russ Smith is featured in a major spread in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, including an iPad edition of the story that features a two-minute video of Smith eating waffles at breakfast gatherings that he has nicknamed his "Tea Parties."

Montrezl Harrell continued to play like an emerging force off the bench. Stephan Van Treese ignored two sore knees to play 15 solid minutes.

Warning: Do not forget what the University of Louisville has in Siva – a poised and dependable senior guard who seen it all during three trips through the Big East Conference.

The FIU, Missouri-Kansas City and Samford portion of the U of L schedule is coming to a close. Kentucky and the Big East grind is about to arrive. Getting through those games successfully will require the best of Peyton Siva. And Siva appears to be playing the best basketball of his career.

He remains the player who can tell all of his teammates to concentrate on what Pitino says when he is correcting them instead of dwelling on the way he says it. Then he lives that approach. That will be essential on nights when other players are asked to fix their mistakes.

Siva never shows a minute of entitlement. Even though Big East coaches consider him the best player in the league, Siva works like a guy surrounded by doubters. For more than a season, Siva's shot has given skeptics something to doubt.

Know this: That shot is getting better – smoother, more confident.

Think about this: Siva has already made 16 three-point shots in 11 games this season – after making only 17 in 38 games last season. He's cranked his three-point shooting percentage up to 38.1 from 24.6.  FIU did not guard him on the perimeter – by design. The Panthers tried to eliminate his trademark pick and roll because FIU coach Richard Pitino knew how well Siva worked that play. No drives. All jumpers.

"They played me for the three so I just took the shot," Siva said. "It felt good. I just tried to take what the defense gave me. They really didn't give me the lane.

"I was just glad to give Richard my career high in threes because the whole week he's been telling me (by text messages) that I can't shoot."

"He's been so smart this year," said Richard Pitino, who recruited Siva to U of L when he worked for the Cardinals. "Whereas in the past he used to make a lot of silly mistakes. You look at him (Wednesday), he hardly took any bad shots.

"We were really trying to shut down penetration, and he didn't force it … He's a smart, smart player."

Peyton Siva is more than that. He's a guy who is playing – and living – the part of a big, big leader on this U of L team.

Copyright 2012 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.






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