U of L forward Stephen Van Treese deserves an assist for getting Christian Watford to Indiana.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Short takes on the shortest day of the year:
*Freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell leads the Indiana basketball team with 56 assists. Jordan Hulls trails his teammate by 10. But here is another guy who wants to be included on the Indiana assist list:
University of Louisville senior Stephen Van Treese.
"I definitely deserve an assist for Christian Watford being part of the Indiana program," Van Treese said.
Here is the explanation: Van Treese and Watford played against each other on the AAU circuit and roomed together during at least one camp before their senior seasons in high school.
Van Treese grew up in Indianapolis. The Hoosiers were his favorite college team – and D.J. White, an Alabama guy, was his favorite player. Van Treese knew that Indiana was recruiting Watford, and he encouraged him to leave Birmingham to play in Bloomington.
"I told Christian about the tradition of IU basketball," Van Treese said. "The program was down when they were recruiting him. But that was an opportunity for him to get playing time. He took the opportunity and he's had a great career."
Van Treese said that his family and Watford's family have remained close, enjoying time together at Lake Monroe outside Bloomington during the summer. He's also a friend of Derek Elston, another IU senior, from their summer on the Indiana All-Star team.
*When I showed my teammates Eric Crawford and Steve Andress the video that Sports Illustrated did on U of L guard Russ Smith stirring up his favorite breakfast concoction at one of his "Tea Parties," at a local Waffle House, they were convinced it was time for the WDRB sports team to challenge our taste buds, too.
Eric went to a Waffle House near campus and asked for the same items that Smith orders – waffles, scrambled eggs, grits, sausage and toast. We brought the food into the WDRB kitchen Thursday and mixed it just like Smith – stirring the grits, mixing in salt and pepper, adding eggs to the grits and then pouring in the signature ingredient.
Russdiculous? You bet.
But we tried it. Then we tasted it. Our verdict, after the sugar buzz kicked in:
Not bad – and we can certainly understand why Smith never stops moving for 40 minutes.
*U of L coach Rick Pitino will get one more up-close look at his son Richard's Florida International basketball team. After losing to U of L Wednesday, Richard took his team to Houston where the Panthers will play Texas Southern, led by former IU coach Mike Davis, on Saturday.
Then FIU is returning to Kentucky because the Panthers open Sun Belt Conference play Thursday in Bowling Green against Western Kentucky.
Pitino and a group of friends are taking a bus trip to WKU for the game. U of L plays the Hilltoppers Saturday at 8:30 p.m. (EST) in Nashville.
*You've seen how U of L safety Calvin Pryor chases down footballs in the Cardinals' secondary. Make a note of this:
Pryor is just as talented chasing fly balls as a baseball center fielder. In fact, he said he was good enough that Florida State told him he could play baseball as well as football for the Seminoles, where he was recruited by new UK football coach Mark Stoops. Pryor also said the Arizona Diamondbacks were interested in drafting him out of high school until he told them he would not sign because he intended to play football for the Cards.
Pryor said he has considered talking to U of L baseball coach Dan McDonnell about trying to play for the Cards, but he's put the baseball talk on hold while preparing for U of L's Sugar Bowl match with Florida.
What is the scouting report on Pryor as a baseball player – a power hitter, line-drive hitter?
"I'm more of a put the ball in play type guy, a line-drive hitter," he said. "I'm not going to hit home runs, but I'll hit the ball and get on base. I'll have a high on-base percentage."
How about in center field?
"I'm a ball hawk," he said. "I feel like if the ball is in the air, I'm going to go get it. That's just my attitude."
*According to statistics released by the league office, in the first 100 home basketball games played by Big East teams this season only six were officially listed as sellouts.
All six were Villanova home games played in the Wildcats' 6,500-seat on-campus facility.
U of L leads the Big East in home attendance. The Cards have averaged 20,416 for six home games, better than the 18,465 that Syracuse has averaged for eight games. Marquette, at 14,057, is the only other Big East school averaging better than 10,000 per game.
Which school is last in home attendance?
Rutgers at 4,024. Add the three-game suspension Mike Rice received from the school for his behavior and the Scarlet Knights' impending move to the Big Ten -- and guess which Big East coach is on the hot seat.
*Message that I received from an assistant coach on the losing end of top recruit Jabari Parker's decision to attend Duke on Thursday:
"Hard to beat UK and Duke."
Hard to forget there was a time when Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski could not talk Uwe Blab out of attending Indiana or Chris Mullin from signing with St. John's.