CRAWFORD | After making U.S. U-19 roster, Onuaku says Cards will have better chemistry
Louisville center Chinanu Onuaku surprised some by making the FIBA U-19 national team roster -- but his comments about last season's chemistry issues among the Cardinals' veterans and younger players were less than surprising.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Chinanu Onuaku's play at the FIBA Under-19 World Championships tryouts in Colorado Springs was a surprise for some — even those who watched him all season at the University of Louisville, no doubt.
, Onuaku talked about some of his struggles as a freshman at U of L, describing a team that was split into cliques and one in which “everybody was out to get theirs, for real.”
That part will be little surprise to Louisville fans. Cardinals coach Rick Pitino lamented all season that the younger players and older ones on his team had little rapport. Montrezl Harrell was demoted from the captain's position, the coach said, because he didn't have the patience to deal with the learning curve of the younger players. After Chris Jones was kicked off the team, some of the older players talked of the need to cultivate better communication with the younger ones.
Terry Rozier, who declared for the NBA Draft after his sophomore season, has acknowledged at times he struggled to know when to create offense himself and when to look for others.
If it was a disjointed year on the outside — that still resulted in a trip to the Elite Eight, it should be remembered — Onuaku told DeCourcy that it was that way on the inside.
If there's good news in any of that or Louisville, it's that Onuaku, and perhaps the entire roster of young players, has turned something of a corner.
Onuaku has spent much of the summer working out with his brother in Syracuse, N.Y. His play in the FIBA tryouts was a revelation to coaches. He always had the physical tools. Now, he appears to be settling into his position.
“I fell more comfortable now,” Onuaku told The Sporting News. “I feel like I know what I'm supposed to do and where I'm supposed to be.”
He told DeCourcy he expects the team to have better chemistry next season.
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