BOZICH | Pitino's potty mouth; Mahmoud's weight battle; Louisvil - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Pitino's potty mouth; Mahmoud's weight battle; Louisville vs. Eastern Michigan

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Raymond Spalding (left) and Quentin Snider will lead U of L against Eastern Michigan Saturday. Raymond Spalding (left) and Quentin Snider will lead U of L against Eastern Michigan Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Rick Pitino still isn’t taking media questions on the days before University of Louisville basketball games, a first in his 15 seasons here. On Friday that translated into more time with three U of L players.

On Saturday at 2 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center, the Cardinals play Eastern Michigan. The Eagles claim a 6-3 record but investigative reporting has revealed they are actually 2-3 because the Eagles have played three games against NAIA opponents (Siena Heights, Marygrove and Madonna) and one Division III program (Rochester College). That's one step above a rec league.

Playing Louisville will be different than playing Madonna, Rihanna or Adele for Eastern Michigan.

Without much to discuss about this opponent, Quentin Snider, Anas Mahmoud and Raymond Spalding were questioned on several interesting topics Friday morning – Pitino’s X-rated vocabulary; Mahmoud’s all-you-can diet; Snider’s dazzling ball-handling, their favorite Louisville players and more.

Here are the highlights from the Q and A:

For Spalding, the freshman from Trinity: Has he seen a different side of Pitino than he experienced than during, say, recruiting?

SPALDING: “Every day you see like a new side. It goes up that level. The first week here, I don’t think I’ve ever met a guy so short that like cusses so loud.

“It kind of got to me a little bit. My coach over at Trinity he cussed a little bit. It wasn’t anything like that. 

“He told me to listen to (his) message. ‘I relay a message in those cuss words. Don’t think too much about those.’ “

What things have caught his attention in between the unprintable words?

“Style of play. Defense, too. Here at Louisville Coach Rick is really big on defense, rebounding, blocked shots. (Spalding has) really keyed in on my school work also. Getting to classes on time.”

For Mahmoud, the towering sophomore center who is built like a 7-foot exclamation point: How is he progressing on his goal to add bulk and become stronger?

MAHMOUD: “(I weigh) 213 1/8.

“My goal before Christmas is to be 215 and then I’ll go up to 220 or 225 in the season. We’ll try to get there.”

How big does Mahmoud believe he can get?

“I don’t think my body will take me far,” he said. “I’ve been trying to gain weight but my body type is not that type that will go to the 260s or 270s. Hopefully I can get to 240 or 230. That would be really nice.

“I lift five times a week. I eat as much as I can. All the time. I don’t know. I try to do everything I can. It’s just my body I guess.

“With practice, it’s really hard. The way we practice, the way we play games too. In the off season I’ll have more chance to gain more weight.”

FOR SNIDER, the sophomore point guard from Ballard, who has 31 assists and only seven turnovers in seven games: How does he explain his ability to protect the basketball?

“I just try to be more careful. I just really play with instincts.”

Has Snider benefited from the extra time he earned last season after Chris Jones was dismissed from the team in February?

“It helped me a lot,” Snider said. “Three games in when I first started and going into the NCAA Tournament I just learned a lot from it. You get so much experience. This year you pretty much know everything. You know the offense, the defense. You can tell the young guys what to do.

“I think it’s being more aggressive from last year. Last year I was really passive to Trez (Montrezl Harrell) and Terry (Rozier), just watching them play their games. This year I’ve got a bigger role to try to facilitate and find the open man for better shots and taking the wide open shots.”

Finally, Snider and Spalding grew up in town as Louisville fans. All three were asked to name their favorite Louisville player.

Snider: “Edgar Sosa – people say I look like him. I just his style of play and everything.”

Spalding: “Earl Clark. I liked how long he was, long, athletic, agile, kind of like myself. They say we kind of have the same personality. He’s kind of soft-spoken.”

Mahmoud: “Kyle (Kuric).”

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