Louisville basketball: Weekly notebook

Terry Rozier

Each week Cardinal Authority will post a University of Louisville basketball notebook with a few nuggets from the defending national champions. Here's the latest edition of the U of L notebook:

FRESHMAN STILL IMPRESSING PITINO

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has been going through practices with his team this summer and is impressed.

Pitino said Stephen Van Treese and Wayne Blackshear have both been "really impressive" but it's the newcomers that have him smiling.

Junior-college point guard Chris Jones and freshmen Anton Gill and Terry Rozier in the backcourt have "been very, very impressive."

"They're as good as we thought they would be," Pitino said. "Chris Jones is good. I've just been very, very impressed with the freshman class."

WHITE HOUSE VISIT ON TAP

Pitino will have the team and his staff in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday morning to meet with President Obama. The Cardinals are being honored that morning for winning the school's third national title.

Pitino, who went to the White House with his UK national title team, said he has told his players to enjoy the moment.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Pitino said.

IT ALWAYS HASN'T BEEN ‘MANGO'

Freshman Mangok Mathiang goes by ‘Mango' – silent K - now because his friends couldn't pronounce his name and the "K sound was no use."

The 6-foot-10, 200-pound native of Sudan who has lived in Australia with his family before coming to the U.S. for basketball.

"They started calling me everything, so it was just easier," Mathiang said with a smile. "So it stuck with me. I mean I like Mangos and everything, there's nothing wrong with it, so it just stuck.

"Then one time my mom (Grace) came to pick me up at school and they were like, ‘Mango come down and meet your mother.' My mother was sitting there and I walked in and she was like, ‘Who's Mango?' Now she sometimes calls me Mango when she wants to play with me a little."

Pitino called Mathiang the "fastest guy on the team," and recently said he's "going to help us next year." Mathiang sat out all of last season.

HANCOCK FARES WELL WITH TEAM USA

Luke Hancock didn't return home with a gold medal but he still has some great experience with Team USA during the World University Games.

The University of Louisville senior guard helped the U.S. team to a 6-2 record and ninth-place finish in the World University Games.

In eight games in the event, Hancock averaged 10.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and connected on 16-of-38 three-point goals. He also had 17 assists and five steals.

In his best game, Hancock scored a team-high 27 points in the 94-85 loss last weekend to Canada. He was 5 of 6 from three-point range in that game.

Hancock, the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four for the Cardinals during the national title run, was the flag bearer for the U.S. in the World University Games opening ceremonies.

CARDS LAND ACADEMIC HONORS

Peyton Siva and Mike Marra, who recently graduated, and senior Stephan Van Treese were named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court, which recognizes those who excel academically.

The three U of L players were among more than 700 student-athletes from 285 institutions who were honored.

On Thursday, the entire U of L team was honored by the NABC with a 2012-13 Team Academic Excellence Award.

The award is given to teams with everyone at 3.0 or better.

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