Preston Knowles’ entire career has been a microcosm of this season and the 2010-2011 Louisville Cardinals. A gritty, hard-working, over-achieving, tenacious, under-appreciated, and dedicated player both on and off the court. Preston came to us three and a half years ago as a lowly 2-star recruit from Winchester, Ky, right in the shadows of Lexington. UK didn’t want him. Seemingly, no other big schools wanted him either. But he came down on an unofficial visit and played pick-up ball with the likes of Terrence Williams, Andre McGee, Jerry Smith, Edgar Sosa, and others, and impressed them so much that Rick Pitino sent him back home with a scholarship offer.
As a freshman he played very limited minutes behind a team that would ultimately go on to the Elite Eight. His sophomore season he began to earn a reputation as bulldog defender and a much-needed spark of energy off the bench. He won over the hearts of the fans for his tenacity and leave-it-all-on-the-floor mentality. That team would also go on to the Elite Eight after winning the Big East regular season and tournament championships. Last year we saw Preston emerge as a part-time starter and a guy who could not only defend, but get his own shot and contribute in other ways. It was clear he was beginning to emerge as an all-around player.
Fast forward to this season, and Knowles has been our leading scorer (14.3 ppg), played the most minutes (29.8 ppg), and hit the most big shots (see the final ten minutes of the Marquette game for further proof) in a season full of over-achieving. He’s also become the best “bad-shot maker” in recent memory. There’s no such thing as “not enough room” when Preston sees daylight. He has the greenlight from Caoch Pitino to fire at will, and fire at will he does. He’s attempted 213 three-point field goals on the season (almost 100 more than the next player on the list [Mike Marra, 132]) and is actually shooting a solid 38%. Knowles, it should be mentioned, is also the lone captain for the Cardinals this year. An honor bestowed upon him before the season by Coach Pitino because he saw something special in Knowles. I think I speak for all other Louisville fans when I say, we see it too. Congratulations to Preston on a great career – let’s send you out with a win on senior night.
– Brent Lepping