Nov 24, 2012; Paradise Island, BAHAMAS; Louisville Cardinals forward Stephan Van Treese (44) reacts after scoring against the Duke Blue Devils during the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis Championship in the Imperial Arena at the Atlantis Resort. Duke won 76-71. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Van Treese Provides 'Big Country' Presence

November 15, 2012; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Stephan Van Treese (44) battles Samford Bulldogs forward Tim Williams (32) and guard Connor Miller (10) for a rebound during the second half at the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville defeated Samford 80-54. Credit: Jamie Rhodes-US PRESSWIRE

It was just over five months ago that Stephan Van Treese appeared to be on his way out of Louisville. In early June, the 6’9” forward from Indianapolis’ Lawrence North High School was transferring. Apparently, his decision was based around playing time with incoming Top 100 recruit Montrezl Harrell in the mix.

Near the end of June, Van Treese reconsidered and it was Rakeem Buckles who transferred to Florida International to join Richard Pitino. It is now Van Treese that will be key over the next 4-6 weeks while Gorqui Dieng heals from a broken bone in his left wrist.

Van Treese himself is familiar with the injury bug. Just three games into last season, Van Treese fell to a season-ending knee injury. Van Treese will likely find himself back in the starting rotation as he did 12 times his sophomore season when he averaged 2.9 points and 3.5 rebounds. So far this season, he is averaging 2.0 point and 3.5 rebounds in almost 11 minutes per game. Expect SVT’s numbers to get better with extended responsibilities.

Van Treese has always contributed in ways that don’t show in the statistics. He has an ability to take charges and is tough to get around when setting screens due to his 245 pound frame. SVT will not be pushed around in the lane and is built for Big East battles. He often does things that reminds me of a smaller Bryant “Big Country” Reeves. Reeves stood 7’0” and weighed nearly 300 pounds. I’m not suggesting Van Treese will put up similar scoring numbers, but could easily start pulling in 7-10 rebounds per game and fills up the lane. Bottom line, he has a strong presence.

If there is ever a good time for an injury, this was the point of the season to encounter it. No. 6 Louisville has the entire week off before hosting Illinois State on Saturday, December 1. This will allow a full week for reserves Zach Price and Van Treese to prepare. The injury may also give Harrell more playing time who has been playing solid minutes for UofL.

As with previous injuries to the Louisville squad, it is next man up.

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