Tonight one of the photographers at the game Gail Kamenish captured this picture of Coach Mack.
It reminded me of the Simpsons Characters Mr. Burns. One of Mr. Burns’ trademark expressions is the word “Excellent”, muttered slowly in a low, sinister voice while steepling his fingertips. And He occasionally orders Smithers to “release the hounds”.
Tonight Coach Mack released the hounds on Southern as Louisville flexes their muscle in game #2 with a 104-54 win. Coach Mack also talks a lot about excellence. Tonight in his post game you can tell that he believes his team took another step towards that goal tonight. He still hasn’t smiled during a post-game but tonight he appeared satisfied.
It’s getting to be the standard to talk about Jordan Nwora after these games. And tonight he stood out again coming off the bench scoring 20 points, grabbing 6 boards, with 2 steals and a blocked shot. There was one sequence in the game that stood out the most to me tonight. Jordan missed a three badly… Sprinted down the floor squared up on D, grabbed a defensive rebound and then led the break hitting CC for a three coming back up the floor. Good stuff!
Following Nwora tonight in scoring and also having himself a game was Malik Williams with 17 points and 5 boards. Malik is one of the guys on this team whose upside is off the charts. He really is a ball of clay at this point just waiting for someone to mold into an NBA type player. Coach Mack has a great reputation for player development, especially with Malik’s skill set. Mack knows how to use that versatility.
Another guy with a high upside is Steven Enoch. This big fella has not missed a free throw yet. Going a perfect 9-9 in game one and 5-5 tonight. He is 14-14 on the season. I said it last week and will say it again this week. This guy is a great weapon to have.
Honorable mention tonight goes to Akoy Agau.
(Old Faithful) The average interval between its spoutings is 78 minutes.
(Old Faithful Akoy) The average interval between his games played in a Louisville uniform is 1439 days. It was good to see him back on the court. That guy has had some journey.
It’s all about taking steps forward. Tonight Team 105 did that. L’s Up!
Cardinal fans have waited all summer for the Chris Mack Era to begin… and Thusday night it started with a bang literally as the new intros featured fire, pyro and a laser show. But it didn’t take long for the celebration to end and the grind to begin. Defensive lapses, turnovers, and offensive inconsistency kept a scrappy Nicholls State team in the game before the Cardinals were able to pull away late.
Chris Mack didn’t make his way from a JV Basketball coach to a 4 million dollar gig at Louisville by settling for any type of mediocrity. And he showed me tonight that he isn’t going to let any of the sentimental stuff get in his way either. When I asked him how his first Louisville win felt in the postgame he didn’t mix his words in expressing his displeasure for how this game turned out.
It is refreshing to have a head coach that doesn’t sugar coat things. I don’t think we’ll ever be left wondering what Coach Mack really thinks. He’s gonna tell you. This guy is a winner in every aspect. I know that his drive prohibits him from showing too much emotion but I bet that he will have the game ball from Thursday night saved to commemorate his first win as the Louisville coach. There haven’t been many other guys get that first one here as head coach of the Cardinals. Pretty big deal IMO.
And even though the game didn’t go as well as they had hoped there were some bright spots on the player’s side of things as well. Steven Enoch is going to be a beast for this program. He pretty much had his way against the much smaller Nicholls State frontcourt. He had 15 points, 8 boards, and 2 blocked shots. Perhaps his most impressive stat line was going 9 for 9 at the free throw line. Talk about a weapon.
The Cardinals spent a lot of time tonight at the charity stripe going 42 of 55 from the line for a respectable 76.4%. I really like how Darius Perry took the ball to the basket. He ended up with 14 points. Jordan Nwora struggled from the outside and adjusted his game making some strong moves to the basket. He ended up with 12 points. Ryan McMahon provided a spark in the first half hitting some big three-point shots.
I know that these guys can’t relish in a close win against a scrappy but inferior opponent. But this game was good for them and I’m glad the way it turned out. Thursday night started my 6th season behind the scenes covering Louisville Basketball. I’m looking forward to covering this team and watching them grow and am excited for the Chris Mack Era. L’s Up!