After a tumultuous season of ups and downs, a heartbreaking loss on Senior Day and missing the Tournament on selection Sunday Louisville basketball had hit its lowest point. Then something happened in that first game of the NIT.
Fans showed these players that their love for the Louisville program means more than an NCAA bid. They showed that the passion for Louisville basketball extends well beyond wins and losses. Somewhere in the second half of that first NIT game, the current team got that message and responded.
Over the past week, the players were reminded that sometimes it’s not about wins or losses but how you play the game. And somewhere in all of this, the players started to have fun again. They’re enjoying playing the game that they love with their teammates.
When you’ve hit rock bottom there’s only one way to go. And the Louisville Basketball program has shown the college basketball world that we aren’t going away. The NCAA gave us lemons and we packed the Yum Center with thousands of screaming fans for the NIT. Our team has turned them lemons into a big old glass of Red lemonade and are a few games from winning the whole damn thing.
There is still meat on the bone and the Cardinals will face a Mississippi State team that is drinking some of their own lemonade. They took out the top seed Baylor on Sunday and will come into the Yum Center riding a lot of momentum.
The Cardinals are outscoring teams by 12 points and allowing just 40.2 percent shooting at home this season. Mississippi State is being outscored by nearly six points and scoring under 70 points on the road this season. They are a very efficient offensive team but if the Cardinals play defense like they have been it will be another great evening for the home team.
We have a chance at a redo. It’s going to be the last time we see all of this current team together playing on the Yum Center court. Hopefully, this final farewell will have a better ending. One game away from NYC.
Chances are that if you are a sports fan then there are moments in your life where sports have transcended the competition on the field of play and provided defining moments in your life. Sports have healed relationships, created long lasting bonds, brought nations together, brought communities together, and sports have inspired people for generations. In some way or other sports will impact a person in some way in their life’s journey.
With all the positive moments that sports brings to our lives there are times that they bring a dose of reality. Yes, sometimes sports serve as a sobering reminder that we are only human, and humans can do horrible things. Sports have reminded Cardinal fans just how much it can relate to real life. And while it’s happened before I’ll never get used to watching human failure.
The Louisville Basketball Program is facing the consequences of human failure. The actions of a few threatens to put a damper on things for a while. Most of us were confident that we’d get a mulligan this season with the current team having so much talent, but expectations have been lowered after back to back losses to Purdue and Seton Hall and now blowout loss to UK.
Maybe we underestimated the toll all of this would have on the current group. Regardless we need to get behind this program and team more than we ever have. It’s time to Fan-Up. It’s easy to go to games, cheer and be loyal when things are going well but a true fan is the guy or gal that is sitting thru those tough times with the same passion. I learned a lesson in life back in 1988.
I was a zit faced teen living in rural America. My hometown had maybe two or three families that were UofL fans. One happened to be the owner of our local drug store. They made it a point to sell Louisville gear in their store. I had become a sports fan during my 6th grade year when Louisville won the Title during the 85-86 season. I watched them win it on an old Zenith console TV that was bigger than some cars nowadays.
My mom took me to Morgan & Thomas and got me geared up. My Cardinals were the National Champions and I was going to let my fandom be known to the world. I had a hat that was a big Cardinal Beak. It was hideous. I wore that damn thing to school every day. I was the only Louisville fan in the middle school that year.
The first day of my 7th grade year I was even more geared up. My mom did most of my school shopping at Morgan & Thomas. I couldn’t wait for basketball season to watch my Cardinals. The Cardinals would go 18-14 and not even make the tournament that season. During my middle school days, the Cardinals didn’t have much success over the Blue either. I was tormented by my friends every season when they lost that game. During 7th grade Rex Chapman scores 26 points in a complete ass whipping. Several of my friends wore that 34-point victory on their T-shirts that year. Yes, they were even making T-shirts back then.
My 8th grade year was a heartbreaking 1-point loss at Rupp… My friends were just as brutal and trust me they made it hard to be a Cardinal fan. Peer pressure is brutal at that age. But I stood strong and 30 years ago tonight on December 31st of 1988 on New Year’s Eve during my freshman year of high school “Never Nervous” scored 20 and my Cardinals finally beat the Cayuts by 22 points 97-75…
It was tough sitting thru those losses but man it made it that much sweeter when they finally won. I couldn’t wait to get back to school after holiday break and mock my friends. It was my turn and it felt good. Even better since I had stuck by them. It feels good to be on top all the time, but you’ll never forget that moment of success when things hadn’t been that great. I learned in middle school that loyalty to my favorite sports team felt good and I’ve never wavered since.
I’m 45 years old now and my Cardinals are struggling, and I got a lot of text from some of those same middle school friends Friday afternoon after the game. But unlike that silly 8th grade boy I know now that this stuff isn’t the end of the world. I have developed a lot of empathy towards others. I understand the human element involved. Those are young men who have been thru hell. They had their world turned upside down. They had people they trusted let them down. They didn’t ask for any of it and none of them were involved.
When rival crowds are screaming Hookers, FBI, and Cheaters to these guys during warm-ups… these guys are taking all the heat for something none of them had any part of. They are carrying that burden. As fans do we really want them to carry our burdens? As fans do we want to be just more folks who let them down?
I hope they roll thru conference play and make a title run in March. Not so I can gloat to my buddies but because I’d love to see this team succeed. They deserve some good. But if they don’t win another game I’ll be geared up, I’m going to go to games, and I’m going to cheer for the Cardinals like I have for over 30 years. And when our program finally does turn it around I can only imagine how good it will feel.
The Louisville Basketball Program needs you now. It’s time to Fan-Up. I wish you many blessings in 2018. Happy New Year and Go Cards!
This picture from the Courier-Journal over the weekend sums up what kind of weekend it was for the Louisville football program. A now healthy Malik Williams celebrating one of his two touchdowns with leaping Louie… He led the team in rushing with 180 yards. I can only imagine what could have been if he and Dae Williams had been healthy all season. This is a different offense with a solid ground attack. But better to have it now as not have it at all. This team is rolling…
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it would probably take a thousand words to explain what having a player like Lamar Jackson has meant for the Louisville Program. He might be the most talented and gifted college football player of our time. And is a great young man to go along with all of that. Louisville fans have sure been spoiled. We went from having a player like Teddy who will forever be known and admired for how he won big games to Lamar who will always be known for and admired for how well he plays the game. And both are great people. He might not win the Heisman but we all know who the best player is.
It hasn’t been the season that we all expected but we are finally seeing the Louisville Football team that most of us expected this season. Over the last two games the offense has looked like a well-oiled machine and the defense is making the plays they were missing just a few weeks ago. Coach Sirmon was running the side-line yesterday like his pants were on fire and his defense is finally responding. It was tough to watch these guys lose those games while giving up all those points. But it sure has been fun watching them turn things around.
And talk about turning things around Coach Summers has transformed the Louisville offensive line. There was a picture floating around Social Media over the weekend titled “4 up and 4 down”. It showed the Louisville O-Line standing over 4 Syracuse defense Line-men as they lay helpless on the ground watching Lamar Jackson trot for one of his touchdowns. Last year year at this time that photo would have looked a lot different. This group went from giving up around 39 sacks this time last season to around 27 this season. That’s a big improvement. When interviewed at Media Day Coach Summers talked about his guys winning the battle zone. It’s obvious this unit is winning more of those battles now.
Everybody is healthy, and everything is clicking at the right time. The Cardinals will now head to Lexington seeking their 4th Straight Win on that field. I was on the field at the Georgia Dome when Lamar made his College debut and will be at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday when he plays his last regular season college football game. There are plenty of seats available on StubHub for all of you to join me.
The Louisville basketball program got some big man insurance for the future today with the news that UCONN 6-11 center Steven Enoch will transfer to play basketball for Coach Pitino and the Cardinals. Enoch visited the campus a few weeks ago and must have liked what he heard from the Louisville staff. The most important part of that conversation is how big of a role that Enoch could play in the 18-19 season. Enoch will sit out a year and then have two years of eligibility left.
Enoch is your typical Pitino type player. He was in the 2015 recruiting class with Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel, Ryan McMahon and Ray Spalding. And like those guys was labeled as a recruit with a lot of upside. Enoch was a 4* recruit and ranked #99 in the ESPN100. Here are what scouts said about Enoch in 2015:
Enoch is a late blooming big man who barely played high school basketball as an underclassman but has continued to both grow and develop at a rapid rate. He’s got good size with a naturally strong build and long arms. He’s a solid athlete who can change ends and play above the rim. His skill set has been well developed so that he is a consistent shooter from 15-18 feet and a threat from behind the three-point line. He’s starting to develop a jump hook over both shoulders with his back to the basket but also has a naturally high release point in or around the paint. He’s quick in catch-and-finish situations, a solid rebounder, and good shot-blocker.
He’s largely unproven against high level competition and still very much a work in progress. Consistency is arguably his biggest problem right now as he can disappear for long stretches at a time. He’s a product of a skill development generation and so while he can look great in a workout, he’s still learning to adjust to the many variables that game conditions and defenders create.
His recruiting has taken off by his long-term potential, now it becomes a matter of backing up his newfound reputation as he’ll have to turn potential into production on an increasingly frequent basis.
Enoch’s production and development at UCONN has been a slow go it seems, but having that year to work out with Coach Pitino and his staff will really be a big boost to that. I Look for Enoch to be a big-time contributor for the Cardinals in 18/19 season as well as his senior season 19/20… A great add to the program.
Here are Enoch’s stats during his two seasons at UCONN:
Coach Pitino’s best recruiting class since being the head man at the University of Louisville will be on display this weekend. University of Louisville signees Malik Williams, Darius Perry, Lance Thomas and Jordan Nwora will all play in the Derby Festival Basketball Classic Presented by Papa John’s on Saturday, April 15 at Freedom Hall. The Basketball Classic game tips off at 7:00 p.m. Aside from being one of the best recruiting classes it very well could end up being one of the more important ones. This 2017 group will have a similar impact that the 2015 group has had on the program. The Cardinals will head into the 2017-18 College Basketball season as one of the favorites to win a National Title and this 2017 group could play an important part in that happening.
This Louisville class is ranked #8 by ESPN, #7 by 247Sports, #10 by Scout, and #7 by Rivals. Three of the Louisville signees Williams, Perry and Nwora are well within the top 100 of each recruiting service and Thomas finds himself just on the cusp. Malik Williams who is considered the real prize among this group is ranked 20th by Scout, 25th by 247Sports, 29th by ESPN, and 27th by Rivals. Darius Perry is ranked 75th by Scout, 69th by 247Sports, 51st by ESPN, and 94th by Rivals. Jordan Nwora is ranked 146th by Scout, 46th by 247Sports, 87th by ESPN, and 90th by Rivals. Lance Thomas is ranked 103rd by Scout, 76th by 247Sports, NR by ESPN, and 142nd by Rivals.
I’m really impressed by the length as well as the overall skill of this group and can’t wait to see that on display first hand on Saturday night. Malik Williams is a long 6-foot-11 big man with a high ceiling. According to various scouts he has some rim protecting ability on the defensive end, an emerging face-up skill set on the offensive end and most predict him to have some serious star potential down the road. Jordan Nwora is a 6-foot-8 combo-forward and according to various scouts one of the top shooters in the class of 2017, not just from behind the 3-point line but also with his ability to make tough shots off the dribble. Most say that in many ways he is tailor made for coach Rick Pitino’s system. Lance Thomas is another long and athletic 6-9 Power Forward who various scouts say has a lot of potential. They say that he is a long-term stock who has multi-faceted tools and high upside on both ends of the floor but isn’t going to be ready to put it all together for at least another year or so. This kid really has a nice basketball frame and the foundation is there. I can’t wait to see how coach Pitino molds him into a big-time player. Darius Perry by all accounts is a tough and gritty point guard who will probably be Quentin Snider’s back-up as a freshman before having every opportunity to run the show as a sophomore.
This recruiting class really has me excited about the future of the Louisville basketball program. I’m looking forward to them making their Louisville debut on Saturday night in Freedom Hall. I know you really can’t tell much about players in these all-star type events but having a chance to see them in person will give us some idea of just how talented this group really is and just how special they could be for the season ahead. I encourage all Louisville fans to get out to Freedom Hall Saturday and give these guys an early welcome into the Cardinal Nation. Tickets are $18 in advance ($20 at the door) and can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com and by phone through TicketMaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets for the game and 2017 Pegasus Pins will allow for free admission to the Horseshoe Foundation Derby Festival Night of the Future Stars, which will be held on Friday, April 14, at Indiana University Southeast.
I’ll have full coverage of the Derby Festival Basketball Classic on the site and over on the Cardinal’s Beak Fan Page. #L1C4
One night back in November of 1988 at a Middle School gym in Owenton Kentucky a much younger version of myself was playing an 8th grade basketball game… the coach had just drawn up a play in which I would get the in-bounds pass and have a chance to score. My heart was pounding as I made my move and caught the ball. I remember spinning past the kid who was guarding me and breaking away in the open court as the crowd went wild.
I made the lay-up and began my celebration but immediately realized something wasn’t right. The reaction of coach Reynolds was odd and why wasn’t my team on this end of the floor with me…? You can imagine the horror when I figured out that I had just made a wide-open lay-up on the opponent’s end of the court. Turns out the crowd was going wild trying to get me to stop.
Fast forward to a night in November of 2011 in a Middle School gym… a 13 yr. old Carson Williams was playing an 8th grade basketball game when he came flying through the air and completed an alley-Oop dunk like you would see at the college level. That dunk would be the beginning of an incredible basketball journey for Carson Williams. That journey will come to a culmination in Indianapolis when Carson and his NKU team take on the Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament Friday night.
I told you about my big middle school moment because that was more of the norm when it comes to the athletic prowess of a 13-yr. old where I grew up. Don’t get me wrong there have been a lot of good athletes come from Owen County but nothing like Carson Williams. You just don’t see too many 13yr old’s making plays like the one in the video above and there aren’t many 18-yr. old’s who could pull it off either.
In small rural areas, it’s hard sometimes for kids like Carson to get the attention they deserve. The AAU programs have really helped but it still isn’t easy to get on the right teams and get on the right courts. And when you do get on the right team and the right court you must take advantage of the opportunity.
Carson took advantage of the opportunity and dunked his way through the AAU ranks and landed a spot on the Lexington based Kentucky Travelers basketball team. The Travelers are a Nike sponsored AAU team who play in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League. Carson had his needle moving performance in AAU while at an event in Virginia back in May of 2014. That weekend Carson was 1-1 3pt, 22-38 FG 58%, 16-24 FT 67%, had 23 Rebs, 2 Assts, 3 Stls, 2 Blks, and 61 points. It was after this weekend in Virginia that scouts really started to take notice of the hometown kid.
There were several articles written that mentioned Carson’s AAU breakout weekend but probably none bigger than the ESPN Insider folks who called him one of the “Biggest Sleepers” of the class. In that article, they said:
Carson Williams: He is a strong and athletic wing and could be a very skilled 4 at the next level depending on future team and scheme. He plays hard, can shoot to 19 feet and will dunk on you if you are not paying attention. He had 21 in Kentucky Travelers’ loss to Team United (N.C.). The 6-5 small forward can be a mid-major stud or a great role player at a high-major school in the 2016 class.
It was his time in the AAU that really helped him get the important notoriety but Carson Williams also dunked his way to a very successful run at Owen County high school setting records that will last generations. He helped his team win a lot of games and a lot of District championships including a few trips to the All-A State semifinals. With the help of Williams, the Rebels basketball team was considered one of the best in the state even ranked in the top 10 of some polls. Carson never got the chance to play in the state’s biggest game but he did win Kentucky’s highest basketball honor the title of “Mr. Basketball”.
This past summer Carson’s journey landed him in the Derby Festival Basketball Classic. It is one of the premiere all-star games in the country and has seen many greats come through it. Carson had a great showing at this event and was a semifinalist in the dunk contest. It was a great night of celebration for all that he had accomplished as a high school player. I was proud to tell the other media court-side that he was from my hometown.
Carson Williams decided to continue his basketball journey at Northern Kentucky University. And he has been that mid-major stud in his first college season that all those scouts said he would be. He earned Horizon League freshman of the week honors a few times and has become an important part of the Horizon League Tournament Champion Norse basketball team.
Carson said that he chose to go to Northern Kentucky to help build the newly Division 1 program into a dominate player in the Horizon League. He said that he wanted to help them get to the NCAA Tournament. In year number one its mission accomplished.
There are a lot of great college basketball players that fall short of the dream of playing in the NCAA Tournament. Friday night Carson Williams will be representing all the years of hard work and dedication that it takes to achieve such a goal while overcoming the odds of coming from such a rural area. It also takes a bit of luck. But good things happen to good people and you won’t find a better young man.
Carson will be the first player from Owen County to make it to the NCAA Tournament during the modern era and only the second ever. He will be representing all the folks that grew up there. Everyone has followed along on his journey and has a lot of pride for his accomplishments. One of the reasons he went to NKU was so his family, friends and community could come to his college games. It’s only about an hour from Owenton to Highland Heights as the crow flies.
Carson brought a lot of hometown spirit back to those Owen County school gyms and that spread throughout the community. It also spread to folks from there that live all over the country.
I reached out to Carson Williams and his family and asked them what it meant to be playing in the NCAA Tournament.
Carson’s Mother Heidi Williams:
“Some people questioned his decision to go to NKU but we felt like that with the new coach and the move to the Horizon league that it was a good fit and they may make it to the tournament but we never dreamed it would be this soon. It’s been very exciting and fun. He’s had a great deal of support from family, friends and Rebel Nation and I’m glad the community is so excited about the tournament. Carson has worked very hard for the past 14 years and it’s great to see him and his teammates get to enjoy this.”
NKU Freshman Carson Williams:
“Most every young basketball player dreams of playing in the NCAA tournament and I was no different. It means a lot to me to have that dream become a reality especially considering the countless hours of hard work that I’ve put in to help me get to this position. With that being said, no matter how good or popular the team we play is I don’t approach this as anything other than just another game.”
Many of the same folks that were in that Middle School gym the night Carson had that big dunk will be at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Friday night. And the folks who can’t make it will be tuned in to watch their hometown boy fulfilling yet another dream. That kid who put the ball in the wrong basket will be there too. I love being a Carson Williams fan and watching him play takes me back to my younger days. I didn’t have an ounce of the ability but at one time I did have a similar dream.
I wrote this week about the special moments we often see during March Madness. It is three weeks where real life dramas play out during a College Basketball Tournament. For Carson Williams, his family, his fans, Owen County and NKU Friday night will be that special moment. Good Luck Carson! Good Luck NKU!
College basketball fans all over the country are in a basketball frenzy. Making plans to go see their teams chase the dream, filling out their brackets and planning their excuse for missing work this week. It really is March Madness. But along with this Madness there are many special moments made.
We’ve all seen these moments and even been a part of them. It’s the occasion where real life becomes a part of the game. We all love to see our favorite team win but nothing is more compelling than to see some of these real life dramas play out during the NCAA Tournament. Moments when folks overcome real life adversity, moments of great personal triumph, moments that bring people together and moments that bring people real joy.
If you aren’t a Louisville Basketball fan chances are that you will forget who the 2013 National Champion was. But there isn’t a college basketball fan that will forget how that team rallied around one of their fallen brothers. The moment when they lowered the basket to let Kevin Ware cut that net folks all over the country were cutting it with him.
And as a fan how great was it to see Tim Henderson hit those three point shots. What a moment for that young man. And I’ll never forget how happy I was for Luke Hancock getting to play the best basketball of his life in front of his ailing father. And there wasn’t a father among us who couldn’t relate to the pride Mr. Siva had cheering for his son and how he had overcome his own adversity through his son’s faith. We all felt great joy in watching that team win a championship.
On Friday I’m looking forward to heading to Indianapolis for a college basketball smorgasbord. I’m going to watch four basketball games that will feature three different basketball teams from Kentucky. I’m also looking forward to that moment that Moment when my Cardinals make their return to the NCAA Tournament again after a post season ban and that moment when Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball NKU’s Carson Williams takes the NCAA Tourney floor for the first time. Carson is only the second player from my humble hometown of Owenton Kentucky to play in the Big Dance. That entire community and everyone from there have followed this young man’s journey. Friday will be a culmination of the pride we all have for him.
There is going to be a lot of great basketball played over the next three weeks. And there are going to be many more special moments made. Don’t get all caught up in the wins and losses of it all and miss out on some of the real life inspiration that can come from it. Don’t miss the “Feel Good” of it all. I wish each of you a great March Madness. Enjoy it! Go Cards!
There have been many great athletes come through the Louisville football program each leaving their mark etched in Cardinal Lore… Young men who make the decision to come be a part of the Cardinal family and let us all be a part of this very important chapter in their lives. We share their highs and their lows and feel proud of them when they succeed.
This season Lamar Jackson left a pretty big mark on the Louisville program and leaped his way into the hearts of the College football world. He won over thousands with his athletic ability and electrifying moves on the football field, but it was the humble, shy, respectful, decent young man off the field that won me over.
When he wasn’t beating himself up with those way too low grades he gave himself after every game he was praising his teammates and coaches. A guy so soft spoken that you had to sometimes struggle to hear in a post-game locker-room, but one who had just been ferocious on the football field.
Lamar Jackson would take the time to sign a young girls cast or to give a kid his wrist band, but did everything he could to avoid the fanfare. Back in September I covered the very first football game of the season. Lamar had 8 touchdowns, 286 yards passing and 119 yards rushing. I took the picture above and after the game against Charlotte the writing was on the wall. But I digress…
After the post-game interviews wrapped up that night in the locker-room I gathered my things and headed to my car. As I walked out Lamar Jackson walked out of the player’s door ahead of me. As he headed out of the gates in front of me there were several groups of fans and players acquaintances. I noticed that Lamar put his ear phones in, pulled his hood up and headed towards Floyd Street.
I always park in the lot over by Lynn Stadium and as I watched Lamar walk down a low lit side walk towards campus I thought to myself here’s a kid who just put his name in a lot of sports conversations walking all alone back to his dorm just like the average college student getting out of a night class.
Lamar didn’t stop by the fanfare that night to accept all of that praise; he didn’t go get into a flashy sports car and drive off with a car load of co-eds… That’s not who Lamar Jackson is.
Lamar Jackson is an unbelievable athlete and I love watching him spin… leap and dive like those characters I played with as a kid on my Nintendo. But nothing impresses me more than how someone with all that ability can be so humble.
Last night Lamar Jackson was awarded the biggest individual prize in college football. He won the Heisman Trophy by gathering all those amazing stats and by being a phenomenal athlete. He earned it… But it was that soft spoken humble guy who clumsy with his words gave all of the credit to his coaches, friends and family who deserved it.
Now back to that Cardinal Lore… my son is 5 years old and I already have him very active in the Cardinal universe. I’ve got to share some pretty cool moments with him already. Last season when he got to stand beside me on the field in the Georgia Dome, this season when Coach Galloway called him over and talked with him during spring practice… I’m trying to create tradition and those memories for him to pass down to his kids someday.
Last night he was with me celebrating the Football programs first Heisman Trophy and I had him out taking a picture with me in front of the Lamar Jackson tribute at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium at 11:30. That’s good stuff folks. And we owe it all to those great Cardinal football players who have helped us make those memories. And we owe it to Lamar Jackson.
Lamar Jackson has added an amazing story to Cardinal Lore and I’m sure it will not be the last. Hopefully we’ll all be right back here a year from now doing this all again. Archie Griffin is the only person to win the Heisman Trophy two times… Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes said of Griffin, “He’s a better young man than he is a football player, and he’s the best football player I’ve ever seen”. Does that remind you of anyone you know..?
Along with the high expectations of the upcoming Cardinal Football season there has been a level of anticipation waiting to hear from the NCAA about whether or not they will accept the self-imposed penalty by the Louisville Basketball team or will it be more punishment coming. I know it has been the big elephant in the room for many die hard Cardinal fans and we just want it to be over and behind us.
While the Louisville Program continues to wait on that final judgment of the NCAA today Coach Pitino got some big news from the big man of the future Malik Williams. Williams is a 6-11 product of R. Nelson Snide High School in Indiana. This kid really burst onto the recruiting scene during the spring playing with Legit Basketball in Indiana. When you see scouts and other folks breaking down his game they talk about how well he runs the floor as a big man and how well he moves in the post. He is a player that is capable of facing up and making a move to the basket and can step back and hit shots on the perimeter.
Coach Pitino said recently that he was going to go back to having his teams press a lot more. This means that the back-court guys along with front-court guys are going to have to be able to run up and down the floor and be able to make things happen on both ends of the court. Malik Williams is a guy that can do that and will fit in nicely to what Coach Pitino’s plan is for his team. Williams just recently started to break-out as a big time player but a lot of programs had taken notice of his potential. He held offers from Georgetown, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, Michigan State, North Carolina State and UCLA.
Coach Pitino got the guy he wanted in the 2016 Class when he inked VJ King, and now has started the 2017 Class off with a guy to build around. Williams will blend into the Louisville program nicely. He is a kid that has been described as having a great work ethic and has that competitiveness and desire Coach Pitino loves in a player. With the potential to be a future NBA player is a kid who will need a couple of seasons of college to get ready for that. Williams a four star recruit is ranked #42 in the ESPN 100, #22 in 247 Sports, #30 in the Scout 100 and #35 in the Rivals 150.
Now that Coach Pitino has his big man of the future he will turn his focus to the perimeter. Other primary targets that he will look to add to this class are Makai Ashton-Langford, Brandon Randolph, Alex O’Connell, Darius Perry, Lindell Wigginton, and Matt Coleman. You can check the profile of these players along with Malik Williams over on the Beak Recruiting Page
This has been a great week for Cardinal Sport’s fans. Football season is ramping up and with less than a hundred days until College Basketball tips we got a very solid player for the future of the program. I’m looking forward to what is shaping up to be a very good year of Cardinal athletics.
ESPN BREAKDOWN OF MALIK WILLIAMS
Williams is extra long and lean power forward. He has good hands and runs the floor extremely well. He is also a high level shot blocker with great length and timing. In the lane he scores with quick turn shots or finishes above the rim when he receives drop off passes created by dribble penetration. He handles the ball pretty well for his size and has good range on his jumper from the mid range areas out to the arc with needed time and space. He rebounds well with his length as opposed to strength.
Williams will need to continue to.work on adding strength and weight in order to be more physical and make his production more consistent.
Williams is a high major prospect with excellent versatility. He is talented and loaded with potential with his best playing days ahead of him.
I took my son to his first T-Ball practice last week. Before the practice starts I see this kid over to the side playing catch with his father. This kid was really good and catching every ball his Dad was throwing to him. Wanting to be challenged more he was yelling at his Dad “make me move”. As I’ve grown older I find myself wanting to be challenged more and am always looking for someone or something to “make me move” There aren’t very many times while we are on this earth that we will be truly “moved”
This past week we lost one of The Greatest men this world has ever known. In his lifetime Muhammad Ali was responsible for not only making those around him “move” but inspired the world to “move”. Over the past week I have been “moved” hearing the stories and seeing the impact that this Great Man had. Among my favorites are the time Ali helped a random car full of college students whose car had broken down on the side of the road, in 1981 how Ali talked a suicidal man out of jumping to his death, or the time he helped secure the release of 15 US hostages in Iraq.
I was also “moved” this past week to see the impact Muhammad Ali has had on not only his generation but many generations to come. Covering Louisville sports this week It was great to see the Louisville Baseball team wear the name “ALI” on their hats, and seeing that even in his passing he was with them and inspiring them to be great, or reading about a group of Louisville Football players who went to Ali’s childhood home to pay their respects. Even on Friday seeing that the Louisville Basketball team was together paying their respects at the Ali memorial service.
Watching the memorial service Friday afternoon I was not only “moved” but was challenged personally to “move”. The speeches were incredible and very inspiring but the thing that really stood out was how Muhammad Ali even in his post-life was able to bring a city, a state, a country and a nation together. Friday there was no black & white, us & them, Christian or Muslim, gay or straight, Republican or Democrat, Cards or Cats. That day we all came together to honor someone who “moved us”.
Thank you Muhammad Ali for making this world a better place, thank you in these trying times for showing us all that we can co-exist and thank you for making us “move”.
Ali “moved” me this past week and I will “move” to be a better person. I think that is his final challenge to us all.
“Don’t count the days; make the days count”- Muhammad Ali