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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgSaying God-Bye To STRONG WILL
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For the last three or four years Cardinal fans have relished in the consistency of our athletic programs. We have had the privilege of watching some great players who became legendary. They left their mark on the program by being champions on the court, and field. And they were athletes that also set the right example academically, socially, and spiritually. Guys like Teddy Bridgewater, and Russ Smith became a staple for their respective sports and you knew when they played that they were going to do so with a sense of pride and purpose. Those guys weren’t playing for the name on the back of their jerseys.

There have been many guys and gals over the years who have cared enough to give their very best and the Louisville athletic programs are rich and vibrant because of that. I could name them all here, but you know who they are. And that’s not the point of this article. Every three or four years there is a symbolic passing of the torch and in successful programs like at the University of Louisville tradition never graduates. As we transition into a new era we will officially say good-bye to the past. Not forgetting, but pouring our passion and support out to the guys and gals who will take that symbolic torch and write their own chapters in the Cardinal history books.

Will Gardner was considered the best quarterback in the state of Georgia in the class of 2012, and was one of the top prospects in the country at his position. He was named one of Tom Lemmings Top 25 combo QB’s. He had scouts singing his praises for his ability on the football field, and his pedigree is that of a champion. When he committed to Charlie Strong and the Cardinals he turned down the likes of Alabama and other top programs. He was considered one of Strong’s best recruiting grabs. During his senior season in high school Gardner tore his ACL causing him to miss most of his senior campaign. To make things worse, when he got to Louisville he had another setback, re-injuring his knee in practice. Teddy ultimately became the starter and Gardner embraced the back-up role, rehabilitating and waiting for his time.

Will got his chance to shine during the 2014 season when he was given the starting nod. He was 5-2 as a starter for the Cardinals, throwing for 1,669 yards and 12 touchdowns, with only three interceptions. But then bad luck came his way again and he was re- injured during the 1st half of the Boston College game. Again Will was put on the sidelines. But Will Gardner is one of the guys like I mentioned above. He was highly respected by the other players around him and was an example academically, socially, and spiritually. This kid is oozing with integrity never wavering on the program that he has loved so dearly.

The news of his transfer is not shocking and this kid deserves his chance to get on a football field and lead a team into battle. Another football program will benefit greatly from his strong will. That’s what he will leave in the Cardinal history books and that will be the title of his chapter STRONG WILL. I wish this young man nothing but success in all he does. Thank you Will!

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgIs Montrezl Harrell the Greatest Person To Wear a Louisville Basketball Uniform?
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Montrezl Harrell has been the epitome of class. He has always carried himself with dignity and set the right example academically, socially and spiritually. He has respect for the game of basketball and plays it with more passion, desire and enthusiasm than most of us have ever seen. When he was winning a gold medal for this country a few summers ago the announcers made comments during the game that they had never seen a player go harder. They called him “Enthusiasm Personified”.

Montrezl finished his Louisville career as the all-time dunk leader and a National Champion. He provided Cardinal fans with many moments of excitement over the years and we’ll likely never forget just how hard he played when wearing the Cardinal Red. But I really think that will end up a footnote compared to what Montrezl did off the court. Which leads me to ask this question…? Is Montrezl the greatest person to ever wear a Louisville uniform?

Normally around this time of year we are hearing about how Montrezl has shattered a backboard in some gym where he was playing a pick-up game, but Today Montrezl is dominating the sports headlines for his heroic efforts in breaking a window pulling a person from an overturned vehicle and saving their life.

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This is just an incredible story and it got me to thinking about a few other heroic things that Montrezl has done over the years.

At the end of last season Montrezl Harrell was one of the standouts of March Madness. He was focused on getting his team to another Final Four and trying to play well enough so the many scouts in attendance would take notice. For Montrezl being on such a big stage provided another opportunity to help others.

Montrezl wore Yellow Shoe Laces for a school project and as a way to bring awareness to and for his support of kids affected by pediatric cancer. Montrezl had been inspired by a young Louisville boy named Gavin Howard.

Gavin had been selling T-shirts and hoodies for years to help raise money for Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Harrell said he befriended Gavin during his Louisville career and often wears his T-Shirts.

And I remember after many games Montrezl would spend 20 minutes signing autographs for kids and making a little time for each of them. The person that sent me the photo below last season said “He signed autographs until they made him get on the bus”

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I also remember 2 years ago when a 9 year old Louisville boy Cruz Colvin was fighting long odds for a bone marrow match. The Louisville third graders family and friends were recruiting the public to be potential donors. When Montrezl got word of this in the local news he took the time to visit Cruz and also took the time to join the National Bone Marrow Registry.

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And who will ever forget this image of Montrezl taking the time to hug a special needs child at a women’s basketball game a few seasons ago…

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Among the headlines of Montrezl saving lives we also got the news today that he had agreed in principle to a deal with the Houston Rockets. I hope that franchise understands the quality they are getting in this young man. He’s not only a great basketball player but is also one of the best human beings that I’ve ever seen. Kudos to you Montrezl Harrell and may we all learn a lesson from your many selfless acts. I can only imagine what this world would be like if it had more people like you in it. I very proud to have had the opportunity to cover you while at Louisville and I will always be a fan. God Bless You Man!

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgCards Kick-off Year Two at ACC Media Days
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Sunday marks the unofficial start of the college football season for us in ACC country. It’s a lean time of the year for college sports but conference media days is a thirst quenching event for all avid fans. Coach Petrino will have Sheldon Rankins and James Burgess with him at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina July 19-21. Two great defensive players that will certainly play a major role in the the Cardinals success in year two of the conference.

Last year at the ACC Media Days the Cardinals garnered quite a bit of attention being the new kids on the block. They brought with them a reputation of a program on the rise and one that was going to give their very best every time they hit the field, and they had to go out and prove that in year one.

On Sunday they will make their second appearance at the event and this time our Cardinals will bring with them a proven identity. An identity developed from going out and competing at the highest level with every ACC football program they played against last season. The Cardinals did more than prove they belonged in year one, they proved they could contend.

I don’t think the players or the coaches considered last year’s transition or really thought about it that much. They went out on the field and performed trying to be the best football team on that day.

As a fan I really enjoyed the transition and enjoyed getting to watch my Cardinals play and get wins in great venues like Notre Dame Stadium. I also enjoyed watching them go toe-to-toe with the elites of the ACC. I’m looking forward to another great year in the ACC and looking forward to seeing my Cards take another step up in the hierarchy.

Here are the top questions I think the media will have for our Cardinals over the next few days:

#1 Who’s going to play quarterback?
Coach Petrino said recently in an interview with local media that all of his guys are currently on an equal playing field and that there were no leaders for the position. He said that there was no current ranking and that he was looking forward to watching them compete for the starting job. It may be late August before we know who the starter will be but just might get an update this week.

#2 How will the Cardinals offense recover from losing 5 starters?
The Cardinals lost two of their best receivers and three veteran starters off of the offensive line. Are Tobijah Hughley and Aaron Epps ready to step up and anchor the rebuilt line and how the Juco guys will play a role in that? Who are the other potential starters? James Quick will lead the receiving corps but who has the potential to have the biggest impact in that group.

#3 Can the Cardinals follow up their 9 win inaugural season in the ACC?
It’s going to be a little different this season for our Cardinals. They will go from being the hunter to the hunted. The ACC has been put on notice and they know what they are up against now.

#4 Are there any key injuries/issues heading into Fall camp?
Coach Petrino said last week in a small interview with local media that everyone should be healthy and ready to go by August 6th. May get another update this week.

#5 How will the Cardinals defense recover from losing its heart and soul?
Maybe heart and soul is a stretch but the secondary was completely gutted and it is hard to replace guys like Lorenzo Mauldin. How are the high profile transfers figuring in and will they be ready for the challenge? We’ll surely get an update this week.

Should be an informative few days, and if you are craving football like I am then you’ll want to tune into the festivities over the next few days. Here’s how:

ONLINE & LIVE COVERAGE SCHEDULE

MONDAY, JULY 20
11:30 a.m. Commissioner’s Forum Watch Live on ACC.com & ESPN3
2:00-5:00 p.m. Student-Athlete Interviews Watch Live on ACC.com & ESPN3

TUESDAY, JULY 21
8:00 a.m. Preseason Media Poll and Preseason Player of the Year Announced
via ACC.com and official social accounts
8:15-11:45 a.m. Coach Interviews Watch Live on ACC.com & ESPN3

THURSDAY, JULY 23
11:00 a.m. 2015 Preseason All-ACC team announced
via ACC.com and official social accounts

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgCards and Hoosiers Still In Serious Talks About A Series
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Last season an old rivalry was renewed when the Cards and Hoosiers did battle in the Jimmy V Classic. Louisville beat Indiana 94-74 on that Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden. That game marked the 17th meeting between the two schools in history with IU holding a 10-7 advantage. The teams have met four times since 1990 with IU holding a 3-2 edge in those games. The game last season was not part of an ongoing series but was instead a one-game contract between the two schools. Coach Pitino has been working hard to get a home and home series with the Hoosiers but that hasn’t come about yet.

Cardinal fans and Hoosier were hoping that game on December 9th would spark up the old feud enough to make this an annual meeting. All had been quiet on that front until last night when WHAS’s Kent Spencer tweeted out that IU AD Fred Glass said that serious talks are still ongoing with both schools to get a series in basketball, but that no deal had been reached. These comments were made at the “On the Road with the Hoosiers” event at Huber’s Winery. I know the idea of a home and home then a game at Lucas Oil Stadium had been tossed around. I don’t care where they play I’d just love to see this series get done.

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The Cardinals already have one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country headed into next season that includes trips to Michigan State and Lexington. Just a few days ago it was announced that the Cards will head to the Barclays Center for a game against St Louis on Thanksgiving weekend.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgWill Coach Pitino Have His First One and Done?
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Is it possible that there could be a One and Done freshman at Louisville next season? Rick Pitino does such a great job at finding the guys that are diamonds in the ruff but in the case of Donovan Mitchell he might just be a diamond. Like all of the guys in the 2015 group Donovan Mitchell finished his prep season rising in the ranks. In the ESPN.com rankings he went from No.72 to No.37 and has continued to improve his stock ever since. Making his way through the all-star circuit this spring he has more than turned a few heads.

A few weekends ago he amazed local crowds with his speed, athleticism; poise and strength at the Derby Basketball Classic where he won the events slam dunk contest and the MVP of the game for his team. On Friday night he played in the Jordan Brand Regional game where he scored 30 points and won the MVP of that event. In their wrap-up for the Jordan Brand Regional game Evan Daniels and Rob Harrington raved about the Cardinal’s future guard. They even talked about an NBA executive asking when he could draft Mitchell.

Here’s an excerpt from their article:

Donovan Mitchell, SG – In all honesty, Mitchell appeared to be a snub for the National game and he proved it in the Regional contest. A 6-foot-3 physical guard, Mitchell played the game with a chip on his shoulder and left the Barclays Center with the MVP trophy. Mitchell made plays in transition, aggressively attacked the basket, finished above the rim and also worked in three three-pointers. Mitchell’s performance led to one NBA executive asking, “When can I draft that guy?” He’s a great fit for Louisville’s up and down, tough, physical style of basketball.

Until the ball is tipped for the 2015/16 College Basketball season no-one knows for sure that Donovan Mitchell will be a One and Done player and I detest the possibility we would only get this young man for one year. But from what I witnessed in person from the Derby Classic and from what I’ve seen of his game he is definitely ready for college basketball and is already the odds on favorite to be in the mix for ACC freshman of the year. And hearing that an NBA Executive is already talking about drafting him I’d say there’s a chance his time in Louisville could be short lived. Regardless it’s all speculation and there will be a lot of that this summer.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgCardinals Hope To Hear Their Names Called In The 2015 NFL Draft
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On Thursday night 10 Cardinals will start waiting for their names to be called in the 2015 NFL Draft. Devante Parker, Lorenzo Mauldin, John Miller, Charles Gaines, B.J. Dubose, Jamon Brown, Gerod Holliman, Gerald Christian, James Sample, and Dominique Brown are this year’s guys who will most likely be included in the annual 3 day event. They will have 7 rounds with 256 picks to get a chance to hear their names called. The Louisville Football Program has had 29 NFL Draft picks in the last 10 years that includes 5 first round picks. The program had a school record in the 2005 NFL Draft when six Cardinals heard their names called.

There are currently 13 Cardinals on NFL rosters that were products of the NFL Draft. Who will join them? Below I have listed each player and some of the predictions made by various sources as to where and when they might get drafted. Thursday night will be another exciting one and I hope our guys all get to realize their dreams this weekend.

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(Photo Courtesy UofLSports)

Mock Drafts
-Mel Kiper Jr of ESPN #10 St Louis Rams
-Peter Schrager of Fox Sports #17 San Diego Chargers
-Peter King of Sports Illustrated #15 Kansas City Chiefs
-WalterFootball.com #11 Minnesota Vikings
-NFL.com #11 Minnesota Vikings
-Drafttek.com #12 Cleveland Browns

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(Photo Courtesy UofLSports)

Mock Drafts
-Mel Kiper Jr of ESPN #92 Denver Broncos
-Peter Schrager of Fox Sports #86 Arizona Cardinals
-WalterFootball.com #106 Chicago Bears
-Drafttek.com #55 Arizona Cardinals

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(Photo Courtesy UofLSports)

Mock Drafts
-Peter Schrager of Fox Sports #63 Seattle Seahawks
-WalterFootball.com #155 Buffalo Bills
-Drafttek.com #130 Seattle Seahawks

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(Photo Courtesy UofLSports)

Mock Drafts
-Peter Schrager of Fox Sports #178 New England Patriots (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
-WalterFootball.com #142 Chicago Bears
-Drafttek.com #124 Carolina Panthers

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(Photo Courtesy UofLSports)

Mock Drafts
-Most predict 7th round to Free Agency for Dubose
-Drafttek.com #193 Kansas City

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(Photo Courtesy UofLSports)

Mock drafts
-Most predict 7th round Detroit Lions to Free Agency

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(Photo Courtesy UofLSports)

Mock Drafts
-Peter Schrager of Fox Sports #150 Miami Dolphins
-WalterFootball.com #203 Denver Broncos
-Drafttek.com #149 Miami Dolphins

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(Photo Courtesy UofLSports)

Mock Drafts
-Most predict 7th round to Free Agency for Christian

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(Photo Courtesy UofLSports)

Mock Drafts
-Mel Kiper Jr of ESPN #89 Carolina Panthers
-Peter Schrager of Fox Sports #87 Pittsburgh Steelers
-WalterFootball.com #125 Baltimore Ravens
-Drafttek.com #128 Indianapolis Colts

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(Photo Courtesy UofLSports)

Mock Drafts
-Most predict 7th round to Free Agency for

Thursday night will feature the complete first round of the 2015 NFL Draft beginning at 8:00pm and we will hear Devante Parker’s name called. If Parker is selected in the 1st round, it would give the Cards four first round picks in the last two seasons and the 12th overall in school history. Friday night will feature the second and third rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft beginning at 7:00pm. This is where I expect we will hear the names of Lorenzo Mauldin, James Sample, and Jon Miller. Saturday will feature the fourth through seventh rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft beginning at 12:00pm, and this is where we will hear the names of the rest of the Cardinals left hopefully. I think we could also see Deiontrez Mount and Michael Dyer slip into these later rounds. Be sure to tune in.. L1C4…

 

Louisville’s Gerald Christian And Dominique Brown In Chicago For NFL Draft

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgLouisville Lands Damion Lee
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Damion Lee a 6-foot-6, immediately-eligible shooting guard from Baltimore who is college basketball’s most prized available transfer has chose to bring his talents to Louisville for his final season. He is transferring from Drexel where he was on pace to become one of the school’s all-time leading scorers. This past season, Lee averaged 21.4 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 38.5 percent from 3-point range and 88.7 percent from the free throw line. He earned CAA Rookie of the Year honors, averaging 12.0 ppg and 4.4 rpg to help the Dragons make the 2012 CAA championship game.

Lee is a player that prides himself on being a stat stuffer and making his presence felt all over the court. He is also a very underrated player on the defensive side of the ball and I think he will be a perfect fit for Coach Pitino’s premiere match-up zone defense. With this addition our Cardinals will be a top 10 team to start the season and should be one of the top contenders for the Title by years end. Can’t wait to see the 2015-16 group on the court.

Coach Pitino talks about the addition of LEE:

(Video Courtesy Howie Lindsey)

Here’s a great Highlight video that covers Damion Lee’s career:

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgCardinal Football Springs Into the Summer
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It was a beautiful evening for the Spring Football game and a great atmosphere at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. Official attendance was 23,187… Very good turn-out but looking forward to the day we can fill it up for a Spring Game.

COACH PETRINO POST GAME:

Looks like Reggie is going to be QB1 heading into the Fall and will be tough to beat out for starter. The experience he got last year in some pretty big games has given him a lot of confidence. He looked really good tonight even throwing the long ball.

REGGIE’S POST GAME:

As expected Brandon Radcliff is on another level. He had 57 yards and 3 Touchdowns. This young man was as advertised tonight. He looks sharper on his cuts and seems to added a second gear to his breakaway speed. He is headed for a big season. I was also very impressed tonight with Jeremy Smith. He had 58 yards, and 1 touchdown. This young man has some great potential as well and just might find himself at the #2 spot.

James Quick was the most impressive player out of the wide receiver corps. He looked very in sync with Reggie and these guys are going to make a lot of plays together in the future. He had 7 grabs tonight for 127 Yards.

JAMES QUICK POST GAME:

And as I’ve told you folks from all my coverage of spring football the defense is going to be one of the top groups in the country again. They were flying around all over the field making plays and had the kind of fire you want to see. Chucky Williams, Henry Famurewa, Pio Vatuvei and Jarrod Barnes had 5 tackles for the 1st team Defense tonight.

KEITH KELSEY POST GAME:

SHELDON RANKINS POST GAME:

It was a great night of football and I can’t wait until September to take on Auburn to open the season. Go Cards!

Video courtesy the guys over at TheCrunchZone.com

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgCardinal Football Adds Much Needed Offensive Lineman
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The Cardinal Football program added an offensive lineman to the incoming class on Wednesday in 6-3, 300 pound Juco player Kevin Austin. This kid spent his freshman season at Auburn as a preferred walk-on, and spent last season at Mesa Arizona Community College.

The one and only real concern I had for this year’s team was how thin we are up front. Watching the Cardinals this spring it is an obvious area where the Cardinals have the most shortcomings. I like the addition of Austin and I think it will give Coach Klenakis more options. Austin is a very versatile lineman and can pretty much play any position including center.

Watching his videos he displays good effort as a blocker as he looks to work hard to get his man blocked and finish, displays some nastiness to him. Moving to a program like UofL and in the ACC from the Juco level he’ll need to continue to improve, get stronger and refine his game, but good ability and effort to develop into a great major college OL.

KEVIN AUSTIN #54 Sophomore C G Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ Highlights

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgLouisville Makes the List of 5 for LEE
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Damion Lee was on top of the wish list of several big-time programs, but on Sunday night he decided to cut that list to five schools and Louisville made the cut. Evan Daniels tweeted out the good news on Sunday night and Lee told Scout just what he liked about the Cards:

Louisville: “Playing in arguably best conference in the ACC. Of course playing for coach [Rick] Pitino, he’s a Hall of Fame coach. The guys they are bringing, they are looking pretty good in the ACC.”

Damion Lee a 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing who is transferring from Drexel where he was on pace to become one of the school’s all-time leading scorers. This past season, Lee averaged 21.4 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 38.5 percent from 3-point range and 88.7 percent from the free throw line. He earned CAA Rookie of the Year honors, averaging 12.0 ppg and 4.4 rpg to help the Dragons make the 2012 CAA championship game.

Lee will visit the UofL campus on April 19-21 and will also take visits to the other campuses. I don’t really have a feel for this situation but I think the Cardinals have just as good of shot as the other schools listed. Guess we’ll see…

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgMultiple Sources Reporting Trey Lewis To Louisville
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If you have been keeping up with all of the 5th year transfer news since the end of the season then you know who Trey Lewis is and you know the impact he will have next year for our Cardinals. Trey Lewis is a 6-2 Combo Guard who played for Cleveland State this past season and even played against Louisville. He scored 24 points in that game, and was his teams offense.

He averaged 16.7 points, and 4.3 rebounds this season scoring 555 points hitting a school record 93 three pointers. He is a complete basketball player and you’ll see points, rebounds, assists and steals on the stat line when he steps onto the court. This guy is a great player and with his experience and skill level next years team goes from very good to contender… Lewis will make his decision official at his high school tomorrow per his coach.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgCardinal Football Players Answering the Bell in the off season
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When it comes to sports the off season is the most important time of the year especially in football. Championships are earned just as much in the weight room as they are on the field of play. A good strength and conditioning program in the off season can set the tone for a team. In that weight room is where athletes prove to themselves that they are ready to physically, mentally, and emotionally challenge the big boys.

If successful in meeting their workout challenges during the off season players are well prepared and have done the work, now it’s time to play. Nothing on the field is ever more important than playing fast and physical. Our Cardinals football team is currently putting in the work to make sure they are ready to do just that when the time comes.

Louisville Football Strength and Conditioning Spring 2015:

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgCould the 2015-16 Basketball Season be Looking Rozier
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I have been following the career of Terry Rozier for years and knew that he was going to be a special player at UofL. So far he has lived up to those expectations and then some. Named to the Wooden Award late season top 20 he is leading the Cardinals with 17.4 points a game and already has 765 points in his Louisville career. His role on the team has become even larger since the Jones dismissal and he has played 78 minutes in the last two games. He is currently 4th in the ACC in scoring (66th nationally), 7th in FT% (209th nationally), and 2nd in steals (28th nationally).

Everyone expected that Rozier would be a two year player on the collegiate level and even coach Pitino had hinted that he would be gone after this season. But last night on his weekly coaches show Pitino told Paul Rodgers that only Montrezl and Wayne would go through the Senior Day ceremonies on Saturday afternoon. Coach Pitino said that Rozier is not going through ceremonies because he may come back dependent on what he hears from NBA folks. This could be potentially huge news for the team next year if indeed Rozier decides on a 3rd season at Louisville.

Rozier’s current standing on NBA mock draft boards is as follows NBADraft.net 16th pick, CBSSports 36th pick, DraftExpress 38th pick, ESPN Chad Ford’s Big Board 26th pick, and Hoops Hype 14th pick. As you can see it’s kind of all over the map right now as to where Rozier would be selected. He is being recruited at the next level as a point guard and if he came back it would be to improve some of his numbers at that position like his assist to turnover ratio. He is currently not even among the nation’s 225 in that category. I also think he may benefit from a weaker draft class next season as this 2015 class is loaded.

I’m not overly confident that Terry will come back as he has said in past interviews that his goal was to be a two year college player, but it sure would be nice to have him around for another year. It would also help a Cardinal basketball season next year that looks to be pretty bleak. I think a lot also has to do with how the Cardinals finish this season. He could really improve his stock by leading a big ACC Tourney and NCAA run.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgGood Chris Hunting
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Sunday afternoon the Chris Jones saga took another strange turn. After serving a brief suspension and returning on Saturday to help lead the Cardinals to a win over Miami we learned that now he has been dismissed from the Louisville program. This Chris Jones situation eerily played out just like the Chane Behanan ordeal last season and now he will look to take a similar path Chane did after his dismal. It was reported late on Sunday night by Jeff Greer of the Courier Journal that Chris will seek help for anger management from John Lucas.

Chris is a self-taught basketball player whose skills were developed on Memphis playgrounds. He grew up in the rough Orange Mound section of Memphis and his identity as a person and his reputation as a basketball player stem from those city roots. While growing up surrounded by drugs, gangs and other dysfunction Chris was able to avoid any real trouble. Most thought that when Chris got away from that environment and got with a Coach that would challenge him to be better that he would flourish.

After struggling in high school with his attitude and his academics he found that coach at a Junior College at Northwest Florida, where he played for Steve Forbes. Forbes was able to help Chris harness some of his anger and use it towards his basketball game. Chris was able to do that to a certain point and kept his nose clean long enough to win the Juco National POY in two straight seasons. This helped him catch the eye of Coach Pitino who desperately needed a point guard. Coach Pitino has pushed back and has always challenged Chris to overcome his defense mechanisms learned through that early dysfunction. He took a chance on Chris and that didn’t work out.

Everyone likes to see these situations end with success and there’s not a person who probably feels worse than Coach Pitino that it didn’t. I don’t think Chris has completely lost his way. It is very difficult to erase years of damage created by growing up in rough environments. It takes a person to decide that they want to change their past and create a better future for themselves. Hopefully this latest failure in Chris Jones life will be the wakeup call he needs. I really hope that Louisville First isn’t Chris Jones last. I hope that he gets the help he needs and finds the courage it takes to finally change his life not for a coach, not for fans, not for a team but for himself.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgGorgui Dieng Great Player, Ambassador and Recruiter?
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Since leaving the Louisville Basketball program in 2013 where he helped lead the Cardinals to a third national title Gorgui Dieng has made a pretty good name for himself in the NBA. He has already proven to be capable of putting up big scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking numbers while playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is considered by most to be one of the more promising centers in the NBA.

Just has he did while at Louisville Gorgui has remained a great player on the court and a great person off the court. Gorgui remains a great Ambassador for his country and for the game of basketball. Last season Gorgui returned to Senegal to help the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launch the Live, Learn and Play program.This program will use basketball to promote development among boys and girls and advance local coaching expertise. It will also include a comprehensive basketball-based youth development program aimed at using the values of the game including leadership, character and teamwork to promote youth development and citizenship in 20 schools in Senegal.

This season Gorgui has been selected to be among the players who will work at the Basketball without Borders (BWB) Global Camp during All-Star weekend. Gorgui will take part in the Feb. 13-15 camp at Baruch College, the first held in the United States. The NBA said Thursday that the camp will consist of 39 players between ages 16-18, representing 23 countries, who will work on improving their skills in training sessions, shooting competitions and games. There have been 39 Basketball without Borders camps, organized jointly by the NBA and world governing body FIBA. The league says the Global Camp will become an annual All-Star event.

One of the players headlining the Global Camp is the 4* #1 Canadian Basketball player Jamal Murray. Murray is a 2016 guy who is considering reclassifying and could move into 2015 and be on a college campus next fall. It’s no secret that Coach Pitino is looking for guys to possibly fill out the 2015 class and Murray has been courted by the Cardinals. Back in January Adam Zagoria ‏@AdamZagoria tweeted out “If I’m Rick Pitino I’m doing everything I can to make Jamal Murray my PG next year. Kid looks like he could step into a high-level now.” I don’t know if having the former Cardinal great Gorgui Dieng working with this kid at the Global Camp will help but it certainly couldn’t hurt. Jamal Murray is a kid to keep an eye on over the next few months. I’ll have updates on Murray as well as other 2016 targets on my recruiting page.

It’s also worth the time to keep tabs on Gorgui Dieng. He continues to improve and continues to impress in his young NBA career. I really do miss Gorgui but love reading about his successes in the NBA and about all of the positive things he is doing for others and the game of basketball.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgLozo Trying To Make His Dreams Reality In Senior Bowl
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We have all followed the career of Lorenzo Mauldin with admiration for all that he had to overcome in his personal life and in awe of his play on the field. Now he is out to get the attention of the NFL Scouts in the annual Senior Bowl.

The Senior Bowl is like an AAU event for college seniors and NFL Scouts. This is the last chance for some of these college players to show what they have as far as game prep and real live action are concerned. Lorenzo is currently predicted to go in the draft somewhere near the middle of the second round.

I really hope Lozo can improve his stock this weekend because there is not another young man on that field who deserves it more. You can tune in this weekend to watch Lozo try to impress the scouts:

DATE: Saturday, January 24, 2015
TIME: 3pm CT
WHERE: Mobile, Alabama
STADIUM: Ladd-Peebles Stadium (38,888)
TELEVISION: NFL Network

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgThe ESPN College Gameday Snub or Maybe Not
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Today social media was in a tizzy when Cardinal fans learned the news that ESPN College Gameday would choose to open up their 2014-15 season at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 17 for the game against Kansas and Iowa State. Immediate rants ensued on how they could possibly choose this game over Louisville and Duke who will tip at noon that same day. Speculation started and most assumed that the early start time was the reason why yet again the KFC Yum Center got the snub.

In an article written by Kami Mattioli of The Sporting News suggest it wasnt a snub at all. ESPN College Sports PR manager Rachel Siegel told Sporting News that, despite its potential historical significance, Duke at Louisville was never an option for the GameDay crew. Siegel also told Sporting News that there will be a set present at the Yum! Center for the Jan. 17 game just not College GameDay’s.

ESPN’s College GameDay has made two trips to Louisville when the Cardinals played at Freedom Hall, one being in 2006 vs. No. 3 Connecticut and then again in 2008 against visiting No.6 Georgetown. Louisville fans showed their support by whiting-out the crowd at Freedom Hall. That’s when Coach Pitino broke out his all-white suit for the first time.

It is a bummer that one of the best college basketball arenas in the country hasn’t been showcased by the Gameday Crew yet, but it is just a matter of time. I think the folks at ESPN probably heard the rumbling all the way in Bristol, Connecticut this morning. Patience is a virtue Cardinal fans.. My father always told me good things come to those who wait.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgFirst Bracketology of 2015 Has Cats and Cards Top Teams in the Midwest
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Here we go again folks… I know that this is just the second release of Joe Lunardi’s post season prognostication and I know that it is merely just for water cooler talk this time of year. But the water cooler must have been hopping today when folks found out that Lunardi had Kentucky the 1 seed and Louisville the 2 seed in the Midwest. Yes this is just a prediction at this point in the season and we are still 3 months from selection Sunday, but don’t think for a second that the folks on that selection committee aren’t licking their chops to get these teams locked up again in the Tourney. They also know that any venue would be busting at the seams with Red and Blue if this happened again.

So far this season the Cardinals are the only team in the country that looked like they could hang with the talented UK group. And if they keep improving and getting some of the newer guys acclimated to the system I like our chances in a rematch in the Elite 8, and what would be better than finally getting the chance to knock them out of tournament for once. But both teams have a long way to go and a lot of games left to play. Today’s Bracketology did give us all something to talk about, but for now that’s all it is.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgWriting Was on the Wall With Akoy
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As most of you have heard already sophomore Akoy Agau will transfer from the Louisville Basketball program. The writing was pretty much on the wall with Akoy. Word of being unsatisfied and having a bad attitude led to a brief suspension last year by coach Pitino, and I don’t think that Akoy really ever found his place in the program.

Akoy Agau was a hero back in Nebraska where he won four state titles for his small 1A high school and is the only high school basketball player in the history of Nebraska that started for four straight title teams. Since getting to Louisville life has been much different for this kid and he has been just another player trying to earn his respect and his spot. He has struggled with weight issues, injury and his playing time hasn’t been satisfactory to him. I think he realized early on that at Louisville he was just a small fish in big lake. As a result I think he has been carrying around some animosity.

Last season there was word of a brief suspension and Coach Pitino sending a message to this kid. Shape up or ship out. This is nothing new for coach Pitino, and this form of tough love has worked for him time and time again. And Akoy seemed to be back on track after that. Then with this latest injury set back I think he felt as though he was back at square one. We have some big time talent coming in and are deep at that 5 spot and earning playing time wasn’t going to get any easier for him. I hope that Akoy finds a program suitable for his talents because he really is a good kid and was always very pleasant in my interaction with him. Good luck Akoy!

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgGerod Holliman Representing the Louisville Football Program Tonight at Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet
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Louisville’s all-star defensive back Gerod Holliman is in Charlotte, North Carolina tonight for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy gala banquet sponsored by ACN at the Westin Hotel. Holliman is one of five finalists for the Nagurski Trophy, which honors the national defensive player of the year in college football. The other finalists are Texas tackle Malcom Brown, Alabama safety Landon Collins, Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright.

“The 2014 Bronko Nagurski award finalists have distinguished themselves as outstanding players and team leaders throughout this football season,” commented John Rocco, Executive Director of the Charlotte Touchdown Club. “Each of these young men is truly deserving of this honor and the winner, like football legend Bronko Nagurski, will be recognized as one of the all-time greats of college football.”

Holliman tied the NCAA FBS single-season record with 14 interceptions after picking off Patrick Towles in the final moments of the game against Kentucky. He had interceptions in nine games this season and had multiple interceptions four different times. His solid defensive play help lead the Louisville defense to a #6 ranking in total defense. The Cardinals will appear in their 3rd straight bowl game later this month and Gerod is a big reason why. Louisville’s Elvis Dumervil won the Nagurski Award in 2005; will Gerod Holliman be next?

“Gerod has had a remarkable season,” head coach Bobby Petrino said. “He has shown an ability to read routes and make plays on the football. It’s a tribute to his understanding of the game and working within the framework of the defense. He’s been exciting to watch this season.”

Here are some photos from the events today, Gerod sit in on radio interviews, met past award winners, and sit in on a Q&A for the Nagurski High School Forum. It’s great having the University of Louisville football program represented at this event.

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Gerod Holliman arriving in Charlotte for the Bronko Awards

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Program with all the Nagurski Award Finalists. Gerod Holliman one of five finalists

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Holliman sit down with @wfnz at Westin Charlotte

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Holliman with Randy White and other Nagurski Award finalists

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Holliman at the Bronko Nagurski High School Forum

(Photos courtesy @UofLsports and The Charlotte Touchdown Club’s twitter account @CTouchdownClub)

Alabama coach Nick Saban will give the keynote address, and this year’s banquet marks the 20th anniversary of the event being held in Charlotte. The awards ceremony will begin at 7:00pm on Monday evening. I will have information on who wins the award as soon as I find out. The banquet will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgLouisville Hosting a Very Talented Group of Football Recruits This Weekend. Last Night They Took In Cardinal Hoops
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The Cardinals football program currently has 21 commits in the class of 2015. It is ranked 30th by 247Sports, 24th by Rivals, 31st by Scout, and 39th by ESPN. It is a class headlined by play-maker Traveon Samuel, three-star pass-catcher Dahu Green and three-star dual-threat QB Lamar Jackson. While Running back James Allen has been mentioned as one of the most improved backs in the country this season. This 2015 class could be the best in the history of the football program.

Looking to solidify that there are still a few players on the wish list. Some of those guys visited last week and the others are on campus this weekend.

-4* Miami RB commit Dexter Williams

Williams has eye-popping measurables and shows flashes of elite skill-set on tape; needs to be more consistent with strength between the tackles. Would like to see him develop more of a downhill presence and convert his rare size to speed combination into more power but he certainly has load-back potential when projecting for the college level.-ESPN

-3* South Carolina DB commit Jaire Alexander

Alexander is a productive corner and return specialist. Sees the field and will accelerate once blocks are set up and a seam appears. Will need to improve his strength which will aid him in his man coverage skills.-ESPN

-4* ATH Jalen Julius

Julius is an exciting football player overall. Possesses an impressive skill set and the ability to play in a variety of roles. He has some difference maker qualities especially as a return specialist. Time in the way room will be significant for him over the course of time to add strength and bulk, but also aid durability. Has been flying under the radar in this class for some reason. Very good prospect.-ESPN

-4* USC WR commit Tristan Payton

Payton looks to have a very promising career ahead of him. He will continue to develop physically which will enhance his strength and presence in a crowd. Shows some difference maker type qualities that lead you to believe that he could be an early contributor. Has a nice overall feel for the game. He’s one of those guys that are competitively fast with consistent production. Best football is ahead of him.-ESPN

-4* South Carolina DE commit Sherrod Pittman

Pittman plays the linebacker position with very good athleticism and a lot of natural ability. Has the potential for early playing time at the next level if his size and playing strength continue to improve.-ESPN

-4* UNC OT commit William Sweet

Sweet is an offensive tackle with nice physical tools to work with. Unless real strides are made as a senior we feel a red-shirt will be needed, but he does display some promising upside to develop into at least an effective starter at the power conference level.-ESPN

-3* OT Kenny Thomas

Thomas’ size, strength and athleticism are all positives however prior to challenging for playing time at the Power Conference level of competition some time and most likely a red shit year will be necessary to polish his technical skills-ESPN

-JUCO OL Idarius Ray

This kid is a beast at 6-7, 324 pounds and watching some film on him he seems like a high-motor, high-effort player with good versatility in the trenches. He moves very well for a player his size and has a lot of upside. We really need this kind of size and athleticism on our offensive line.

-Also visiting this weekend is 3* UofL DE commit Jonathan Greenard

Greenard possesses the playing speed and tackling skill to be productive on special teams; already has a blocked punt to his credit. Needs time and perhaps a red shirt year to add bulk to his frame.-ESPN

I ran into this group of athletes last night at the UofL basketball game and they were kind enough to pose for a picture. You can see some of them already have on their Louisville gear and have mastered their “L” throwing. I hope these guys enjoyed their visit enough to give our Cardinals a serious look. It is a big time list of prospects. Regardless this 2015 class is going to have a huge impact on the program.

To Check out evals, videos and other info on the 2015 Class check out the recruiting page: 2015 CLASS
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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgESPN Names Montrezl of the Top Returning dunkers of College Basketball
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Back a few summers ago during a basketball game that Harrell was playing in for the U-19 USA team (where he won gold) the announcer of the game used “Enthusiasm Personified” to describe Montrezl on a basketball court. I have never heard a better description of how he performs when he steps between the lines. That enthusiasm in his game has lead to him being one of the most dominate players in college basketball. He has done that by developing every aspect of his game and while taking advantage of the most high percentage shot in the game of basketball, “The Slam Dunk”.

In their Top 10 Thursday edition ESPN named Montrezl as one of the top returning dunkers in college hoops. Not only is he one of the best rim shakers in college hoops, but he is on his way to becoming the best in the history of Cardinal Basketball. Montrezl has soared to the top of the dunk record books and now resides with the likes of “The Doctors of Dunk”, “Dr. Dunkenstein” and many more who have rocked the rim during their time as Cardinals. He now holds the record for dunks in a single season with 97 and is the all-time leader in career dunks with 163 breaking the record held by Pervis Ellison who had 162.

This kid has all the raw materials and when he plays he goes hard, real hard “Enthusiasm Personified”. He left a trail of glass at several stops during his summer workouts and will try to rip the goal down all over the ACC this season. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us this season and can’t wait to see him take his spot at the top of the record book.

This excellent video was done by @crumsrevenge last year when Montrezl broke the single season record.


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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgShaqquan Aaron Having Eligibility issues
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After the teams first exhibition game on Saturday against Barry University Jeff Greer of the Courier Journal asked coach Pitino why he hadn’t played his prize recruit in the class of 2014 5* Shaqquan Aaron. After giving a pretty vague answer Coach Pitino told Jeff that “there’s more to it than that”.

Tonight on his first call in show of the season we learned just what that meant. Tonight coach Pitino said that Shaqquan hadn’t yet been cleared by the NCAA and that he would not be playing again this weekend against Bellarmine.

“He has eligibility issues,” Pitino told Paul Rogers tonight. “We have not addressed it to be honest with you because we thought it would’ve been handled weeks ago. But it is still lingering right now. He will not play in the Bellarmine game. We are hoping to have an answer before we go to Puerto Rico.”

Shaqquan had scored 18 points in the Red & White Scrimmage on October 26th and it looked like he was on his way to finding himself some minutes in the Cardinals rotation. Most assumed that Aaron was a strength coach and training table away from producing big for Louisville as his length, handle and fluidness generate baskets. He really does have a chance to be very special.

Lets hope this all gets cleared up as soon as possible because we are gonna need all the help we can get heading into one of the toughest schedules the Cardinals have ever faced.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgLouisville Makes Their First Appearance at ACC Media Days

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Getting a chance to be in the ACC is something that every Cardinal fan has anticipated all off season. And yes it’s been great to experience the ACC on the college football side of things, but the basketball side of things is going to be incredible. Not since the Big East days will we get a chance to see quality basketball games every week. One of the most mentioned things at the Media Day event today was how this could possibly be the best basketball conference ever assembled. And most made comments that the addition of Louisville was a big reason why.

Joining Coach Pitino today at Louisville’s inaugural ACC media days was captains Wayne Blackshear and Montrezl Harrell. Below they talk about some similarities between the old Big East and the new-look ACC and how the Cardinals can succeed in their new conference.

Coach Pitino took the podium today and talked about what he feels the Cardinals can bring to their new conference and what it means to be in the company of coaching legends.

The Cardinals were picked to finish third in the league and Montrezl made it onto the All Conference First team:

-ACC Operation Basketball 2014-15 Preseason Poll
(First-place votes in parenthesis)

Team & Points
1. Duke (41): 935
2. North Carolina (12): 870
3. Louisville (3): 847
4. Virginia: 824 (7)
5. Syracuse: 706 (2)
6. Pitt: 592
7. Notre Dame: 515
8. Florida State: 506
9. NC State: 478
10. Miami: 442
11. Clemson: 330
12. Wake Forest: 221
13. Georgia Tech: 195
14. Boston College: 184
15. Virginia Tech: 155

-2014-15 Preseason All-ACC Team
(votes in parenthesis)
Marcus Paige, North Carolina (63)
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (58)
Jahlil Okafor, Duke (57)
Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia (55)
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame (24)

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgThe First Kenpom Rankings of The Year Are Out
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One of the most respected ranking systems in college sports is Kenpom.com. Throughout the college basketball season, Pomeroy continually updates his KenPom ratings for all 351 Division I men’s basketball programs with metrics such as offensive and defensive efficiency, tempo, and pace. On Sunday evening he released his very first rankings of the year.

He has the Cardinals ranked 3rd overall, has them ranked #1 overall in adjusted defensive efficiency and 3rd overall in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Cardinals have finished the last two seasons ranked #1 in the Pomeroy rankings.

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The ACC comes in at #3 in the first Kenpom conference rankings. There are 5 teams ranked in the top 20 of the rankings. He has the Cardinals ranked #2 in the ACC.

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The college basketball season is taking off and the release of the Kenpom rankings mean that it’s almost that time again. The Cardinals have their first exhibition game coming up this weekend against Barry. It’s going to be an exciting season full of high expectations.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgLouisville Football Cut Its Teeth on Thursday Nights
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Once thought to be a cheap knockoff of Saturday College football the Thursday night college game has become a staple of the season. These Thursday night throw downs started off with much skepticism. Some college football fans and media folks thought that the Thursday night game degraded the product. As the popularity of the mid-week game has increased that negative talk has decreased and even the NFL is now cashing in on the market. The University of Louisville has been a part of ESPN Prime-time College Football Thursday nights since the late 90’s. They were playing on Thursdays before they were cool, and now prepare for one their biggest match-ups they’ve ever had on the mid-week telecast.

Tom Jurich just had his 17th anniversary as the Cardinals athletic director. The impact he’s had on the Louisville athletic programs are nothing short of amazing, and a huge factor in all of the success especially as far as the football program is concerned can be directly linked to his willingness to be a part of ESPN’s weekly college football games. Jurich was quoted after he was hired saying “The thing we need to do right away is to get exposure and get this program branded, and that is something I feel is most essential.”

The Cardinals had played in mid-week games throughout the 90’s, but those games were regional broadcast and it wasn’t until ESPN that those games went national. Louisville football had five national telecasts on ESPN or ESPN2 during the 2001 season and mid-week games were a big reason why. In the ten years prior Louisville had a total of 28 games broadcast. Since 2001 Louisville has regularly appeared on national television and the surge in nationally broadcasted games is linked to Louisville’s embrace of weeknight games. Jurich was quoted saying “That’s helped us immensely; ESPN has helped us build this program. I look at them as a full partner.”

The emergence of the Louisville football program has happened on Thursday nights. Having the undivided attention of college football fans across the country has paid off, and the Cardinals haven’t disappointed. At 10-7 on Thursday nights they have been involved in some great games. Ironically it was the game in 2002 against Florida State that got it all started in a big way when the Cardinals beat the #4 Seminoles in OT 26-20. In 2006 Louisville and West Virginia set the mark that still holds today as the most watched Thursday night game in ESPN history. 4,916,000 households watched the #5 Cardinals beat the #3 Mountaineers 44-34. This game is also the second-biggest college football audience ever for an ESPN game (any day or time slot).

Thinking back about those games I’m reminded of all the highs and lows I’ve felt on Thursday nights over the last 15 years. The field goal at Rutgers was probably the biggest low, but that was replaced by many highs including the Thursday night win against Rutgers that got us to the Sugar Bowl. And that game last year against Cincinnati. All those heroic performances by Teddy and other Cardinal greats the memories just go on and on. They laughed at us for playing the Thursday night games but who’s laughing now. I think it’s been one helluva ride and I’m looking forward to that next great moment.

We may not have to wait long. Next week the #2 Florida State Seminoles will make another trip into Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. This will be the first game between these teams since that instant classic back in 2002. It’s funny how things tend to come full circle. It will be another big game on a Thursday night and maybe the biggest one yet.

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 photo EEACB6F0-B87F-4933-BF41-1228D151D0A3-2756-000002F59D525CA4_zps1e65fb17.jpgCards Back In Jimmy V Classic To Renew Old Rivalry/Tickets On Sale Now
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The Jimmy V Classic is one of my favorite events of the college basketball season. No Championship is on the line, and no tournament berths are at stake. Instead, the basketball world comes together for one night to celebrate the life of one its own, and help to save the lives of many more. It is rare that there is a charity where 100% of everything you contribute goes to research and the Jimmy V Foundation does just that. They received an endowment which allows them to give all of the donations to fight against cancer, not to pay bills. As I am sure is the case with many of you, a lot of people I know have been touched by cancer including my family. Some have fought and won, others have fought and lost. I hope for a day when we can eliminate the second group and everyone fights and wins. The Jimmy V Classic has been played since 1995.

Tickets went on sale Wednesday for the Cardinals December 9th appearance in the Jimmy V Classic.. That last time the Cards were in this event was back in 2006. That was a time when Louisville’s luck wasn’t as good in The Garden as it is nowadays. They played Arizona in their first and only appearance in the Classic losing that game 72-65.

An old rivalry will be renewed when Louisville makes its return to MSG for the V Classic. The Cards and Hoosiers will do battle for the first time since playing a game on February 1st 2003. It was the Cards that came out victorious in that game 95-76. The game will mark the 17th meeting between the two schools in history with IU holding a 10-6 advantage. The teams have met three times since 1990 with IU holding a 3-1 edge in those games. The game is not part of an ongoing series but is instead a one-game contract between the two schools. Coach Pitino has been working hard to get a home and home series with the Hoosiers but that hasn’t came about yet. Let’s all hope that the game on December 9th 2014 will spark up the old feud enough to make this a annual meeting.

Louisville’s non-conference slate for the 2014 season is going to be loaded. They are set to open up with a game against Pitino Jr’s squad Minnesota in Perto Rico, then the game against IU, Kentucky and the ACC/Big Ten Challenge against Ohio State. The Louisville basketball 2014-15 is shaping up to be an exciting time indeed.

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 photo 5DBC3714-9F1C-4E56-B3F6-17359BCF5AFB-1410-000000F9C0E1D6B6_zps84aa13d7.jpgCards Defense Best In the Country & Could We See an Offensive Tweak
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Coach Petrino had his Monday Press conference today to go over the game this past weekend against Clemson. He was very quick to place the blame for the offensive mishaps on his shoulders. And he seemed really bothered by the spike heard around the world. He joked with the media saying when he laid down to go to sleep on Saturday night he said to himself “you dummy you should have called the other play.” Referring to the fact that he had two plays ready to go in that situation that could have been ran instead of spiking the ball and losing a down. Regardless Coach Petrino knows that he needs to do a better job on his end. He will get it right before the season is over I can guarantee you that.

Speaking of getting it right Coach Petrino says that he has a plan for his two QBs but said today that he wants to go over it with them before he shared it with the media. Will Gardner has done a decent job from the pocket this season and has thrown for 948 yards and 2 touchdowns. Meanwhile Reggie Bonnafon is a more mobile quarterback and has had more success when he is running with the ball. He is the fifth leading rusher on the team and has 141 yards on the ground with 2 rushing touchdowns. Coach Petrino’s comments today lead me to believe that we may see some type of “Dual’ formation using both of our quarterbacks and highlighting their strengths. We may be seeing the “WildCard” offense going forward. I really would like to see things shaken up a bit and I think this offense needs some kind of a boost.

Coach Petrino raved about the Cardinal defense today. They are currently the #1 defensive team in the country and are dominating most of the national stats in that category. They are #1 in total defense, #1 in Passes Intercepted, #1 in first down defense, #1 in rushing defense, #3 in scoring defense, #9 in redzone defense, #2 in team passing efficiency defense, #16 in team sacks, #10 in team tackles for loss, and #6 in turnovers gained. This unit also has several players who are ranked at the top of the national rankings in individual stats. I mentioned in my post-game on Saturday that greatness is contagious and that some of this defensive success needs to rub off on the offense. Today linebacker Keith Kelsey spent some time at the podium and he had this to say about the offensive unit “the offense are our brothers, no matter what happens we have their back.”

With five games remaining on the schedule the Cards still have some big ones left. I really think that if the offense can get something going we could pull off the upset against FSU or Notre Dame. A win over one of those teams would really improve the type of Bowl game Cardinal fans get to enjoy this winter.

Coach Petrino’s Monday Press Conference:

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 photo 5DBC3714-9F1C-4E56-B3F6-17359BCF5AFB-1410-000000F9C0E1D6B6_zps84aa13d7.jpg RUSS RETURNS
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It’s been almost seven months ago since we all watched as Russ Smith walked through the tunnel and on to the Yum Center court for the last time. On Saturday evening Russ will walk through that tunnel again but this time he will be making his NBA debut for the New Orleans Pelicans. Russ’s Pelicans will play the Miami Heat to open up the NBA exhibition season. Tip time is schedule for around 7:30pm and there are still tickets available for the game on Ticketmaster.com.

There’s not a player who has been embraced like Russ Smith was during his Louisville career and I think it is very fitting that he start the new journey in his basketball career in the place where he made so many great memories. All of Cardinal Nation was very happy when Russ Smith was drafted in NBA Draft. We have all been on an incredible journey with this young man and have watched him go from a kid who struggled to get offers out of high school to the outstanding player he is today. Now we will get to watch him take his first step as a NBA professional. And he gets to break in the new Louisville basketball court. How awesome is that?

Many questioned how Russ would perform in the NBA and even have their doubts about him making it. He started it with a bang at the NBA Summer league where he averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 6.4 assist per game. He was also the assist leader in the Vegas summer league. His first challenge of the NBA was a huge success and on Saturday night he will begin the real journey. I don’t have any doubts that he is going to make a big splash. I know all of Cardinal Nation will be following his NBA career very closely. L1C4

Here’s some video of Russ on the New Orleans Saints pregame show a few weeks ago. Russ talks about his time at Louisville, the Final Four in New Orleans, his return, and talks about the Cat and Card contingent that will fill the Yum Center Saturday night. Its good stuff:

Here’s video of Russ during Pelicans Media Day this week:

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 photo 5DBC3714-9F1C-4E56-B3F6-17359BCF5AFB-1410-000000F9C0E1D6B6_zps84aa13d7.jpgBasketball Court Makeover
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A few days ago the floor sanders came out and started the process of getting the basketball court ready for the 14-15 season. I remember last year hoping that with the different AAC logo’d theme court would also bring a new fresh look at center court as well. Don’t get me wrong I love the winged Cardinal logo, but just think it would be nice to start the ACC off with something more spectacular.

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I remember a court design that was floating around about this time last year. Social media exploded when it was falsely reported to be a rendition of what the new ACC court would look like. Even though this was a figment of someone’s great imagination there’s still a part of me that hopes the powers got to see this rendition and we will see it brought to life here in the next couple of weeks. But I’m not holding my breath.

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Regardless, it does appear that seeing how they have completely stripped the floor down instead of just the old logos that we may get a completely new look this season. I personally believe that they will put the Big Cardinal head at center court and that would be awesome. Guess we all can look forward to the final product and can all think about what we’d like to see. It looks like they are making steady progress and it should be done within the next few weeks.

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Here’s a look at the new practice facility gym floor adorned with the new ACC logos. It still has the winged logo at center court but it is still very sharp.

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 photo 5DBC3714-9F1C-4E56-B3F6-17359BCF5AFB-1410-000000F9C0E1D6B6_zps84aa13d7.jpgThe Wait Is Over, We Get Football This Week
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The Football team reports to fall camp today and we are less than a month away from one of the most anticipated seasons in the history of Cardinal Football. There are more people excited about football this time of the year than ever before. And while we still have a little while to wait for an actual game this is the first week of practice. It will be open to the public. And Fan Day will make it’s return next week.

Coach Petrino had a press today and announced that practices from August 5th thru 9th will be open to the public, and Coach Petrino will open an August 16th scrimmage to the fans also. It will be at 9:00am. The new players will report to practice at 8:50 a.m. and the veterans will take the field at 4:20 p.m. Both of these practices are open to fans for their viewing.

Coach Petrino also talked about progression of the team and more. You can watch press conference here:

Last season due to the dirty dealings of a few most college football programs scrapped their annual Fan Day events as a precautionary measure to assure that none of their high profile athletes would get into trouble. Louisville was one of the schools who opted out of Fan Day festivities. I thought this was a drastic move but it did turn out for the best.

I’m very happy to report that this season is business as usual and Fan Day will make its return. Fan Day is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. on August 16th in Cardinal Arena. The athletic department will release more details for Fan Day on Friday.

Looks like we will be able to get our football fix in the next couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to getting out to the practice field and checking the team out. I highly suggest that you make an effort to also. Great way to take the kids and get up close and personal to the football program.

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 photo 5DBC3714-9F1C-4E56-B3F6-17359BCF5AFB-1410-000000F9C0E1D6B6_zps84aa13d7.jpgCoach Pitino Talks Summer Basketball Update With Terry Meiners
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One thing that was very noticeable during the conversation between Terry and Coach Pitino today was the excitement in Coach Pitino’s voice. He seems very optimistic about the group he will put on the floor this season.

-He just raved about Wayne Blackshear and says that he is in the best shape of anyone. Says that Wayne is tired of being mediocre.

-The Cards 4 guard tandem will be Rozier and Jones being backed up by Snider and Gill. Coach says they will be as good any group as there will be in the country.

-Coach calls Anas Mahmoud the “Big Egyptian” says he came in at 180 lbs but he has already put on 7 lbs up to 187. Coach says that the big man is very skilled.

-Coach seems very excited about the incoming freshman and seems to think a few of them will play quality minutes this season.

-Coach named a provisional starting line-up of Terry Rozier, Chris Jones, Montrezl Harrell, Wayne Blackshear and Mango.

Very good to hear some basketball talk today, and Coach was very informative with his summer update. Can’t wait until the red and white scrimmages to get a first look at this group. Its going to be another terrific year of Cardinal basketball and the start of a new era.

Here is the full Interview with Terry:

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(Wednesday July 2nd 2014)

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We are still a few days away from the 4th of July but the celebration in Louisville has already begun. Yesterday Cardinal fans celebrated the official move to the ACC. It was a great moment to be a part of.

The move to the ACC wasn’t the only thing that made the crowd go crazy yesterday. The biggest moment of the event and one that had every Cardinal fan buzzing today was the announcement by Coach Petrino that the black uniforms would make their return on Labor Day weekend.

That’s right folks on Monday night September 1st in the Cardinals ACC and football season opener they will be “back in black”. For as much excitement and energy that the move to the ACC has brought to the Louisville Athletic program as a whole Coach Petrino has brought that and then some back to the football program.

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Gorgui Dieng had a very promising season in his rookie debut for the Timberwolves. When he got his chance to shine at the end of the season he made the most of it including a game where he recorded 22 points and 21 rebounds. It was the first ever 20-20 game by a rookie in that franchises history.

I know we are all excited about Gorgui’s NBA future and I think the Timberwolves are just as exicted. Here is a video that they released looking back on Gorgui’s rookie season.

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Two other Cardinals favorites will also be trying to make a name for themselves at the next level. Russ and Luke will be playing in the NBA summer leagues.

Russ will be playing for the New Orleans Pelicans in the Las Vegas NBA summer league that starts on July 11th. He will also be joined by fellow Cardinal Samardo Samuels.

Luke will play in two NBA summer leagues to try and land on a roster spot. He will play for the Orlando Magic first and it takes place in Orlando, FL., and runs from July 5 through July 11. Then he will travel to compete in the Las Vegas summer league with the Houston Rockets which runs from July 12 through July 21.

I know all of Cardinal Nation is behind these guys and wish them all the best as they chase their dream.

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Coach Pitino is getting a lot of ink this summer from the guys over at ESPN and deservedly so. He has the Cardinal basketball program rolling and just landed his best recruiting class yet.

ESPN Insider: Pitino hires, recruits with same philosophy

Rick Pitino focuses on development as well as talent when recruiting players and hiring assistants.
Russ Smith, Luke Hancock and Gorgui Dieng were cornerstones of the Louisville Cardinals’ 2013 national championship team and yet none of them were top 100-rated recruits coming out of high school.

Unlike some of the game’s other coaching giants, Rick Pitino has never been afraid to go off the path on the recruiting trail. Never the coach to focus exclusively on five-star prospects, Pitino’s philosophy has always been of his own making.

Kevin Keatts lived and breathed that philosophy alongside Pitino every day for the past three years before leaving to take over at UNC Wilmington this spring.

“He loves to recruit winners and he loves to recruit guys who want to be good,” Keatts said. “If you’re a winner and you have a desire to be a very good basketball player, he’s going to pull everything out of you.”

Kenny Johnson was chosen to fill the void left by Keatts’ departure this spring and it hasn’t taken him very long to draw similar conclusions.

“We’ve got to have guys who love the process of getting better,” Johnson said. “That’s the key because every day you’re talking about an opportunity to develop as a basketball player, not just as a team but also as an individual player.”

It’s in that way that Pitino’s recruiting philosophy goes hand in hand with his emphasis on player development, which has been a consistent staple of his programs throughout his storied career.

Wyking Jones is now the longest tenured assistant coach on staff, having arrived with Keatts three years ago. While both rave of Pitino’s versatility and ability to teach all facets of the game, it’s his ability to develop players that Jones says may be Pitino’s greatest strength.

“He takes a lot of pride in skill development and that’s not only an emphasis in our program but it’s something he really enjoys, getting in the workouts and helping others get better,” Jones said.

“A kid like Gorgui Deng, who wasn’t highly sought after like some of the other guys, he can come and develop and be one of the most skilled bigs in the country when it’s all said and done,” Jones said. ” Montrezl Harrell was just a dunker. Now he can hit a 15-footer consistently. He can take you off the dribble and that’s a direct result of all the time, effort, and hours that he’s logging in the gym.”

In many ways, Pitino’s philosophies on recruiting and player development mirror the ways in which he goes about picking the guys who are going to do a lot of the recruiting for him.

“The type of kids he’s looking for are the gym rats who like to work on their game, like to hone their craft,” Jones said. “When it comes to hiring, it’s the same situation. He likes guys who have a reputation for working extremely hard because that’s what he does. He really gets after it and he needs guys who can match what he brings.”

Pitino isn’t afraid to think outside the box when it comes to hiring, either. Keatts was coaching at a military prep school in Virginia when Pitino hired him three years ago. Johnson was an AAU and assistant high school coach at the time, while Jones was only two years removed from a position within Nike grassroots basketball.

Three unique backgrounds and three unique perspectives, but the common thread is that all three arrived with tools to be great recruiters and are being empowered and trained to be far more than that.

“Coach Pitino is interested in guys who want to be complete basketball coaches, but for me that was important,” Johnson said of his reputation as an up-and-coming recruiter. “You get labeled from the recruiting aspect, which is great because you want to be known for something, but at the end of the day your basketball acumen and ability to develop players who meet the academic standard of the university you represent is most important.”

“When he hires you, he hires what he considers future head coaches but you still have to earn his respect,” Keatts said, “and when you work with Rick Pitino you have to be a great coach on the floor, do a tremendous job in scouting, and a great job in recruiting. He looks for a guy that’s well rounded so that when you do become a head coach he has prepared you in every aspect.”

It’s why Pitino has now had 27 former players or assistants go on to be collegiate head coaches, why many of his players prove to be better than they were initially projected and ultimately why individual growth breeds collective success for the Louisville basketball program.

ESPN: Top 50 coaches: No. 5 Rick Pitino

I am a firm believer in the aesthetics of basketball. Playing beautifully is a great priority in soccer — fans laud creative losers and bemoan boring winners — in a way that almost no American sport can really account for. Competition is carved into the national DNA. We’d always rather we just win. But basketball comes the closest. We want to see basketball teams win, sure, but we’d vastly prefer they did so in a method that thrills. Or at least I do.

There are many different ways to satisfy this criteria. Up-tempo pace. Athleticism. Great guard play. Smart passing, intuitive movement, an interesting offensive system. Defending well without fouling. Coaches recruit players and insert them into a system that fits, and so are responsible for both philosophy and execution. But in the end, it’s the players who express the style on the floor. Players make a game fun to watch.

With one exception: Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Rick Pitino is really fun to watch.

That was the first thing that came to mind when it came time to add Pitino’s entry to the ESPN Forecast Top 50 list, though that’s not why he’s here. The voting — which asked almost 50 people from across ESPN to score coaches based on current, not lifetime, performance — could be interpreted differently by each voter, of course. Disclaimer, right? But it’s safe to say the wisdom of the crowd didn’t consider Pitino’s merits as a showman when it posted him at No. 5 in the country.

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Have A Safe And Happy 4th of July Cardinal Fans!
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(Monday June 16 2014)

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The great run by the Louisville baseball team came to an end on Monday afternoon, but this group has left their mark on the program and have added to the growing tradition.

This team went to back-to-back College World Series, an accomplishment that can’t be diminished, and the Cards were the only team from last year’s College World Series field to get back to Omaha this year.

The Cardinals last four games at the College World Series haven’t been pretty and they are still trying to find their comfort zone in Omaha, but that day will come and they will eventually get that monkey off their back. The Cards will have their weekend rotation back next season, talented freshman class returning and a great recruiting class. Lots of positives heading into the ACC.

Here’s the video after the game Monday:

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Now that the baseball season has ended Cardinal fans can put the year in the AAC conference behind them and now focus on entering the ACC on July 1st. We can also start the countdown to the college football opener against Miami Monday September 1st at 8:00pm.

The last couple of days have been pretty successful on the recruiting trail for the football program. It was very fitting that a third generation player 2016 Baylen Buchanan committed to the Cardinals on Father’s Day weekend.

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(Photo Scout.com)

His father Ray Buchanan played for Howard Schnellenberger and helped lead Louisville to a breakthrough victory against Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. Ray went on to have a great NFL career and played in a Super Bowl with Atlanta.

Baylen’s uncle, Bobby Buchanan, played for the Cardinals under Bobby Petrino during his first run as Louisville’s head man..

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(Photo Scout.com)

On Monday evening the Cardinals landed another commit from 2015 Chandler Jones. He is a 3* 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive guard from Powder Springs, Ga. Jones is a teammate of incoming Louisville linebacker Henry Famurewa at McEachern High School and visited Louisville a few weeks ago.

He picked the Cards over Mississippi State and Syracuse. He also held offers from Cincinnati, North Carolina State and Marshall.

The Cards now have 5 official commits for 2015 and 4 transfers. They now have one 2016 commit. You can check out the commits and other prospects on the recruiting page.

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When the Cards join the ACC it will be one of the best basketball conferences ever assembled. It will join 4 Hall of Fame coaches and it will be awesome watching these guys play each other on a regular basis.

Jeff Fischel of the ACC Network sat down with the four coaches as they shared their most memorable stories that they have with one another. Jim Boeheim discusses how he was the one who saved Pitino’s marriage.

The Hall of Famers | “I Saved the Marriage”

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Louisville freshman Quentin Snider had a big weekend in the Kentucky vs Indiana All-Star game. He finished with 37 points on Friday. His 37 points were third-most all-time by a Kentuckian in the series.

He finished with 27 points for Kentucky All-Stars on Saturday giving him 64 points in the two games. Nice showing by this young man.

 

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(Tuesday June 10 2014)

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The field of the College World Series is set. The bracket and times were released today. Louisville enters the College World Series in Omaha ranked No. 3 in the Collegiate Baseball poll behind Virginia and TCU. The Cardinals will take on Vanderbilt in their first CWS game Saturday night at 8:00pm on ESPN2.

The Cardinals and the Commodores are far from strangers to one another. In fact this has become one of the most competitive rivalries in college baseball. The programs, separated by only 175 miles, became regular foes in the NCAA Regionals due to the close proximity. From that “The Battle of the Barrel” game was born in 2012. What started as a typical midweek game has evolved into something much larger a true rivalry.

Louisville is just 7-22 all-time against Vanderbilt in a series that dates back to 1971, but our Cardinals have come out on the winning end lately and currently hold a three game winning streak against them. The Cards swept them in 2 games in the Regionals last year and won the “Battle of the Barrel” game back in May. Their match-up in CWS will be the 4th time the programs have met in the postseason in the last five seasons.

This should be one of the most exciting games of the first round and I know I’m looking forward to beating our SEC rivals. Below is the full bracket:

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The next couple of days could be pivotal as far as recruiting for the class of 2015 goes. Coach Pitino is in on a handful of recruits and two of the most important ones will be on campus visiting Wednesday and Thursday.

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Deng Adel will visit on Wednesday 6/11 and Thursday 6/12

Adel brings great length and skill to the small forward position. He scores with midrange pull-ups, spot-up 3s and straight-line attacks off the dribble. He shoots over smaller defenders and finishes above the rim with flair. The scary thing is that Adel has not even scratched the surface of how good he can become. -ESPN

Adel is a close friend of Louisville sophomore center Mangok Mathiang, and plays for Mathiang’s prep school coach. Much has been mentioned about how Adel was on the same path as Mango. Let’s hope that path also ends at Louisville.

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Bryant Crawford will visit Wednesday 6/11

Crawford has outstanding passing vision, as he can see a play develop before it’s happening and deliver an assist. As a point guard, vision is a vital skill, and he is handing out 3.9 assists per game in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. The 6-foot-2 guard is a bona fide high-major prospect, and if his jump shot continues to make progress, he can find his way into the ESPN 100. -ESPN

Crawford is another prospect that Coach Pitino has had his eye on lately and is on top of the list.

2016 Owensboro (KY) Apollo SG Eli Wright, and Trinity’s Raymond Spalding will also make unofficial visits to Louisville on Wednesday for practice.

-Speaking of Basketball the guys are back on campus and are already hard at work. Word got out last week that the guys were seen pushing an RV around campus. This video was uploaded on the Louisville Cardinal Athletics YouTube channel. Head strength and conditioning coach Ray Ganong had the guys pushing this RV during their first week on campus. Basketball season is right around the corner.

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So Wednesday is a big recruiting day for hoops, but Thursday could be a big one for the football program. That’s when Three-star cornerback Kareem Ali will be announcing his college decision at the Timber Creek HS library around 2:10pm. Ali is down to Louisville, Pittsburgh and Maryland. Most folks believe he will be a Cardinal. He already has that “L” down pretty good.

 

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(Tuesday June 3 2014)

It has been a huge off season for the football program in regards to some of the quality transfers who have decided to continue their careers at Louisville. Today we found out that another big time player may be headed our way.

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Sophomore Safety Tray Matthews tweeted out that he would be leaving Georgia and taking his talents to either Auburn or Louisville. This guy is a great defensive player who is known for his hard hitting. Coming out of high school he was ranked the #6 ranked prospect in Georgia, #7 safety in the nation and #72 ranked prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, #10 ranked safety in the nation in ESPN’s Top 150, four-star player, #13 safety in the country, #9 player in Georgia, #99 in 247Sports, and four-star prospect, #9 safety and #99 overall prospect in the country by Fox Sports NEXT. He participated in the 2013 Army All-American Bowl game.

During his freshman year at Georgia he appeared in eight games, making six starts, Tallied 36 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble. He had a career high 12 tackles at No. 7 Auburn in 2013.

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He did have some legal issues earlier this year and was arrested after using a mobile app to deposit his stipend check, and then going and cashing it in person. Those legal issues have since been resolved and my guess is that this kid would like to put that behind him and move on. I would really like that move to be to Louisville. Matthews would be a huge addition along with Shaq Wiggins and Josh Harvey-Clemons, the other two Georgia transfers. I’m all for giving kids a second chance.

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This morning the Louisville Baseball team found out the times for their Super Regional battle with Kennesaw State:

Game 1: FRI, 6:30pm (ESPNU)
Game 2: SAT, 7:00pm (ESPNU)
Game 3 (if nec.):SUN 6:00pm (ESPN2)

Coach McDonnell confirmed on Tuesday that he will keep the same starting rotation of Kyle Funkhouser, Anthony Kidston and Josh Rogers for this weekend’s best of three super regional series. Should have a great chance at advancing to back to back College World Series with the home crowd advantage and these guys on the mound.

All reserved seats have been sold out but you can still get in the general admission area.

-Red and Black Rewind – Week of 05-26-14

 

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(Monday June 2 2014)

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As of today we are officially 123 days away from another college basketball season. For college athletes the season never ends. Guys are in gyms all over the country working on their games and getting ready for November. Montrezl Harrell and Anton Gill will play important roles next year for the Cardinals. Today BallIsLife.com released some video of these guys putting in time at the gym this summer.

Looks like Montrezl has been working on his ball handling and shooting. In the video he has a nasty little crossover and puts up a couple of shots from deep. Shooting stroke looks nice.

Looks like Anton has beefed up some and gained some muscle. He has been working on his dribble drive and displays a nice little step back jumper in this video.

Anton Gill & Montrezl Harrell Home For Summer: Louisville Cards Invade Garner Road Open Run

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How about that Louisville baseball team? The Cardinals swept and never trailed in the Regional. The Cards are now 2 wins away from Omaha and have their best two pitchers Funkhouser (13-2) and Kidston (8-0) available and ready to go for the Super Regionals.

This is becoming the norm for Cardinal Baseball who have reached their fourth NCAA Super Regional in last 8 seasons (2007, 2009, 2013, 2014). Louisville Baseball had never won an NCAA Tournament game in 97 years prior to Dan McDonnell (1909-2006). Since 2007 they have 22 NCAA wins. Here’s Dan on last nights big win:

Louisville will host Kennesaw State this Weekend and they will be a very formidable foe. Kennesaw State won the Atlantic Sun Conference and has won 26 of its last 28 games. They will have to beat Louisville 2 of 3 games at Louisville. And the Cardinals first 2 starters are 21-2. So I like our chances.
The details and times of the games this weekend will be released at 11pm tonight.

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The Louisville Rowing Team was also in action over the weekend in the NCAA Rowing Championships. The Cardinal rowing team closed its first ever appearance at the NCAA Championship with a 17th-place finish following the final day of racing on Sunday morning at Eagle Creek Park.

“I’m proud of the effort and competitiveness our team showed this weekend and it’s a great way to finish a special season for our program,” said second year head coach Derek Copeland. “It was a great experience for our team because the only way to know how to prepare for this championship is to go through it. We learned as we went and really adapted well to everything each day.

I think big things are ahead for the Rowing Program at Louisville. They are a great part of the Louisville athletic department.

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(Friday May 23 2014)

We are about 97 days away from another college football season, but it was the Cardinal Football program that made headlines Thursday when it signed two more “big time” transfers. This has been a pattern for the Cardinals recently, and a very good one.

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Shaq Wiggins (Georgia) and Jaquay Williams (Texas A&M) are huge pickups for Louisville. They will be eligible to play during the 2015 season after fulfilling college football’s transfer rule of sitting out a year. Each will have 3 years of eligibility left. Both will report to Louisville on June 2nd.

Wiggins and Williams are the 6th and 7th SEC transfers currently on the Louisville roster. Joining Gerald Christian and Robert Clark (Florida), Michael Dyer (Auburn), Matt Milton (Tenessee), and Josh Harvey-Clemons (Georgia). The football transfers sitting out this year are J Harvey Clemons-Shaq Wiggins (Georgia.), Tyler Ferguson (Penn St.) and Ja’Quay Williams (Texas A&M). When Louisville opens the 2015 season against Auburn: Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins who both started S and CB at Georgia are eligible.

Since Signing Day 2014, Coach Petrino and his staff has landed 11 recruits, five of which are former four-stars. Of the 11, five can play this season and six will be eligible for 2015.

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(Photo Espn.com)

Shaq Wiggins college list looked like this out of high school: Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Auburn, Ball State, Cincinnati, Clemson, Louisville, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina , Ohio, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas A&M , Toledo, Vanderbilt, Virginia , and Wake Forest.

Here was his Scouting Report:

Wiggins is undersized but he’s a smart and confident corner with the speed and technique to mask his physical deficiencies. He is slight in stature but plays bigger. He’s a quick-twitched athlete with some pop and explosion to him. His best asset may be his awareness and diagnosing skills. He excels in zone schemes and also does a great job of reading the quarterback and underneath route development out of his tight, controlled pedal. Cushions high-low routes like a seasoned veteran and jumps the pass with great timing, anticipation and transitional skills. He undercuts a lot of routes and arrives with the ball. Shows great quickness and direct burst out of his pedal driving toward the pass. Will close hard on receivers and limit the run after catch. Makes solid contact and is a physical hitter for his size. He excels in deep man coverage as well. Has the speed and hips to open turn and run and make up any separation when the ball is in the air. He tracks the football accurately and gets in proper positioning to make a play on it in the air. He forces QBs to complete the difficult throw. We do have concerns about his ability to defend the jump-ball at the next level with his lack of height, but he will go up and compete demonstrating good leaping and ball skills. Overall, Wiggins is a well-rounded, instinctive corner who excels in both zone and man coverage. There is the potential to struggle early in college in jamming and pressing bigger receivers and setting the edge on run support, but he could excel in a nickel type role as he continues to physically develop. Should be an asset on special teams as well. Wiggins is a potential playmaker with a lot of moxie.-ESPN

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(Photo Aggie Athletics)

Ja’Quay Williams college list looked like this out of high school: Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.

Here was his Scouting Report:

Williams is a tall, very athletic and acrobatic pass catcher that excels in the redzone and in contested match-ups. He seems to thrive on making plays when he is covered. He is lanky and displays excellent overall body control and awareness of his surroundings. He is a lumbering prospect that uses his athleticism, size and wingspan to muscle defenders and gain position as he works downfield. Shows a solid catch radius to get to balls thrown poorly and outside his frame and does a nice job of tucking and working to get upfield. He is capable of coming across the middle and snatching the ball away from his body and absolutely out muscling defenders in a crowd and ability to track the fade route and make a lot of big plays, especially in the red zone. This is a guy who has the size and range to allow the quarterback to simply throw the ball up, assuming that he will catch the jump ball. He can contort his frame and adjust to the ball after he has elevated to catch it. Has a great feel for the sideline on deep and intermediate routes. Comes back to the QB very well and is a good leaper that can adjust to the high ball. The question we have with Williams is whether he runs all that well. Seems to have adequate speed, not great. Lumbers some and does not always look like he is giving full speed effort off the line, almost like he is lulling defenders to sleep, but other times he looks more explosive so we feel he has more to his quickness and acceleration than he shows on a consistent basis. He is very green as a route runner; must become more crisp and disciplined in this area. His craft is definitely as a jump ball catcher, his downside is his ability to separate and run away from people. Williams is a quality prospect with playmaking skills, but may be more of a possession guy at the next level.- ESPN

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The Louisville Baseball team also had a big day winning their first game of the post season in dominate fashion. They manhandled Memphis beating the Tigers 13-3. With a 1-0 record in the pool play format, Louisville (44-13) will continue its slate in Pool A on Friday at 3 p.m., ET against USF, which dropped its championship opener on Wednesday against Rutgers.

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(Photo Michael Hayman)

Russ Smith is working out for different NBA teams and has impressed every time out. Thursday he was at the Clippers mini combine. Here were the comments made by some draft experts:

Russ Smith the headliner today. Playing very unselfishly, looking like a PG.

Russ Smith might have 15-20 assists so far. Gets in the lane whenever he wants. Drive and kick, drop offs

No doubt in my mind that we will see Russ playing significant minutes in the NBA someday very soon.

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If you’ve been reading the Cardinal’s Beak for a few years then you know the admiration that I have for Terry Rozier. I’ve been following this kids basketball journey for years and for years I’ve known that someday he would be a star.

I’m not alone in that sentiment and there are several folks who expect big things out of Rozier. ROB DAUSTER of NBC Sports mentioned Terry in an article he wrote today: ACC Conference Catchup: ACC Conference Catchup: Will a loaded league live up to powerhouse reputation?

Terry Rozier: There’s a lot to like about this Louisville team heading into next season, but their x-factor may end up being the sophomore Rozier. Rozier was a bit limited in his minutes and shot attempts playing behind Russ Smith and Chris Jones a season ago, but people around the program believe — and believed last season — that Rozier might actually be the best NBA prospect on the roster. With Smith gone, expect Rozier to have a big year.

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(Photo David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)

Our very own Gorgui Dieng was rewarded again Thursday for his impressive first year in the NBA. He recorded nine double-doubles in Minnesota’s final 18 games, and finished sixth in the NBA’s Rookie of the Year vote earlier this month.

Thursday he was named to the NBA All Rookie Second Team. Very impressive considering the limited number of games where he played significant minutes.

“I was just ready to play. I don’t care if you’re up or down, as long as I am on the court. I’m just trying to play for my teammates and do my job,” Dieng said in late-March. “I always say stats don’t mean anything. Personal stats, I don’t care anything about. I’m more like a team guy and I want to win.”

Man I miss this guy!

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(Photo Nativve News Online.net)

Shoni Schimmel has also gotten off to a great start in her debut in the (WNBA) Women’s National Basketball Association, scoring 26 points and leading the league with 21 assists in her first two games. No doubt she will be challenging for the rookie of the year on her side of things also.

 

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(Tuesday May 20 2014)

Postseason starts this week for the #5 Louisville baseball team at the American Conference Championship in Clearwater Florida.
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The top-seeded Cardinals will begin Pool A action on Thursday at 3 p.m., ET against No. 8 seed Memphis. Louisville will continue its slate on Friday at 3 p.m., against No. 5 seed USF before concluding the preliminary action on Saturday at 3 p.m., against No. 4 seed Rutgers. The winners of Pool A and Pool B will advance to Sunday’s final, set for noon on ESPNU.

PerfectGame.org has come out with their projected field of 64, and in their assessment the American Conference Tourney could play a very important role in whether Houston or Louisville gets to host a Regional: Here’s what they say

• REGIONAL HOSTS: The final host site wasn’t easy to decide on, and the decision was between Louisville, Houston and LSU. The Cardinals absolutely have some holes in their resume, such as just 11 wins vs. RPI Top 100 teams. However the Cards have a top 20 RPI, won the American Athletic Conference and swept Houston on the road earlier this season. For now, UL gets the edge over UH for that reason, but the Cougars have some impressive metrics with the top non-conference RPI in the country, a 17-6 mark on the road and a 16-9 record vs. RPI Top 100 clubs. UH probably could end the discussion between it and Louisville by going the distance in the AAC tournament.

The Louisville rowing team are also set to begin their journey in their for a NCAA Title. The #17 ranked Cardinals will compete in the three-day event scheduled for May 30-June 1 at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind.
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Louisville’s varsity eight boat was seeded 16th overall and will compete in Heat 1 against San Diego, USC, Ohio State and Michigan. The Cardinals’ second varsity eight crew was seeded No. 15 and will open the event in Heat 2 against Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Stanford and Princeton. Louisville’s varsity four boat was seeded No. 14 and race in Heat 3 against Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Jacksonville.- UofL Sports

There’s nothing like a little smack talk during the off season (if there is such a thing) and Akoy Agau decided he would throw a little in the direction of the Big Blue. Last month, Agau went on a radio show called “Sharp and Benning in the morning” in his hometown of Omaha, Ne., and proceeded to discuss, among other things, the rivalry between Kentucky and Louisville.
Here’s the interview:

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Speaking of basketball ESPN Insider recently had an article relating to their way to early top 25. Goodman examines the top 50 teams ranking, previewing nation’s top teams after departures, adding recruits:

12. Louisville Cardinals
Gone: Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Kevin Ware, Stephan Van Treese, Tim Henderson

Returning: Montrezl Harrell, Chris Jones, Terry Rozier, Wayne Blackshear, Mangok Mathiang, Anton Gill, Akoy Agau

Coming in: SF Shaqquan Aaron (ESPN No. 33), PG Quentin Snider (ESPN No. 40), C Chinanu Onuaku (ESPN No. 75), C Anas Osama Mahmoud (ESPN No. 99), PF Jaylen Johnson, C Matz Stockman

Key Riser: Terry Rozier — He filled a role, but played well the second half. Look for the athletic combo guard to have a breakout season.

Analysis: Everything changed when Harrell decided to return for his sophomore season. The Cardinals won’t be as good on the perimeter, but Rick Pitino has plenty of options there with Rozier, Jones, Gill and Aaron and Snider coming into the program. However, the frontline was a major concern without Harrell. Now guys like Mathiang and Agau can continue to develop at their own place rather than be force-fed into major minutes.

Summer Buzz: Louisville has a wide variety of targets, but most of them are big men and wings. The bigs include Ivan Rabb, Stephen Zimmerman, Cheick Diallo, Carlton Bragg, Brandon Ingram, Jesse Govan and Daniel Giddens. The Cards will also look hard at wings Antonio Blakeney, Dwayne Bacon, Isaiah Briscoe, Ray Smith, Jaylen Brown and Jalen Coleman.

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We are now 99 days from the start of our ACC football season and today we got the kickoff times for five of those games.

Louisville will open the ACC schedule and the season with a Labor Day night 8 p.m. kickoff versus Miami on ESPN.

The ACC Network has set the game time for the Cardinals’ Sept. 13 road game against Virginia for 12:30 p.m. and will broadcast the game live on ACC Network affiliates throughout the country. The Murray State contest on Sept. 6 will be broadcast on ESPN3 and have a 7 p.m. start.

The Cardinals game at Syracuse on Oct. 3 will kickoff at 7 p.m. on ESPN and Florida State, the defending national champion, will play at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 30 for a 7:30 p.m. nationally-televised game on ESPN. -UofL Sports

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(Tuesday May 13 2014)

We are heading for the summer months and while this is generally a time where things are quite on the college sports front there is still several things in the Louisville sports world making news.

Football and Basketball recruiting never takes a break and there is always news of a new offer or new interest. You can keep up with that on my Football and Basketball recruiting pages as I will usually update them weekly. Coach Petrino and his staff have also been having a lot of success with high major transfers.

News came out Tuesday that two more big time transfers could be heading to Louisville.

Shaq Wiggins
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Wiggins was a 4* recruit coming out of high school and is a big-time talented DB who started eight games as a freshman for Georgia, finishing the season with 19 tackles and three tackles for loss. He also had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.
The Cardinals have already landed one defensive back transfer Josh Harvey-Clemons from Georgia and according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution Wiggins will likely transfer to Louisville, where he’d reunite with Harvey-Clemons and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

Jaquay Williams
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Williams was a high school teammate of Wiggins and was considered one of the top prospects from Georgia in the Class of 2012. He was a 4* prospect coming out of high school and played one year at Texas A&M. He caught four passes for 71 yards and one TD.

Both Wiggins and Williams, received an unconditional release from Georgia and Texas A&M. Both will have three seasons of remaining eligibility. Would be huge to get one or both of these guys.

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Switching from American to European Football on Monday the two Louisville soccer head coaches visited with the media to discuss the upcoming move to the ACC and the opening of the new Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium.

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The Louisville softball team won the AAC Title game and for the 11th straight year they will play in NCAA’s hoping to earn a trip to the College World Series. Louisville (36-20) will face LSU (35-22) in NCAA First Round at the Tucson, AZ Regional on Friday at 8:30pm ET on ESPN3.
Here’s the bracket:
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The Louisville baseball team is headed into the final week of their regular season. Tonight the #5 Cards dropped a tough one to the #8 Hoosiers 7-2, but still sit in position to host a NCAA regional in Louisville.
Up Next the Cards who are tied atop the league standings with Houston, hosts Cincinnati in a very important regular season finale. They will play Thursday at 6pm – Friday at 6pm, and Saturday at 1pm. Admission is free so if you haven’t caught a game yet get out and support these guys.
Perfect Game.com has Louisville hosting a NCAA Regional in their Bracketology. Here’s what they say:

• There are a couple of changes from last week in the NCAA Regional host department. Houston and Alabama were hosts in last week’s projections, but dropped out for Louisville and Liberty this week. The Cardinals moved ahead of the Cougars in the hosting pecking order with a three-game lead on them in the American Athletic Conference standings. The Cards and Cougars have similar resumes from an RPI standpoint, so the race for a host will come down to a variety of factors, including UH finding a way to chip into UL’s conference lead the final two weeks of the regular season.

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The Louisville lacrosse team had one of their best seasons ever in 2014. But they saw their season and 12-game win streak come to an end in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. These ladies took Louisville lacrosse to the next level this season and there are big things ahead for that program.

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Russ and Luke are ready to go to work this summer to try and realize their dreams of becoming NBA players. Russ is headed to the NBA pre-draft combine camp in Chicago later this week.
Luke Hancock did not get invited to the combine in Chicago, but he will be one of the eight prospects at the St.Vincent Sports Performance’s NBA Pre-Draft Training Program in Indianapolis.
Both of these guys have been overachievers all of their basketball careers and I think they will both end up on a NBA roster.

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Speaking of Louisville players in the NBA Peyton Siva is back in Louisville making his rounds to different events and functions. He and Russ will be hosting a basketball camp this summer as well. The camp is June 16-18, and will be for ages 6-16. You can read more about that camp and sign up your kid here:
Here’s Peyton Siva on life in the NBA, faith, maturation, Russ, watching UofL’s NCAA Championship, marriage, and more as he recently spoke with Terry Meiners:

Go Cards!

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(Saturday May 10 2014)

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It has been a great and historical last couple of days for the Louisville Football program. For the first time in school history Louisville had 3 players drafted in the first round of the NFL draft and 4 players total.

Calvin Pryor was the first Cardinal off the board taken 18th in the first round by the New York Jets, followed by Marcus Smith taken 26th by the Philadelphia Eagles and Teddy Bridgewater was taken with the 32nd pick to the Minnesota Vikings. On Friday evening in the third round Preston Brown was taken as the 73rd overall pick to the Buffalo Bills.

There were a few Louisville players hoping to hear their names called but who are left to yet realize their dream. Damian Copeland will sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a undrafted free agent. Hakeem Smith to the Tennessee Titans as a undrafted free agent, Brandon Dunn to the Chicago Bears as a undrafted free agent, Roy Philon to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Senorise Perry also signed with the Bears. All very good players and hopefully they will make it on a official team roster. 48 players went undrafted & made an NFL roster last year, so the dream is far from dead for these guys.

The 1991 Louisville draft class has been considered the best ever. Ted Washington, Browning Nagle, Jerry Crafts, Mike Flores were all drafted in the 91 class and all four players started at least 13 games, led by four-time pro bowler and Super Bowl champion Ted Washington. Taking into account Hall of Fame careers, Pro Bowls, years as a starter, games played and overall depth (i.e. lack of busts) the 91 guys could still be considered the best until we see how this group in the 2014 class plays out.

With three first round picks and 9 players now signed with NFL teams overall the 2014 class is on their way to being the best ever and It’s going to be fun watching them on their journey.

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Switching gears here in the live feed Rick Pitino appeared on the airways with Terry Meiners to talk about a golf game with Terry, Mangok Mathiang’s arrest, Wayne Blackshear, next season’s team, schedule, Coach Johnson, and David Padgett.

I know that we are all in football mode around here but It was good to hear from Coach P, and good to hear some updates about next years hoops season.

And there was also this video that surfaced earlier this week that showed Russ Smith putting on a show during an NBA workout. Russ had a monster dunk that created a lot of buzz on social media. I can’t wait to see what NBA team he lands on and he is going to make a roster just you wait and see.

 

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(Wednesday May 7 2014)

Gorgui Dieng had a great rookie season in the NBA. He really came on at the end of the season and was a double-double machine. He finished 6th in the voting for rookie of the year. Rick Pitino helped Gorgui develop his skills during his time at Louisville, but it was his upbringing in his native Senegal that help make him the man he is today.

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Today Gorgui returned to Senegal to help the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launch the Live, Learn and Play program. This Pilot program will use basketball to promote development among boys and girls and advance local coaching expertise.
It will also include a comprehensive basketball-based youth development program aimed at using the values of the game including leadership, character and teamwork to promote youth development and citizenship in 20 schools in Senegal.

The program tipped off today at the John F. Kennedy High School in Dakar, Senegal, with a launch event on a newly renovated basketball court featuring dignitaries from USAID, NBA Africa and the SEED (Sport, Education & Economic Development) Project. Over 100 local children from participating schools were then put through their paces in a series of clinics under the expert tutelage of Minnesota Timberwolves forward and SEED Project alumnus Gorgui Dieng together with WNBA Legend and fellow Senegalese native Astou Ndiaye.

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Great to see Gorgui giving back.

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Sticking with hoops news HOOPNIKS.com came out with their final 2014 recruiting rankings and 4 Cardinals made their top 100. Here’s what they had to say about the incoming group:

28. Shaqquan Aaron | 6′-7″ | 170 | SG | Rainier Beach (WA) | Louisville
After starting off high school at Mater Dei (CA), Aaron transferred to the Pacific Northwest, which is a familiar stomping grounds for Louisville lately. Aaron was named the Washington Player of the Year as a senior, after averaging 21.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game for a squad that won a state championship.

34. Quentin Snider | 6′-1″ | 160 | PG | Ballard (KY) | Louisville
Snider successfully capped a tremendous high school career by being named Mr. Basketball in Kentucky, after breaking his school’s records in points and assists. The player who previously held the points record was long-time NBA standout Allan Houston, putting Snider in tremendous company.

59. Jaylen Johnson | 6′-9″ | 200 | PF | Ypsilanti (MI) | Louisville
The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in the case of Johnson. His mother led the nation in blocked shots at Wisconsin, and Johnson also has quality defensive instincts. He averaged 13.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.1 blocks per game. Johnson has a good skill level and can also step outside when needed.

75. Chinanu Onuaku | 6′-10″ | 220 | C | Riverdale Baptist (MD) | Louisville
The younger brother of former Syracuse big man Arinze Onuaku, Chinanu Onuaku is a fierce rebounder who takes high percentage shots on the offensive end of the floor. A true paint presence, Onuaku is improving on the offensive end and also shows a penchant for blocking shots.

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Montrezl Harrell will be getting a lot of buzz during the off season and deservedly so. The Sporting News named Harrell as one of their best “bargains” in college hoops:

Recruiting Services Consensus Index ranking: 81st, class of 2012
2013-14 stats: 14.0 ppg, 8.4 apg
2013-14 honors: All-AAC first team, AAC Most Improved Player

That Harrell’s ratings never made much sense was obvious from the moment he showed up in Colorado Springs to try out for the USA Basketball U-18 national team and made the squad alongside such highly-regarded recruits as Julius Randle and Shaq Goodwin.

Harrell made a huge splash in the 2013 Big East Tournament final win for the Cards, then emerged as a star once Chane Behanan was dismissed from the team and Harrell was able to own Louisville’s power forward position. His 21 points and 10 rebounds on the road against Cincinnati in February helped preserve a share of the American regular-season title for the Cardinals.

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The baseball team got another great win last night on the road against #10 Vanderbilt. The game was the annual Battle of the Barrel between the two schools and this has become a great rivalry in the last 5 years. With the 11-7 victory the Cardinals brought the Barrel back to Louisville and now have a 38-11 record. The Cardinals have the third longest winning streak in the country and the third most wins of any team in the country this season.

The Baseball team have put themselves in great shape to host a NCAA Regional and appear to be poised at another run at a College World Series.

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(Monday May 5 2014)

If you are as big of fan of the nasty poster dunk as I am then you will love this video I ran across today. The 12 minute video has the best dunks of the past college basketball season.

Russ Smith and Montrezl Harrell make an appearance in the video. Russ’s poster dunk he had on UK’s Julius Randle in the December game made it in this highlight reel. Montrezl’s one handed slam against Houston in the AAC Tourney along with his behind the back dunk against Temple made it in the highlights. This is a great video and makes me hungry for college hoops.

POSTERIZED: The best dunks of the 2013-14 college basketball season (VIDEO)

Speaking of Montrezl Harrell
We will be treated to his monster dunks for another season after he decided to come back to school for his junior season. One AP Voter has already brought out his All-American list for next year.

Jon Wilner who is a sports writer for The Meecury News has Montrezl on his first team.

Projecting the college basketball All-Americans for 2014-15

Continuing the Hotline’s look-ahead to next season, I’ve compiled three teams using the Associated Press approach: Five players who could reasonably take the court together.

In other words, they can’t all be big men, or guards — there has to be some frontcourt/backcourt balance.

Several selections are obvious (Marcus Paige, Jahlil Okafor and Fred VanVleet, to name three).

Most are based on very good players in 2013-14 taking the next, natural step to the realm of the elite (i.e., Georges Niang, Montrezl Harrell).

First team

Duke C Jahlil Okafor
Louisville F Montrezl Harrell
Iowa State F Georges Niang
North Carolina G Marcus Paige
Wichita State G Fred VanVleet

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The Louisville Baseball team is on a roll right now and appear to be poised for another run at a College World Series appearance. The Cardinals are on a 10-game winning streak. It’s the third longest active winning streak in the country. Kennesaw St. (12) and TCU (11). Duke also 10.

They moved up to No. 14 in the RPI after their sweep of USF over the weekend, and are currently ranked NCBWA: #5, USA Today Coaches: #7, Perfect Game: #8, Baseball America: #10, Collegiate Baseball: #12. The Cardinals’ No. 5 ranking this week is their highest of the season and the highest overall since a No. 4 ranking on March 18, 2013.

Louisville’s Kyle Funkhouser is AAC Pitcher of the Week, while Jeff Gardner is AAC Hitter of the Week.

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Congrats to Louisville women’s lacrosse for making the NCAA Tournament field. Cards play Ohio State on Friday in Evanston, Ill.

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(Wednesday April 23 2014)

Today Coach Pitino held a press conference to officially announce the hiring of Kenny Johnson, assistant men’s basketball coach and recruiting coordinator.
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This is one of the best hires of Pitino’s tenure and it will pay big dividends on the recruiting trail.
ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, after surveying more than 200 collegiate coaches, named Johnson as the nation’s 11th most respected/feared assistant coach in a July 2013 listing after just two seasons as a collegiate assistant.
Here’s some video from today’s press conference:
-U of L coach Rick Pitino on the hiring of Kenny Johnson:

-Kenny Johnson talks about being new assistant at Louisville:

-U of L coach Rick Pitino on the ACC schedule:

-During the press conference today Coach Pitino announced that he would be bringing back one of my all-time favorites to join his staff.
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David Padgett will be joining the staff as the video coordinator as of now but in expect his role to be expanded. I think having him around as a mentor to all if the new big guys will be a great asset.

-Also today they had a surprise visit in the media room from Peyton Siva. Peyton talked with the media briefly about his first season in the NBA, his thoughts on the new recruits who will be joining the Louisville program and life in general. It was really great to hear from Peyton today and its great that he is staying so close to the program.

You can see what Peyton had to say to the media today by clicking this link:

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(Tuesday April 22 2014)

-This has been another week that has seen the Louisville athletic program take another giant step up in the world of college sports. Tom Jurich announced earlier in the week that the assistant football coaches would get a very significant pay increase, and one that places the Louisville Football program among the blue-bloods of college football. That coupled with the move to the ACC makes the talk about Louisville football being a big-time college football program a reality. All that is left is to actually win some games and make it into that championship game.
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-Louisville Basketball found out who they would be playing in the ACC conference for the next two seasons on Tuesday morning. With the news of the release and after seeing all of the quality home and away games it quickly erased the bad taste in my mouth left from what was a dismal schedule in the AAC.
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Our Cardinals’ home ACC opponents in 2014-15 will consist of Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Miami, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Virginia Tech. Their nine league road games will be at Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, and Wake Forest. I like the idea of getting the tobacco road blue bloods on our home turf in our inaugural season of the ACC, but that bucket list item of being able to watch the Cardinals play at Cameron Indoor will have to wait another year.
The Cardinals home ACC opponents in 2015-16 will be Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia and Wake Forest. The Cardinals’ nine league road games will be at Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Louisville is 207-61 all-time in basketball vs ACC teams but 3-9 vs North Carolina, 4-5 vs Duke. The wait is over Cardinal fans and the reality of playing in the ACC is upon us. Our first official day in the ACC will be July 7th and the dates and times of the above games will be announced later on this summer. This is going to be fun! Go Cards!

-ACC Commissioner John Swofford shares his thoughts on the newly released hoops matchups for the next two seasons. Find out what Commissioner Swofford thinks about the incredible games fans will see.

-Two Cardinals were invited to attend the NFL Draft today; Calvin Pryor and Teddy Bridgewater will attend draft on May 8th in New York City. Louisville, Alabama, Texas A&M and Ohio State are the only two schools with multiple players accepting invitations to the NFL Draft in NYC.
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(Friday April 18 2014)

Tonight Cardinal fans got the chance to see four future players in two different All-Star games.
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All four of the Louisville signees looked great. Shaqquan Aaron had the second most points for the West Squad at the Jordan Brand Classic. He finished with 14 points on the night.
Quentin Snider was the MVP for the white squad. He had 8 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds; Jaylen Johnson has 14 points, 10 rebounds; Onuaku has 5 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals in the Derby Festival Classic.
There is a lot of potential oozing out of this group and all of these guys are gonna help the Cardinals win a lot of games in the future. Out of the four I think Onuaku and Aaron will see the most court Tim next season.

-U of L signee Quentin Snider talks after Derby Classic:

-U of L signee Chinanu Onuaku talks after Derby Classic:

-U of L signee Jaylen Johnson talks after Derby Classic:

 

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(Thursday April 17 2014)

Today was a huge day for the University as they signed a very lucrative 5 year apparel deal with Adidas. The deal in total was in the amount of 39 million dollars and in total to the University of over 7 million dollars. This deal puts Louisville 3rd in the Top 5 of all Universities just behind Notre Dame and Michigan.

And if you are a fan of different uniform looks this is the deal you’ve been waiting for. The Football program will have 5 different uniform variations they can use and the Basketball program will have 4 different variations they will use including a post season variation. This deal makes Louisville the leader in the south as far as apparel deals go. This will go a long way with not only strengthening the Louisville brand statewide but will also help with national recognition.

Here are some of the interviews from the press conference today:

-Bobby Petrino talks about Louisville’s new deal with adidas:

-Tomorrow night three Louisville signees and future Cardinals Basketball stars will show their stuff at Freedom Hall in the Derby Festival Basketball classic. Tonight was the 2014 Horseshoe Foundation | Night of the Future Stars. It was the 2on2, three point shooting contest and slam dunk contest part of the Derby Basketball Classic. You can watch the entire program below.

Both Jaylen Johnson and Quentin Snider did very well at the night of stars. Johnson advanced to the finals of the slam dunk contest on Friday and Snider advanced to the finals of the 3-point contest.
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(This is a photo of one of Johnson’s dunks courtesy Jody Demling)
-Quentin Snider talks about his performance at Night of the Future Stars:

-Kentucky Derby Basketball Classic: Jaylen Johnson:

-KDF Night of the Future Stars: 2-on-2 Snider/Bates-Diop v. Francis/Okonoboh:

-Congrats to Jude Schimmel who was in New York City tonight being honored for being named one of Glamour Magazines Top 10 College Women.
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-I wrote a recent article about current player Montrezl Harrell doing something special for a local Louisville kid. Our former Cardinals are also still out there being great ambassadors for the University of Louisville. Tim Henderson and Stephan Van Treese were at Kosair Children’s Hospital today visiting Jackson for his birthday and last chemo party.
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Kudos to those guys who are still out there giving of their time trying to make a sick child’s day just a little bit brighter. L1C4
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(Wednesday April 16 2014)

It has been a pretty eventful week here in the Cardinal Nation. We got news on Monday that Montrezl Harrell would return for his junior season. Montrezl is another in a long line of recent players that really get the concept of belonging to a community. He considers himself not only a player for the University of Louisville, but has become a member of the Cardinal family. Today Montrezl did something pretty amazing and gave back to that community.

9-year-old Cruz Colvin is a Louisville boy who is fighting long odds for a bone marrow match. So far his doctors have found just one potential matching donor out of 14 million bone marrow donors. The Louisville third graders family and friends are recruiting the public to be potential donors especially the Hispanic community. Today Montrezl not only took the time to sign an autograph for Cruz but he also took the time today to join the National Bone Marrow Registry.
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What an awesome gesture from this awesome young man. Folks we have been really blessed with some outstanding athletes coming through the program over the last few years. At the end of the day making a difference in people’s lives is what matters most. Our student athletes are winning on the field of play and in life. Way to go Montrezl! If you would like to follow Trez’s awesome gesture and get on the donor list just click on the hyper link in the article for more information. You may be able to help Cruz.

-Both Montrezl and Wayne Blackshear met with the Louisville media this week to talk about Harrell’s decision and to give a small preview into next season. Both Montrezl and Wayne will be the Team Captains for next season. Here are their interviews:

-U of L’s Wayne Blackshear on being named a co-captain:

-U of L’s Montrezl Harrell talks about his decision to come back:

– Some big news out of the Women’s Basketball program this week also as they had three players drafted on Monday night in the WNBA Draft.
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Nita Slaughter was the 35th pick taken by the Los Angeles Sparks, Asia Taylor was the 36th pick taken by the Minnesota Lynx and Shoni Schimmel was selected by the Atlanta Dream with the eighth pick, making Louisville the only school with three draft picks in 2014. Big congrats to these athletes.

– There are three 2014 Louisville Basketball signees in town this week for the Derby Festival basketball classic on Friday.
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Quentin Snider, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku met with the media today to talk about their big game on Friday:

-Chinanu Onuaku talks about playing at U of L as a freshman:

-Jaylen Johnson talks about playing in Derby Classic:

-Quentin Snider talks about Derby Classic, future at U of L: