Listen, I loved Edgar Sosa. I loved the way he played, I loved his funky brow and I loved his goofy on court demeanor. He hit big shots, did some incredible things on a basketball court and may be featured in every NCAA Tournament montage for this alone.
I feel as though I am one of the few and the proud. There is doesn't seem to be much love lost for Edgar, even in this – a Louisville Cardinals – community. He was thought of as selfish. He was said to be unable to make a pass. He was often cited as the reason the Louisville Cardinals flamed out against Cal in the NCAA tournament. After showing his potential against Texas A&M in his freshman year by making it look easy to drop 30-plus points in a second round game, Edgar never quite seemed to be able to get over the hump with fans as a great player, and a leader.
What's funny about this is that Edgar was only really the leader of our beloved Cardinals for his senior season. He was maligned as a underachieving point guard on teams where he didn't run traditional point. His sophomore year we ran the ball mostly through David Padgett. His junior year the offense was not surprisingly run through two NBA lottery picks in TWill and one Mr. Earl "I Just Swatted LeBron James on National TV" Clark. I don't think it would have been possible for Edgar to have put up numbers that were terribly big with teams as loaded as those.
This lineup does not strike fear into the hearts of many. Remember this was the version of Jerry Smith that couldn't shoot the ball. From the bench we had Preston who had not quite earned his full exclamation point, George Goode and eventually The King. Buckles, Mike Marra and one Mr. Peyton Siva were freshmen. I defy you to tell me that the version of Peyton Siva we have now would be able to muster up a better result than a first round defeat to Cal in the tournament. I'm going to take the position that a point guard with severely limited range, on a team where the pure shooter couldn't shoot, would have a problem here. Frankly, if Siva runs that team it may go to the NIT and maybe the close out of Freedom Hall doesn't go quite the same way.
Now this isn't at all an effort to malign the most adorable point guard in basketball. I adore the way Peyton Siva plays. And really Siva's Louisville career has had a similar arc. He arrived on the seen with this. And he has continually showed his athleticism. But consistency issues and a jump shot that exited the building have plagued the poor kid. Peyton has never been the scorer Edgar was, but he also never had to be (until probably now). The big difference for Peyton in comparison to Edgar is the makeup of the teams. Edgar "underachieved" mostly because he was never going to be the go-to player on any but the last of his teams. And when that was the case he undoubtedly needed to score the ball from the point guard position. Peyton's first two seasons were in the so-called bridge years. His sophomore year, probably his best year in terms of consistency he was blessed with a teammate who had the biggest balls and jump shot that was as seemingly consistent as any UofL player we've had in Preston!. Basically, Peyton was always right on schedule in terms of his progression.
While their careers have a general parallel, where they diverge dramatically is in the perception. This divergence can be pretty easily traced to last year's Final Four run. Peyton bought himself a ton of leeway on that magical ride. And let's face it, it was insanely magical. A much-too-tight second round game and a ridiculous comeback (led not by Siva) against Florida were due to a combination of skill, effort and a healthy dose of luck. If the wheels came off at the end of the New Mexico game in the second round, where does Peyton Siva's career compare to Edgar's? Edgar was ostensibly the point guard for an Elite Eight team, kept us in the last game in Freedom Hall until Kuric exploded and gave us all this (go to the 2:37 mark for the money shot).
I ask you: given all this, if this years team goes out in the Elite Eight or earlier, will Siva and Sosa be regarded the same way? Will it become clear that these were both great players? Or will the sheer adorable, Samoanness (not a word, but I'm rolling with it) of Mr. Siva always keep him in elevated company?