Louisville measures a "Cardinal Great" in terms of championships, trophies, accolades, and possibly as important, fan favoritism. Louisville has never been a program or fan base that requires professional success to secure Cardinal Great status, largely in part because Louisville Basketball hasn't had a major NBA presence for almost two decades. Terry Rozier is arguably the best guard in Coach Pitino's tenure, and regardless of whether he delivers banner number four, Terry is a Cardinal Great and his Louisville legacy will impact this program immensely for years to come.
Based on Coach Pitino's comments Monday, the reality is sinking in that we have roughly two months remaining to enjoy Terry Rozier in a Cardinal uniform. Rozier is a true sophomore, but is three years out of high school and is set to turn 21 in March. Terry's perseverance and work ethic will finally pay off, and his lifelong goal of supporting his family will be achieved by July. In my opinion, he is the best player on one of the best teams in the country, and I haven't watched a guard this season that I would prefer to our agent zero.
Terry's ability and potential can certainly carry this team to a fourth championship, and if Louisville accomplishes that feat I'm not sure you can debate his place as the best Cardinal guard in two decades. Even though Terry's name will not be written throughout the Louisville record books, Rozier's legacy will change Cardinal Basketball forever by shedding the stigma that has clouded Louisville's appeal under Coach Pitino.
The popular opinion and belief is that Coach Pitino cannot develop recruits into players that will have successful NBA careers. It is hard to argue against this train of thought when you can only point to Francisco Garcia and Gorgui Dieng as impactful NBA contributors. The recruiting trail is a nasty place, but delivering fact and truth to high school phenoms is more than fair. Kansas, UNC, Duke, and our rivals to the east can sit down with a teenager, his parent(s), and his handlers and harp on the fact that attending Louisville will not help one reach the NBA.
In society's current climate where all that seems to matters to our youth is social media popularity and money making, Louisville's brand is easy to deflate when discussing NBA presence. Terry Rozier can, and will, change everything in terms of Louisville Basketball and the National Basketball Association. Rozier models his game after Dwayne Wade, minus a few inches they could be mistaken for twins, and if Terry's career is half as successful as Mr. Wade's, Pitino and Louisville will finally secure that missing puzzle piece.
Repeated consistently for almost two years by our hall of fame head coach, Rozier is a professional in every sense of the word. When he declares for the draft in April and when his name is called in June ahead of the likes of the Harrison twins, we will finally have our professional guard to follow and remember for years to come. Coach Pitino will have a name to point to on the recruiting trail, and the Louisville First, Cards Forever brand can finally stand side by side with NBA's.
Coach Pitino has done things the right way at Louisville and I wouldn't trade the players that have donned that Cardinal jersey these last few years for anything. With that being said, Terry Rozier is a welcomed and much needed Cardinal Great. He is a Louisville man, a true professional, a kid who dreams of supporting his family, and is the best Cardinal guard since Wheat or L.A. Smith. We will enjoy these final two months of Rozier's career as a Cardinal and letting him go will not be easy, but put your trust in Terry because his Louisville legacy is only just beginning.
All Hail UofL !!