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Tuesday evening Cardinal news and notes

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It's officially Cardinal travel season, and Denny Bogard is celebrating the occasion in Nanjing, China.

I_medium Despite being the last pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, Gerald Christian plans on being anything but irrelevant at the professional level. That probability was boosted today with the news that Arizona's John Carlson retired after leading the Cardinals tight ends in starts (12) and catches (33) last year.

I_medium Highlights of the Cardinal triumph over Clemson last night:

I_medium It'll be the Cards vs. the Cats Wednesday night at 6:30 in Lexington as Louisville goes for the regular season sweep of its in-state rival.

I_medium Louisville is No. 21 in ESPN's revised way-too-early top 25 for 2015-16.

I_medium Kenny Klein is the man.

Klein's insistence that U of L sports information not utilize any kind of automated phone system, meant that when the media members call there is always a real, live human being to answer their questions or consider their requests. He worked deals with local restaurants to provide top-notch meals at event, arranged trade-outs with companies to provide his staff with state-of-the art-copiers, computers, and even transportation. 

These are all commonplace practices now, but he was years ahead of his field. With the avid UofL fan base being so generous, Klein always finds a way to leverage that into providing resources for his shop rather than for any personal gain. His hospitality with visiting media both national and local to the opponent has always gone a long way to foster a positive environment for coverage of the Cards, no matter how eccentric or disputatious some of those media members might be.

"Kenny Klein is the ultimate SID. He does not major in minors - he just gets the job done in a way all media people appreciate," said Hall of Fame Coach Denny Crum, who coached the men's basketball Cardinals from 1971-2001.

Klein's willingness to put in yeoman's hours and take on extra work to host conference events kept Louisville in the national spotlight. He has developed a wonderful knack for accommodating media demands while still maintaining a relationship that can absorb bumps in the road. 

"Kenny Klein is the finest person I've worked with in my 40 years," said UofL men's basketball head coach Rick Pitino. "His dedication towards excellence is unparalleled in college athletics. He is a true Hall of Famer."

I_medium The Miami Dolphins talk to Paul Rogers about DeVante Parker.

I_medium The Pitino family was in Vegas for the big fight on Saturday, and was naturally seated one row in front of John Calipari.

I_medium Todd Grantham says he believes Gerod Holliman can shed his rep for being a poor tackler in Pittsburgh.

I_medium According to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, Shaqquan Aaron plans on visiting San Diego State next week.

I_medium The unexpected return of the brash Sutton Whiting is one of the biggest reasons the Louisville baseball team is ranked in top five.

Whiting knew this. Rather, he thought he knew this. Here he was in the first game of his 2014 junior season, up to the plate with the score tied 6-6 in the ninth. He was fooled in his last at-bat, but he wouldn't be fooled this time. He'd annihilate this curveball. Yes, that's how he'd begin the biggest year of his life, the year he'd surely get drafted. He leaned in ever so slightly from the lefthanded batter's box, poking his head over, readying for the break.

It didn't break. The curveball wasn't a curveball. It was a fastball, a heat-seeking missile at 88 miles per hour that knocked Whiting off of his feet. He tried to pop back up, but when he breathed out, red puddles pooled on the ground beneath him. The more he breathed, the larger they grew.

Whiting spent the first night of his junior season in the hospital.

Sometimes, plans bend and curve to your will. Other times, they hit you in the face.

Whiting wasn't drafted. He hit just .216/.369/.289 in 218 at-bats after fracturing his nose in that first game. There was an obvious psychological impact when he came back, a slight tendency to bail out in left-on-left at-bats. And it didn't help that he was playing shortstop with a Richard Hamilton-like mask on his face and batting with a cage on his helmet.

"I kind of felt like a softball player in the batter's box," Whiting said, looking back. "I couldn't have my swag up there."

But the swag is back this year. Whiting is a different guy—no mask, no cage. From a personal standpoint, Whiting said he feels as though he learned a lot about himself; he grew from those struggles. From a statistical standpoint, he's flourishing, leading his team in hitting with a .360/.487/.453 line after 150 at-bats. And from a fundamental standpoint, he's had the most remarkable change. He doesn't have to worry about lefthanded curveballs breaking away from him anymore. Now, he sees them from the righthanded batter's box. After years of batting lefthanded only, Whiting has gone back to switch-hitting.

I_medium Former Cardinal assistant Kareem Richardson has received a contract extension to remain the head coach at UMKC through 2020.

I_medium Peyton Siva finished his season with the Erie BayHawks with the franchise's second most assists in both a single game and a single season. The guy ought to be in the league, and you can't convince me otherwise.

I_medium ESPN names Reggie Bonnafon as one of the spring's ACC breakout stars.

Reggie Bonnafon (QB, Louisville)

Thrust into the starting lineup in midseason last year, Bonnafon struggled as a passer. Now with some experience under his belt, he looks far more comfortable in the pocket. His footwork and timing have improved, he has gotten better at reading defenses, and he has shown more of a willingness to attack down the field. Match those skills with ample athleticism and Bonnafon could be Bobby Petrino's most versatile QB in years. There's no set starter for Louisville yet, but when spring wrapped up, it certainly appeared that Bonnafon was ahead of the pack.

Josh Harvey-Clemons also gets an honorable mention nod.

I_medium Everybody loves Terry Rozier.

I_medium U of L announced eight Fullbright Award winners on Tuesday, bringing the schools's total Fulbrights since 2003 to 87.

I_medium Florida State is coming to town this weekend, and while the Seminoles likely don't have a much of a shot to take the Atlantic Division crown from Louisville, they do have a chance to join the Cards as a national seed in the NCAA Tournament.

I_medium I'm a little surprised they don't have sleeves.

I_medium Auburn coach Gus Malzahn says the Tigers haven't yet started preparing for Louisville.

I_medium Class of 2016 shooting guard LeGerald Vick has decommitted from SMU, and Louisville is one of the many schools that has contacted him since.

I_medium Ian Klarer is back at it with this Lorenzo Mauldin homage:

I_medium Recent Dallas Cowboys first round pick Byron Jones from UConn says DeVante Parker is the best wide receiver he's ever covered.

I_medium And finally, Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier are both late first round picks in the most recent NBA mock draft from USA Today.