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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Aiden, Theo and Bryson claim they’re the best Louisville trio since Peyton, Russ and Gorgui.

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—Eric Crawford lays out the cases U of L will be making in its appeal hearing in Atlanta today.

—Gavin LaPaille with a really good story about Greg Paulus filling in for David Padgett at last night’s radio show while Padgett was on the road recruiting.

There's been a lot of negative stories surrounding UofL basketball the past couple years so wanted to share a positive one.

I attended the David Padgett Radio Show tonight held at Sport and Social Club. Unfortunately Padgett was unable to attend, so Greg Paulus came in his place.

My assumption is most fans of college athletics were familiar with Paulus before he arrived at Louisville. He is in the long line of players from Duke who people seemed to hate for one reason or another, and he has the novelty of playing two different sports for two different schools in college.

I was interested to hear Paulus speak in the intimate setting the Radio Show events provide, and he came off very well in his first segment.

But what impressed me most is what he did after. Paulus walked around to each table, introduced himself and chatted with everyone individually for a few minutes. It was a small gesture, but one I'd never seen before at other events. Showed a lot about his character. Afterwards, he signed an autograph for my younger cousin and posed for a photo, which is attached.

You've written about it many times - this is an incredibly difficult situation for the coaches, players and everyone else involved with the team. Seeing Paulus make an extra effort to engage himself on a closer level was great to see. No matter if his affiliation with UofL ends after one season, Paulus won a fan in me tonight.

Good on, Greg.

*slaps the floor in his honor*

—My guy Harry Lyles has a great read on the Evansville plane crash that rocked college basketball 40 years ago.

—Lesson here, kids: Always bail.

—As expected, Jaire Alexander is exploring the possibility of jumping to the NFL after the TaxSlayer Bowl.

Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander has submitted paperwork to the NFL draft advisory board, his father Landis said Tuesday.

The family will wait for the results of that draft grade, which will influence whether the Cardinals’ preseason All-American forgoes his senior season and enters the NFL draft in the spring.

Landis Alexander said he would like his son to receive at least a second-round grade to advocate for Jaire turning pro, though he said he does not have a hard cutoff. Jaire Alexander could still leave if he receives a lower grade, or return to Louisville if he receives a higher one.

The family requested feedback from the advisory board on the Monday after the Kentucky game, Nov. 27, and Mr. Alexander said expects a response within the next week. The advisory committee examines film of games the player and his family ask them to examine — Louisville’s past three games against Virginia, Syracuse and Kentucky, in Alexander’s case.

Landis Alexander added that his son will “absolutely” play in the TaxSlayer Bowl against Mississippi State on Dec. 30, regardless of whether he declares for the draft before then.

—Sports writer Dick Jerardi looks back at his remarkable career.

—DeJuan Wheat has it rolling again at Valley, which knocked off PRP last night.

—I started this year thinking it was going to be a great one for the sport of basketball. I ended it receiving these odds in an email.

Although I will say, 33/1 is an enticing number if you were thinking about that bet.

—A Georgia football player was arrested for using a fake $100 bill at a pet shop. Look, I know they’re chasing a national championship right now, but some risks are worth taking.

—It’s anonymous NFL Draft scout season, and what a shock, they have some not so nice things to say about Lamar Jackson.

2. Conversely, it would be a surprise if Lamar Jackson does go in the first round. The evaluators I’ve spoken with have questions about his instincts and anticipation in the passing game, and his ability to process within the context of a pro offense, and still believe he’s more thrower than passer. That doesn’t mean he can’t develop. It does means that he was seen as raw as a quarterback going into 2016, and the feeling on that remains the same.

I’m not going to get into what “his ability to process within the context of a pro offense” is really saying, but you can figure it out.

Meanwhile ...

3. For as closely as we all scrutinized USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, and Wyoming’s Josh Allen, not much has changed on those three as far as scouts are concerned. Darnold still has the funky mechanics, the flair for the dramatic, the rep as a winner and the pristine character. Rosen is still the pageant winner—he looks like he was born to throw a football—with the questions about his personality and character. And Allen is the raw mountain of ability without much polish.

Well if he looks like he was born to throw a football that’s all the convincing I need.

—The announcer for the Lithuanian team that is about to get LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball sang them a welcome song last night and it’s making a late push for the hottest jam of 2017.

—CCBM tree season rolls on.

—Here’s an early season headline we’ve all gotten accustomed to in recent years: Duke’s defense is bad again.

—Seth Davis started his weekly mailbag over at The Athletic by looking at the problems with Memphis, Louisville’s Saturday opponent.

Is it me, or is it almost like Memphis isn’t even playing college basketball this season? The Tigers lost their season opener to Alabama in Annapolis at the Veterans Classic. They lost by 15 points at UAB. Their seven wins have all come at home against nondescript opponents. They are ranked No. 159 on KenPom.

Tubby Smith is a terrific coach with a championship on his résumé, but he has had a very rough go at Memphis. Either he isn’t very good at recruiting or doesn’t like it, or both. Even when he was at Kentucky, Smith didn’t pull in a lot of McDonald’s All-American types. He is much better suited coaching under-the-radar recruits who will play tough and smart. His teams at Tulsa and Georgia excelled using that formula. Then he went to Kentucky, where he won an NCAA title coaching players Rick Pitino had recruited and developed. You’re always going to get good players at Kentucky, but the program steadily lost steam and backtracked, which led Smith to leave for Minnesota in 2007. In six years there, he won exactly one NCAA Tournament game. When he was let go in 2013, the athletic director at the time, Norwood Teague, made it clear he didn’t think Smith worked hard enough at recruiting.

Using his Tulsa-Georgia formula, Smith took Texas Tech to the NCAA Tournament in his third year before getting hired away to coach Memphis for more than $3 million per year. Memphis, however, is more like Kentucky than his other stops. To win at Memphis, a coach has to recruit that city and its surrounding areas well. Smith’s predecessor, Josh Pastner, did just that, partly through his willingness to engage in tactics like hiring the father of excellent high school players so those players would follow him to the school. It’s not a pleasant trick, but it’s perfectly legal, and in this case it was smart. After Pastner hired Keelon Lawson to be his assistant, Lawson’s sons, Dedric and K.J., signed to play for Memphis.

Smith wasn’t feeling it. Last season, he demoted Keelon Lawson to director of player development. When the season ended, Keelon Lawson left the program while Dedric and K.J. transferred to Kansas. That prompted a mass exodus that would see a total of six players transfer out, leaving Memphis with two returning starters and a walk-on. To make matters worse, Smith had a lousy year on the recruiting trail, so he had to shore up his roster mostly with junior college transfers. A couple of those players, Kareem Brewton Jr. and Kyvon Davenport, came in with good reputations, but so far that hasn’t translated into results.

Moreover, there is nothing to indicate a resurgence. Memphis has yet to sign a single high-school senior ranked in the top 100 of His plum recruit is Connor Vanover, a 7-2 stretch 4 from Arkansas. Smith is involved with Tyler Harris, a 5-10 point guard from Memphis who's ranked No. 67 on Rivals. The other top-125 player from that city signed with Wichita State. Meanwhile, one of the greatest players in school history, Anfernee Hardaway, has a prominent AAU program called Team Penny, and there is growing buzz that he is pining for the job, which could set up a bountiful pipeline to local talent.

Nor can anyone blame Memphis’s league for its travails. The American has some marquee programs in Cincinnati, UConn and now Wichita State. There is no reason the Tigers can’t recruit and win big there. Besides, Memphis has never been in a so-called power conference. Even when the program peaked back in 1973, losing to UCLA in the NCAA final, it was part of the Missouri Valley. Memphis later competed in the Metro for 16 years, the Great Midwest Conference for four and Conference USA for 18. John Calipari took Memphis to three Elite Eights and a championship game from Conference USA. Surely someone can do that from the American.

I remember going to Midnight Madness at Memphis many years ago and being amazed at the way the fans packed Fed Ex Forum. Now, they don’t bother to show up for games. (In my Hoop Thoughts column this week, I linked to a column by Geoff Calkins in the Commercial Appeal bemoaning the sparse attendance.) Maybe Smith will eventually get enough of “his kind of players” to start winning big again. More likely, this is just a bad cultural fit. So while I’d like to counsel fans such as Calvin and Andrew to stay patient until things get better, the truth is, I see no reason to believe that is on the verge of happening. Sad times, indeed.

The Tigers squeaked by Albany last night, which means Saturday’s game in New York will likely determine who wins the Gotham Classic. For all the Batmobiles.

—Nina Simone is going to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which makes this a good day in my eyes.

—Donovan Mitchell is not a fan of Lonzo Ball’s consistent shot-taking at Nas.

I need this Don-Lonzo (Donzo?) rivalry.

—RJ Barrett of Southern Pigskin says Lamar Jackson’s ultimate legacy will be turning the previously unthinkable into the new norm.

Jackson's production has been so revolutionary, college football still doesn't know how to respond. An average performance from Jackson is one with a place in history, a real-time relativity to which we can't keep up. After eight touchdowns in the first half of his first game last season, Jackson has been chasing his own shadow ever since; fans, media and opposing defenses have been left chasing their tails. Pages in the record books have yet to settle.

With 188 total yards in what will very like be his final college outing, Jackson would pass Marcus Mariota for the most total yards of any power five junior of all-time, with the second-most yards of any three-year player ever, despite only starting eight games as a freshman. Nobody has done it quite like this.

The only true measure for Jackson is his own past. For all of the highlights, Jackson's most-remarkable move has been making the previously-impossible the neverending-norm. He continues to be graded on a scale, one where his numbers have replaced all names. Lamar Jackson hasn't just compiled impressive statistics, he has shaped how they are now seen.

—For some reason, the folks in Arizona have gotten fixated on the topic of Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley leaving for Louisville after this season. So much so, that Hurley had to address the speculation publicly.

—Congrats to U of L volleyballer Wilma Rivera on being named an AVCA All-American.

—It was another enjoyable evening at the KFC Yum Center on Tuesday.

—And finally, R&R will be reacting to the appeal news (if we get any) and making fun of Memphis from 3-6 on 790-KRD.