—Bye Week Spread Check: Skipping straight from summer to winter by 35 degrees.
—The Louisville basketball media guide for the 2018-19 season is now available for online viewing here. It does list the 2011-15 seasons as vacated, but also has a special section where it lists the records and accomplishments of those teams.
—Here’s a look at the media guide cover for this year:
The lack of a horse or any other accomplished animal athlete is the thing that really stands out to me here.
—The U of L men’s soccer team is back in action tonight against Lipscomb. Here’s a preview.
—Bobby Reagan lists Jordan Nwora as one of his breakout players for the 2018-19 season.
Jordan Nwora (Louisville, sophomore) – Nwora is a unique mismatch as he is 6’8″ and can really shoot the ball (43% from three). We saw what Chris Mack was able to do with someone like Trevon Bluiett at the small ball four spot at Xavier. Now, Nwora isn’t as talented as Bluiett, but he can fit that role for Louisville. Look for Mack to get him in sets where he can get a mismatch and run off of a screen for an open three. He had a big summer playing for the Nigerian National Team as well, giving him some confidence heading into the year. With a bit of a depleted roster, Nwora is a guy that can be the go-to option for Louisville in year one for Mack.
—Big Red Louie serves up three things to watch for during Sunday’s Red-White Scrimmage.
—Monday at the college hoops trial focused heavily on the text messages of Bill Self, T.J. Gassnola, and Billy Preston and his mother.
—Gary Parrish of CBS writes that the texts between Self and Gassnola show how college basketball recruiting works at the highest level.
“In my mind, it’s KU, Bill Self. Everyone else fall into line. Too (expletive) bad,” Gassnola replied. “That’s what’s right for Adidas basketball. And I know I’m right. The more you have lottery picks and you happy. That’s how it should work in my mind.”
”That’s how ur (sic) works. At UNC and Duke,” Self replied.
Gassnola answered by saying Kentucky as well.
”I promise you I got this,” Gassnola texted. “I have never let you down. Except (Deandre). Lol. We will get it right.”
What that exchange features is Gassnola essentially promising Self that he’ll help him land five-star prospects because Kansas is Adidas’ biggest basketball program and what’s good for Kansas is good for Adidas. Gassnola assures Self he will deliver because he’s never previously let him down -- except for that time with Deandre Ayton, the five-star center who enrolled at Arizona, a Nike school, even though Gassnola paid one of Ayton’s friends $15,000, according to testimony last week. And Self welcomes the help from Adidas because, he believes, North Carolina and Duke get similar help from Nike. So does Kentucky, Gassnola proclaims.
Simply put, this has been college basketball for a while.
Self was right.
That’s how it works.
Gassnola’s texts also sort of back up Rick Pitino’s stance that Adidas was always eager to help out Kansas and UCLA. Keep in mind the “just don’t hurt us” text that Pitino sent to Gatto about Romeo Langford, whom Pitino thought was a lock to go to U of L.
Also, Parrish’s story is a good example of the benefits of having a coach that the national media loves. The focus yesterday should have been “hey, this is pretty tangible evidence that Kansas is dirty and has been dirty for a long time.” Instead, it’s “Bill Self pulls back the curtain to show how recruiting works at all of college basketball’s major programs.”
I’m glad everyone loves Chris Mack. We could use some of these columns.
—Nick Bosa will not return to Ohio State this season.
—Dez Fitzpatrick’s helmet catch was the ACC’s top play for week seven.
—Four men have been found guilty in connection with the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Trinity Gay, the daughter of Olympic sprinter and Kentuckian Tyson Gay.
—Louisville volleyball is up to No. 21 in the latest coaches poll.
—Iowa State explains its glorious dinosaur marching band stunt.
—Jeff Greer makes the case for Steven Enoch as Louisville’s most important player in 2018-19.
As excited as Pitino was about the big man’s potential in his system, the switch to Mack looks like it’ll better suit Enoch, who at UConn was prone to foul trouble and didn’t block many shots. In Louisville’s old system, big guys left advantageous rebounding positions to confront ballhandlers in the lane. Now, Enoch won’t be in so many situations with guards and wings running at him. Instead, in Mack’s hybrid pack-line defense, Enoch will be allowed to focus on boxing out and pursuing defensive rebounds. As a result, the Cardinals should see an improvement with their defensive rebounding; last season they were among the worst teams in the country in that regard.
On offense, Mack wants the floor spaced, with shooters ready to pull the trigger. Enoch can operate in pick-and-rolls and pick-and-pops, and he can pass out of the post to a variety of scorers. What’s more, without a second post player sharing the floor, he’ll have more space to hunt for post-up spots.
The change in coaching staffs also could simplify Enoch’s responsibilities, which is beneficial for a player who is still learning the game. “The great thing about Steven is that he’s a really willing listener and he’s a tough kid,” Mack said. “I think the more he can continue to play in live settings, both in practice and in games, will only help him and his growth and what he can bring to the team.”
—SB Nation’s college football staff held a draft of the sport’s coaches they would least want to fight. Shockingly, Charlie Strong was not selected.
—Mallory Comerford is the ACC Swimmer of the Week.
—Seth Davis lays out what he believes are the top 10 storylines heading into the 2018-19 college hoops season.
2. Three new coaches, three fresh starts
Not many fan bases can rival Louisville, Memphis and UConn when it comes to passion and expectations. Louisville and UConn have won NCAA titles within the last five years, and Memphis is one of the few cities in America where the hometown university has a bigger following than the NBA team.
Yet all three programs have fallen on hard times. This season, each is hoping that an off-season coaching change – Chris Mack at Louisville, Penny Hardaway at Memphis and Dan Hurley at UConn – will yield the fresh start the fans so desperately crave.
Mack is coming in with the most equity. During his nine years as the coach at Xavier, his team missed the NCAA Tournament just once and reached the second weekend four times. Mack also has the best team of the three, one that returns four starters from a squad that won 22 games.
Hurley brings eight years of head coaching experience, including the last six at Rhode Island, which he took to the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons. He has extensive recruiting ties in the Northeast dating to his days as the coach at St. Benedict’s High School in New Jersey. And of course, his father, Bob Sr., is a coaching legend in the Garden State. Hurley’s lineup will feature a respectable perimeter headed by 6-foot-3 senior Jalen Adams, a potential American Athletic Conference player of the year, but not much else.
As for Hardaway, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a rookie head coach generate so much electricity. The relationship between the city of Memphis and its Tigers is profound, so it’s galvanizing to see a native son who happens to be a four-time NBA all-star be tasked with resurrecting his alma mater. No, Hardaway has never been a college head coach, but he coached one of the nation’s top high school teams at Memphis East and also ran Team Penny, one of the country’s premier grassroots programs. This should give him a strong presence on the recruiting front, which is the front that matters most.
Hardaway’s team could struggle this season, but if fans see the gains in recruiting, that will be enough to bring them back to FedEx Forum. Having Memphis relevant and juiced will be great for the game.
—The NBA returns tonight.
—Add an unnamed NBA scout to the list of people (which includes your faithful narrator) who believe Jordan Nwora will be Louisville’s best player this season.
From an NBA scout who recently saw Louisville practice: "Jordan Nwora's gonna be their guy ... V.J. King's body looks incredible, but you're always wanting more. He'll be an important piece. If King and (Steven) Enoch can be consistent with Nwora, they'll be interesting."— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_) October 15, 2018
—Darius Perry is one of the top returning free-throw shooters in the ACC.
—Congrats to Louisville City FC’s Cameron Lancaster on winning the USL’s Golden Boot.
—Ryan McMahon was the standout practice performer for Louisville basketball’s second week.
—Another Tuesday, another guy who just faced Louisville named as the ACC Quarterback of the Week.
—U of L women’s basketball player Loretta Kakala is transferring back home to the University of the Pacific.
—The details of the Kemari Averett arrest lead me to believe that we have seen the last of him in a Cardinal uniform. At least I would hope so.
Averett is being held on $10,000 bond pending arraignment. University police charged him with first-degree wanton endangerment and fourth-degree assault.
According to the arrest citation, Averett realized his laptop was missing from a backpack returned by his girlfriend. He then approached her car and put a gun to her temple, threatening to kill her. The report adds that Averett threatened to shoot the car and told his girlfriend he would “have my people looking for you.”
—Swish Appeal gives a quick preview of the 2018-19 ACC women’s basketball season.
—Louisville fans are loving Chris Mack’s Twitter game.
—And finally, we’re trying to move away from the Boston College loss and onto other topics this afternoon from 3-6. You can listen here.