—Your must-read of the day is Damion Lee telling his story for The Player’s Tribune.
—Evan Daniels is predicting Aidan Igiehon to Louisville, which would be an enormous get for Chris Mack.
—NBC Sports has a feature on former Cardinal Chris Brickley, who has become the most sought-after basketball trainer in the world. That’s not an overstatement either.
“They’re all competitive, they got to the NBA because they’re competitive athletes. It’s the off-season, so you might as well, if you can, play against some elite talent, they do it…” Brickley said. “It’s personal. Certain guys have certain rivalries against other guys, whether they are superstars or not superstars, so when it’s time and that other player is guarding them, they’re not going to want to be embarrassed in front of their peers. There’s 10-15 other NBA players in there…
“I think some days it is personal, and they play as hard as if it’s a playoff game.”
Brickley was a college walk-on player whose eye as a trainer and developing talent ultimately landed him a job with the Knicks. It was there that he became a favorite workout trainer/partner of Carmelo Anthony.
“I was with the Knicks for five years, that first year we clicked,” Brickley said. “That second year… we became really close friends. As we traveled around the country he let me network with other players — Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden and everything — and through ‘Melo I got those relationships and that really helped me out.”
Now those relationships are paying off now and made him the hottest trainer in the NBA, a summer go-to for a lot of players. He gets to know these players as people, they know he cares about them and relates to them, and it’s from that place that he can push them in the gym. The connection matters.
It’s that connection, and his story, that has his gym full all summer long.
—Info is now available for the U of L lacrosse camp, which is going down at the end of July.
—Big fan of this U of L women’s basketball summer hype vid.
—Forbes takes the unpopular (and wrong) stance that Donovan Mitchell’s rookie season was “just ok.”
—Watchability rankings for the World Cup Round of 16, which is now four matches deep.
—The former Card has it rolling.
—Late June/early July is for ranking college football teams from movies and TV.
—Behind a big game from former Western Kentucky star Orlando Mendez-Valdez, Mexico stunned the United States in FIBA World Cup qualifying. That’s basketball.
—Updated college hoops national championship odds from Bovada:
Odds to win the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship
Team 4/3/18 6/1/18 Current Odds (6/26/18)
Kentucky 8/1 10/1 6/1
Duke 6/1 11/2 13/2
Kansas 7/1 8/1 8/1
Villanova 8/1 9/1 17/2
Gonzaga 20/1 10/1 19/2
Nevada 30/1 22/1 10/1
North Carolina 12/1 12/1 14/1
Virginia 20/1 15/1 18/1
Tennessee 30/1 28/1 28/1
Oregon 30/1 33/1 30/1
Michigan 25/1 25/1 33/1
Michigan State 20/1 25/1 33/1
Indiana Off the Board 40/1 38/1
Auburn 18/1 30/1 40/1
Virginia Tech 80/1 30/1 40/1
West Virginia 30/1 35/1 45/1
UCLA 40/1 40/1 50/1
Syracuse 60/1 50/1 55/1
Florida 40/1 50/1 66/1
Purdue 50/1 50/1 66/1
Texas Tech 50/1 50/1 66/1
Wichita State 50/1 50/1 66/1
Cincinnati 60/1 65/1 75/1
Louisville 80/1 75/1 75/1
Arizona State 60/1 70/1 80/1
Clemson 60/1 70/1 80/1
LSU 80/1 75/1 80/1
Maryland 40/1 70/1 80/1
Miami (FL) 60/1 70/1 80/1
NC State 60/1 70/1 80/1
Ohio State 60/1 70/1 80/1
Vanderbilt 60/1 70/1 80/1
Florida State 80/1 80/1 90/1
Mississippi State 80/1 80/1 90/1
Penn State 80/1 80/1 90/1
Wisconsin 80/1 90/1 90/1
Baylor 80/1 90/1 99/1
Butler 80/1 90/1 99/1
Seton Hall 80/1 90/1 99/1
St. John’s 80/1 90/1 99/1
TCU 80/1 90/1 99/1
Texas 80/1 90/1 99/1
Texas A&M 80/1 90/1 99/1
Xavier 80/1 90/1 99/1
Arizona 100/1 100/1 100/1
Kansas State Off the Board Off the Board 100/1
Notre Dame 100/1 150/1 150/1
Iowa State Off the Board 200/1 200/1
Loyola Chicago 200/1 200/1 200/1
—Aspire Academy’s ties to the University of Louisville run deep.
—Former Louisville basketball players are appreciative of the way Chris Mack has welcomed them with open arms.
Two players from that national title team have been disassociated from the program. Still, the alumni in town Friday said Mack has backed up his promise and made them feel welcome.
“He could have clearly come in and just wiped a clean slate and wanted to start anew,” former guard Peyton Siva said. “But he obviously took this job because he loves the history and tradition that the University of Louisville has, and he wants to build toward the future.”
Mack said at his introductory press conference that there are no “different eras.” He wanted to make past teams feel welcome, even those that still have fresh wounds. Some players expressed a disconnect between returning to a school that still appreciates them and the fact that their achievements have been vacated from that school.
Mack, the players said, is not hindered by that disconnect.
“You don’t feel that too often,” Russ Smith said. “A lot of people extend invites just so they can feel accepted. He doesn’t (hide) his pride when it comes to stuff like that. He was completely open and wanted the love to be mutual.”
—Ray Spalding doesn’t like talking about himself, but he does think that people have slept on his skillset.
—Trey Lewis talks about spending the summer with the Utah Jazz and his relationship with Donovan Mitchell.
Former Louisville player Tre Lewis talks about coming into the Jazz organization with a friend waiting to greet him: Donovan Mitchell. pic.twitter.com/k5093aSUT4— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) July 1, 2018
—Inside Lamar Jackson’s journey as a Baltimore Raven so far.
—It’s no secret that Purdue’s in good hands with Jeff Brohm, but a repeat of last season might be hard to come by for the Boilermakers in 2018.
—ESPN’s David Hale ranks the running back units in the ACC and has Louisville ninth.
This is a complete wild card. The Cardinals’ ground attack was good last year -- averaging nearly 7 yards per carry even when Lamar Jackson wasn’t running the ball. But will that trend continue without the threat of Jackson in the backfield? Are there young backs ready to step up after the top three rushers from last year departed? And will Bobby Petrino trust them -- something he certainly didn’t do often enough last year?
—There was a pretty nasty brawl today in the FIBA World Cup qualifier between Australia and the Philippines.
—It sounds like a great week was had by all.
—LeBron James going to Los Angeles is very obviously not entirely about basketball.
—In James O’Connor’s final match with the club, Louisville City FC played the New York Red Bulls II to a 3-3 tie Saturday night at Slugger Field.
—Sports Illustrated’s early top 60 big board for the 2019 NBA Draft features no Cardinals.
—The CJ starts breaking down the 2018 Louisville football schedule with a look at Alabama.
—The State is doing the same thing with Clemson’s schedule, and doesn’t see Louisville as much of a threat anymore.
Nov. 3, vs. Louisville
About the Cardinals: Lamar Jackson is gone, as is Louisville’s top defender Jaire Alexander. Bobby Petrino should still find a way to put some points on the board this season, but the Cardinals will likely take a step back.
Tigers prospects: Louisville couldn’t beat Clemson with Lamar Jackson and it’s unlikely the Cardinals will be able to do so without him. The Tigers are 4-0 against the Cardinals since Louisville joined the ACC.
—Central Arkansas and Lipscomb have been added to Louisville’s 2018-19 men’s basketball schedule, which leaves just one more opponent to be added to the slate. Lipscomb won the Atlantic Sun and played in the NCAA tournament last season.
—And finally, R&R is back from 3-6 this afternoon with both John and myself together for the first time in three weeks. You can listen here.