The season of summer basketball previewing is upon us, and unlike a year ago, it figures to be one chock full of fun stuff to read for Louisville fans.
Rob Dauster of NBC Sports joined the fray on Tuesday with a summer look at the ACC. The overview is solid for any hoops junkie, but it features a handful of items that may be of particular interest to Cardinal fans.
For starters, Dauster is high on Jordan Nwora. So high that has the rising junior as the league’s preseason player of the year.
CAN LOUISVILLE LIVE UP TO THE HYPE?: Speaking of living up to the hype, it only took Chris Mack a year to get the Cardinals to a place where they are heading into a season as a legitimate national title favorite. Part of it is the newcomers he has coming in — five-star Samuell Williamson headlines a loaded six-man recruiting class while grad transfer Fresh Kimble fills the hole they had at the point — but the biggest reason to be bullish on the ‘Ville this year is who they have returning.
Dwayne Sutton is back. Steve Enoch is back. Malik Williams is back. Those guys are all going to be important, but not quite as important as Jordan Nwora, our way-too-early ACC Player of the Year and a potential All-American. Nwora was one of the most improved players in the country this past season, and I fully expect him to develop into one of the league’s premier scoring threats playing the same role that Trevon Bluiett played for Mack at Xavier.
WAY-TOO-EARLY ALL-ACC TEAM
JORDAN NWORA, Louisville (ACC PLAYER OF THE YEAR)
COLE ANTHONY, North Carolina
MAMADI DIAKIE, Virginia
JOHN MOONEY, Notre Dame
VERNON CAREY, Duke
The preview is also high on U of L as a team, placing the Cards behind only Duke in the way-too-early power rankings section.
1. DUKE: Last year, Duke was the most talented team in college basketball, but the talent did not fit together as well as it could have. They had too many guys that all do the same things — drive to the rim, finish at the bucket — and not enough guys to do the thing that would create space — i.e. shoot the ball. Shooting could still end up being an issue this season with Jones at the point, but the way Duke’s pieces fit together this year works better.
2. LOUISVILLE: I’m all-in on the Cardinals this season with Jordan Nwora coming back. He’s the perfect big wing for Chris Mack’s offense, and they have a talented recruiting class that will fill the holes in their roster. It only took a year for Mack to get Louisville to the point of contending.
The standard duo of Virginia and North Carolina rounds out the top four.
As we’ve talked about before, there only appear to be a handful of ACC teams that are poised to be better in 2019-20 than they were a season ago. With that being the case, we should all feel especially fortunate that Chris Mack has this program back to national relevance ahead of schedule.