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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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My guy Dexter has already kicked off his weekend.

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—U of L baseball ends its 2019 campaign as the No. 3 team in the country, the best final ranking in program history.

—Joe Lunardi has released a new summer Bracketology and has Louisville as a No. 2 seed.

—From the “only good news during the summer is no news” department, new U of L football quality control assistant Cortney Braswell was arrested Thursday on charges of theft related to his time as a high school football coach in Tennessee.

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has resulted in the indictment of Cortney Braswell, the former head football coach at Central High School in Chattanooga.

Comptroller Justin Wilson says investigators determined that Braswell pocketed at least $2,480 in payments he received from two semi-pro football teams that had paid to use the high school’s football field for their home games.

The investigation revealed that Braswell was paid a total of at least $1,480 by a women’s semi-pro team in 2016 and 2017. He was paid $1,000 by a men’s semi-pro team in 2017.

Wilson says the money should have been turned over to the school.

—The other strange story from Thursday came when news broke that longtime men’s tennis coach Rex Ecarma has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a review into “issues raised within the program.”

Right around the same time the story broke, Ecarma tweeted that he was out recruiting.

At least we wasted no time in getting weird this offseason.

—Louisville sits at No. 3 in the updated top 25 of Jeff Goodman. Kansas is No. 1 and Michigan State is No. 2.

—Former Cards Jaylen Johnson and Jay Henderson will both play for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.

—Our guy Matteo Lambert is continuing to run 5Ks across the country to raise money to help children with cancer. He also spent some time at the Chris Mack basketball camp last week and got coach Mack himself to join the cause.

After camp, Matteo went to St. Louis he set a new personal best for a 5K – 22:19 – which is a 7:12 per mile pace. Keep killing it, Matteo.

—Former U of L volleyball star Katie George is returning to Louisville to take a job as an anchor/reporter for the ACC Network.

—From Senegal to Louisville, basketball standout Yacine Diop has faced challenge after challenge head on.

—For any fans who will be making the trip to Nashville for the football game against Western Kentucky on Sept. 14, there will be a pregame party at Wildhorse Saloon that will roll from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

—U of L baseball closes the book on a memorable month.

—Gary Parrish of CBS keeps Louisville at No. 4 in his updated rankings.

—The brightest young NBA prospects in America are currently carrying the USA U19 basketball team.

—Pat Forde breaks down the winners and losers of the last decade of conference realignment, and sees Louisville as both a winner and a loser.

Louisville

The Cardinals make both lists — first, the bad. The climb into The Club came at a cost: architect Tom Jurich was forced out after financial controversies and successive basketball scandals; the hoops dirt also cost Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino his job and the school a national championship banner; another NCAA investigation is ongoing; and Bobby Petrino 2.0, a hire that earned nationwide mockery, ended in a 2-10 debacle. What price ambition?

...

Louisville

As mentioned above, the Cardinals are not without baggage accrued during their status climb. But they enhance the ACC basketball product, are very good in several non-revenue sports and should be on the rebound in football after the 2018 implosion.

—Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician (Syracuse) serves up its 2019 Louisville football preview.

—Asia Durr has been named a 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee.

—Russ Yeast appears to be enjoying the new era of Louisville football more than the last.

—U of L finished 35th in the final Directors Cup standings.

—Longtime Chicago high school basketball coach Gene Pingatore — best-known for his primary role in “Hoop Dreams” — died on Thursday.

—Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News & Observer has Louisville at No. 4 in his summer ACC power rankings.

4. LOUISVILLE

Coach: Chris Mack, second season (20-14 at Louisville, 235-111 overall)

Projected lineup

G x-Fresh Kimble, gr. (15.6 ppg, 2.8 apg)

G Samuell Williamson, fr. (247 rank No. 18)

F Dwayne Sutton, sr. (10.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg)

F Jordan Nwora, jr. (17.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg)

F Steven Enoch, sr. (9.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg)

Note: x-at St. Joseph’s

2019 recap

Record: 20-14 (10-8 ACC)

KenPom: 23 (AdjO 28, AdjD 24)

Postseason: 0-1 NCAA tournament (lost to Minnesota)

Gone: G Christen Cunningham (10.1 ppg)

ACC schedule

Twice: Pitt, UVa, Clem, FSU, GT, Miami

Home: UNC, Syr, VT, Wake

Away: BC, Duke, State, ND

Louisville was better than expected in Year 1 under Chris Mack. Now another leap is expected of the Cardinals in Year 2. There can be a danger in that extrapolation.

The Cards were the definition of a “house money” team last year. Coming off of the clumsy transition from a hall-of-fame coach (Rick Pitino) to an interim coach (David Padgett), they had nothing to lose last year and they played that way.

Mack, an old ACC soul, showed why he excelled for so long at Xavier. He quickly galvanized an unproven group of mismatched parts into an NCAA team. The return of forward Jordan Nwora is huge and their bigs will be a handful again.

The backcourt of Fresh Kimble, a grad transfer from St. Joseph’s, and Samuell Williamson, the top player in a stacked recruiting class, will have to learn on the go.

It wasn’t easy what Mack did last year but going from average to good is a lot easier than the leap from good to great.

Duke, North Carolina and Virginia sit ahead of the Cards.

—If you’re in need of some gear ahead of the 2019-20 season ...

—An exhaustive look at what Power Five football programs have accomplished over the life span of a 2020 recruit. For Louisville, that list includes as many conference championships as any team in the ACC ... just don’t worry about how many of those have actually come in the ACC.

—Our guy Keith Wynne joined the folks over at Big Red Louie for an in-depth football discussion on their podcast.

—Friday Irrelevance, triple helping:

—The CJ’s Dominique Yates looks at the top 10 local sports stories of the moment.

—The predictions of Jaire Alexander having a breakout 2019 season continue to roll in.

—Perhaps not the best year for a schedule like this.

—The New York Knicks are saying publicly that they don’t believe there’s much of a drop-off from Kyrie Irving to Terry Rozier.

—The Breeders Cup is staying at Santa Anita.

—The AAC bids farewell to UConn.

—Kentucky native Beetle Bolden is transferring from West Virginia to Alabama.

—And finally, we’re putting a bow on the first “official” week of the offseason this afternoon from3-6 on 790. You can listen live here or via podcast here (or wherever you can find podcasts).