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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Louie Hamilton says that the DC actually stands for District of Cards.

—The 14th-ranked U of L men’s soccer team kicks off its 2019 season with an exhibition match against Lipscomb tonight at 7 p.m. inside Lynn Stadium. The women’s squad will host Butler in exhibition play tomorrow night at 7:30.

—Mark Story looks at how the city of Louisville became the bedrock of Kentucky’s in-state football recruiting, something Scott Satterfield and company hope to change in short order.

—Lamar Jackson did a bad thing to Jaire Alexander (and other Packers) last night.

They’re still bros though.

LJ also made a new bff after the game.

—Ballard grad Marshon Ford continues to be a standout during fall camp.

—Chris Mack has offered up a public comment on the NCAA being back in Louisville and investigating the basketball program.

“It’s not a distraction. I had nothing to do with it,” Mack said. “We knew, and know, that an investigation is imminent, an investigation to find out what really happened. I’m very, very confident, maybe more now than I’ve ever been at being the head coach at Louisville.”

—U of L is soon going to be making the transition from paper tickets to all mobile tickets. It’s starting this year for the women’s basketball team.

—After 27 years on the job, Gary Ulmer is stepping down as President of the Louisville Bats.

—This is the best schedule reveal video I’ve seen. Props to Nevada.

—U of L men’s soccer coach John Michael Hayden isn’t tempering expectations on his first season on the job. He says the goal for the Cards is to win the program’s first national title.

—Seth Davis asked actual coaches to answer pointed questions from his readers, and one of those who took him up on it was Chris Mack.

To Chris Mack: Chris, last year after the Duke and Florida State games you talked about how your team needs to learn how to finish games. As you are going into the 2019-20 season with fresh new talent and high expectations, what are your plans to make sure your team can do better this year at preventing comebacks and having a better clutch on the end of games? — John M.

Mack’s answer:

Right after the season is over, I watch every one of our games. I don’t know if that’s something other coaches do. I got that from Sean (Miller). He’s a big watcher of tape. It helps to watch when you’re not as emotional and you can see trends. You don’t have to prepare notes and think about how you want to address your team the next day. But yeah, closing out games is something that as a coaching staff we have to improve upon. Going into the preseason we’ll put more of an emphasis on it.

A year ago, we were introducing a system. This year will be more teaching that system. But experience is the best teacher. You’ve got to fail at some things before you succeed. I think our guys will have a laser focus in terms of things like ball security, being better with time and score situations. I’d also like to think that the added depth will help our cause. We’re going in with 13 scholarship players as opposed to having nine who are healthy.

—SLC Dunk says USA Basketball polishing Donovan Mitchell into a superstar and that’s about to be a problem for the rest of the NBA.

—Single match tickets for the 2019 U of L volleyball season are now on sale.

—I enjoyed this deep dive into Blue Chips.

—In a story that at first glance makes you think it has to be fake, Louisiana Lafayette head football coach Billy Napier is requiring all scholarship players to donate to the school’s athletic fund ($50 minimum). The donation is optional for walk-on members of the squad.

—Chris and Christi Mack partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana for a back-to-school event on Thursday where 100 kids were given new backpacks, lunch boxes and school supplies for the new school year. Very cool.

—James Burgess picked off Matt Simms (who is somehow still in the NFL?) for a pick six Thursday night.

—Louisville baseball will be hosting Individual Skills Camps on Aug. 24th and Oct. 27th for ages 12 to 18. You can reserve your spot here.

—Controversial lawyer Michael Avenatti continues to spill details about Nike’s own illicit activities in the basketball world. His latest allegations involve talk of payments to Zion Williamson, Romeo Langford, Bol Bol and DeAndre Ayton, as well as a mention of an unnamed assistant coach at Kentucky.

What does this all mean? Almost certainly nothing. The NCAA doesn’t want to pursue this, Avenatti is a bad source, and no one seems to care about any of this anymore outside of the media and fans of programs that have already been caught up in the FBI deal and what to see others go down.

—Despite the news, Indiana has “no concerns” over Romeo Langford’s eligibility.

—Love this.

—Big news for Bellarmine basketball in 2019-20 as former EKU player and Mr. Kentucky basketball finalist Pedro Bradshaw has received a hardship waiver that will make him eligible to play immediately for the Knights.

—Chris Mack says so far, so good on freshman David Johnson’s recovery from shoulder surgery.

Johnson had surgery on his shoulder the last week of July. The Trinity High graduate previously told the Courier Journal that he was “very, very disappointed” in the injury but was determined to remain positive.

On Thursday, Louisville coach Chris Mack told the Courier Journal that Johnson’s recovery is on track.

”He’s still coming along over a couple weeks but early indications are good,” Mack said. “There are no ill effects of surgery, his range of motion is good, so double thumbs-up so far.”

Johnson’s arm will remain in a sling for four more weeks, Mack said. The freshman’s exercises are still limited; even cardio workouts are considered difficult.

”He’s got a long way before he’s on the court,” Mack said.

—Iowa Western Community College shortstop Cooper Bowman plans to finish his college career at Louisville.

—Western Kentucky surprised former Trinity standout Canon Jackson with a scholarship this week.

Let me say it again: I’ll never get sick of these videos.

—John Belski breaks down why the nasty weather in Japan could be good news for Louisville.

—These are pretty awesome.

—Being a pro baseball player with minor league options (the current case for multiple former Cardinal right now) can be exhausting, but ultimately it’s worth it.

—D.J. Wagner (Milt’s grandson) has spent the summer showing everyone that he’s worthy of the hype.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—At U of L, St. X grad Tyler Haycraft is continuing to prove doubters wrong.

—DeVante Parker is a fantasy football sleeper for 2019.

—Jeff Greer has a good look (with videos and stuff) at why Louisville’s defense should be improved in year two under Chris Mack.

Perhaps the most important factor in judging the defense in Mack’s first year is the personnel. Khwan Fore, a graduate transfer and fifth-year player, emerged as one of the best on-ball defenders in the ACC. Steven Enoch and Malik Williams ranked either good or very good in post-up defense, according to Synergy Sports. But for the most part, Mack fit a handful of square pegs into round holes.

Darius Perry, who Rick Pitino recruited to be the next highly disruptive defender in a pressure scheme, is the best example of the struggle. He played the most of the Class of 2017 signings during their freshman year, becoming comfortable and confident with the old way of playing, albeit under interim coach David Padgett. In June, Perry said it was “kind of hard to get out of some habits,” namely jumping into passing lanes and pursuing steals — gambling — after his first season. He struggled staying in his gap and timing his pokes and reaches, reflected by his fouls per 40 minutes barely changing between his freshman and sophomore seasons and his steal percentage dropping by almost half.

As a team, Louisville produced its lowest turnover rate (16.1 percent of its opponents’ possessions) since Pomeroy started tracking the stat during the 2001-02 season. That number also ranked as the second-lowest turnover percentage among the 10 seasons Mack has been a head coach, which seems to say more about personnel than style. Now that Mack has more personnel designed to fit his system, color me skeptical that the percentage this season will be that low.

—Topgolf madness is the latest topic on the WDRB Sports podcast.

—And finally, a very happy 5th wedding anniversary to my wife. She won’t read this, so allow me to also wish a much more important happy 5th anniversary to both Earl Clark and his wife, as well as the Louisville purge.