—I apologize for getting this out so late. Louisville played on Saturday afternoon and their next game is tomorrow night, but we all know what happened on Sunday. The world lost Kobe Bryant. I don’t know that I could do him justice with a full post about him, or that Card Chronicle is even the appropriate setting. Maybe it is, I don’t know. But I would be remiss if I didn’t sprinkle in some Kobe love on this post. I know it may seem random, but it just feels like it needs to be done. So as always, here come some quick hitters and film review. 24 quick hitters, 8 clips of film review (I know 8 should be spelled out there, but not this time).
—A 20-0 run is just what the doctor ordered for this team after the lackluster performance against Georgia Tech. The team needed it. We needed it.
—David Johnson had some of us wondering if he was going to go for a triple-double at halftime when he already had six points, six assists, and four rebounds. He ended up with eight, six, and five, respectively, and only turned the ball over one time. He was a huge spark in the 20-0 run. I say it all the time, but his size allows him to do things that our other guards just can’t. Oh, and he only had one foul.
—Shoutout to Darius Perry for the hot-shooting performance on his way to a career-high 19 points. He also had five rebounds and did not turn the ball over. You can count on him hitting a jumper early in the game, but this time it was consistent all day.
—Samuell Williamson had himself a day on the offensive end as well, shooting 5/6 from the field for 14 points.
—16 assists on 26 made baskets for the Cards. Very good.
—18/22 from the free throw line. Also very good.
—Clemson shot 11/38 (28.9%) from three and 10/23 (43.4%) from two. The starters were 4/23 (17.3%) from three. That is a LOT of threes.
—Louisville shot 10/21 (47.6%) from three and 16/33 (48.4%) from two. The starters were 8/15 (53.3%) from three.
—Clemson shot more threes (38) than UofL starters attempted field goals (35).
—Jordan Nwora assists/turnover ratio for this game was two assists and three turnovers.
—Other than that, Nwora found himself in foul trouble but still chipped in 10 points and five rebounds in just 24 minutes. It was good to see other guys pick up the scoring in this one.
—Fresh Kimble didn’t have much of a stat line, but I attribute that to the good play of Johnson and Perry. They had the hot hands, so Kimble only played 16 minutes. He at least did not have a turnover and still continues to play good defense.
—Dwayne Sutton…beast. Team leader with 11 rebounds. He leads the team at 8.9 rebounds per game. Pair that with his scoring average of 9.1 and he is really close to averaging a double-double.
—Excellent job by the Cards in keeping Aamir Simms bottled up. He came into the game averaging 14.4 points and only scored four on 1/7 shooting.
—Louisville is now 17-3 and 8-1 in the ACC, their best start in the conference since joining.
—Aidan Igiehon sank those two free throws. That in itself deserves some recognition.
—Louisville won the rebounding battle 41-29.
—The Jordan Nwora chasedown block…awesome.
—The David Johnson tip dunk…awesome.
—Louisville putting together a solid 40-minute game and showing no doubt who the better team was…awesome.
—I’ll bookend the quick hitters with this. I wouldn’t say I am insensitive, but I do not show emotion 95% of the time. I don’t purposely try to never cry; it just doesn’t really happen. The last time I shed a sad tear was two years ago when my friend’s dad suddenly passed away. He was like another dad to me. This Kobe Bryant stuff has gotten to me and made me do that several times already, and I would not have expected that. It still doesn’t seem real. Not Kobe.
I was 13 years old when Michael Jordan won his last championship. So I was old enough to watch and know what was going on and that he was awesome, but I was really in my basketball watching prime when Kobe came along. He was the closest thing to MJ we have ever seen on the court. I never really had a strong opinion on him either way. I knew he was great, but that was it. It took until the last few years of his career for me to appreciate the kind of player he was and that mentality he possessed that you just don’t see from other players. That killer instinct. That “Mamba Mentality”.
He had four daughters. I have twin girls that are a little over a year and a half old. So the father/daughter stuff obviously cuts deep. But you don’t have to be a father to appreciate his relationship with his girls. Just watch any video of him with them.
The first time I shed a tear about all of this was a very random moment. It wasn’t when it happened. It wasn’t when they said who all the victims were. It was when I saw a video of the Spurs and Raptors both taking 24-second shot clock violations in honor of him. I have NO idea why that got me, but it did. Maybe it was seeing the players’ reactions. Or the fans chanting “Kobe! Kobe!” Or it was seeing Tim Duncan wipe away tears. I don’t know what it was.
Since then, I find myself obsessing over the TV coverage and social media posts about him. Everyone’s tributes that end in their own tears. I can’t stop watching. I think about those last moments and what he could have possibly said to his daughter. I’m sure it was something along the lines of “It’s going to be alright; I’ve got you.” I think of interviews he has done since he retired and just how happy he looked. Or seeing him courtside at games with Gianna and how happy and at peace he looked. Just being a dad, not a competitor with the scowl.
—It still doesn’t seem real. And I know a post about Louisville-Clemson basketball is a random spot for all of this, but I just needed to get some of it out. Hopefully you understand.
—As always, I appreciate you reading. And Go Cards!
Great defensive rotations here. Jordan Nwora picks up Enoch’s man, Fresh Kimble closes out on his own man, and Enoch sprints all the way over to Nwora’s original man. Nwora has a very nice block out, and this ends up with a Darius Perry three on the other end. pic.twitter.com/D2Oj0MubLx— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 28, 2020
Nothing complicated about a guy taking his man off the dribble and kicking to the corner, but freshman to freshman just makes this a little sweeter. pic.twitter.com/h6r9DjvacE— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 28, 2020
All the extra passes. So good. pic.twitter.com/EsUxhikxZf— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 28, 2020
Is it really a “small” lineup when Dwayne Sutton is guarding their big man? Check out the effort in the post. pic.twitter.com/Xdu8zrGj1M— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 28, 2020
It doesn’t always happen, but when Enoch realizes the double team is coming and kicks it out, it can be a beautiful thing. pic.twitter.com/mxZNsaIbkP— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 28, 2020
This one happens quick. But Sutton is open on this out of bounds play because Ryan McMahon gets so much attention when he cuts to a spot. Both defenders go with him (even if it’s brief help) and Sutton slips to the basket. pic.twitter.com/GdUfO046R1— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 28, 2020
Slip up on defense. The ball handler splits the trap and it results in a three for Clemson. Enoch leaves too much space between himself and the screener. pic.twitter.com/AcZfXTOjDw— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 28, 2020
Enoch with another good pass out of the post. Fresh misses the shot, but there’s Sutton collecting the rebound and finding Perry for the open step in three. Watch Fresh get into Enoch’s line of vision when the ball enters the post. pic.twitter.com/y0g5d3HzF1— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 28, 2020