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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Look it’s been a long year. You’ll have to forgive the CCBM for picking up some bad habits along the way.

—Spread check: Louisville by 18.

—Syracuse has been hit hard by Covid during this season, but Dino Babers said Monday that the team is not currently dealing with any new cases.

—During his Monday press conference, Scott Satterfield shed a bit more light on Javian Hawkins’ decision to opt out on the remainder of the 2020 season.

“We appreciate Hawkins and everything he’s done for us since he’s been here. He’s had a heck of a run,” Scott Satterfield said. “He’s had a great career here in a short period of time. Wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

In the last two seasons, Hawkins has established himself as one of the best running backs in the country. Jumping onto the season as a redshirt freshman last season, Hawkins received All-ACC honors after rushing for 1,525 yards and nine touchdowns.

He was off to a strong start this season before not playing against Virginia. He tallied 822 yards and seven touchdowns.

Louisville prepared to play without Hawkins against Virginia for much of the week because he was in isolation after one of his roommates tested positive for COVID-19, Satterfield said.

There were talks about Hawkins opting out late last week, but he hadn’t decided until Monday, Satterfield said.

“He came in this week to talk about it and he wasn’t fully decided on what he wanted to do. I think it hit home when one of his roommates tested positive,” Satterfield said. “He has a dream that he wants to go tackle that. Obviously for us, selfishly, we’d love to have him.”

—Big Red Louie says no Louisville fan should be mad at Hawkins for his decision.

—The Cards are No. 5 in Fansided’s “Powerless” rankings. That’s not a good thing.

—The NCAA hasn’t decided yet how to handle the women’s basketball tournament, but going the bubble route like they are on the men’s side is a possibility that’s very much in play.

—Jim Boeheim has tested positive for Covid-19.

—The latest episode of the Nunes Magician podcast talks about Boeheim and also previews Friday night’s football game against U of L.

—Here’s everything Bronco Mendenhall had to say after his Virginia squad handled Louisville on Saturday.

—Sam Vecenie’s NBA draft guide for The Athletic is the most detailed work on the event that you’ll find anywhere. He has Jordan Nwora at No. 42 in his final rankings.

42. Jordan Nwora | W | Louisville | Birthdate: Sept. 9, 1998 (Age: 22) | 6-7 | 220 LBS | Hometown: Buffalo, N.Y.

BACKGROUND: Comes from a basketball family. Parents are Amy and Alex. Amy is a college professor. Alex is a basketball coach. He coaches Erie Community College full-time, and was also the head coach of the Nigerian National Team for a time. Currently an assistant with the Nigerian team alongside longtime NBA coach Mike Brown. Three sisters, one of whom, Ronni, plays basketball at Georgia Tech. Nwora started his career at Amherst High, then transferred and played high school ball at The Park School in Buffalo for two years. Helped lead Park to a state championship in 2015 as a junior. Averaged over 21 points per game. Went to Vermont Academy for a prep school year after finishing high school. Improved his standing as a recruit, and ended up committing to Louisville earlier than expected. Was a consensus four-star recruit and in the top-100 of the 2017 recruiting class. Got to Louisville and played sparingly as a freshman, struggling a lot on defense and with conditioning. Had an enormous, breakthrough sophomore year, though, after getting his body right. Emerged into their best player. Won the Most Improved Player award in the ACC, making third team All-ACC in the process. Declared for the 2019 NBA Draft, but suffered a calf injury that held him out of workouts and forced him to return for his junior season. As a junior, it was much of the same. Took a small leap in terms of role, and largely performed the same. Won first team All-ACC honors while leading Louisville to a second place finish in the league. Declared for the draft one year early as a junior. Due to the prep year, he’s the age of a collegiate senior.

STRENGTHS: At 6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Nwora has good size to play on the wing or even occasionally down the lineup at the 4 at the NBA level. He’s also a bouncier athlete than he gets credit for.

Ultimately though, the reason you’re picking Jordan Nwora in the draft is to get a shooter. Nwora is an excellent 3-point shooter off the catch. Mechanics are simple with a pure release with good rotation on the ball. Shoots it a little bit out in front of his body with a low release point, but everything is so simple that it should be fine. The release is very quick to make up for the lower release point. Has clear range out beyond the NBA 3-point line. Perfect rhythm. Not the fleetest of foot guy so you’re not necessarily going to run him around a variety of long screening actions, but he’s good at setting his feet and firing off of movement. Great shot prep and good at getting into position to get a clean look. You can run him off flares or have him come around dribble hand offs to where he can fire. Also smart in relocation situations at finding the open space and getting a clean look. Not a great shooter off the bounce, but can take the one-dribble pull-up to get away from a heavy closeout. He made his catch-and-shoot opportunities this year at an absurd 66.5 effective field goal percentage, one of the best marks in the class despite having over two-thirds of them contested according to Synergy. I have zero doubt that Nwora will hit shots at an NBA level. And when you can shoot like he can, there is probably a role.

Beyond that, Nwora is good at leaking out in transition to either space to the wings and corners or to get to the rim. His athleticism plays up in transition because of the underrated bounce. A good defensive rebounder too because of that bounce off of two feet. You don’t want him grabbing and going all that often, but could occasionally do it. Also can attack a closeout off of a couple of dribbles. Hit floaters at a 46 percent clip, so has some second-level ability.

WEAKNESSES: A lot of it starts with his athleticism. I don’t think he has much lateral quickness, and his explosiveness really plays down in halfcourt settings. Doesn’t have much pop off of one foot which is why he struggles to finish around the rim overall. Only hit 48.2 percent of his shots at the basket in halfcourt settings, which isn’t a strong number. Also can’t really get by anyone off the bounce. Doesn’t have much of a first step. Not a creator. Basically will only be able to get into the paint on offense off of cuts or off of attacked closeouts when defenders fly by. Inability to separate led to a lot of tough pull-ups at Louisville, but I wouldn’t expect that to be his role in the NBA. Would think those shots go away when surrounded by better talent.

The bigger question I have on offense has to do with his passing. Didn’t make good decisions as a passer and not an accurate passer. And more importantly, often didn’t see the passes that were available. Given how much defensive attention was paid to him, he had ample opportunities every game to make better reads and not force terrible shots. Ultimately, he just chose not to do so or didn’t see them. He needs to get better as a quick-decision passer to keep defenses in rotation when his teammates fling the ball to him.

My biggest concerns come on defense, though. He can really get blown by on the defensive end because of that lack of quickness and heavy-footedness. Doesn’t get through screens all that well on or off ball. I worry that he’ll be a pretty real magnet for opposing teams in on-ball settings to try to attack in today’s mismatch conscious NBA. Also wasn’t a particularly aware off-ball defender. Wasn’t a playmaker with disruptive hands, and wasn’t always rotationally in the right spot. How much of this had to do with the amount of offensive workload he had to take on, thus needing to actively rest a bit on defense? It’s a fair question, but he still has a lot to prove defensively to where I think it would be difficult for NBA teams to expect much of him on that end.

SUMMARY: Guys who can shoot like Nwora can tend to at least stick in some role in the NBA. I would assume that would be the case here. But I don’t think he’ll really be creating 3-point shots at a high level on his own like a Duncan Robinson has for Miami. He’ll be more of a flare screen/stationary shooter type in spot-up situations. The swing skills will come on defense. If he can prove that he can defend anyone, he has a shot to really stick in a rotation for a long time. Think something like a decade. If he doesn’t defend anyone, though, he’s probably more of a situational shooter who comes in to space the floor when a team needs to get a burst of offensive firepower. Basically, Nwora will knock down shots at a high level. I’m just not sure what else he’s going to do. Still, that’s worth a top-45 pick.

GRADE: Second rounder

For anyone wondering, Vecenie has former Louisville signee and former Trinity star Jay Scrubb at No. 51.

—Teddy Bridgewater had to leave yesterday’s Panthers-Bucs game with what appeared to be a scary right knee injury, but thankfully an MRI done Monday morning showed no structural damage.

—Simpler times. Better times.

—The Atlantic Sun serves up a hoops preview for its newest member, Bellarmine.

—Thursday’s U of L women’s basketball tip-off luncheon will be virtual. More details here.

—For Forbes, Adam Zagoria tells the “Blind Side-esque” story of Jay Scrubb.

—We’ve got a proud Papa Pass on our hands.

—Several U of L swimmers wrapped up a successful run at the U.S. Open Championships.

—Streaking the Lawn celebrates Virginia’s triumph over Louisville.

—Cardinal cornerback Telly Plummer has entered the transfer portal.

—DeVante rules.

—Dwayne Sutton hopes that his versatility will make him an asset at the professional level.

—Louisville-Virginia highlights, should you be feeling particularly aggrieved on this Monday, are here.

—Hoops soon. Probably.

—Louisville has made the final eight for four-star shooting guard Isaan McKneely.

—Chuck Hayes is the guest on the latest episode of Larry O’Bannon’s podcast.

D’Ante Davis, the younger brother of Louisville hoops freshman D’Andre Davis, will be announcing his college decision on Dec. 5. U of L is the presumed front-runner for the class of 2022 standout.

—At least Marlon Character had a good week.

—U of L football is now “playing for pride.”

—Cardinal athletics still has a big spending problem.

—The Louisville and Kentucky women’s basketball teams might not be playing in the regular season this year, but that hasn’t stopped the two teams’ preseason All-Americans from having a little rivalry fun.

Evans, it should be noted, is 3-0 against the Cats.

—The Crunch Zone says Saturday was “same story, different game” for Louisville.

—Happy Louisville Pizza Week.

—This is a great picture of a great, albeit heartbreaking, moment.

—Class of 2021 four-star big man Roosevelt Wheeler is expected to announce his college decision today. Louisville is widely believed to be his choice.

Roosevelt Wheeler is just a classic college big man name. For this reason and this reason alone, I’m very excited to (hopefully) have him join the Cardinal fam.

—And finally, you can bid now on a chance to experience “Lunch & Layups with Coach Mack.”