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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Seven years ago today, Beau Zach met the CCBM. A day that will live in our hearts forever.

—Spread check: Louisville by 19.

—David Johnson is one of 50 players on the preseason watch list for the Naismith Award.

—Sam Williamson makes this list from The Athletic’s Brian Bennett of former high-profile recruits who are ready to shine during the 2020-21 college hoops season.

6. Samuell Willamson, F, Louisville (2019, T20)

The jewel of Chris Mack’s 2019 class, ranked as high as No. 15 by 247 Sports, Williamson played in every game for the Cardinals as a freshman. In an exhibition win over Bellarmine, he had 17 points and nine rebounds.

But the McDonald’s All-American made only a limited impact when it counted, as he contributed 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds a game, with 35 turnovers against 18 assists. The 6-7 forward was playing behind All-ACC performer Jordan Nwora, but he also didn’t show a great motor in practice.

Williamson looked like a new man in practice this summer, revving up his engine early and often and giving Louisville hope he would bust out as a sophomore. He missed a few weeks recently with a minor knee problem, which may slow him at the start. But with a lot of new faces and some key injuries to contend with — center Malik Williams (knee) is out for several months, grad transfer guard Charles Minlend (knee) could miss six weeks and redshirt freshman Josh Nickelberry is also battling a knee injury – the Cards may need to count on this former blue-chipper for production.

—Williamson spoke with the media on Thursday and said that while he’s not quite 100 percent right now, he’s getting there.

(On what it’s been like dealing with an aggravated patellar tendon, and how long it’ll be before you’re he’s back to 100%)

I don’t know about 100%, but I’m pretty close to that right now. I started practicing, going to the full practice on Tuesday. It’s been pretty tough missing the last month or so, just watching on the side. I’ve tried to do everything I could, from just bringing energy to practice and not being the guy that comes in there with no energy and negative energy. But it’s also allowed me to look at the game from a little bit of a different perspective on the sidelines, as opposed to being on the court. I’ve just been trying to learn as much as I can, as well as staying in shape and working out as much as I could. So that when I did return, that I’d be in the best shape as possible.

...

(On playing in a short scrimmage against former players earlier this week)

I think we got better from yesterday than were Tuesday, but also I think we (got to) show where we are getting to play against somebody else. I think we have a little bit of ways to go. These next six days, we still need to get better before opening next Wednesday.

(On what ways he wants to see improvement before the opener)

Really defensively. We had a couple of defensive lapses. Shooting the ball, we have to shoot the ball a little bit better. Just getting used to playing with each other a little bit more as a first time playing again since somebody else other than ourselves since we’ve been here. I think we’ll be good though.

—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covers the Bucks’ drafting of Jordan Nwora.

—The Bucks fans over at Brew Hoop seem generally enthused by the addition of Nwora.

—The CJ has three keys to success for Louisville against Syracuse.

—I like this idea.

—With now less than a week to go before Louisville’s first men’s basketball game of the season, the question of who will start isn’t looming as large as the question of who will be healthy enough to play.

—Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician is trying to figure out how to fix Syracuse football.

—TNIAAM also has four things to watch for on Friday night.

Christian: What type of offense do we see JaCobian Morgan run?

I’ll get more into this subject on Friday, but I’m very interested to see how the offense runs with Morgan under center once again. In the first half of the Boston College game, the Orange offense returned to the fast tempo that we’re used to seeing from a Dino Babers offense, and third-down conversions is the only thing that stopped the ball from progressing further. But many people agree that the Orange offense looks much better when the tempo is pushed. Keep in mind this isn’t an issue that is exclusive to Morgan as each Syracuse QB has looked better when the offense is chugging along at full pace. But as a true freshman QB who only has a few weeks under his belt as the primary signal caller, Morgan looked comfortable operating fast. If he’s given that opportunity to push the tempo, Syracuse could find a lot more offensive success.

—David Hale and Andrea Adelson try to figure out what in the world has happened to Florida State football over the last six years.

—JCPS has suspended all winter sports activities. This does not affect the high school football playoffs.

—The sports staff over at Syracuse.com make their picks for Friday night’s game.

—It appears college football will break last week’s record for canceled/postponed games.

—Thurman Geathers is the latest Louisville football player to announce that he’s entering the NCAA transfer portal.

—ESPN’s Jamison Hensley writes that the Ravens offense under Lamar Jackson has gone from scary to simple, and that it’s in need of a near complete overhaul.

—Matt McGavic over at Louisville Report predicts a 28-17 Cardinal win over Syracuse.

—The ACC continues to produce more NBA talent than any conference in America.

—Cardinal Authority looks at the Louisville-Syracuse series, which has typically been pretty fun for the Cards.

—The Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., one of the most prestigious high school events on the annual calendar, has been canceled due to Covid concerns.

—Ballard is the fourth JCPS school this week to pull out of the Kentucky high school football playoffs because of Covid issues. Eastern now receives an automatic bye to face Trinity in the second round.

—Incredible name.

—Eric Crawford writes about how Louisville City FC was able to play an entire season without any interruptions from the coronavirus.

—Carlik Jones is the guest on the latest episode of Jeff Greer’s podcast.

—Pickle might already be my favorite Cardinal softballer.

—Ricky O’Donnell’s first NBA mock draft for 2021 has David Johnson going 28th overall.

—The Silver Sword competition is back for another year.

—Cardinal Strong answered some Louisville-Syracuse questions here.

—Fingers crossed.

—Both Louisville and Syracuse expect to head into Friday night’s game at least a little bit shorthanded.

—Chris Mack is excited about the progress of freshman forward D’Andre Davis.

—And finally, Louisville will be sporting throwback unis from the 1950s tomorrow night.