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Seedy K’s GameCap: Evansville

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Rookies shine in Cards romp

Just a few quick observations after viewing the blessing that was the University of Louisville Cardinals hoops opener of the season, a 79-44 romp over Evansville.

Why just quick as opposed to incisive?

Because we’ll have a much better take on the Cards after four tilts in the next ten days, three against legitimately Dance-worthy squads from Seton Hall, Western Kentucky (an opening day winner over formidable Northern Iowa), and UNC Greensboro.

Plus, more to the heart of the matter, I’ve got a waiting platter of turducken, its aroma wafting tauntingly in my direction as I sit at my desk, reporting dutifully, if succinctly, about the Cards performance.

* * * * *

Carlick Jones is I.N.D.I.S.P.E.N.S.A.B.L.E. With Josh Nickelberry sidelined, and David Johnson falling prey to sophomoritis from the opening tip, it is imperative that the Radford grad transfer stay healthy, and foul free.

At first blush, Jones is easily the best of the Mack Era transfer PGs. He led the Cards in points (10), rebounds (8), assists (7), and, perhaps most important, maturity. Only one turnover while handling the ball most all the time in his thirty one minutes on the court.

Until Malik Williams and fellow old man transfer Charles Mineland can get on the court, Jones is the only fully experienced steady hand.

* * * * *

I liked the opening game efforts of all the newcomers.

JJ Traynor displayed significant confidence on offense, tallying a +1 at the rim on his first touch off the bench. 5/5 from the field. 1/1 from the line. 5 boards. No turnovers.

I couldn’t help but think of his dad Jason Osborne, whom to this day I consider one of the most talented players ever to don a U of L uni.

Dre Davis moves his feet on D. He blocked three Purple Ace attempts, had a steal, scored six.

Jae’Lyn Withers looked a bit tentative and lost at the offensive end in the 1st. But still played solid D. He found his touch in the 2d. 8 points, 5 boards.

If not the next coming as we were led to believe when he was signed, Aidan Igiehan is significantly improved from his rookie campaign. 5 points, 5 rebounds in his short six minute stint off the bench. Hope for his flowering ensues.

Quinn Slazinski, as we know from his short interludes last season, likes to score. Which he can do. Ten points on 4/6 shooting.

* * * * *

Which brings us to Louisville’s two stars.

Coming off an injury, Sam Williamson had a slow start.

In the 2d, he more and more found himself with the rock in his sweet spots, eight to fifteen feet from the hoop. 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists.

David Johnson never really found his rhythm. He had 7 rebounds and five assists, but only four points. That he pushed too hard for garbage time scores I found a little disturbing.

On three trips after the final media timeout, with the Cards up 37, he went turnover, missed forced layup, turnover.

The Cards committed only 12 giveaways. Acceptable. But four were Johnson’s, and four were Williamson’s. Not so easy to digest.

* * * * *

U of L got 26 points off the pine, a delightful 15 before intermission.

Louisville was supposed to handle the Wade Houston Tipoff Classic replacement Purple Aces with ease, and did so.

* * * * *

These Cards still have a lot o’ learnin’ to do.

Hopefully enough will come between now and Black Friday before they take the court against the Kevin Willard’s Seton Hall Pirates.

By which time, I’m sure my belly will be too too too full of turducken, the greatest Cajun creation since Clifton Chenier invented zydeco.

— c d kaplan