-We made it! College basketball is back! For how long, and how will it all look? Who knows? But for right now, let’s live in the moment and enjoy some Louisville basketball. It was so nice to watch a game and do film review again for something brand new. Trust me, I loved the last few weeks of watching older games again, but this was what I have been waiting for.
-For what it’s worth, as I type this late Wednesday night into the early hours of Thursday, I have not read Mike’s post with his lingering thoughts on the game. I try to avoid those until after I write mine, just so I am not influenced at all by reading it. Then it is always fun to go back and see the similarities and few differences we might have. I only say that because if you read his and then see similar things here, it is just coincidence.
-Was it a weird game to watch? Yes. No Sean Moth, bench players all spread out, masks being worn everywhere, plexiglass like it’s a hockey game, scorers table not crowded with staff, just so many things. And yes, I know, the camera angle was higher. Sorry, but I will not wish for college basketball to start back, be this excited about it, and then complain about the camera angle. I just won’t do it. It was different. I adapted. It’s 2020 and we have to do these things. And sometimes it’s good to remember what the view was from the old NBA Live video games.
-Now for the actual game...
-Hello, Carlik Jones! This is who had the most hype coming into this season for the Cards. The reigning Big South Player of the Year and the only player in the country last year to average 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists. He won the gold jersey in practice almost every week so far. I know it was Evansville, but I don’t care. We got to see what he can do as he had a great start with 18 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and only one turnover. Heck of a debut.
-More on Carlik…he played so under control. We have had point guards recently that seem to need to prove to us that there is, in fact, air in the basketball and we would like to see it dribbled over and over. Carlik did not play like that. He didn’t over-dribble or drive too deep into the lane and get stuck with nowhere to go. He made the right plays to get teammates open. He made good individual moves to get himself buckets. He rebounded well from the guard spot. I don’t think we could have asked for much more from him in his first game in a Louisville jersey.
-I thought overall, J.J. Traynor played well. But of course, the coach in me saw some things that will need to be improved if he is going to play significant minutes early on. I will start with the good. I like that he rolls to the basket on screens and does not pop for a shot like most big men want to do these days. We saw him get the ball and score on this, but we also saw his rolling open up other guys because the defense had to cover him. I show one of these examples in the film review. He also runs the floor well and looks to finish when he does get the ball. He didn’t jog lazily down the court.
While he played solid defense when his man had the ball, it was quite the opposite when he played off-ball defense and it costs the Cards a couple of times. One time, his man was away from the ball and cut backdoor, and J.J. just kind of jogged along with him and gave up a lay-up. Another time, there was a miscommunication between he and Jaelyn Withers on a switch and Traynor ended up on a cutter who beat him to the basket again and Traynor looked like he was not going full speed. You can get away with some of that stuff in high school. Teams at this level will make you pay for it. Again, I know, it was his first game and I am not being over-critical, just calling out what I saw. The good news? Those things can obviously be improved, and I believe they will be. Still a solid debut for the freshman who makes me feel old as a kid that grew up watching Jason Osborne play in Freedom Hall.
-David Johnson can NOT get into foul trouble on the silly fouls again this season. His first one was a charge where he left his feet to pass (after not shooting a wide open three). His second was because he didn’t move his feet on defense. So he picked up two fouls less than five minutes into the game. He comes back in and picks up his third when he fouled a three-point shooter. Did his teammate push him into the shooter? Maybe, but he doesn’t get pushed if he is in better position. Your fouls must be worth it, and he just can’t do what he did last season and take himself out of the game with the cheap fouls. He is too important to this team. The good? On a day where he shoots 2-7, he still has seven rebounds and five assists. Just cut down on the four turnovers and four fouls.
-Oh, one more good thing on David Johnson. With Louisville leading 76-39, he stood in and took a charge. Don’t think that stuff goes unnoticed. That is a big deal.
-Samuell Williamson may have had the quietest 8-12 shooting performance I can remember. He was just consistent all day long. No superstar plays. No barrage of threes or dunks. Just some good mid-range shots or turn-around jumpers in the post. Adding in six rebounds and five assists made for a very good day from the Sophomore.
-There were definitely some miscommunications on defense with some guys not knowing when to switch. It was mainly involving freshmen. It happens. It is a complicated system to learn and they will get better. Those are the times where we will really miss Malik.
-Aiden only played eight minutes in this one. Maybe that is still going to be his role. Come in for a few minutes at a time, contribute, get out. And he did make the most of his eight minutes with five points and five rebounds. He makes some plays on the film review at the end. He sets a good screen to get Carlik a three, and then gets rewarded the very next play when he sets a screen and rolls and Carlik hits him for a dunk. Just keep playing hard, big fella.
-It was weird to watch a game without Nwora, McMahon, Enoch, and Sutton. But it was also fun to see these new guys and young guys from last year get to play meaningful minutes. This was the perfect opening game for this team before facing a better opponent on Friday in Seton Hall. I am excited to see how they grow and get better with experience.
-Alright well “quick hitters” wasn’t so quick. My bad. Opening game excitement. As always, I appreciate everyone for checking these posts out and hopefully the film review is worth your time. Everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving and Go Cards!
First bucket of the season for the Cards. David Johnson pushes and drives the lane. Samuell Williamson’s man completely turns his head to the ball and Sam cuts to the basket for the layup. pic.twitter.com/zPjAanBC0M— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
DJ found himself in early foul trouble again, and on cheap fouls. On this one, he first passes up a wide open three (needs to knock that down this year) and he leaves his feet to pass the ball. Evansville nails him on the charge. Can’t get these fouls early on. pic.twitter.com/igQOh7mCuX— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
J.J. Traynor’s first career basket was on this pick and roll. He looks comfortable doing this. I’d like to see him open up the other way and roll to the basket to seal the defender off, but that wasn’t needed here. pic.twitter.com/4Y17OcbsyL— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
This starts with defense. Sam (top of the screen) gets in help defense so they can’t throw it over the top to Traynor’s man. Sam closes out, plays good D, and forces a bad pass. He ends up with an assist when Quinn Slazinski knocks down the three. pic.twitter.com/dKWh2Bec4l— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
Miscommunication on defense happened a few times. This one is between Withers and Traynor. Looks like Withers is switching (or just loses his man) and Traynor is not, so JJ gets caught helping late and gets burned on it when he jogs to catch up to the cutter. pic.twitter.com/pShtYro0zO— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
I am a sucker for timing set plays. Ball goes to the corner. As that happens, Davis back-screens Traynor’s man to bring him down to the block. Quinn makes it look like he may go screen for Sam so his defender is paying attention to that. All of this has to be timed right. pic.twitter.com/cVlfXd2nAW— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
He had a solid debut, but J.J. Traynor got burned a couple times with his off-ball defense. Here, his man goes backdoor and he is caught jogging again and Evansville gets the score. pic.twitter.com/c5PIEKgxeq— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
Watch Jaelyn Withers on this one. After his man passes the ball and cuts backdoor, Withers keeps his head turned the same way the whole time on the cut. He has to turn his head to be facing the basket and then he see the cutter better as well as the ball. pic.twitter.com/xsoh6vz6wy— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
J.J. Traynor burned them on the pick and roll so much, so watch what happens here. Help defense drops in the lane to stop the roll, so DJ finds Williamson for the open three. Great pass, great shot, and it happens because of the roll. pic.twitter.com/sVVRYIJqdA— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
Added this one to show stuff after the play. Davis and Traynor switch, and it appears that they were not supposed to. Davis gets the foul and gets taken out, but it doesn’t look like they were supposed to switch. Just something the freshmen need work on and where Malik is missed. pic.twitter.com/XX5IvQghXL— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
This one is so quick and subtle. As soon as Carlik drives and stops, he faces Sam for just a split second and that leaves number 30 with no idea what to do, so he freezes and Quinn is open on the block. No look, drop down pass for the score. pic.twitter.com/o17cGmQtFI— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
Doesn’t seem like much, but Aiden sets a screen to get Carlik an open three. I love Aiden pointing him out after the shot goes in, and I love Carlik making it a point to tell him good screen. Aiden played eight minutes, and Carlik made sure he knew he did a good job there. pic.twitter.com/rGmj6qgYeo— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020
Ending on this. The very next play, Aiden sets a screen for Carlik again and gets rewarded with the dunk. Again, Carlik makes sure to boost him up afterwards. Aiden made good use of his minutes, and I think we have ourselves a leader with Malik out. Good things to see. pic.twitter.com/srRyCyPXLy— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 26, 2020