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Senior Day Sentimentality: Steven Enoch

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One last time for “Big Steve.”

Virginia v Louisville Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images

When it was first announced that Steven Enoch would be transferring to Louisville, the most viewed YouTube video about his time at Connecticut was a spliced highlight reel of all Enoch’s worst plays from his time at Husky.

That wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. Of course neither were the stat lines from his two seasons in Storrs.

Despite playing on a pair of subpar UConn teams, Enoch had never been able to average better than 12.1 minutes per game for Kevin Ollie. He’d never been able to score more than 3.4 points per game, and despite his massive frame, had never been able to bring down better than 2.3 rebounds per game.

Still, the powers that be at U of L at the time saw promise. They saw the size, the versatility, and the ability to achieve more in a system that didn’t lean on guard play quite as heavily (or wholly) as Ollie’s did. When Enoch posted averages of 22.5 points and 14.2 rebounds per game while playing for Armenia at the FIBA U20 European Championships during the summer of 2017, the Louisville staff felt vindicated.

That same Louisville staff would be ripped apart just a couple months later.

Enoch’s arrival at Louisville coincided with the program getting blasted by the eye of the biggest storm it’s ever seen. Though some speculated he might step away from the program, spend his one year of ineligibility working out back in Connecticut and then transfer somewhere new for his final two seasons, Enoch has never wavered. I guess you should expect that from a 6’10 dude with a frame that would make Adonis blush.

In each of the first two seasons of the Chris Mack era, Enoch has played the role of being the most reliable inside offensive threat for the Cardinals. In the right style of game, he can be downright dominant in the post. In the wrong style of game, he can still attract enough attention on the block to create space for his teammates, and do enough damage on the perimeter to make his opponents respect him out there as well.

Enoch’s size and natural skill have always suggested the potential for a stat line somewhere in the 18.0 ppg/9.0 rpg range. He’s not going to get there in his college career, and selflessness plays a part in that. Enoch could have easily transferred to another program where he wouldn’t be surrounded by as many scorers as he is at Louisville, or where he wouldn’t have to split time with another highly skilled big man like Malik Williams. It’s a thought he never entertained.

However Enoch’s college career was going to play out, it was going to play out at Louisville. He never wavered from that.

With the biggest games of his college career coming up in the weeks ahead, it still feels like there’s at least one out there where Steven Enoch is going to be the best player on the floor. It still feels like there’s going to be a moment where Cardinal fans say “this season would be over right now if we didn’t have Steven Enoch.”

Stay tuned.