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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Jaxten says he’s ok with a football season without fans, but he’d rather party at Cardinal Stadium.

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—Jordan Nwora believes he’s a first round talent and is hopeful that at least one NBA franchise thinks the same thing.

—Ryan McMahon has signed a representation deal with the Go Empire Group.

—Finally, a story (Athletic link) diving into the issue of why basketball scenes from ‘90s sitcoms were filmed on the smallest courts imaginable.

Most sitcoms that staged games had one thing in common: They did so on pint-sized courts, just like Carlton Banks did in his infamous moment of gameplan rebellion.


Well, that’s a simple question with a few answers.

On most shows, the answer lies in logistics. For others, a budget. Shooting basketball scenes on a soundstage simplifies the process for everyone involved and trims the budget without needing to rent space and take a contained operation on the road.

“They can control the environment, they have all their equipment, access to everything they usually have,” said Chad Gabriel, who played Danny Mellon on Hang Time. “It’s just easier to keep it all in one place and it’s more cost-effective. There was some discussion of us doing filming outside the studio, but because the budgets for Saturday morning TV were so small, that was a no go. It was, ‘Nope, you get your one stage, and you’ll be happy with it.’”

However, filming full-court basketball scenes on a tiny soundstage the size of a large driveway can produce as many issues as it solves. The challenge for writers, producers, actors and everyone else involved is staging and presenting a (mostly) believable final product.


Fresh Prince’s soundstage featured just two permanent sets: The iconic Banks family living room and kitchen. Everything else — the hallways of Bel-Air Academy, the ULA student store and yes, the gym at Bel-Air Academy — were what are called “swing sets,” temporary sets that had would be switched out weekly as the story demanded, placed in front of a live studio audience.

“Shooting a sitcom is the fakest entertainment production you can imagine,” Borowitz said. “It’s like filming a stage play. I’d say one half of the soundstage is occupied by the main sets, and that leaves you with basically the amount of space that you would normally have for a living room and a kitchen to be an entire basketball court. So if we just do the math, that’s gonna be a pretty fucking small basketball court.”

—The NCAA has extended the current recruiting dead period for all sports once again, this time until July 31.

—247 Sports has a new Louisville baseball recruiting notebook.

—There’s still hope that we’ll see the Kentucky State Fair in August.

—RIP to a real one.

—The Western Illinois Leathernecks are back in the Final Four and seeking their second national championship.

—This Notre Dame site opponent preview of Louisville says the Cards’ offense “makes them a threat to anyone.”

—The CJ goes in-depth on what sports in Louisville will look like post-pandemic.

LouCity President Brad Estes has indicated that the team could play without fans, although that obviously wouldn’t be the preference. Socially distanced spectators seems the more viable option.

“This is going to be different for us,” Ried said. “How do you open up at a less capacity, and how do you space out family pods, if you will, throughout the stadium?”

A family pod model would allow a group to buy a few tickets, say four or six, in a certain area, with no one occupying the seats behind or next to them. Another group would sit a certain distance from them, and so on.

There would likely be a need for markers and signage mandating social distancing. Requiring masks has not been ruled out, nor has temperature-testing fans.

Nearly 9,000 season tickets were sold for the 2020 campaign at Lynn Family Stadium, which can hold up to 14,000. That could make it difficult to determine which fans can attend, should the matches be held with a limited capacity, say 25% or 50%.

“That’s a tougher call,” Ried said, noting that should some fans not be able to attend, they will have options for refunds or future tickets.

—Is zone defense dying in college basketball? Three-Man-Weave has part one of a detailed look into the matter.

—On top of a potential tuition increase, U of L may shift how it charges for online classes as it faces a future likely filled with online learning.

—Love the CCBM in the still frame.

—The Cards are in the top eight for 2021 LB Jackson Hamilton.

—Scott Satterfield is quickly meeting his biggest needs in the 2021 recruiting class.

—Keith Oddo conducts an exit interview with Danielle Lerner of The Athletic. His answers will do nothing to alleviate the sting of never getting to know how this season would have played out.

What was the abrupt end to the season like for you, and what have you been up to these last few weeks?

First of all, it was just kind of like a shock to all of us, especially the older guys like Dwayne (Sutton), Ryan (McMahon), Fresh (Kimble), myself, Jordan (Nwora), Steve (Enoch). It was just — we felt like we had so much unfinished business, especially after the UVa game. It was such a bitter taste in our mouths. If we had won the UVa game we would’ve been sitting here going, We were co-conference champions, and you wouldn’t have as bitter a taste in our mouths. The fact that we let the UVa game slip at the end, we were motivated going into the ACC tournament. We wanted to see UVa in the second round, wanted to see Florida State in the championship. We were trending in the right direction. The team, chemistry-wise, was as close as it had been all year. Guys were locking in. People were really understanding their roles and buying in. Obviously it was a shock (how it ended), but since the season all the guys are back home and we’ve all stayed in touch. I’ve been able to write for Cardinal Sports Zone staying busy with that and trying to add experience to my résumé any way I can, which is where the virtual lessons come in.

What did you expect when you got to Louisville, and how did your experience match up to those expectations?

My expectation was you’re going to a top college basketball program with an unbelievable coach, and my big thing was I wanted to learn. From Coach Mack to (assistants Dino Gaudio, Mike Pegues and Luke Murray), just soaking up as much knowledge as I could. My expectations were blown through the roof. I learned so much in my time there from the connections I made, not only in basketball but with the city of Louisville. As a walk-on, you have a reasonable expectation with how you’re viewed, and in the community I never felt like I was a walk-on. I felt like I was a Louisville Cardinal just like every member of that team. In the basketball program I didn’t feel like a walk-on. Coach Mack taught me things and would pull me aside in his free time. I remember we had a 30-minute conversation on pick-and-roll defense. Just little things like that that he’s willing to teach me, and the whole staff, really. For a fifth-year guy who transferred in, I felt like I was there for four years already.


Do you have a favorite practice story you can share?

For me, practices were almost like my games so just being able to compete, like getting thrown in on a five-on-five drill and I’m having to guard David Johnson, that’s something I’ll never forget. David’s gonna be an NBA player, and his wingspan absolutely pissed me off. I’ve never gotten more irritated than when David’s guarding me. A lot of times when you’re doing a walk-through, the first and second team aren’t supposed to steal the ball from scout team or anything like that. There’s an unwritten rule that we’re just trying to get through the drill. It’s like, David, put your 7-1 wingspan away for a second. It’s like a pterodactyl guarding you because he just puts his arms out. David would look at me with this little smirk, and I’ll tell him before the drill, “David, don’t do it.” He’ll continually swipe the ball, tip the pass just to irritate me. So that’s something that when I see David next year at Louisville or later in the NBA, I’ll sit back and laugh when he steals the ball from his opponents because I’ll remember when that used to be me.

—Attorneys for Zion Williamson have reportedly filed for a protective order over the inquiry into alleged illegal benefits Williams received at Duke.

—Heat Check CBB does not have Louisville in its early preseason top 25.

—Kentucky is one of three states that have met the government’s basic criteria to reopen and stay safe.

—Some TuTu Atwell highlights for your Thursday:

—U of L swim and dive coach Arthur Albiero is the guest on the latest episode of the “Welcome to the Ville” podcast.

Ten questions with incoming U of L women’s basketball freshman Merissah Russell.

—And finally, congrats to the five Louisville men’s basketball players who were named to the ACC’s All-Academic Team.