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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

When Simeon Naydenov refers to you as his “#1 fan,” you cherish that. Props to Josh Phelps.

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—Scott Satterfield is hoping for a perfect world this fall, but he’s also preparing for multiple scenarios.

—Jeff Goodman has Louisville at No. 23 in his updated top 50 rankings for next college basketball season.

—The big topic nationally in the wake of Louisville receiving its notice of allegations is how to determine a “just punishment” for a program that is accused of breaking the rules while on probation but also no longer employs anyone involved in said rule-breaking. Eric Crawford has come up with the best idea I’ve read, seen or heard.

NCAA punishments try to reach back into the past and right wrongs that can never be righted. And its probation process is laughable. It assigns repeat-violator status and promises enhanced penalties, but as the situation with Louisville shows, if a school cleans house, the NCAA is left looking a day late and a dollar short if it tries to come in and punish a whole new regime.

Instead, what is called for here is a suspended sentence. The NCAA and Louisville should agree to a three-year postseason ban for men’s basketball – and then suspend it. Louisville’s probation, which currently runs out in June of 2021, should be extended for a period of four years. And if at any point the men’s basketball program commits a Level I or Level II violation, that three-year ban goes into effect, along with any penalty carried by the new violation.

This is the only way to punish an institution, ensure hyper-compliance moving forward, and use the penalty structure to promote desired behavior. It takes into account the university’s strong action, but requires continued vigilance.

It would be a hammer hanging over the head of any program. It also would allow current coaches and players to have an opportunity to compete, so long as they remained compliant.

Certainly seems fair.

—WDRB’s Annice McEwan dives into the Louisville love story of Mekhi Becton and Bionca Dunham.

—The New York Jets have placed Josh Bellamy on the physically unable to perform list, ending his 2020 season before it even got started.

—Louisville is No. 4 in Danielle Lerner’s way too early ACC hoops power rankings for The Athletic.

4. Louisville

Starters: David Johnson, Carlik Jones (grad transfer), Samuell Williamson, Jaelyn Withers, Malik Williams

Bench: Charles Minlend Jr. (grad transfer), Josh Nickelberry, D’Andre Davis (Fr.), J.J. Traynor (Fr.), Quinn Slazinski, Aidan Igiehon

Chris Mack has had one of the best transfer market hauls with guards Carlik Jones and Charles Minlend Jr. — and might still add a frontcourt piece, which could inch the Cardinals up in my rankings and help compensate for the loss of the team’s top three scorers (forwards Jordan Nwora and Dwayne Sutton, center Steven Enoch). But for right now, the backcourt duo of Jones and David Johnson looks like one of the best in the ACC, combining two explosive combo guards adept at creating in the lane. It’s quite the turnaround from this season, when point guard play was often pegged as Louisville’s weakness.

Senior center Malik Williams provides leadership and a formidable defensive presence, and sophomore wing Samuell Williamson adds a scoring and rebounding punch. Beyond that, however, much of the roster is untested. Sophomores Aidan Igiehon, Josh Nickelberry, Quinn Slazinski and Jaelyn Withers barely played while sitting behind a talented group of upperclassmen in 2019-20. Wing D’Andre Davis and forward J.J. Traynor, the two incoming freshmen, will have strides to make in the weight room and on the court. Minlend, a grad transfer from San Francisco, offers defensive aptitude and scoring on the wing, but how well will his skills translate from the WCC to the ACC? Withers took a redshirt year as a freshman to build strength and the coaching staff seems happy with how that paid off, which is why I think he could start at power forward. The Cardinals have good size all around and appear to have solid shooting with Nickelberry, Slazinski and Davis, as well as two budding post talents in Igiehon and Traynor. That depth should be helpful, but experience is a big question mark.

—Dave Lackford of Rivals talks about the latest developments in the world of Louisville football recruiting, including the Cards’ pursuit of high-profile quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Deion Sanders’ son.

—Lucas Aulbach of the CJ looks into Louisville parting ways with everyone involved in the Adidas pay for play scandal, except Adidas itself.

—Team Louisville needs to make a comeback against Team Lexington in this Lou2Lex Virtual Ultra competition/fundraiser.

100 Miles. 3 Months. Team Louisville vs. Team Lexington. Do you have what it takes to run Louisville to Lexington? The Lou2Lex Virtual Ultra will test your endurance as you run the equivalent of a scenic route between Cardinal Stadium in Louisville and Kroger Field in Lexington while supporting a great cause. You can run solo outside, on a treadmill, or with someone in your household (making sure to stay safe and healthy).

You can run all miles at once or spread it out of the course of the summer, making this perfect for both beginners and seasoned vets. Keep track of your miles and when you reach 100 miles, you’ll receive a great gender-specific tank top and Kentucky-shaped finisher medal. Choose between Team Louisville or Team Lexington when you sign up for funds to be donated towards a Covid-19 relief effort in each city. To find out more or sign up now, visit

—The Athletic’s Danielle Lerner, Brian Bennett and Kyle Tucker hold a draft for Louisville basketball players of the last 40 years.

—Former Louisville RB Senorise Perry has agreed to terms with the Tennessee Titans.

—Decent resume.

—ESPN ranks Rick Pitino to Louisville as the 25th-best college basketball coaching hire of the last 25 years. Roy Williams to North Carolina is No. 1.

—Bilal Powell’s run with the New York Jets has come to an end. He’s leaving behind quite the legacy.

That role has been reserved for players like Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley. Even players such as Lamar Miller and Carlos Hyde have seen bigger workloads with teams and as such the league generally views them as more talented than Powell.

What if I told you that Powell has a higher yards per carry than every player that was just mentioned?

Now, of course, yards per carry isn’t a perfect statistic and no one here is arguing that Powell has had a better career than Bell and Gurley simply because he averaged more rushing yards per attempt. At the same time, it’s certainly an eye-opening statistic and one that hopefully puts Powell’s impressive maximization ability into perspective. In fact, only three running backs currently on active rosters have averaged more yards per carry in their careers.


But we could talk statistics for days. We could talk about the various football traits that made him the very good player that he was. How he was a great pass blocker, how he could catch out of the backfield, and we could talk all day about his explosive first cut that made him dangerous once he hit the hole.

But at the end of the day, Powell’s legacy will not be defined by his statistics. Jets fans will not remember him for his yards per carry rate nor will they for his low fumble ratio. Instead, Powell will be remembered by fans for one word.


In many ways, Powell resonated with the average fan. He was a guy who showed up every day for eight years and made the most of what he was given. He put up with the Jets through their worst days, never complaining and always returning for more. Never once did he betray his team or his teammates despite the circus of embarrassment that would often surround the team.

He was loyal. He was always there.

—Jordan Nwora is No. 45 and Jay Scrubb No. 66 on Sam Vecenie’s latest NBA draft big board for The Athletic.

—Jeff Goodman’s latest NBA mock draft only covers the first round and does not feature Nwora.

—Some highlights of JuCo guard El Ellis, who has a Louisville offer.

—The Western Illinois Leathernecks are heading to the Final Four and I’m already tailgating for Friday night’s live stream.

—The 2020 Preakness has been rescheduled for Oct. 3.

—The Athletic’s Dana O’Neil foresees a multi-year postseason ban on the horizon for Louisville.

No one is a winner here. But who is the biggest loser with this NOA? The University of Louisville, Rick Pitino or someone else?

Dana O’Neil: Louisville. Among the aggravating factors listed in the notice of allegations is the school’s “Intentional, willful or blatant disregard for the NCAA constitution and bylaws.’’ This is not good. In fact, this is very bad. The NCAA is rather pissed at the member institutions that brought college basketball into the FBI’s crosshairs, and it isn’t going to take any of this lightly. Louisville got yanked into a federal investigation while on probation for bringing strippers in to perform for recruits. (There’s a sentence.)

The university will argue, and rightly so, that it has all but emptied its athletic department of the scoundrels involved, and slapped itself with a postseason ban. Except neither of those is mentioned in the mitigating factors, the place where the NCAA mentions the good deeds the accused has performed. That’s a tell. Jordan Fair and Kenny Johnson (presuming he’s not still working at La Salle) will have a hard time working again; Rick Pitino most likely will get benched for a few games. Louisville, not to mention its athletes, coaches, fans and alumni, is looking at serious penalties. The school is eligible for a two- to five-year postseason ban, and up to 10 years probation. My guess is at least two years without the tourney for the Cards.

—Matt Norlander of CBS looks at the 13 most important stay or go decisions in college basketball.

—Ryan McMahon and Fresh Kimble have both signed on to participate in this year’s The Basketball Tournament. Kimble will suit up for Team Hank Gathers, a Philly-based squad. McMahon, meanwhile, has signed on with Red Scare, a team made up mostly of University of Dayton alums.

—Three-Man-Weave foresees Samuell Williamson being the No. 1 “breakout boy” in college basketball next season.

1. Samuell Williamson, Sophomore, Louisville

Williamson is the perfect blend of pedigree and opportunity, making him the obvious choice as the flag-bearer for this group. He flashed plenty of potential last year playing behind the departed group of Jordan Nwora, Dwayne Sutton, Ryan McMahon, and Darius Perry, scoring in a multitude of ways in limited minutes. He clearly deferred often to the team’s more veteran options in his first campaign.

Carlik Jones and David Johnson are both capable table-setters in the backcourt (and deadly bucket-getters in their own right), but Williamson should be the go-to scorer on the wing. The surprise addition of San Francisco grad transfer Charles Minlend is a slight threat to his opportunity, but Williamson oozes talent and should blast off from the freshman-to-sophomore launch pad.

—Louisville is No. 29 Jon Rothstein’s updated preseason top 45 (who knows) college hoops rankings.

—Wake Forest big man Olivier Sarr is transferring to Kentucky. The question now for UK is whether or not they can get a waiver for the talented center to play in 2020-21.

—The final class of 2020 hoops rankings from 247 Sports have JJ Traynor at No. 90 and D’Andre Davis at No. 134.

—The Courier may have won a Pulitzer this week, but it still got skewered for this 43-year-old Star Wars review.

—Michael Jordan’s former security guard (RIP) might be the high point of “The Last Dance” so far.

—Speaking of the record-breaking documentary, it began airing before it was actually finished.

—One of the predictable outcomes of all of this is going to be colleges revisiting the way they spend money, particularly when it comes to athletics.

As the sports world started collapsing onto itself amid the coronavirus outbreak, Vince Tyra retreated to his lake house. He went alone, not to escape the chaos but to figure out a way to confront it. Tyra is a businessman who came to the business of college athletics late in life. As a former operating partner in an equity firm and a corporate adviser, he is accustomed to the whims of economic downturns and the planning required to weather them. Fielding calls and overlooking a budget already stretched thin because of Louisville’s NCAA infractions and coaching dismissals, Tyra spent 12 days trying to figure out how his department might manage the crisis. The first decision was the easiest: act now. “You have to get out in front of this,” Tyra says.

The how was a little trickier. Tyra immediately shut down departmental credit cards and travel, halted equipment purchases, put a moratorium on all planned events and shelved projects. He went through his budget in detail, axing even menial marketing plans such as billboard campaigns, all in an attempt to bridge a gap of about $15 million he knew he would have to trim for the next year’s budget. Eventually, he announced the staff pay cuts, followed just last week with furloughs for 60 staffers, and the elimination of 40 support staff positions.

But he’s also looking forward, considering ways to save money whenever sports do resume. Tyra says he could envision a future when his teams cut back on charter travel, relying on buses for road games everywhere save the far-flung ACC outposts of Syracuse, Boston College, Miami and Florida State. He’s also spoken regularly with Adidas — the school has a $160 million deal with the shoe company — about ways to better spend that money. “When the lights come back on, we have to have a plan,” he says.

—The spread offense revolution is over. The spread won.

—Chris Mack has offered five-star wing Brandon Miller from the class of 2022.

—And finally, a virtual edition of The Louie Awards went down last week. You can see a full list of the winners here.