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Former Holy Cross star Sam Bearden ready for life as a Louisville walk-on

From Cougar to Cardinal.

Jeremy Nichols

The Louisville Cardinals will have a local walk-on this basketball season. Sam Bearden out of Holy Cross High School will be joining the Cards.

“I’ve grown up a UofL fan my whole life and my family has always had season tickets,” Bearden said. “So this opportunity I have gotten is really like a dream come true.”

A four-year starter, the 6’5 Bearden scored over 1,000 points in his high school career. He led the Cougars in scoring this past season at 18 points per game and led the team with 7.7 rebounds per game. He shot 54.2% from the field and made 199 field goals on the season. The next most made field goals on the team was 100 for the 16-12 team on Dixie Highway.

In two of the bigger wins of the season against Iroquois and Fairdale, Bearden recorded 20 points and nine rebounds and 24 points and seven rebounds, respectively.

As a junior and starting alongside three seniors, he also led the Cougars in scoring and rebounding with 12.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

This one is particularly special for me as I was able to coach Sam for three of his four years at Holy Cross as a Varsity assistant. Do I take credit for this? Not all of it, just most…yes, I am kidding. But I can say that Sam was an absolute joy to coach and was one of the most well-mannered and respectable kids I have been around. It is easy to coach kids that take what you say and learn from it instead of talking back or getting down just because you try to make them better. Sam is just flat out a good kid that comes from a great family and I don’t say those things lightly.

Speaking of, his parents are also obviously excited about this. “We’re thrilled with Sam’s opportunity to walk-on at UofL,” his father, Matt, told me. “We are essentially a UofL family. Our family has been football and basketball season ticket holders for 40 years. My dad played football for UofL in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s and Missy (Sam’s mother) played field hockey there in the ‘90s. We love that Sam can continue that tradition and know it is a dream come true for him just to be a part of the program.”

Here are some highlights from a game during Sam’s junior season:

In a time where there just is not a lot of positive things to write about sports, I was more than happy to be able to get to post this. Best of luck to Sam this season and the next few years!