—The Cards are back.
Scott Satterfield and Micale Cunningham will talk to the media following today’s first practice.
—The U of L baseball team received the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Team Academic Excellence Award for the 2019-20 academic year. The award highlights college and high school programs coached by ABCA members that posted a GPA over 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the entire academic year.
—Brian Bennett has a great read on Louisville hoops as part of The Athletic’s “State of the Program” series.
The season hinges on players making a leap. Almost everyone wearing a toothed-bird uniform needs to do so. How many can?
Louisville must replace 75 percent of its scoring and 66 percent of its rebounding from a year ago. The roster includes six second-year players, and only two of them — David Johnson and Samuell Williamson — have logged more than 61 minutes. Graduate transfers Carlik Jones (Radford) and Charles Minlend (San Francisco) add much-needed experience, but they, too, must prove they can play at the ACC level after starring in mid-major conferences.
“All six of the sophomores want to take that leap, whether that’s getting to the next level or just developing their college game,” says Williams, the only four-year Louisville player on the roster. “I know they’ll bring it every day. Everybody’s got a chip on their shoulder, including myself, and I think that’ll be a big thing for us.”
The most glaring aspect missing from last year’s team is outside shooting. Nwora, McMahon, Sutton and Darius Perry, who transferred to UCF, were the four best 3-point shooters. Jones, who made 41 percent of his 3s at Radford last season, should help fill that void, and some of the younger players are better shooters than they showed in small sample sizes. Still, the Cardinals ranked 15th nationally in 3-point percentage last season but probably won’t be that good from deep again.
That may prove a positive development, because Mack thought his team settled for too many long jumpers at times. In its seven losses, Louisville connected on just 32 percent behind the arc. With Johnson, Williamson and redshirt freshmen Jae’Lyn Withers expected to take on bigger roles, the lineup could be longer and more athletic this time around. Mack’s key word for the style of play is “confrontational.”
“We can’t be a team that plays to a jump shot all the time,” he says. “Our team has to be a little more confrontational at the rim. We have to get in the lane a little more. We have to be a team that draws fouls. Having said that, we’re not going to fall off the map. We’ll still have the ability to spread the ball around and make 3s as well.”
—Jeff Walz serves up some updates on the state of his women’s basketball team.
—There will be no fans at this year’s Indianapolis 500.
—Scott Satterfield assumes that Louisville’s one non-conference game in 2020 will be against Western Kentucky or Murray State, but nothing is set in stone at the moment.
—Louisville native Justin Thomas is the No. 1 golfer in the world and the third-youngest player to 13 PGA Tour wins behind only Jack and Tiger. He’s still underappreciated.
—Ballard High grad and former Louisville signee Jo Adell has been called up by the Angels and could make his Major League debut tonight.
—Louisville does not appear in Heat Check CBB’s updated early top 25 for the upcoming college hoops season. Georgia Tech is No. 20.
—Lachlan McLean is leaving the local sports talk radio scene to take a full-time TV gig at Spectrum News.
Some personal news: After 16 years doing sports talk in Louisville, I’m saying goodbye to radio, returning to TV to be a full-time News Anchor for @SpectrumNews1KY. I’ll miss everyone at @ESPN680 but the future is so bright at Spectrum. My last day on #TheMiddayRush is Friday.— Lachlan McLean (@LachTalk) August 4, 2020
—Tickets for the Louisville men’s basketball team’s appearance in the MGM Resorts Main Event on Nov. 20-22 in Las Vegas will be available in a special presale on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 1 p.m. ET.
—Eric Crawford tackles a wide range of topics on the latest episode of the WDRB Sports Pod.
—Some of the biggest names in college basketball, including Iowa’s Luka Garza and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu, announced over the weekend that they’ll be back in school for the 2020-21 season. Kyle Boone of CBS breaks down the winners and losers of the NBA draft decision deadline.
—The top-ranked 2023 baseball player in Maryland has committed to Louisville.
—Assuming that there are bowl games in 2020/2021, teams with losing records are likely to be invited to play in them.
—Myisha Hines-Allen’s numbers through four WNBA games this season: 17.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. She’s one of the biggest reasons why the Washington Mystics are the talk of the league.
—The NCAA has a “high level of confidence” that the 2020-21 college basketball season will start on time.
—Those bird shorts though.
—Five Louisville baseball players are named in the top 60 of this list of the top 2021 MLB draft prospects in college baseball. Alex Binelas tops the list at No. 9.
—JuCo LB KJ Cloyd is now officially a Cardinal.
—This Slate story has some background on how Louisville wound up landing Liberty transfer Kei’Trel Clark.
—Here’s an interview with new Cardinal basketbal commit Eric van der Heijden:
—Every single crack in college football’s infrastructure has been exposed and magnified in a single offseason, and ESPN’s Bill Connelly says there is no way to move forward without doing something about it.
—Here’s a good read from The Athletic on the impact Myisha Hines-Allen had before ever putting on a Mystics jersey.
—Future Cardinal Bobby Pettiford has some get up.
Louisville commit Bobby Pettiford AKA BOBBY BOUNCE AKA BP with the BOUNCE WINDMILL‼️@BobbyPettiford #PhenomChallenge #PhenomHoops— Phenom Hoop Videos (@PhenomMixtapes) August 2, 2020
(@colbylewis20 @_PhenomDon @POBScout @Coach_Rick57 @JeffreyBendel_) pic.twitter.com/qUS5YW8nj1
—Carlik Jones is ready to be a leader during his one season at U of L.
—Big Red Louie identifies three players to keep a special eye on during fall camp.
—Eric Crawford has five things to watch as Scott Satterfield’s second year on the job begins.
2). WHO STEPS UP ON DEFENSE?
Louisville lacked size and depth in 2019, and it showed as games, and the season, wore on.
“I think this defense will be better than last year,” Brown said Monday. “How (much) better, I’m not sure yet.”
Much of that will be determined in the coming weeks. Jared Goldwire will have to step up at the nose tackle spot. He’s up to 305 pounds, nearly 20 pounds more than his playing weight last season. The Cards add Yaya Diaby, a junior college transfer who will have to contribute at one of the defensive end spots, and had a couple of freshmen, Henry Bryant and Je’Darien Boykin, show some promise in the spring.
Louisville needs to have newcomers add depth all around the defense if it is to improve. The unit gave up 277 yards per game and 6 yards per carry last season, the program’s worst showing against the run since 1985.
The Cards have a bit more experience in the secondary but not much more depth, though that could be helped if Kei’Trel Clark, who transferred from Liberty, receives a waiver to play right away.
“Our depth on the defensive line is a little bit better this year,” Brown said. “With some of the guys we recruited at the position, that was one of the main thing we needed to do. Those young guys will be able to give us some reps, and we’ll see how they do in fall camp. Some were here in spring and gave us some quality reps. ... We’re seeing some good things. Just hoping they’re able to play 4 or 6 games and still being able to redshirt.”
—The CJ lays out three major questions before the start of fall camp.
—And finally, Teddy Bridgewater talks about the challenges of succeeding Cam Newton in Carolina.