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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

My guy Ouji throws his L’s up at David Levitch’s North Oldham camp earlier this month.

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—Another early exit from the playoffs will eat at Donovan Mitchell all offseason.

—The CJ looks at the importance of El Ellis making a seamless transition from JuCo to the ACC.

—Jeff Greer’s latest newsletter focuses largely on what Samuell Williamson must do in order to take his game to the next level in year three.

On his defense

The Miami and Florida State losses in January served as wakeup calls for Williamson. He lost his starting spot after the FSU game. Lack of concentration and effort seemed to be the primary reasons for the change. But by season’s end, Williamson had made enough progress to not only regain that starting spot but win Mack’s praise as an improved defender.

“His defense took a big step up from freshman to sophomore year,” Mack told me. “He’s a really, really competitive kid, so I think he’ll be an even better defender (next season).”

On his game IQ

This area, like defense, is tougher to quantify in numbers, but Williamson’s game is so much better and well-rounded when he is active off the ball and reading the action. I try to be careful citing Synergy stats because they can be imprecise — still, the site lists Williamson as 16 of 24 from the field in transition and 17 of 26 as a cutter. In a system expected to have more space and fluidity, Williamson’s ability to sneak along the baseline or cut into the lane from the wing and extended free-throw line makes him a dynamic scoring option for ballhandlers to find. He also became a serious offensive rebounder last season thanks in large part to that persistent movement.

“(It’s) just his ability to grow intellectually on the floor,” Mack said. For example, “When are there opportunities to back cut? When do I keep spacing versus getting behind the defense and into the lane? When do I use my size versus a smaller defensive player? It’s all those things — playing off a closeout. Just growing his game and making better decisions.”

—Ten members of the Louisville track and field team have been named to the All-ACC Academic squad.

—Cardinal safety Kenderick Duncan could be one of the biggest impact transfers in all of college football this season.

—The official Kentucky Derby 148 logo is here:

—Louisville baseball has landed a commitment from Trinity catcher Matt Klein.

—David Johnson was one of the Thursday standouts at the NBA Draft Combine.

Coming off the bench in game two of the first day of scrimmages, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard scored 10 points (3-5 FG, 0-2 3P, 4-4 FT) and added four rebounds, four assists and a block in 16:37. While maybe not an eye-popping stat line, his overall on-court play and impact on the 94-54 victory for his squad impressed those in attendance.

“Louisville’s David Johnson was a lot of fun to watch today,” ESPN analyst Jonathan Givony tweeted. “Slid in everywhere from 1-4 doing all the little things to help his team win. Defended everyone, made some great passes and found ways to score despite his jumper not really falling. Really set the tone for his team.”

Brett Siegel, a writer/analyst for the NBA Analysis Network, tweeted that Johnson’s “length and athleticism is something teams are definitely interesting in seeing more of.” Earlier that day, Johnson logged a standing reach of 8’8.0”, the second-longest of any guard behind only Arkansas’ Moses Moody. He also ran the fifth-fastest three quarter sprint at 3.03 seconds.

—State of Louisville recaps Racing Louisville FC’s performance through its first six matches.

—Bill Moos is out as Nebraska’s athletic director.

—This is good stuff from Satterfield and the football program.

—The CJ’s Cameron Teague Robinson spent a day last weekend with the U of L football team at Fort Knox.

—Pat Forde writes about his daughter, Brooke, making the U.S. Olympic team.

—Cardinal Authority has a notebook from U of L football’s Big Man Camp.

—Friday Irrelevance:

And with Conan calling it quits this week, we’ve got to unearth this absolute classic:

—Sam Vecenie’s latest NBA mock draft for The Athletic has David Johnson going 48th overall to the Hawks.

—Jeff Goodman has Noah Locke at No. 33, Matt Cross at No. 58, and Jarrod West at No. 74 on his list of the top 101 transfers in college basketball for 2021-22.

—Former Card Nick Bennett making Double-A history here.

—U of L women’s soccer announced Friday that former Oregon State associate head coach Nick Stirrett has been added to the Cardinal staff as an assistant coach.

—TV ratings for the NBA playoffs have hit an all-time high.

—The Gus Bus says his unofficial visit to U of L did not disappoint.

“Louisville made me a priority early, so my mom and I made it a priority to get to campus and meet the people we have been talking to for over a year,” Yalden told Louisville Report. “The coaches wanted to make my time on campus really special, and told me to be excited about coming down there. Louisville Basketball definitely didn’t disappoint!”

Yalden, also known by his nickname ‘Gus Bus’, came away from the visit with a “good idea about what it would be like if I ended up there in a couple of years”, and that being able to see the campus “made the experience even more real” for him.

Newly promoted assistant coach Kahil Fennell has been his primary recruiter during the process, and has been Yalden’s “day one and pretty much my only contact” for nearly a year and a half. Prior to coaches being able to reach out to recruits on their own, Yalden’s trainer Shea Frazee helped facilitate the contact between the two.

“Honestly, we talk about lots of stuff other than basketball,” Yalden said. “My dog, golf, fishing, workouts, travel, goals, grades, football, pretty much anything that might be going on is a conversation topic.”

Gotta have him.

—Top hoops recruit Rodney Rice appeared to enjoy his time at U of L.

—The Cards appear to be in a good position with Rice.

—Would have been incredible.

—Vince Tyra reacts to the major changes on the way for college sports.

—Did you know that Thin Lizzy credits Louisville for the success of “The Boys Are Back in Town?” Because Thin Lizzy credits Louisville for the success of “The Boys Are Back in Town.”

—Some nice love for Malik.

—The latest podcast episode from Cardinal Sports Zone is here.

—Former U of L field hockey goalie Ayeisha McFerran will play for her home country of Ireland in the Olympics.

—And finally, U of L is considering a plan to bring a six-story hotel with a first-floor Target to a busy corner on campus.