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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Clint is spending the next month and-a-half perfecting his L’s up for football season.

—Watch list season rolls on with Malik Cunningham gracing the Davey O’Brien watch list.

—La Salle has officially added U of L hoops transfer Josh Nickelberry.

—Jarrod West’s team held off a late rally from Malik Williams’ squad to win the U of L hoops charity softball game Monday night.

The game ended with a big league sweep tag from the Big Wiz.

—Cardinal Authority has a photo gallery from last night’s contest.

—Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype talks with David Johnson about a variety of things.

You improved your jump shot and played off-ball as a sophomore. How do you feel you’ve improved your game?

DJ: After freshman year, you could only control what you could control. We had limited gym time. That was going to be a factor. But you have to make sure that you get better. I just wanted to make the best of the situation. You couldn’t keep yourself down. That will make the situation worse. Make the best out of every situation.

I always knew my shooting was going to get better. I knew my mechanics were coming along. I knew I was a good shooter. I just needed the repetition and that was my focus. That was one thing that I wanted to show that I could do: shoot the ball and space the floor a bit. Moving off the ball, I wanted to showcase I could do other things without even having the ball in my hands. Shooting and being a pest defensively are two things that I really improved on.

How do you pitch yourself when you are selling yourself to NBA teams?

DJ: On the court, I see myself as a two-way playmaking guard. I have a pretty good feel playing off the ball and I can move without the ball, screening and rebounding. I can make plays out of pick-and-roll situations. I can play defense on the other end. That’s one of the things that I take personally. I feel like I’m not in the game if I’m not competing defensively. I want to establish myself as someone who can really play and compete at the highest level. I can guard multiple positions. I want to help the team win in the best way that I can. I think those are the main things that I bring on the court.

Off the court, my teammates would say I’m pretty funny. I’m really calm, relaxed and even-keeled. I don’t really get too high or too low. I try to stay consistent with my attitude. I’m very coachable. I like to pick people’s brains and really get to know people. I think that carries along whether I’m playing basketball with them or not.

—Congrats to Jordan Nwora on being named to the Nigerian Olympic squad.

—The Athletic tackles what a U.S. Olympic team made up of only college players might look like.

—The powers that be in college athletics simply cannot keep themselves from messing with something if it’s being too well received publicly.

—Exhibit B:

—Uplifting read of the day: This story of a 2-year-old and 100-year-old becoming best friends during the pandemic.

This piece on recruiting, NIL and Chris Beard is worth your time.

With that out of the way, there has been a recurring refrain from recruiting & coaching circles throughout the last few years that Chris Beard’s programs were more than willing to bend the rules to land recruits & transfers. While I have not personally witnessed any of this happening - you’re going to be stunned to hear I’m not hanging out with the Tech or Texas staff in my off-time, considering how super-popular I am with everybody at both schools lately - the stories are at a high level similar enough and repeated enough over the years that it sure feels like there’s a lot of there there. This isn’t a unique phenomenon in high-major coaching, most any coaching staff who is landing top talent has a network off in the background taking care of things in some form or another, generally far enough removed from the staff that it maintains plausible deniability. That said, even by the metrics of high-major schools the number of stories about Beard and his programs is pretty significant; I’ve heard more about his programs’ alleged shenanigans than anybody this side of Kansas or Kentucky. The assistant coaching staff he’s assembled since coming to Texas features a guy the NCAA has on tape in their Kansas allegations, another guy named by the NCAA in SMU allegations, and a coach who was magically able to get Canadian prospects to the state of Texas - a pipeline that dried up after he was gone and reopened this week when Marcus Carr agreed to come to Texas - so even if Beard is perfectly clean, he sure seems to like to employ coaches who don’t exactly project that image. The fact that Texas managed to rebuild into a top-5 roster on the fly - beating teams like Kansas & Kentucky for their services - when these guys showed up is…well…convenient.

But does being clean even matter?

If we’re looking at a landscape with limited or no NCAA rule enforcement, who exactly should Texas be afraid of here? What is stopping Texas from going full Kentucky, some salty tweets from other fanbases? If the arms race is really on across college sports at the level I suspect it is, playing by the old rules actually puts a program like Texas at a competitive disadvantage if they’re trying to win titles. Chris Beard comes in with very high expectations, in a landscape where players are more able to monetize their abilities than ever, and an oversight arm that looks like they just started burning PTO before they retire for good. The incentives to go get players in whatever manner it takes are massive and the downsides to skirting whatever rules are left have never been smaller. It’s possible that Beard is the perfect coach to capitalize on this specific situation, and he’s got CDC funding a staff seemingly built for this new reality. If Emmert’s stance is borne out in the upcoming restructuring of the NCAA, Texas could be as well-placed as any school to benefit. I don’t particularly care if players are getting paid; I’d rather it happen in the daylight as part of a contract so they can do things like (when did I turn into my parents) build their Social Security earnings statements and put part of it in a 401k, but these young men & women deserve to make money off their unique talents. If you’re not a college sports romantic who believes in the sanctity of unpaid labor (now that I think of it, that’s probably not very romantic) and your primary/sole focus is stacking wins, this seems likely to work out well for you. It’s very possible Texas will reap major rewards from betting on the future being less & less about enforcement and more & more about revenue. In the meantime, maybe the Texas compliance staff could learn how to Photoshop edits for players?

—Matt Norlander of CBS serves up the biggest storylines from the Nike EYBY circuit, including the overhyping of Emoni Bates.

—Former U of L infielder Timmy Borden is transferring to Georgia Tech.

—Quite the shot:

—Tyler Harrell is poised for a breakout season in 2021.

—When Louisville opens its 2021 football season, they’ll be going up against a QB who had to transfer high schools after he beat up Wayne Gretzky’s son in front of everyone at a basketball game.

—My vanity plate after DePaul finally hires me as athletic director.

—The CJ continues its countdown of the most important Louisville football players for 2021.

—Shakin’ the Southland (Clemson) breaks down the road trip to Louisville.

Location: Louisville, KY

Date: November 6, 2021

Opponent: Louisville Cardinals

Miles from Clemson: 439 mi

I’ve only been to Louisville once, but it was among the best ACC road trips I’ve ever taken. We tailgated outside Churchill Downs, watched a few horse races, and then went into a packed stadium with comfortable seatbacks and watched Clemson eek out a win in front of an electric crowd. The Cardinals fans were courteous and passionate.

The city of Louisville has plenty of offer. Bourbon drinkers can enjoy Bourbon Trail. They have the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory for baseball fans and Churchill Downs has horse races scheduled for the weekend of the Clemson game. It’s a long drive, but depending on where you’re driving from a night in Nashville is a fun way to break up the road trip.

—Smoke from the wildfires in the West is headed to Louisville.

—Reminder that this man gets a year added to his contract every time he wins seven games in a season.

—The latest episode of the From the Pink Seats podcast is here.

—And finally, UCF fans believe their September game against Louisville is huge for the program’s recruiting.