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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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You can’t beat summer nights, but football season is rapidly approaching.

—Malik Cunningham has been named to the preseason watch list for the Manning Award.

—The NCAA is already making changes to the IARP, which has still yet to issue a single ruling (or accomplish anything, apparently) since its creation.

—There’s been plenty of buzz this week that Western Carolina hoops transfer Mason Faulkner could be the final player added to Louisville’s 2021-22 roster. In his latest newsletter, Jeff Greer discusses what that could mean for the Cards.

What do we make of this potential addition? Well, Louisville needs another playmaking guard, and Faulkner is a playmaking guard. Finding a solid piece this late into the summer is awfully difficult, and Faulkner brings experience and scoring prowess, attributes that can help Louisville.

The Skinny

At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Faulkner grew into a creative lead guard over two seasons at Western Carolina. He was asked to do quite a bit for the Catamounts in his second year. WCU finished 19-12 in 2019-20 — Faulkner started at point guard, surrounded by a much better supporting cast than the 2020-21 campaign, when WCU went 11-16. That change stands as a big reason why Faulkner’s assist rate dropped and his turnovers (slightly) climbed. His shooting numbers, however, improved.

Year 1 — 17.7 points, 6 rebounds, 5.9 assists per game (40.2% FG, 31.3% 3FG)

Year 2 — 16.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists per game (45.5% FG, 35.5% 3FG)

This was addressed by my pal Sean at HoopsInsight in the early stages of the transfer portal offseason: If you pull out Faulkner’s numbers just against teams ranked in the top 100 on Ken Pomeroy’s metrics site over the past two seasons, he averages 14.4 points, 5.1 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game, but his turnover rate increases and his shooting percentages significantly drop. Still, while the performances are noticeably inconsistent, Faulkner did put up 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a loss to FSU in 2019-20 in addition to 21 points, four assists and three rebounds against Anthony Edwards and Georgia that same season. There is some potential there for big games.

A big efficiency plus: Faulkner is very good at drawing fouls. He drew six fouls per 40 minutes this past season and 6.7 fouls per 40 minutes two seasons ago. His fouls-leading-to-free-throws number is good, too: At 17.6%, Faulkner drew shooting fouls at a higher rate than any guard on Louisville’s roster last season and even surpassed Jae’Lyn Withers. And at 78.1% from the line for his college career, Faulkner turns those fouls into points. In a system hoping to be far more assertive and attacking this coming season, adding a foul-drawing guard like Faulkner could be very helpful.

—The staff over at The Athletic held an ultimate conference realignment draft, and Louisville was not selected until the 7th round.

—Cardinal Sports Zone previews the Louisville defensive line.

—Halfway through the season, Louisville City FC ranks No. 1 in the USL in points and in attendance.

—If only there was a way for Notre Dame to prevent something like this from happening.

—Maryland, a team Louisville could potentially face in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving weekend, checks in at No. 31 in the Three-Man-Weave preseason countdown.

—The NCAA has released its new Covid guidelines for fall sports.

—Best news of the week: Bob Valvano’s cancer is in remission.

“Whatever your concepts of cancer were, block them out of your mind now, because it is different than it was 10 years ago, 5 years ago, and you need to know that,” Valvano told his radio audience. “I get on here a lot and we’re talking about the V Foundation raising money for research, and we’re talking about our local initiative here, the Kentuckiana Friends of V, and I hope it may spur some of you who want to help us more, because quite honestly, the research saves people’s lives, and I’m living proof of that.”

Leukemia is cancer that attacks the blood and can spread quickly to the lymph nodes and elsewhere. Valvano, at Stage 4, had tumors in his lymph nodes, the largest, he said, was about 14 centimeters. He began chemotherapy with his usual good humor. He named his IV stand “Rollie” and told his listeners about it. But the first session was difficult.

“I threw up 14 times in the first half hour,” he said.

But doctors adjusted the medication, and he has had few problems with nausea since. Underscoring the rate of research, Valvano said his IV medication wasn’t available until 2016, and the oral medication he has taken since then only went on the market in 2018.

“The chemo drugs don’t interact with you the way the old ones used to,” he said. “They told me, ‘You’re probably not going to lose your hair.’ . . . Chemotherapy, for those who know about cancer, used to just go in and destroy cells. It was a little morbid, macabre game — let’s see if we can kill more cancer cells than healthy cells. We might. We might not. We might kill the guy, but we’ve got to take the chance. And that’s what we did. You just scattershot in there and hope the guy was strong enough to get through it. Now for starters, the chemotherapy itself is more targeted, so that’s a big difference, and the second set of medication is a pill. . . . Researchers found that there’s a protein that attaches to these cancer cells, and what this pill does is latch onto the protein, and to put it in a wise-guy kind of way, convinces the (cancer) cells to give themselves up. It reprograms the cell to go back to the way it should be, and which is to destroy itself, and doesn’t touch the healthy cells. . . . When we say that the money that’s going to research is literally saving people’s lives and they’re making significant strides every month and week. These two drugs saved my life.”

—Harold Davis has left his position as head coach of the DeSales High School football team to take over as the new head coach of the Bellarmine University sprint football team. Davis led the Colts to two state championships.

—Syracuse has confirmed that two more athletic administrators are no longer employed by the school as it continues its investigation into the women’s basketball program.

—This is wild, and the number is only going to grow larger in the years to come.

—The CJ takes a closer look at the new plan to open an urban garden, farmer’s market and coffee shop off River Road by the water tower.

—Voting for the annual LEO Readers’ Choice Awards is now open. We’re voting Gabe Wiznitzer Best Local Comedian this year.

—The ACC Digital Netword ranks (video) Marshon Ford as the league’s No. 4 returning tight end.

—That’ll do, Jordan.

—The U of L women’s tennis team has announced the addition of Alabama transfer Sasha Gorchanyuk.

—The Utah Jazz have acquired former Villanova standout Eric Paschall, who has been a close friend of Donovan Mitchell’s since childhood.

—College basketball coaches share their thoughts (ESPN Insider) on how the 2021 NBA draft played out.

—Jo Adell’s star turn has begun.

—Male High hoops star Kaleb Glenn (2023) will take an official visit to Texas A&M in October. Glenn has also planned officials to both Louisville (at Louisville Live in September) and Tennessee.

—ESPN’s updated early college hoops rankings for 2021-22 do not feature Louisville either in the main rankings or the “next in line” section.

—The CJ identifies five newcomers to watch as Louisville football’s fall camp gets set to begin.

—Your first look at TuTu Atwell in a Rams uniform:

—Cardinal Authority outlines the key upcoming dates for U of L football.

—Carlik Jones is getting ready to suit up for the Mavericks in the NBA Summer League.

—Just a month out from its season-opener against the Cards, Ole Miss has lost a safety to the transfer portal.

—Here’s what other ACC football coaches had to say, anonymously, about Louisville.

Louisville

“It’s too early to throw up a red flag, but there are some alarming things you can see from the outside.”

“They had a very interesting 2020. It seems like they’re losing more players and coaches than you’d expect. From a pure evaluation standpoint, they’ve lost a lot of their most talented guys and we haven’t seen or heard anything about them competing in recruiting in that state.”

“The easy way to look at it is that they’re running the same offense and basically the same defense they had at App, but now they’re playing teams with equal or better talent, which almost never happened there. They’re not used to seeing a counter-punch, and it shows.”

“The biggest issues here seem off the field, I think they haven’t really established who they are as a culture with those players. I think they tried to bring Appalachian State to Louisville, and that hasn’t worked out. Scott [Satterfield] talking to South Carolina didn’t help, either. When this program is good it’s because they bring in a lot of raw talent and let them play. He’s trying to create something different.”

That’s ... not overly encouraging. Once again, the four months ahead could not be more crucial for Scott Satterfield.

—Louisville football commit Popeye Williams has been named preseason All-State in Indiana.

—And finally, Rick Bozich has five former faces for Louisville fans to keep an eye on during the 2021 NFL season.