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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Welcome to the CCBM family, KP.

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—Louisville football’s 2023 recruiting class is now tops in the ACC and as high as No. 6 in the country.

—Louisville is all the way down at No. 14 in ESPN’s way-too-early women’s college basketball rankings for next season. Eventually, they’re going to learn.

—DJ Wagner updates his recruitment and says he hasn’t really had a chance to get to know Kenny Payne just yet.

“It’s going good,” he said of his recruitment. “I am enjoying every part of it with all of the coaches reaching out and stuff, it’s a blessing for anyone to reach out so right now I am enjoying the process.”

The schools that have been in heavy pursuit consist of Kentucky, Villanova and Memphis but now it’s expected that Louisville will play a factor although they have not had deep talks regarding his recruitment yet.

“Not really, not too much, not a lot but he is definitely a great coach,” Wagner said of what he knows of Kenny Payne. “I know that he was a great coach at Kentucky and I know that he will do a great job but I don’t have a super personal connection.”

Not too far down the road is another contender for Wagner’s talent in Kentucky and the Wildcats’ staff recently took the full staff to go watch Wagner in the state championship.

“They definitely are recruiting me and it’s a great school,” he said. “I am still open to everyone but Kentucky is a great school and I love Kentucky. It was definitely an honor seeing how much they supported me and it’s really an honor when any coach comes to watch but that was definitely great that they all came to watch.”

—New U of L football commit Jamari Johnson says Louisville is the perfect fit for him on and off the field.

—A pair of Cardinals are on the Golden Spikes Award mid season watch-list.

—Intro video narration bounceback season has arrived.

(the Bats lost their season opener, 3-2, Tuesday night)

—The U of L softball team hosts No. 8/12 Kentucky this evening (weather permitting). Here’s a preview.

—This WNBA mock draft has Emily Engslter going No. 5 overall and Kianna Smith going 21st overall.

—Anonymous WNBA draft scouts are high on Engstler in this piece from The Athletic.

Emily Engstler | 6-1 wing | Louisville

2021-22 stats: 11.9 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 46% FG, 38% 3PT FG

“She’s another player that the tournament has helped her stock. High energy, passionate about the game, values defense and rebounding, spreads the floor for them. She has a high basketball IQ.”

“Is she a four? Is she a three? At four, Emily could be ahead of the (Naz) Hillmon and (Queen) Egbo group. That tournament bounce, she’s getting that. She has been good all season long. I think she’s one that has kind of made her way up draft boards. … The toughness, the intangibles that she shows, the length, the shot-blocking, the fact that she can shoot the 3. Her will to win seems pretty high and would be appealing to teams, I’d think.”

“Engstler has got a weird quirk about her where she’s a playmaker. On and off the ball, she’s in the right place at the right time. You can’t teach that. I saw after a game that Jeff (Walz) said he hasn’t had a player as dynamic as her on both sides of the ball since Angel (McCoughtry). I think that speaks volumes of her given who has come through that program. I’m not saying Emily is Angel McCoughtry. I’m saying she has an impact on the game that all 10 players feel. She can stretch the floor. She has size where she can play as a three in our league. She has played in a top program in Louisville.”

—The latest episode of the Cardinal Sports Zone podcast features newly named Fern Creek boys basketball head coach Ellis Myles.

—Kenny Johnson has been hired as an assistant on Archie Miller’s first staff at Rhode Island. Don’t think that’s the worst thing in the world for Louisville.

—Rick Bozich writes that Johnson getting back into coaching and Rick Pitino preparing for year three at Iona make Louisville’s 4 12 year wait for the NCAA to do something seem all the more unfair.

—Kenny Payne and Louisville are among those who have reached out to Ole Miss transfer Luis Rodriguez.

The 6’6 forward has spent the last four years in Oxford. He averaged 6.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season.

—The U of L men’s tennis team has jumped into the top 25 of latest ITA rankings.

—Kansas fans should continue to soak up every ounce of this national championship until they’re fully sated. For everyone else, including Bill Self, focus is about to quickly shift to what’s next for the program and the man in charge of it.

—La Salle has hired former Temple head coach Fran Dunphy to take over its basketball program.

—The Athletic’s Lyndsey D’Arcangelo says that Emily Engstler helped her WNBA draft stock during the NCAA tournament more than any other player in women’s college basketball.

5. Whose draft stock rose the most in the tournament?

If we’re looking at first-round picks, Emily Engstler made the biggest leap overall. The Louisville forward averaged 14.4 points per game, and showcased her defensive skills as well as all the little things she does that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. South Carolina’s Henderson had a memorable performance in the championship game, leading all scorers with 26 points. She also guarded Paige Bueckers on defense, often forcing Bueckers to pick up her dribble or pass instead of shoot. It was an impressive night for the point guard overall.

—Eric Wood is the guest on the latest From the Pink Seats podcast episode.

—The Louisville lacrosse team rolled to a 15-6 win over Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

—Jim Patterson, he of Jim Patterson Stadium fame, is continuing to lobby for Tom Jurich to come back and reclaim the U of L athletic director position.

—Former Cards keep thriving in Dodger blue.

—Here’s a story on Miller from The Athletic, which says he has the potential to be the Dodgers’ next big success story.

—DeVante Parker is officially a New England Patriot.

—U of L interim AD Josh Heird threw out the first pitch at the Bats’ season-opener on Tuesday night.

Love the job Josh has been doing, but you can’t leave it on the amateur side here. You just can’t.

—Donovan Mitchell is all in on Kenny Payne at Louisville.

—Few people on TV are more consistently wrong than Jay Williams, but this is kind of hilarious.

—Here’s a good profile on Nolan Smith from 11 years ago that still contains some pertinent info.

—Louisville-South Carolina was the highest-rated early women’s national semifinal in six years.

—Who else remembers this ad?

The ‘90s were incredible.

—The NCAA still needs to maximize the value of the women’s tournament.

—Lamar remains the best.

—Best moment from the “spring showcase.”

—Five Racing Louisville players have joined their respective national teams on international duty.

—Former Louisville baseball star Corey Ray kicked off his 2022 season with a walk-off hit for the Nashville Sounds.

—Cool to see U of L football players doing this.

—Dave Chappelle is coming to Louisville next week.

—There’s obviously a still a ton of roster shaking out to happen over the weeks ahead, but certainly feels possible that there will be three preseason top 10 teams — Arkansas, Creighton and Arizona — in the 2022 Maui Invitational field that Louisville will be a part of. The Razorbacks are No. 1 in Jeff Goodman and Jeff Borzello’s super early top 25 rankings.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show returns this afternoon from 3-6 on 1450/96.1 The Big X. You can stream the show here.