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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

The 2022 CC Summer Tour rolls on.

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

—Here’s the U of L recap of the second day of the MLB draft.

—Louisville football’s home attendance last season was the lowest it’s been since Steve Kragthorpe’s swan song in 2009. Josh Heird believes Cardinal Stadium is in line for a bounce-back in 2022.

I’m really gonna need you to beat Syracuse, Scott.

—What a world.

—Former Card Emonee Spence, who helped transform Lamar Jackson’s body during the offseason, is the guest on the latest episode of the From the Pink Seats podcast.

—The Big 12 has announced that it has no interest in a partnership or merger with the Pac-12, so what’s next?

—DJ Wagner’s play during the U17 FIBA World Cup drew mixed reviews.

Mixed reviews for D.J. Wagner

After what had been an outstanding spring and summer entering the FIBA event — he led the Nike EYBL in scoring and was hands down the best player at USA Basketball’s April minicamp — it was a bit surprising to see D.J. Wagner, the No. 1-ranked player in the 2023 high school class, fade into the background for big parts of the competition in Spain. In fact, Wagner looked fairly ordinary while playing a different role than what we had seen to this point in his career.

Wagner, who measured 6-3, was shaded to his weaker left hand, struggled to operate in traffic at his size and couldn’t get his jumper to fall with any kind of regularity. He hit just 4 of 21 attempts from beyond the arc and was a mixed bag with his shot selection and decision-making in the half court. Defensively, Wagner lacks physicality in a major way, gambling or getting lost off the ball and at times struggling to guard without fouling in the half court. He’s still growing into his thin frame and doesn’t have great length to compensate, putting him on the smaller end of the spectrum of NBA point guards and leaving him less margin for error physically.

Wagner’s exceptional scoring instincts and natural talent still shined through quite a bit with his ability to get to spots on the floor, finish skillfully inside the arc and find teammates on the move in the open floor. He surprises you at times with his powerful ability to change gears going left or right and even playing above the rim with a head of steam. The fact that he has natural shot-making prowess stepping into rhythm 3s from well beyond the arc or knocking down pull-up jumpers bodes well for his evolution as a scorer down the road. Still, Wagner’s playmaking, finishing, perimeter shooting and defense all have a ways to go to solidify him as the No. 1 player in the class.

The event could prove to be a great learning experience for Wagner in how to play alongside other great players while not being the focal point of an offense, something he had never experienced to this point. It’s important to note that Wagner is young for his class, having just turned 17 in May, and could still be growing physically. He’ll have a chance to bounce back this week at Peach Jam, where his New Jersey Scholars team has gone 11-1 when Wagner has been in uniform. Louisville and Kentucky fans anxiously await Wagner’s college decision in what is shaping up as one of the most interesting recruiting battles we’ve seen in recent years.

—Here’s a good explainer on the much-talked about ACC grant of rights deal.

—Here’s an interesting look at where the USL is and where the league could be headed.

—John Calipari is one of the members of the 2022 Conference USA Hall of Fame class. I have to admit I was fairly shocked that he said this during his reaction message.

—In a stunning development, the latest efforts to bring an NBA franchise to Louisville have cooled.

—Here’s hoping Louisville has the type of win/loss season this year that’s needed to keep Malik’s gaudy numbers from receiving the “yeah, but” treatment from now until eternity.

—The full list of presenters and attendees for this year’s ESPNY Awards (hosted by Steph Curry) can be found here.

—The U of L football kickoff luncheon is going down on Aug. 11.

—Louisville men’s soccer has named Sean Teepen as a new assistant coach.

—Seems weird.

—Five-Star edge Matayo Uiagalelei, another St. John Bosco star and the younger brother of Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei, is planning on taking a visit to Louisville later this month.

—Three U of L football commits are ranked in the top 100 of the updated 247 Sports rankings for the 2023 class.

—Pat Forde’s “desirability rankings,” which set out to rank out the conference realignment desirability of every power program, has Louisville all the way down at No. 55 tied with Central Florida.

—Pete Thamel says the key to the next steps in realignment for both the ACC and the Pac-12 lie with the ACC’s grant of rights.

If the Pac-12 schools are tempted, it would seemingly bring a bigger annual payout to the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest schools while trimming the fat that USC and UCLA wanted to escape. If those programs could come pro rata with the ACC, perhaps the extra ACC Network money from adding a flurry of big markets could create a pool of revenue that is distributed to the league’s top performers. More revenue that’s distributed unequally is the key for the ACC making sure the grant of rights doesn’t drive the league apart.

Unequal revenue has been an ongoing ACC discussion, and amid these tense times of grant of rights examination, common sense would dictate the opportunity for more revenue for the winning teams.

North Carolina’s run to the men’s basketball national title game last year will earn the ACC $8 million in NCAA units over the next few years. What if half of that went to the Tar Heels instead of being divided evenly? What about the $6 million per year from Clemson’s six straight College Football Playoff appearances? Do the Tigers still get an equal share with Duke?

Very early discussions are underway at the ACC about how that could look.

“I think it has to be part of an earned model, but some of it is going to be based on history and market,” one ACC source said. “You have to be pretty creative how you come up with the model.”

With the grant of rights weaving through every conversation, creativity and billable hours appear to be necessities in the near term.

—State of Louisville dives into why Louisville basketball’s guard depth remains a concern.

—Busting Brackets says Louisville had the worst offseason of any team in men’s college basketball.

1. Louisville Cardinals

New head coach Kenny Payne landed former five-star forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield as his first move with the Cardinals. It was a good start and turned out to be the final move to this point in the offseason. They were reportedly in the mix for transfers such as Tyrese Hunter and Emoni Bates but neither worked out.

At this point, Louisville has just one true guard on the roster in El Ellis. With hundreds of guards available in the portal, not landing a single one on scholarship is a big issue. It’s hard to envision Ellis playing 40 minutes a game so this program will have to scramble to field a rotation that makes sense, or else face a bottom-tier finish in the ACC next season.

—Pierce Clarkson is set to make another visit to Louisville later this month, and he’s “bringing some friends.”

—Jeff Walz scootin’ in Budapest is bound to make your Tuesday a little better.

—Eric Crawford has a great conversation with Caleb Chandler, who has been on the receiving end of a significant amount of hype heading into his final season as a Cardinal.

—Josh Minkins and Marshon Ford’s youth camp last weekend was a success.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show continues with more nonsense this afternoon from 3-6 on 1450/96.1. You can stream it here.