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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Go Cards. Beat Kentucky.

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—It’s Battle of the Bluegrass night, as the Louisville baseball team will look to snap out of its recent funk with a win in Lexington. The Cards have won 13 of the last 16 games in the series.

—Former All-ACC DB Cam’Ron Kelly is transferring to Louisville. Kelly spent the past three seasons at North Carolina. He then transferred to Virginia before re-entering the transfer portal after going through spring practice with the Cavaliers.

—Could Penn State transfer Storm Duck (STORM DUCK!) be next?

—Some Spring Game highlights from the ACCDN:

—In addition to James Turner, WR Chance Morrow and TE Dez Melton have also entered the transfer portal.

—UMass transfer RJ Luis visiting St. John’s this week would seem to indicate that his visit to U of L last week will not result in a commitment for the Cardinals.

—Further evidence is that Kenny Payne has now reached out to USC freshman transfer Tre White, yet another 6’7 guard.

—UNLY transfer Keyshawn Hall, a player Louisville had at least preliminary contact with, has committed to George Mason.

—Jim Larranaga wants transparency for NIL deals.

Miami coach Jim Larrañaga, whose program (to his great annoyance) became something of a poster child for eye-bulging NIL deals last season, wants the NCAA to figure out a way to fix that.

“When money is involved, there should be transparency,” he told The Athletic. “You can go online and look up what everybody in the NBA is being paid. At public universities, you can find out what everybody (employed by the school) is making. If that was the policy in NIL, you wouldn’t have all these inflated, ‘This is what this guy is making.’ It’s just not right. I think kids are misled so much that they think, oh, I’m going to get a million dollars from this school. And it’s nowhere near that. I don’t know anybody getting that. I read about it, but does that mean it’s correct? I don’t think so.”

One SEC head coach, who requested anonymity so as not to jeopardize recruiting relationships, said he recently met with a recruit who believed another athlete at his school had made seven figures in NIL compensation.

“Not even close,” the coach said. “Those NIL valuation tools and reports that are out there are a complete joke — and they do more harm than good. Nobody knows what is real in NIL.”

Inflated expectations have led to an epidemic of top transfers (or their reps) starting the bidding at a quarter of a million dollars, multiple coaches told us, which is at once maddening and instructive. For programs not interested in getting caught up in a high-stakes auction, they’d prefer to know that ask up front.

“You’d rather it be that way,” even if it’s off-putting, the SEC coach said. “Imagine hosting a kid, taking the time and resources to set up a visit, show the kid around, make your pitch, sit and watch film with the kid, talk to the family about how you’d use him, and then at the end they go, ‘That’s all nice, but it’s going to take $300,000.’”

—The “Dirty River Derby” returns tomorrow night in Cincinnati.

—The latest episode of the Ville Since ‘86 podcast is here.

—WalletHub has some Kentucky Derby facts and figures for 2023.

—We have our first pregame speech video of the Jeff Brohm era.

—There is suddenly a ton of buzz surrounding Kentucky QB Will Levis potentially being the No. 1 pick at this week’s NFL draft.

—Rivals is posting its final top 100 rankings for the boys basketball class of 2023 this week. They revealed their top 20 today, and Cardinal signee Dennis Evans is No. 13.

13. Dennis Evans (Louisville)

Cassidy’s Take: Dennis Evans, who is headed to Louisville, is one of the premier rim protectors in the country. His offensive game is still developing. The 7-foot-1 center moves fluidly, however, and has the athleticism and tools to become a dominant force on the college level.

Cardinal target Mackenzie Mgbako is No. 8.

—Speaking of Mgbako, Rutgers is the latest school to get involved with the former Duke signee.

—Louisville softball’s Taylor Roby is the ACC Co-Player of the Week.

—Famed Florida boarding school IMG Academy has been sold for $1.25 BILLION.

—When Papa Siva is hurting, we’re all hurting.

—Jimmy Williams is the latest high school football prospect to commit to the Cardinals’ 2024 class, which now includes five players.

—On the heels of the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever, NCAA president Charlie Baker said Monday that he expects decisions regarding the future of the women’s tournament to be made by the end of December.

—Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Sweeney ranks the 20 best men’s basketball players still in the transfer portal. Cardinal target Tre White is No. 5.

5. Tre White (USC)

A relatively recent portal addition, White was a highly regarded recruit and a member of the Pac-12 All-Freshman team after averaging nine points and five rebounds per contest for the Trojans this season. He fits into the versatile wing/forward mold that is so heavily desired by coaches, and getting him for up to three seasons also increases his value to potential suitors. If White improves as a three-point shooter, he has star potential.

—Good story here on how Secretariat changed Ron Turcotte’s life.

—A really good film review of the spring game starts here.

—No conference has been more incestuous in the transfer portal than the ACC.

—Could not be more back.

—The SEC is upping its penalties for programs whose fans storm the field after big wins.

—Former Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei called the Tigers’ offensive scheme “very basic.”

—Louisville football is No. 30 in Brandon Marcello’s post-spring top 30 rankings for 247 Sports.

30. Louisville

The prodigal son returns, and I’m expecting Louisville to improve overnight. Jeff Brohm returns to his alma mater as head coach and reunites with Jack Plummer, one of his former quarterbacks at Purdue. Plummer was overlooked at Cal last season but he kept the Bears afloat despite a talent gap. He spent four years at Purdue playing for Brohm, whose offense is one of the more exciting in the sport. “I know the system like the back of my hand, but not it’s just new faces,” Plummer said after the spring game. I like the receivers on the roster, notably the addition of Georgia State’s Jamari Thrash. The Cardinals will score points.

What we learned in the spring: Louisville’s defense is still the strength of the team. The Cardinals had 16 tackles for loss and three sacks in the spring game while limiting the offense to negative yardage on the first two plays of the scrimmage.

—Emoni Bates, the talk of Louisville during the summer of 2022, has declared for the NBA Draft.

—Louisville Report has an NFL draft profile of Malik Cunningham.

—Hoops Insight takes a deep dive into Kenny Payne’s roster restructuring for 2023-24.

What else does Louisville need?

I feel like I’m in a time loop, but they need guards. Lead ballhandlers and playmakers who can bend the defense and create advantages for other players to attack. Players who are more likely to have something good happen when they attempt a pass.

At this point I don’t know where Louisville would get guards of high enough quality to make a difference next season, honestly. RJ Luis seems like a talented wing, but he’s not an alpha playmaker in my opinion. A wing rotation of Flowers, James, and Luis would be a very solid scoring group, but if Clark is the only guard with them then it feels like UofL would be hoping for someone to make a play.

There’s not much in the transfer portal right now. Per, there are 22 players who played 60% of their team’s minutes last season and have an assist rate above 20%. Maybe Noah Thomasson or Taran Armstrong could be solid for UofL, but those players are way down the road in their transfer journey and taking visits elsewhere.

Louisville could land Mackenzie Mgbako, a top 10 recruit who decommitted from Duke. He’s a good shooter and rebounder as a big, but he’s not a lead playmaker for an ACC team. The Cards need a portal miracle where an established PG hits the market and the Cards pounce.

I expect Louisville’s defense to be much improved from last season, but there’s a lot of room between 321st and “ACC good”. Evans is a home run to address the interior defense, and the Cards probably have enough pieces to be solid elsewhere on that end. The offense is my biggest concern, and I fear that the turnover issues won’t get a whole lot better. Without an advantage creator on the ball or a scheme in which the roster is experienced, I don’t see a ton of great shots being created. Maybe I’m way off, but it doesn’t feel like the talent upgrade is enough to get the results that are needed next season.

—Tom Pelissero of ranks Malik Cunningham as the 15th-best QB in this year’s draft and sees him going either in the 7th round or undrafted.

— For the first time since 1968 clocks will no longer stop on first down in NCAA games.

—After a review of the bowl system this spring, college leaders say there are no plans to add any new bowl games while also keeping the eligibility standard of a 6–6 record.

—Angel McCoughtry shares her thoughts on Hailey Van Lith potentially chasing a ring and joining up with Kim Mulkey at LSU.

—Billy Preston, a former Kansas men’s basketball player, has alleged that the Jayhawks staff knew about payments made by Adidas to his mother.

—In 24 games with the Pacers, Jordan Nwora averaged 13 PPG on 47.6% shooting , 4.7 RPG and 2.1 APG per game – all career bests.

—Louisville is No. 7 in the final men’s basketball team recruiting rankings from ESPN for the 2023 class.

—And finally, beat Kentucky.