clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Summer Cardinal Hoops in the Hall

Allow me to repeat the celebratory shoutout again.

Cardinal Hoops — of sorts — in the Hall in July.


The Ville in The Ville. Ring them bells.

Bring in Poncho Wright to toss up the opening tip. (If you’re too young to get the reference, ask your aunt who wears Cardinal gear every day during her walks.)

This year’s entry in The Basketball Tournament from our town/ our school features four ballers from the ‘13 once and forever national champs. Peyton Siva, Russ Smith, Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear.

In addition to outsiders, former Bellarmine Knight Chris Dowe, EKU Colonel/ Maroon Nick Mayo, and William & Mary Tribesman Omar Prewitt, there’s former Cardinal walkon Dillon Avare.

Plus a couple other former Cards, perhaps not quite as memorable as the foursome from the crownwearers.

Chinanu Onuaku balled for U of L between ‘14 and ‘16, before leaving and becoming 37th pick in NBA draft by the Houston Rockets, where he played a couple years, before fashioning a career in various and sundry foreign climes. He’s been all league in Korea, Croatia and Israel, where he was title tilt MVP in ‘22.

He was All ACC D when toiling for the Cards. He averaged 9.9/ 8.5 that same sophomore campaign. With 11 double doubles.

Wasn’t he the Cardinal with enough self esteem to shoot his FTs Rick Barry Style underhanded, despite the somewhat derisive chuckles he get from fans in stands?

If that was another Card big, I’m sure several readers will be most quick in advising me otherwise. (I’ve long accepted my memory lapses and don’t mind corrections.)

The other Cardinal on the TBT team roster is Rakeem Buckles.

Of whom I remembered, to be honest, nothing. Other than his was a disappointing stint here before moving on.

So I called my pal Gym Eyes, and asked what he recalled? He also drew a blank . . .

. . . but at that very moment serendipitously at that very moment happened to be chatting with Mark Lieberman, the former U of L assistant who is HC for The Ville. He happened to be Buckles’ HS coach in Miami, when the player was named Florida’s 4A POY.

So, GE put the HC ML on the line.

Lieberman reminded me of Buckles’ extensive injury issues while at U of L. A spiral fracture, then not one but two torn ACLs. So that’s why it’s easy to forget his highlights, like a triple double against Western Ky.

After recovering he moved on to Florida International, then to an international career.

Buckles, like Onuaku, is currently playing in Israel.

Which presents this quandary for yours truly. Do I track down my red Cardinal festooned yarmulke to wear to The Ville’s games?

Anyway, I’m advised the fellows have been in the gym, working out, and doing actual team drills to fashion a legit outfit. Not simply shirts and skins pick up games.

The Ville’s opening game against War Ready (mostly Auburn alums) is Tuesday 7/25 at 7:00 PM.

In World Famous Freedom Hall, home of hundreds of U of L magic moments, victories and two natty winning outfits in ‘80 and ‘86.

If The Ville prevails, they’ll play 7/27 at 8:00 PM. Win that, and they play7/29 at noon. The Louisville TBT Regional Final is set for Freedom Hall on Monday 7/31 at 9:00 PM.

Be there, or be square.

— c d kaplan