This image of the 2014 football slate on the video board during the spring game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium provides a reminder that the University of Louisville will be challenged by the best schedule in the school’s history next fall. Cardinal Athletic Fund donations are due by May 1, and the bill for season tickets is due June 2nd. UofL officially joins the Atlantic Coast Conference July 1st.
There’s that magic tough again, the Tom Jurich Wow! factor.
The University of Louisville and Adidas have agreed to a five-year deal valued at almost $40 million over five years that places UofL among the top five athletic departments nationally in footwear and apparel rights among all brands.
“No, there was not,” he said during a Thursday press conference. “I wanted to make sure Adidas had the first shot because they were the incumbent. They’ve done a marvelous job for us in the past and we know we can grow together and get better in the future.
“We had a number in mind where we wanted to be. We’ve earned that right, and fortunately they agreed with us. We were able to settle on a number that was extremely generous and allows us to grow as a department.”
The UofL football team will be outfitted with five different Adidas uniforms, with dozens of varying combinations. Men’s and women’s basketball teams will continue to have three to four different uniforms, as well as special post-season attire.
“Their brand is at an all-time high,” said Bobby Petrino, UofL football coach. “It’s definitely going to help us in recruiting.”
Adidas will also make extensive investments in the athletic program, including equipment room expansion, advertising campaigns, digital and video technology, spirit squad support, and a scholarship program for at least 20 students work with athletic department leaders. They also have co-branding opportunities nationally and in UofL facilities, including TaylorMade equipment for the UofL Golf Club.
Fans will reap some benefits as well, including shirts for student season ticket holders and ACC inaugural year fan giveaways.
Adidas is the official apparel provider for the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer, and 120 collegiate programs, including Michigan, Texas A&M, UCLA, Indiana, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Tennessee.
Such good people, Asia Taylor, Antonita Slaughter and Shoni Schimmel, deserving of being drafted into the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Shoni, of course, was drafted eighth by the Atlanta Dream, joining former Angel McCoughtry, a former University of Louisville All-American. Antonita was drafted 35th by the Los Angeles Sparks, while Asia was selected 36th by the Minnesota Lynx.
When last seen, they were headed to the strength room, preparing for the next level. Louisville was the only team to have three players picked during the draft this year. Take that UConn.
Forgive University of Louisville basketball fans if they seem to be more than a little giddy today.
Montrezl Harrell isn’t going anywhere, at least not for another year.
The player UofL could least afford to lose, the one who took giant leaps during his sophomore year, the one who could be a dominant force in college basketball next season. The one who lights up the arena, raises the roof, makes his fans go crazy, yeah that one.
The one who set the all-time season record for dunks will be back, monstrous dunks so many of them. So much enthusiasm, such a leader, such an inspiration, so much fun to watch.
“I love the feeling of being a Louisville Cardinal,” Harrell tweeted Monday afternoon. “And I will be wearing this (a Cardinal uniform) for next year.”
Harrell averaged 14.0 points and 8.4 rebounds this season while helping the Cardinals reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Not going to put his name in the NBA draft, get lost in the hinterlands, a foot note in UofL basketball lore. He’s coming back, bringing that special fire of his.
Taking his game to the next level at the University of Louisville.
Rick Pitino is determined to bring out the best in Wayne Blackshear, declaring that the sole returning senior will be the captain of the 2014-15 University of Louisville basketball team.
That’s Pitino doing his motivational thing again, taking extraordinary measures to get into a young man’s head, adding the burden of leadership to a role player, calculating that Blackshear will respond in a positive way, and live up to the expectations that eluded him during his first three seasons.
Reminiscent of his declaring Larry O’Bannon a team captain going into his senior year. The following season he would become one of the go-to shooters, improving his field goal percentage from 38% to 49% and his scoring from 10.3 to 15.2 points per game. He was a pivotal player on UofL’s surprising Final Four team that year.
Pitino called Blackshear out during his post-season press conference, saying Blackshear was the only player in the past four years who hasn’t had substantial improvement.
“If you ask me to rate him as a person on a 10-point scale, I’d give him an 11,” he said. “But I told Wayne that you reap what you sow in this game. He’ll show up for practice and he’ll give me 100%.
“I told him, son, that’s not what you do here. The Luke Hancocks, the Russ Smiths, the Gorgui Diengs, they get in early, they stay late, they come in after, they come in at night time, and you’re not doing that. We have to turn over a whole new leaf. From this point on, I want you to text me every single day what you put into each day.
“For his own sake, he has to wake up and understand that the world will pass him by if he doesn’t live in that gym. He’a a great kid and he deserves a great senior year … I’m hoping Wayne has the same kind of senior year that Larry O’Bannon had.”
A game day feel to this year’s University of Louisville football spring game, the Green Lot already two-thirds full two hours before kickoff, many fans more than ready to tailgate again, hyped up, eager to experience Bobby Petrino-style football again.
An estimated 27,500 of them showing up at Papa John’s Cardinals stadium expecting an explosive offensive display and they wouldn’t be disappointed. Too many to count wearing T-shirts proclaiming, “Bobby is Back!” Just couldn’t wait for the fireworks to begin.
They weren’t alone, with many former UofL football players returning for the game, proclaiming how exciting they were about the return of an offensive genius at the helm. Among them Doug Beaumont, a Petrino recruit, who had to wait until his senior season to score a touchdown.
They wouldn’t have to wait long, quarterback Will Gardner connecting with wide receiver James Quick on a 62-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage. Also answering a couple of questions about a couple of players who saw limited action last season.
Yes, Gardner can pass and, oh my, Quick looked as good as he looked in high school. Gardner completed 32 of 37 pass attempts for 542 yards and four touchdowns. Quick would make five catches, good for 152 yards.
Any questions about Michael Dyer were answered, too. The second year transfer with the Clydesdale thighs from Auburn is going to be a work horse in the Petrino system. Petrino liked him so much he used him on both teams, Dyer rushing for 99 yards and two touchdowns in 10 carries for the Red team, and 51 yards on four carries and still another touchdown for the Red team. He was also good for 25 yards on a pass.
L. J. Scott, an impressive freshman running back who never stops churning, saw action on both the starting and second teams, rushing for a total of 128 yards in 19 carries and a touchdown. He may be a backup but he’s going to see a lot of action in Petrino’s high-scoring offense.
Dominique Brown, who has nothing to prove to Petrino or anybody else, was used sparingly, with 31 yards in six carries and a touchdown. Petrino know what he has in Dominique, wanting to see more of Dyer and Scott, we suspect.
DeVanta Parker picking up where he left off, with 10 receptions for 109 yards. Eli Rogers with six catches for 109 yards. But Gerald Christian with eight receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Plenty of targets to go around for Will Gardner.
The grind-it-out, run-out-the-clock, protect-the-lead, wake-me-when-it’s-over approach of the past four seasons has departed for Texas. The scoreboard is going to get a workout in 2015.