Author Archive: Charlie Springer
Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.
The theme song has evolved for the 2013-14 University of Louisville basketball team. The latest video, airing on Rick Pitino’s weekly coach’s show on WHAS-11, honors seniors Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Tim Henderson and Stephan Van Treese.
Russ Smith held the news media in the palm of his hand at Rick Pitino’s pre-UConn press conference Friday talking about his relationship with the coach, his time with the University of Louisville basketball team, his thoughts about the NBA and his personal motivations.
“Our relationship (with Rick Pitino) is truly special. His mean face and aggression are always on on the basketball court. But when you get to know him, he’s truly a fabulous, happy-go-lucky person. In between the lines, he’s really serious. I think we’ve done a great job of working out what we need to work out and focus on winning.
“A lot of my boys in high school are coming for senior night. They’ll tell you the way I was in high school and the way I am now. I actually apologized to them for the way I played in high school because I didn’t realize how much of a detriment I might have been to the growth of our high school team back then. I feel like I could have done a lot more things differently, even off the court. Just being able to recognize the way I played, the way I was as a teammate, the way I was as an immature person to now, I feel like I’ve made a lot of strides.
“I just want to be remembered for exactly what I’ve done here… in a class of my own for what I’ve done … If people could just say Russ was here, Russ went to a Final Four, he won a championship and a lot of other things I’ve done, I would be truly satisfied with that. I’ve been through a lot. Stuff I’ve been through a lot of things some people couldn’t go through. some would have lost their game along the way, lost their confidence. But the way I’ve kept my head up, the way I’ve always fought, nobody could have done that — not a freshman, not a sophomore, not an All-American, nobody could do that. It was on me.
“It says I’m tough and I have a mental capacity to get better at any cost. You tell me to play defense — that’s the reason I didn’t play my freshman year. You tell me to improve my efficiency, I raise my field goal percentage. You tell me I need to raise my assist to turnover ratio, I raise that, too. You tell me to need to shoot a better three ball, I’ll do that, too … Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do that. It’s just amazing that I’m shooting 47% from the field. I never would have believed I could have done that …
Pretty significant when the NCAA web singles out a program for an example of the way academic progress can be achieved.
The University of Louisville basketball team gets high praise in a post penned by NCAA staff writer Joe Menzer:
The men’s basketball team at Louisville produced a 3.47 combined grade-point average for the 2013 fall semester, the highest ever for the Cardinals and the highest of the school’s nine men’s sports programs. And this came on the heels of a 3.295 cumulative GPA for the team for the entire 2012-13 school year.
Louisville also ranks among the top-10 percent in Division I basketball in the Academic Progress Rate (APR), which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation rates for student-athletes.
Academic advisor Anthony Wright makes it his job to align each student-athlete with a mentor who undergoes a rigorous screening process before getting the job. Those mentors then work with the student-athletes, oftentimes with tutors in individual subjects, as well, during daily two-hour study halls to make certain no student-athlete falls behind in academics.
Give someone a camera and plenty of access at the University of Louisville and he will find lots of happy people for a six-minute video.
Watch for cameo appearances by Russ Smith, Shoni Schimmel, Antonita Slaughter, Tia Gibbs, even Mark Hebert, director of media relations. The one who steals the show, however, is President Jim Ramsey.
Among the serious candidates for the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball draft next June is Nick Burdi, a junior right handed pitcher in the University of Louisville bullpen. Used exclusively as a reliever, Burdi’s fast ball has been clocked at 103 miles per hour, and his change up has been timed at 90 mph.
Through four games this season, Burdi has a 1-0 won-lost record, having pitched six innings, striking out six batters, giving up one hit and two bases on balls, and no runs. His earned run average is 0.00. Last season, he recorded 16 saves and finished with an 0.76 ERA.
UofL begins a three-game series with Miami (O) Friday afternoon at 3, following a noon game on Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Draft beer and Pepsi products for $1 on Fridays.