A new attitude has to be permeating University of Louisville basketball practice sessions, now that the worship and adulation has been replaced by realism and disappointment. If the UofL basketball team were the stock market, a depression would have been declared.
The first clues that all was not well should have been picked up when Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa were not introduced as the starting guards. Smith apparently focused on something other than weight and basketball during the summer. Sosa had that familiar look of frustration and an inability to manage a dribble drive.
Based on Sunday’s performance, this team closely resembles last season’s team before David Padgett returned to the lineup. Samardo Samuels is playing, to be sure, but at least one opposing coach has figured out how to stop Padgett’s replacement. Other coaches will be applying the same measures to stop Samuels.
Padgett bequeathed his ability to manage the floor and find open shooters to Terrence Williams but T-will apparently left it on the bus.
Excluding Samuels with 36 minutes in the game, the other additions to the active roster accumulated only 11 minutes of playing time — Reginald Delk had five, Terrence Jennings had three, Jarod Swopshire had two, and George Goode had one.
Coach Rick Pitino’s apology is accepted. This team has to be reshaped and reinvented. The tools are available but he’s got a lot of work to do. David Padgett is not walking through that door.
A mere formality this trip to Nashville to play Western Kentucky. Handling the Hilltoppers not much to get worked up about on a wet and lazy Sunday afternoon. No reason to be too concerned as the Cards miss their first eight field goal attempts. Itâ€™s only Western Kentucky.
With the quote of the South Alabama coach about â€œmay be looking at the next national championsâ€ ringing in their ears all week long, the Cards were looking down the road but they were looking way past WKU.
Always a danger with young players is looking back at what has been accomplished in the past, combining it with lofty expectations, and expecting to win by simply going through the motions. Conveniently forgetting what it took to get to the Elite Eight last season, all the work it took to get there.
Complacency was reflected in the court demeanor of the players — the lack of emotion, the missing sense of urgency, the look-at-me-Iâ€™m-too-cool-to-get-excited feel about playing Western Kentucky attitudes were dominant until the final two minutes when the misplaced arrogance was finally replaced by desperation.
All the inflated confidence about depth, how really deep this team is, was exposed as a myth for the time being. Six of the players being counted on this season have three or less college games behind them. Remains to be seen whether any of them are ready for the big time, based on todayâ€™s result.
Unfortunate that it takes a loss to get the attention of not only the newcomers but the veterans as well. Rick Pitino will undoubtedly have their undivided attention this week.
Has it been forever since Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals played a basketball game or what?
The Cards take on Western Kentucky at 3 p.m. today in Nashville. Watch for the adrenalin to be flowing for the Hilltoppers, playing over their heads for a bit. Wait it out, get it out of their system, then overpower and embarrass them.
Believe it or not, WKU holds a 38-33 edge in the series. Hard to imagine, unacceptable.
The Hilltoppers’ last victory over a top five team came on November 15, 2001, 64-52 over #4 Kentucky in Rupp Arena.
Terrence Williams didnâ€™t play basketball until he was in middle school, learning the game in a Seattle neighborhood from future Portland Trailblazer star Brandon Roy. He talks about that and other things in a recent interview during the Big East get together in New York:
Feels Al Pacino would be the best actor to play him in a movie.
What impresses him the most about Coach Pitino is “he understands and teaches you. He’s the greatest man I’ve ever met.”
Wishes he was married.
Afraid of heights.
Chose to attend U of L because “Coach P is the best I’ve seen and was real from the start, plus Louisville is the best city since Seattle.”
Chose his No. 1 uniform number because “the ones before me were just No. 1; I want to be the ONE.”
If you walked into his dorm room, the first thing you would notice is his 130 shoe boxes.
Would most like to meet his father.
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The Lady Cards basketball team will face Utah tonight in a 9:30 p.m. tip-off in Salt Lake City. Sonja will provide commentary after the contest (if she can stay awake). The game will be on WKRD, with Jim Kelch and Adrienne Johnson calling the action.