Homecoming for two former U of L players

Difficult to get excited about playing a school with the initials IUPUI, a team always having to go the extra mile to earn any respect.

We have a feeling the program will penciled in on future pre-conference games, with two former University of Louisville basketball players Todd Howard and David Padgett, serving as head coach and assistant coach, respectively. They brought with them lots of memories from two different eras, mostly good, but one oldtimers around in 1975 are still trying to forget.

Padgett knew the opponent well enough that IUPUI was able to stay within five points at the intermission, despite having three seniors benched for most of the first half. That, plus some good three point shooting, keeping things respectable for the first 25 minutes.

Other observations:

  • Gorgui Dieng is getting the hang of backing in on his defender, practically conducting an offensive clinic. Eight of eight field goal attempts, 12 rebounds equally divided on the offensive and defensive sides. Playing with confidence, no funny looking shots this night. Early season games are about development, and he’s taking advantage. Dieng knows he still has much to learn, and he’s committed.
  • Russ Smith is mostly about shooting, but he’s may be the quickest guard Louisville has had in a couple of decades. He brings enthusiasm every time he steps on the floor. He’s becoming a better defender every time out, and he should with an assistant coach like Andre McGee around to counsel him.
  • Rakeem Buckles is obviously going to need a little while to get back to the speedy, bouncy, speedy, mix-it-up stimulant we saw during his freshman season. Needs to happen before Big East play begins.
  • Speaking of recovering, Peyton Siva needs to find his shooting eye again, falling short on the long range shots and even those impossible layups in this game. He doesn’t seem to be able shift gears like he did before his injuries.
  • Angel Nunez sitting patiently on the bench until he gets the call, making three of smoothest looks we’ve seen this season. Nice to have the luxury of that kind of talent in the wings.
  • Chris Smith quietly leading all scorers with 19 points, recovering from a sub-par performance against Vanderbilt.
  • Kyle Kuric is at his best when he’s up against great competition, not getting excited about IUPUI, but still making five of eight shots, a master at finishing the fast break.

The team is still undefeated after eight games, with one more lightweight to come. One should enjoy the carefree atmosphere while one can.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

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