Just over two weeks until Christmas, stop the procrastinating. A sure way make a statement and make Card fans in the family happy is to get them University of Louisville state license plates. The plates are available at any Jefferson County Clerk office. Takes only minutes if you go early in the month, like now. The initial cost is $56, and $10 of that goes to U of L’s general scholarship fund.
Now we know why Rick Pitino looked so concerned before the game, probably saw it coming.
Reality checked in for real against Dayton, making it dawn on fans that this is not the U of L team they were expecting to see this year. Should have known challenging times were back when the Cards struggled to get points against Miami.
You can only rationalize the losses of David Padgett, Juan Palacios, George Goode and Clarence Holloway for so long. The Ville is Thinville again, relying heavily on four sophomores, one flashy but erratic junior, one hardworking freshman, and a scrappy senior who plays good defense but can’t hit either field goals or free throws.
My how the outlook has changed since the first game against Hartford, the Cards tossing in 22 three-pointers in that one. Won’t be long before the detractors emerge again. They haven’t had much time to recuperate since football, you know.
All is not lost, however. It’s obvious that U of L has significant talent on this team. Equally obvious is that some people are not playing up to their potential. Derrick Caracter comes to mind, shrugging his shoulders when he doesn’t get the ball, fouling instead of playing defense.
Pitino, ever the master motivator, knows he has his work cut out for him this season. All that early fan chatter about a final four was premature.
Seems like yesterday local TV news helicopters were tracking Rick Pitino from the Clark County Airport in Southern Indiana on his way to becoming the University of Louisville basketball coach. The surprising hire by Tom Jurich would create joy in Louisville, but sadness, even anger, elsewhere in the state.
Since becoming U of L coach in 2001, Pitino has compiled a 154-59 record, including four NCAA tournament appearances, among them one trip to the Final Four. He has embraced the university in many ways, including support for a dorm to honor the memory of his friend Billy Minardi. The coach has said often that he plans to retire here.
Pitino now has an overall 499-183 won-loss record. Now he is eyeing his 500 victory, another significant milestone in a remarkable career. The coach may briefly acknowledge No. 500 but he will move on quickly. Pitino continues to set new goals for himself and the people who surround him, and his goals are very high for the U of L basketball program.
Good thing Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino never became a doctor; he’s not very good at analyzing injuries. He would have been better as a psychiatrist because he likes to mess with people’s heads. He is wrong so often on diagnosing injuries that he has to be doing it for motivational purposes.
Shortly after Palacios was injured, Pitino proclaimed that he was thinking seriously about red shirting the 6-foot-8, 250-pound senior. He reminded fans that Juan is a slow healer and has had almost every possible injury in his college career.
Surprise. The latest word is that Palacios showed up for practice Thursday, moving around for about 35 minutes. No heavy duty action. Primarily shooting around. Must be getting better. You think?
Fans were somewhat concerned when David Padgett collided with another player in the Jackson State game. Pitino first said it was a minor injury, and fans breathed a collective sigh of relief. Then less than 24 hours later, Pitino shocked the Cardinal world with the pronouncement that Padgett had busted his knee cap and that his career was most likely finished.
Now we hear from David that he has always healed quickly, and that he expects to be ready by January — despite Pitino’s public pronouncements to the contrary. Padgett is confident, Pitino is doubtful.
The only thing certain is that David Padgett intends to return. Fans can only hope that Dr. Pitino is wrong again.
Francisco Garcia: Has started in six of 17 games for the Sacramento Kings, averaging 12.7 points, 3.5 rebounds. and 26.1 minutes per game, with a shooting percentage of 47.4% from the field. The Kings are in fourth place in the Pacific Divison of the NBA Western Conference with a 7-10 won-loss record.
Jerry Eaves: Coaching North Carolina A&T to a 4-4 record after pulling a shocking 96-91 win over DePaul on the Blue Devils’ home court in Chicago. His team has lost to the likes of Pittsburgh, Tennessee and St. Louis while preparing for Mid-East Athletic Conference competition.
Wiley Brown: Coaching Indiana University-Southeast team to a 4-4 record, most recently losing a 96-91 double overtime game to Brescia University of Owensboro on Tuesday.
Kevin Willard: His Iona College team ended a 29-game losing streak that extended over two seasons when the Gaels defeated Delaware 57-52 last Friday, improving their record to 1-7 on the season. The Gaels were 1-29 last year.
Scott Davenport: His Bellarmine University team nearly cracked the National Association of Basketball Coaches Top 25 poll this week. The Knights, with a 6-1 record, were 27th in the voting.