Monday Morning Memos

Those Thinking NBA Already: Not gonna happen anytime soon, and won’t ever if you can’t fathom how teams are supposed to function. You know, the parts working together, not separately.

Sizzle Over Substance:
Yeah, you T-Will. A bounce pass beats one from behind the back sailing out of bounds. Dunks are great but not when you miss them; sometimes simple layups will do, especially when points are few and far between.

One Dimensional: Some of those offensive moves are incredible, Derrick. However, your movement on defense is just plain offensive.

Sulker: The act is getting old, Edgar. Remember how you played before you scored so many points against Texas A&M. Play quarterback again. Wasn’t that long ago.

Find the keys quickly, please.

Card Fan Gift Tip #2

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.

Reality Checks In Against Dayton

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.

Pitino Goes for No. 500

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.

Pitino The Pessimist

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.