Kelsi Worrell, winner of two NCAA championships for the University of Louisville in the 100- and 200-meter butterfly swimming competition two weeks ago, prepares to throw out the opening pitch for the University of Louisville vs. Kentucky baseball game Wednesday at Jim Patterson Stadium. She threw a fast ball for a strike but the game was postponed due to another April deluge and may be rescheduled.
The University of Louisville opens the 2014-15 basketball season in just over a week but Rick Pitino is saying he doesn’t have a good handle on his team.
A curious revelation coming an individual who micromanages every aspect of his program. Maybe this is Pitino’s way of telling fans not to expect much from this season’s edition, at least early on.
His team showed some visible signs of weakness during two intrasquad scrimmages and in the first exhibition game against Barry University. Shortcomings in rebounding, three-point and free-throw shooting to name a few, and the Cardinals could get off to a slow start.
Pitino has said some of the newer players aren’t quite up to speed on University of Louisville basketball, playing hard but not yet comprehending or prepared for the challenges they will face this season.
The news that Shaqquan Aaron, one of the better-shooting newcomers, is restrained by an NCAA issue further muddles the outlook. Aaron was practicing with the team over the summer, indicating that he had been cleared academically.
* * *
Roger Williams, who has served as the pitching coach for the Uofl baseball team since 2007, has been promoted to Associate Head Coach, A good personnel move by Coach Dan McDonnell who lost Chris Lemonis during the off season to assume the head job at Indiana University, taking Kyle Cheesebrough one of the leading recruiters with him.
Which raises the question of whether Williams may have turned down an offer to IU as well. He has been pitching coach at UofL since the 2007 season, with 20 of his pitchers selected in the Major League Baseball draft during that span.
He served as an assistant at Georgia during its 2006 College World Series season and worked 11 seasons as an assistant at North Carolina. A two-time All-ACC performer as a pitcher in 1984 and 1985 at the University of North Carolina, Williams ranks seventh in career wins with the Tar Heels with 24. He tied an ACC single-game record with 19 strikeouts against Duke in 1985.
* * *
The UofL soccer team was awarded the sixth seed in the ACC soccer tournament, which begins Wednesday at Greensboro, N.C. The Cardinals line up against No. 3 seed North Carolina on Sunday at 1 p.m. Notre Dame and Syracuse are seeded first and second, respectively. A disappointing season thus far for the Cards with an 8-6-3 record.
Who better to remind the world that the University of Louisville is headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference than the daughter of Gary and Karen Lawrence, long-time UofL fans and familiar faces at football, basketball and baseball games.
Tell ’em, Jennifer:
Not that we were quite ready for it to be over, but another year in the books.
Baseball in the College World Series, men’s and woman’s basketball to Elite Eights, football to the Russel Athletic Bowl, soccer to second round of the NCAA tournament, the lacrosse team to the NCAA for the first time, softball returning, and numerous team and individual honors in the track and field, swimming and tennis programs.
The UofL brand continuing to flourish, improving on the past, anticipating the future, commanding respect, reaping the benefits of the school’s commitment to excellence on every front. The coaches always on the recruiting trails, near and far, taking advantage of the improving national perception to compete at even higher levels in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Completion of the new soccer stadium is anticipated in late August. Tom Jurich is hinting of another expansion of Jim Pattererson Stadium, and the results of the feasibility study for expanding Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium will be on his desk soon. Fundraising for the new academic center continues, and Jurich also hinted during the past year that UofL could add still another sport. He’s not about to let up anytime soon.
Fans, on the other hand, getting a break from the intensity levels during the summer months . The constant edge-of-your-seat grind, with all the ups and downs, from September through early June takes an emotional toll. What would they be like without the annual three-month hiatus? A little time to get away from sports, pursue other individual and family interests. Forgetting about it for a while, at least getting away from the competition.
Kinda nice, actually, not having to worry about the next game for a while. September will be here soon enough.
* * *
Rick Pitino, ever the promoter, was on the Terry Meiners Show on WHAS radio the other day, providing an update on UofL basketball.
Take a while, absorb the fact that the both University of Louisville basketball teams are out of the NCAA tournaments.
Yes, UofL fans are on the outside looking in at Final Four time, as are 600-plus other schools. At the end of the season, only two teams go home without a loss. It’s a bummer but that’s life, with all its ups and downs.
But 2013-14 has been a great year as well, the men finishing with a 31-6 won-lost record, the women with a 34-5 mark, with both teams ranked among the nation’s top 10 programs. All those wins, so many great moments.
Going to miss players like Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Shoni Schimmel, Antonita Slaughter, Stephan Van Treese, Asia Taylor, Tim Henderson and Tia Gibbs, people who were great ambassadors for UofL sports, on and off the court. They enriched our lives as they pursued their dreams and, hopefully, they are equally successful in all of their future endeavors.