Big Week For David Padgett

Congratulations are in order for former University of Louisville center David Padgett who achieved a couple of milestones over the last couple of weeks. First and foremost, he tied the knot with Meghan Carmicle, the love of his life, during wedding ceremonies Saturday at Sarasota, Fla. They are on their honeymoon this week. She’s also the daughter of Ron Carmicle, a close friend, associate and supporter of Rick Pitino. Secondly, Padgett was named assistant strength coach for the U of L basketball team, hopefully the first step in a long and successful career in coaching.

David Padgett Plugs Away In NBA Summer League

David Padgett refused to quit when he was playing basketball at the University of Louisville, even when he was diagnosed with a serious knee injury in the first game of his senior season. This coming on top of surgical procedures for injuries that had plagued him in previous years.

After consulting with physicians, coach Rick Pitino believed the most recent injury to be beyond serious, telling fans the injury constituted a fatal blow to Padgett’s basketball career.

“I remember the play to this day. I probably will forever. At the time I didn’t think it was that bad,” Padgett told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “When Coach (Rick) Pitino initially told me I’d fractured my kneecap and was probably done for the season, it was like a truck had run over me. It caught me so off guard. That was a pretty devastating blow because it was my last year.”

Padgett not only recovered from the injury but went on to become the anchor of a Louisville Cardinals’ team that went 27-9 and to the Elite Eight. He was the point center, the creator, the player who made the offense work.

He never made it to the NBA last year, getting cut by the Miami Heat just before training camp ended. After a year in Europe, he’s back competing for a spot on the Portland Trailblazers in the NBA Summer League. He averaged 4.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in about eight minutes of play in three summer league games.

Wouldn’t surprise many Padgett fans if he wound up making it.

The Missing-David Padgett Syndrome

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has to be permeating University of Louisville basketball practice sessions, now that the worship and adulation has been replaced by realism and disappointment.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.

No Trophy Today, Maybe Later

Georgetown won, and the Hoyas are to be congratulated. Not the final chapter in this saga, however. Louisville wins the best two out of three if both teams are still around this time next week.

U of L showed in this loss that it can take a punch, dig deep, come back clawing and scratching. You make a mistake, relax or nodd off, the Cards will make you pay. Still, Georgetown managed to hang on for a win, an unconvincing win, but a win nevertheless.

Can’t win ’em all. At least one loss is inevitable for every team but one from here on out. This loss may have come at the best possible time. Undivided attention for the great motivator.

David Padgett, Terrence Williams, Jerry Smith and company will put this one behind them, learn from the experience. They’ve had a taste of winning, and will come out hungry.

Hundreds of practice free throws must come first. Emphasize it, put blindfolds on them if you have to, until they can hit them with their eyes closed. No excuse for people who spend 85 percent of their waking hours on a basketball court to continue missing so many free shots.

Jerry Smith, missing all seven three-point shots and hitting one of two free throws, getting a terrible shooting game out of his system, proving he’s not perfect. Smith will pump those fists again this season, count on it.

The four turnovers by Earl Clark costly, but making up for them with 10 rebounds. The lazy pass by Edgar Sosa more costly. Clark’s continuing miscues must be corrected, usually unforced, no rhyme or reason for them. Every possession too valuable at this juncture.

Terrence Williams with 14 points, five rebounds, three assists, the best player on the floor. Bottled up by the Hoyas, no opportunities, not even close, for even one of his thunder dunks today, you know, the kind that demoralize, spell doom for the opposition.

David Padgett, zero rebounds. That’s the last time that will happen.

The Cards still have a blowout win in their system, long overdue, somebody will pay soon, hopefully Seton Hall, most deserving.

Madison Square Garden, neutral court, straight ahead.

Work In Progress

A lot of good things happened in U of L’s 80-60 win over South Florida, pushing the Cards’ record to 14-5 overall and 4-2 in Big East conference play. Among them:

– Terrence Williams handing out 10 assists in the first half. Has U of L ever had a more unselfish player as physically talented as Williams?

– Earl Clark hitting eight of 12 shots for 18 and eight rebounds. Probably more motivated as a reserve than as a starter.

– Defense holding the Bulls to 40 percent shooting, 22 of 55 shots from the field, 5 of 16 from three-point range. The carnival shooters from Seton Hall relegated to ugly memories.

— Jerry Smith, consistently good, never shot happy even though he’s the team’s best shooter, serious about defense.

But there continue to be some troubling issues:

– Team relaxing, letting up when it gets a good lead, lacking a killer instinct, allowing South Florida to get back to within 14 points in the second half.

– Edgar Sosa forgetting his role as play maker, getting lost in traffic, killing momentum. Everybody loves the guy but if this continues, Edgar is going to keep losing playing time. Rick Pitino may even forget to put Sosa in for a couple of games.

– David Padgett missing layup after layup. Obviously, still recovering.

– Derrick Caracter going backwards these days, rarely contributing in the last two games.