Catching up with Edgar Sosa

Edgar Sosa is still earning his livelihood from basketball, traveling the world, working for his next basket and paycheck.Edgar Sosa

Last we heard, he had signed a contract with the Blancos De Rueda Valladolid team in Spain, having recovered from a horrific leg injury in 2011 .

This summer Sosa will competing in Philadelphia for the International All Stars June 6-8, hoping for a shot at $500,000 for the team that emerges from a 32-team field in The Basketball Tournament.

The first four rounds will be in Philadelphia. The championship game will be played June 28 at a site to be determined via social media votes.

Edgar Sosa challenges the observer's grandson, Koby Springer, during a Rick Pitino summer camp in 2006.
Edgar Sosa challenges the observer’s grandson, Koby Springer, during a Rick Pitino summer camp in 2006.

Edgar Sosa goes down hard

Tough Labor Day for Edgar Sosa.

The former point guard for the University of Louisville basketball team suffered a broken knee while playing for the Dominican Republic national team against Panama.

Sportsgrid.com: The injury horrified players, fans, and commentators alike, rendering the arena silent save for Sosa’s disturbing screams. Watch the video at your own risk, especially the last 15 seconds, where the injury is replayed and showed in closeup. You can hear the reaction of broadcasters as the closeup is replayed — you’ll probably react in a similar manner.

Link to video here.

John Calipari pokes U of L and Pitino again

Two recent favorites of University of Louisville basketball fans will be playing in the KFC Yum! Center if ticket sales are brisk enough for a game between the Dominican Republic national team and an outfit that calls itself the Kentucky Legends.

The Legends, of course, were assembled by John Calipari who, in still another effort to one-up Rick Pitino and U of L fans, wants to have something resembling a home game atmosphere on the Cards’ home court. The game is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 16th.

But Calipari is not content with that, suggesting that Denny Crum, U of L’s former Hall of Fame coach, may be asked to coach the UK Legends and against a national team that includes two former Louisville players in Francisco Garcia and Edgar Sosa. Crum is said to be receptive to the offer.

We’re happy to welcome Garcia and Sosa back. However, the notion of a bunch of “UK legends” playing an exhibition game at the Yum! Center is more than a little grating. The contract with the Yum! Center forbids UK from playing a regular season game there without U of L’s approval. A clear case of Calipari again circumventing the rules to get what he wants.

Denny Crum agreeing to coach a team of former UK players is reminiscent of Rick Pitino’s decision to become head coach at U of L. Maybe Denny’s been away from the game so long he misses the spotlight. Maybe he no longer cares what fans think. More than once during his career he suggested than fans should mind their own business. Or maybe he thinks it’s just an exhibition game and nobody really cares.

Whatever. Denny is playing right into the hands of Calipari’s, sticking it to Rick Pitino and Louisville fans every chance he gets.

Louisville Under Exceeds Expectations

What … ?

You expected more from this Louisville basketball team in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Expected players to emerge from a season-long mediocrity, represent the name on the uniform, make a surprising run.

Nice dream. The wishful thinking clashed with reality quickly, California getting off to a 22-4 start. Rick Pitino’s team making some runs, getting within four a few times, but losing more impetus every trip down the court.

Everybody that is except Rakeem Buckles, with unbridled bundles of energy, never seeming to tire. Just when he seems unstoppable and U of L is within reach, Buckles is pulled to the bench. All signs of offense going with him.

  • All the effort aimed at getting the ball in the middle to Samardo Samuels is wasted if he’s having still another off night. He ends the season where he began, having trouble catching the ball, posting up on anyone near his size, unable to make a decent pass, getting pushed around.
  • Edgar Sosa getting three fouls early, the look creeping back on his face, too easily letting doubt control his game, something he will have to live with for a long time.
  • Jerry Smith not really back from the hand injury, his shooting obviously still affected, even the clunker that rolled in off the back of the rim. He will largely be remembered for scoring 23 points in his first game as a freshman, hitting a three-point winner at Marquette, and scoring the first eight points in the second win over Syracuse.
  • Reginald Delk didn’t receive enough exposure to really create much of an impression. A few three-pointers here and there, a few memorable defensive stops. Gone already.
  • Terrence Jennings is going to bite his tongue off some game chewing that gum. Maybe it affects his thinking.
  • Jared Swopshire should fatten up over the summer, eat mashed potatoes and gravy five meals a day, become the significant factor the analysts keep telling us he will become. But he should always be hungry, playing with a sense of urgency once in a while.

Rick PItino talked a lot about youthfulness on a team that started three seniors in the final game. Sometimes he outsmarts himself. He will have a few months to get back to a few basics.

Mind Games For Louisville Basketball Fans

And so it has begun, this NCAA basketball tournament.

The question is how far the University of Louisville basketball team will advance for some. For others, how quickly the season will come to an end. The wildly-optimistic fan believes anything is possible. The objective observer afraid the tournament may be over too soon.

The Fan

  • The avid fan sees U of L competing aggressively with such teams as Pittsburgh and West Virginia, only for them to lose on controversial officiating calls. He also sees them jumping out to big first-half leads over Georgetown and Villanova, the leads fizzling in the second half. He writes off the St. John’s and Marquette debacles as aberrations.
  • The fan’s belief that anything is possible is confirmed with two impressive wins over Syracuse, one of the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament. He’s also familiar with Rick Pitino’s past, his proven ability to have teams performing above their ability during March — the 21-point comeback win against West Virginia in 2005 a prime example.

Observer

  • The  observer recalls the frustration, even during a double-overtime win against Notre Dame. The Irish, playing without their leading scorer, guards able to drive with ease past U of L defenders time after time. Nothing Louisville guards could do to stop them. Notre Dame, fouling out four backup defenders trying to stop Samardo Samuels, but still pushing U of L to the wire.
  • He watches Samuels all but disappear over the last six games, sees Edgar Sosa get hot but unable to find teammates or hit free throws when they count, and groans while Preston Knowles is missing one out of 12 three-point attempts while committing inexplicable turnovers.
  • He also sees Terrence Jennings relegated time after time to irrelevancy. Wonders why Peyton Siva, the quickest and most talented guard, never gets enough playing time to get past his freshman mistakes. He blasphemes fate for sidelining Jerry Smith, looking like the old Jerry Smith before his injury in the second Syracuse game.

The long-time fan and the hardened observer will continue to battle each other internally, each having ample evidence to support their conclusions — anything possible vs. quick exit.

Come tip-off time Friday, however, the fan will be in charge, eschewing any negativity, expecting his team to live up to expectations for U of L basketball.

The concerned observer will be nowhere to be found as long as Louisville is still in the hunt.