A few years from now when University of Louisville fans look back at the 2008-09 basketball season, what they will remember most about the team was its defense, with the offense being sporadic at best.
The player who made the defense tick was Andre McGee who, despite his respiratory challenges, never seemed to tire of making life miserable for the opposition.
Great to learn that his defensive prowess has opened a new door. McGee has signed a contract with the Phoenix Hagen, a team that plays in one of Germany’s top leagues.
“I liked him right away as I saw him. He is a player with a lot of discipline. He is a real guard. A big reason for his signing was his strong defense. We spoke with a lot of his ex coaches and they all confirmed his strong defense,” stated coach Ingo Freyer.
McGee is about to teach the German players some lessons about playing defense.
Every year there’s one big man everybody knows can turn a good team into a great team. That person in the 2010 recruiting class is Fab Melo, a 7-foot, 270-pound prospect from Brazil who will play his senior year at Sagemont High in Weston, Fla.
The good news for University of Louisville basketball fans is that Mr. Melo has Rick Pitino’s team high on his list of possible teams. The other news is that he is also said to be considering Florida, Florida State, UConn and Duke.
That list seems to expand and contract every few days with Syracuse, Georgetown and Kentucky once included on the list. The only constant has been U of L among the favorites.
Card fans have been down this road more than a few times.
Louisvillians are often subjected to the idea that the fan allegiance of local residents is equally divided between the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, even among those who should know better. Rick Pitino, for example, has even advanced the notion.
Not even close, according to the most recent Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll, which was conducted in 2005. The poll should have settled the issue once and for all. But UK fans and some media types, who missed front page story, tend to be research-challenged , or just count on the forgetfulness of the general public, persist in advancing the misconception.
That’s why the observer keeps a copy of the results, hopeful that the facts will make their way to the misinformed or blissfully ignorant. The poll indicated:
Fans of Louisville Cardinals basketball outnumbered Kentucky Wildcat fans by 53.7% to 33.3% in the Louisville area.
Fans of Louisville football weighed in at 61.3%, as compared to 20.8% for Kentucky football.
Courier-Journal columnist Eric Crawford, who was deeply involved in the poll and wrote the CJ story about the results, told Card Game:
“The project used one of the largest samples of any of the Bluegrass State polls, owing to the diversity of the population that follows sports. It was far larger a sample, for instance, than a gubernatorial or presidential poll we would have taken in the state. It also came at an opportune time: Both UK and U of L were doing exceptionally well in basketball. U of L was on its way to a Final Four, while UK was within an eyelash of getting there, too.”
The results reinforced aÂ Yankelovich study the Courier-Journal conducted a decade or so ago, showing Louisville with a similar lead in both sports.
Neither ofpolls took into consideration the bandwagon factor, people who switch favorites depending on how well one or the other is doing. Some will apparently jump from a loser to a winner in a heartbeat. Also, football teams going in different directions might affect the numbers slightly. And, as we’ve seen, a new hire in basketball will definitely raise the decibel levels.
But for the most part, fan loyalties tend to be deeply entrenched. Doubtful that the ratios have changed much. Or that the mistaken pronouncements about the fan ratios, intentional or unintentional, will fade away any time soon.
Editor’s Note: The subject of this article has responded to Card Game, suggesting that a pro basketball franchise may be in the tea leaves for Freedom Hall. See comments for his response.
By Charles Springer
J. Bruce Miller is a name all alumni and fans of the University of Louisville should put at the top of their public enemies list. The former Jefferson County Attorney and head of a law firm that bears his name has apparently made it one of his missions in life to disparage local institutions, especially the University of Louisville.
Miller wants professional basketball even if it's at the expense of University of Louisville basketball. From all indications, he would love to permanently derail the program.
Miller, you may recall, has been at the forefront of several moves to attract a professional basketball franchise to Louisville. He believes a pro franchise is essential to promoting a “progressive” image for the community, thinking it will attract “young professionals” to the community. He wants professional basketball even if it’s at the expense of U of L basketball. From all indications, he would love to permanently derail the program.
Miller’s bitterness resurfaced once again this week in a strange article that appeared in the Opinion section of the Courier-Journal where he goes to great lengths to berate U of L (link):
A significant number of the University of Louisville’s student body matriculates from this abysmal Jefferson County public school system. For the last decade, the U.S. News & World Report’s annual university ranking places that university’s undergraduate academic program as a third-tier American university somewhere between 125th and 175th in the nation.
Its specialized academic programs don’t fare any better. Its locally vaunted medical school isn’t ranked, nor is its engineering or business school. Its law school stands at 98th out of 100 American law schools, and its School of Education is 71st (before its dean was recently indicted on charges of thieving public funds). Yet a member of the local university’s board of trustees has recently encouraged a renewal of the president’s contract, as one of the nation’s highest paid public university presidents.
Miller was among those who attached themselves to former Governor John Y. Brown, Jr. when he owned the old Kentucky Colonels’ American Basketball Association franchise. That group had an opportunity when the ABA folded in the late 70’s to get a Louisville team in the NBA for $2 million — a bargain basement price by today’s standards but they passed. Miller, for one, apparently has never gotten over it. A few years ago when the city was making a bid for another NBA franchise, U of L did not want to be part of an arena if the program didn’t have scheduling priority. The effort failed as a result, and Miller has never gotten over that.
What the Vanderbilt grad conveniently fails to mention in his diatribe is that University of Louisville’s School of Business has been ranked in the nation’s top 10 in terms of entrepreneurship. Nor does he acknowledge U of L’s leading role in heart transplant surgery, groundbreaking efforts in hand transplants, or the discovery of a vaccine for uterine cancer. Without getting into a laundry list, it’s obvious that Miller was ignoring a lot of facts in his attack.
There are at least 2,500 public and private universities in the United States. While U of L may never be a Harvard, a Yale or an MIT, the university has distinguished itself in many ways that will never be acknowledged by some. The academic community in general is as clannish and snobbish as it gets, and rankings in publications are based as much on out-of-date stereotypes as they are facts.
Watch for Miller to surface again with plans for a pro franchise when the new downtown arena is completed.
A major portion of Miller’s piece is his outrage on the emphasis on diversity rather than a focus on strengthening neighborhood schools. Mr. Miller inexcusably forgets that the federal courts mandated forced busing in 1975. The local school system had no choice. None. Review the court’s decision. Please.
J. Bruce Miller seems to be bitter, a cynical person with large chips on both shoulders. He left town to get his education and that makes him a self-proclaimed expert. He’s had surprising success for a person with his demeanor and it has gone to his head, probably explaining his narrow-minded approach to local issues. What’s really surprising is that the Courier-Journal would give him a forum for his views.
Miller will probably never admit his pro basketball frustration but it bothers him. Greatly. Watch for him to surface again with plans for a pro franchise when the new downtown arena is completed. Sorry, J. Bruce, but U of L will have priority scheduling rights. It’s in the contract, as if that means anything to you.
Remember Taquan Dean, Junior Mohammed, Joshua Tinch, Larry O’Bannon, and Bryant Northern? Seems like eonsÂ since these guys played for the University of Louisville basketball team.
They’re all back in town this weekend and will be competing as Team Stone in the 15th annual Kentuckiana Pro-Am Basketball Tournament through Sunday in at Nolan Fieldhouse in Sellersburg.Ind., just a few miles across the river from Downtown Louisville.
Coach Ellis Myles named the team in honor of Marvin Stone, who played one season for U of L after transferring from the University of Kentucky in 2002. He died April1, 2008, of a heart attack after collapsing at halftime of a game in Saudi Arabia. He was 26 years old.
“His name just came out and hit me,” Myles told the Courier-Journal. “It’s something I should do. I didn’t have another name I would go with. It was a sense that maybe he’s thinking about me. I don’t even remember how he came up. It’s been a year since he’s passed away. Marvin and I had a great relationship. Marvin was a fun, lovable guy.”
This tournament also serves as a reunion. Many of the members of Team Stone are playing professionally around the world â€” Spain, France, Mexico, Argentina, Australia and Israel. The summer is usually the only time when they’re all together.