Fab Melo Goes With Syracuse

Fab Melo has chosen Syracuse University over the University of Louisville as his choice for college basketball.

Had to be a difficult decision, passing on an opportunity to learn from Rick Pitino, to perform in front of some of the game’s most knowledgeable fans, and to help inaugurate the best college basketball facility in the country when the new 22,000-seat facility opens during the 2010 season.

For Syracuse.

Louisville fans wish him well.

Wherefore Fab Melo?

Does it bother anyone else that, with some recent recruiting trends, that Syracuse has a contract with Nike shoes and Louisville is an Adidas school?

Fab Melo allegedly making his choice between the University of Louisville and Syracuse University today on where he will play his college basketball.

The brand of shoes should be the least possible factor but, until Adidas decides to compete seriously, it is apparently a huge consideration for some teens, especially with Nike’s financial ties with some National Basketball Association players.

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Parts of the U of L campus flooded with six to seven inches of rain, viaducts flooded, campus closed. One question is whether Jerry Smith made to the basketball practice facility or not.

He tells teammate Peyton Siva in one Twitter message:  “Stuck in the gym 8 inches of rain.. streets flooded.. what better place than stuck in the gym –> n I’m stuck n my room SMH!”

But in the next tweet, he says: “Hey gotta do something bout this flood water. I gotta get n the gym asap… Don’t think swimmin n rain water worth it tho. Or is it? Lol.”

His heart’s in the right place, wherever he is.


Andre McGee Off To Germany

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.


Louisville Target: Fab Melo

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.

Overdue. Let it happen.


Fan Loyalty Runs Deep In Louisville

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 true.

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 a  Yankelovich study the Courier-Journal conducted a decade or so ago, showing Louisville with a similar lead in both sports.

Neither of polls 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.