Peyton Siva waits for next door to open

Peyton-Siva-UofL-Card-Game

One doesn’t have to be a fan of NBA basketball to feel bad for Peyton Siva who was notified Tuesday that he was being released by the Detroit Pistons.

The odds may have been stacked against him from the beginning when he was the 56th pick of the 2013 draft, with his small frame, questionable shooting ability, and average speed for an NBA guard. Assets that set him apart at the collegiate level were his patience and his knowledge of the game.

As a rookie with the Pistons, the former University of Louisville point guard played in 24 games and averaged 2.3 points and 1.4 assists while improving significantly as the season wore on. But apparently not enough, according to the Detroit Bad Boys, a Pistons-focused blog site:

Siva played 15 minutes a game over his last 10 games of the season in the months of March and April, showing promise as a point guard who takes care of the ball and hustle on defense, but not much else. By all accounts, he works his tail off and is a great teammate, but that’s all probably not enough, especially at 6-foot.

Siva’s performance in the summer league was seen as a key to his future. He played almost 23 minutes in three games, scoring a total of 10 points while making five assists before he went down with a hamstring injury missing the last two games, according to the Pistons’ web site. That was enough for Detroit’s management which was facing a deadline for trimming the roster from 17 to 15 players.

He now has three options, either catching on with another NBA team, play in the D League, or play overseas.

Anyone familiar with Peyton’s past knows it is much too early to count him out of an NBA career, having overcome so many challenges as youngster growing up in a gang-infested neighborhood in Seattle, convincing his dad not to commit suicide at one point.

After all the ups and downs of his first two years at UofL, Siva will always be credited with being the steady influence that led his team to a Final Four in 2012 and a National Championship in 2013.

Getting UofL number retired not easy

With the University of Louisville having captured its third NCAA tournament championship, some are wondering whether the University may decide to retire a player’s number.

Like maybe the No. 3 on jerseys worn by point guard Peyton Siva? Or the No. 2 belonging to Russ Smith?

No. 2 may have a shot.
No. 2 may have a shot.

The answer in Siva’s case is probably not despite the indispensable role he played in the championship run. Russ Smith has a much better shot if he lives up to expectations going into next season.

UofL has specific criteria for retiring numbers and only four players have had their numbers retired. There is one guideline, making it quite clear who can have their number retired, according to Kenny Klein, sports information director.

“To be eligible for retirement of a player’s number, the player must be, at minimum, a consensus All-America pick,” he told Card Game. Only four players in UofL basketball history have earned the honor. They are Pervis Ellison (42), Darrell Griffith (35), Charlie Tyra (8) and Wes Unseld (31).

So why are there so many banners with the names of former UofL players hanging in the rafters at Freedom Hall and the KFC Yum! Center? Well, there’s a big difference between “retiring” and “honoring” a jersey.

Klein says for a player’s jersey or number to be honored, the player must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Must be named to an All-America first, second or third team of a national publication or wire service; an Academic All-America selection; or be named conference player of the year;
  • Or must appear in the Top 10 of at least four U of L career statistical categories;
  • Or may be selected for the honor by a blue ribbon panel if he played prior to 1960. The last criteria is included as to not diminish the accomplishments of earlier years, realizing that statistical comparisons may be inconclusive.

Consideration may also be given for the player to have completed his eligibility for at least three years to be eligible. A committee shall present individuals for consideration to the Director of Athletics. Each player should be a member of a team which gained significant notoriety or earned a special place in Cardinal basketball lore.

Players whose numbers have been honored include: Butch Beard, Junior Bridgeman, Jack Coleman, Don Goldstein, Lancaster Gordon, George Hauptfuhrer, Bob Lochmueller, Rodney McCray, Jim Morgan, Allen Murphy, Chuck Noble, Bud Olsen, Jim Price, Kenny Reeves, Phil Rollins, Derek Smith, Billy Thompson, John Turner, Milt Wagner and DeJuan Wheat.

The criteria for retiring or honoring player numbers in football is similar.

Familiar face in UofL baseball crowd

SivaSr.Peyton Siva, Sr. was among the 3,350 fans attending the University of Louisville vs. Indiana baseball game Wednesday at Jim Patterson Stadium. He and Junior have another major event coming up Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center where the former UofL point guard will be participating in commencement ceremonies, finally getting that degree. The crowd was the third largest in UofL baseball history. The game? UofL won 4-3 on a sacrifice fly by Danny Rosenbaum in the ninth inning.

Siva earns Naismith Award

The winner of the 2013 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award is Peyton Siva, University of Louisville. The award is given annually to a senior, six-foot-and under, who thrived in the classroom and on the basketball court.siva card game

“Peyton Siva is one of the elite players in college basketball,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “He excelled not only on the court but also in the classroom and it is an honor to recognize Peyton for all of his outstanding efforts this year. He is very deserving of this prestigious award.”

Peyton was named the 2013 Big East Tournament MVP, 2013 All Big East third team, 2013 Big East Academic All-American and 2013 Big East Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He holds the Big East tournament and school record for steals in a Big East tournament game with seven, which also made him UofL’s all-time career leader with 236 steals. Siva finished the 2013 regular season averaging 9.7 points, 5.8 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game.

The award is named in honor of James Naismith’s daughter-in-law.

Back to the Final Four again, Louisville bound for Atlanta

There are magical days in life and Easter Sunday 2013 was one of them.

University of Louisville basketball is headed back to the Final Four again. A phenomenal group of athletes, bound together with a single-minded focus pushing them forward, onward, ever higher.

They have the same look in their collective eyes as their coach, Rick Pitino, possessed and driven, a man in love with the game and his team, a man, a coach, a father figure and motivator possessed and driven, thirsty and hungry, wanting this for himself, his players, his university, his community.

Kevin Ware’s heartbreaking injury only adding to the fire, one more huge source of motivation, as he is carted off the court on a gurney telling his teammates to get their butts to Atlanta. He was already an inspiration with his rapid improvement in recent weeks. Now he becomes another driving force, inspiring his teammates, lifting them up through his personal agony and all their  tears.

Over the years UofL has been involved in hundreds of basketball games, images flashing through the mind of a couple of season finales that brought unprecedented joy to the hearts and minds of Cardinal fans. Games that led into those games, pre-season tourneys, games against No. 1 teams, at home, on the road, a dream game win in Knoxville, they go on and on. Few as sweet as this 85-63 win over Duke in Sunday’s Midwest Regional championship.

Russ Smith and Peyton Siva bringing real meaning to oft-repeated “best back court in America” that has been repeated about each of the top 10 teams this season, probably erasing all doubt that that distinction belongs to them. Russ rubbing off on Peyton, Peyton rubbing off on Russ, the two combining for 39 points in this one, no flinching, no hesitating, just getting after it, Smith winding up with 26 points, Siva with 13 points.

Gorgui Dieng playing like a lottery pick against a certain lottery pick, having too much fun to even think about the pros right now. Why would he ever want to leave UofL anyway?  Gorgui with 14 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and two steals, even making Russ Smith-like moves at times.

Chane Behanan may be getting back to his natural self or whatever it was that enabled him to score the game’s first six points, shoving the Duke big guys around and out of the paint on defense. One of this team’s biggest cheerleaders, happy on the floor, cheering on the bench, wanting his team to prevail wherever he happens to be. Pulling off his No. 21 jersey in the last five minutes in favor of Kevin Ware’s No. 5 at the end.

To describe as magic what’s happening with UofL basketball right now would be an injustice. Too many hours of incredible coaching and dedication have gone into this product, and the formula is still being constantly revised and improved, the engineer stoking the coals as this freight train gathers steam headed into Atlanta.

UofL Women bump Baylor, biggest upset in recent NCAA history

The Louisville women’s basketball team was supposed to lose to Baylor by between 35 and 40 points in their Sweet 16 gauntlet but the Lady Cards didn’t want to hear it.

Hear this: Louisville 82, Baylor 81.

Baylor had won 32 consecutive games, the unanimous No. 1 team in the country with a 34-2 record, led by 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner averaging 24 points a game, the second all-time leading scorer in women’s college basketball.
Griner would struggle to get 14 points in this one.

The UofL women would hit 16 three-pointers, setting an NCAA women’s record in the process, Antonita Slaughter connecting on seven of them and Shoni Schimmel with five. Schimmel would wind up with 22 points, Slaughter with 21 points.

Monique Reid hit two frees at the two-second mark to ice the classic.

Few University of Louisville basketball fans will ever forget the sequence of incredible victories on Easter Sunday 2013.