Not sure what to make of Kyle Kuric being relegated to walk-on status. We were primed  for Kuric to have a great senior year.

Among the returning players, Kuric has made more highlight reels than all of his teammates combined. He’s been among the most consistent in shooting, rebounding and defending. Dunker of the year, great grades, leadership on and off the basketball court and involved in the community.

Yet University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino announced that Kuric, Chris Smith and Elisha Justice have had to give up their scholarships to become walk-ons, making room for five freshmen and a transfer.

I could see walk-on status maybe with Smith or Justice, but Kuric is a valuable commodity.

Don’t think it doesn’t hurt. It’s painful. These players have been knocked down a few notches. Gotta explain it to the family, the buddies, the girl friends. Accept new status in the basketball residence. Shut out the comments of fans, analysts, and message board drones.

We’re off to an early start on the mind games. The only way walk-on status is acceptable for Kuric is that it comes with an understanding that he will continue to see plenty, if not more, playing time in his senior season.

As Pitino noted, Kyle’s dad is a brain surgeon so paying for a year of college is not a worry for the Kuric family. Thankfully, Kyle seems to be the kind of individual who would take one for his team.

Next season will be disappointing if he’s not a major factor.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

6 thoughts on “Kyle Kuric takes one for his team”
  1. Not sure what the reason is behind this decesion either. I’m thinking the morale of these players could obviously be affected. Not sure why, but this seems to be sorta like biting the hand that feeds you type thing. All these players contributed big to last years hard fought wins, (especially Kuric). As a fan I’m waiting to see how all this plays out, but something just doesn’t feel right about it.

  2. Pitino is serving notice that things are going to be different in the days ahead, sparing no one and he’s no longer Mr. Nice Guy. The man is as hungry as I’ve ever seen him.

  3. Kuric’s family’s financial situation (GOOD…) most likely was a deciding factor here. I expect that Kyle will still be one of the most, if not the most, valuable contributors for UofL this year and for him to agree to “take one for the team” here is just another example of the leadership, integrity and sacrifices that Pitino has gotten out of him since he’s been at UofL.

  4. I disagree that these kids morale would be down or it would affect them in the least. Playing time, not scholarship $, is the ultimate determining factor in player morale, etc. Everybody knows Chris Smith, Kyle Kuric and Elisha Justice’s families can well afford the tuition.

  5. He came to UL with the understanding that if a scholarship is need he would go to walk on status.This was discussed with him before the decision and both him and his parents had no problem with helping out the team.

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