By Paul Sykes
Not a lot of defense in the Derby Classic Saturday night at Freedom Hall, as the Louisville-loaded Black team defeated the White team 133-124 before an estimated crowd of 6,500.
For most of the game, it wasn’t nearly that close. The Black Squad with U of L signees Justin Coleman, Russ Smith, Elisha Justice and Cardinal recruit Giogia Dieng led by 20-plus points throughout most of the second half.
'Rick Pitino is going to love Coleman's versatility and shooting skills.'
Coleman tossed in 24 points to lead his teammates to the win while also winning the slam-dunk contest at halftime with an incredible dunk, thanks to an assist from Dieng. The 6-foot-10 Dieng, also a soccer player, flipped the ball into the air with his feet to a soaring Coleman.
Dieng, with 15 points, received the Black team’s MVP award, an honor which surprised several Cardinal fans.Â “Dieng played a great game inside but Coleman was clearly the best player out there on the court.” observed U of L fan Ernie Garvin. “Rick Pitino is going to love Coleman’s versatility and shooting skills. I think they gave the MVP to Dieng to try and sway him to commit to U of L”
UK fan Park Muhlheizler agreed. “Coleman has the potential to be a game changer. I wish he was headed to Lexington for college. I’m happy with the signing of Stacy (Poole, Jr.) and I think he’ll fit Calipari’s system real well … but Coleman, that guy’s got game.”
Elisha Justice delighted the pro-U of L crowd with contributed 12 points, five assists, five rebounds and a game-high four steals, prompting Tom Cahill, a long time Cardinal supporter noted that “Justice understands what a point guard needs to do on the court. He’ll fit Pitino-ball very well.”