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.
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.”