The painful loss of David Padgett inevitably brings back memories of the 1979-80 University of Louisville basketball season when Scooter McCray went down with a knee problem, lost for the remainder of the year. He was replaced by younger brother Rodney who became a pivotal force in the Cards’ march to a 33-3 won-loss record and the school’s first NCAA championship.
For history to have an opportunity to be repeated, several things need to happen: First and foremost, Padgett’s replacement, Derrick Caracter, will have to be a prime mover. Derrick’s got the talent, and everybody knows that basketball is his first love. He needs to improve all aspects of his game, as he seems to have done already with his free throw shooting.
Court awareness is among the most deficient; he needs to learn getting the ball to open players. He also needs to give U of L a lot of playing time, which will require fewer fouls. Derrick is close, and if anyone can get him there it is Rick Pitino. Not saying it’s on Derrick’s back but it absolutely can’t be done without continuing improvement on his part.
Terrence Williams needs to keep doing what only he is capable of doing, keeping his exceptional athleticism under control. Edgar Sosa just needs to remember he’s the play maker and that the points will come. Jerry Smith, keep being Mr. Consistency. Earl Clark needs to work harder to get open. Andre McGee, after he loses a few pounds, should keep hitting the threes. Will Scott needs to be able to shoot while on the move and become a defensive presence. Terrance Farley, time to show what Pitino saw in you. Above all, these guys need to make defense a top priority, starting against UNLV. And, for gosh sake, please stay healthy.
The exhibitions are over, the lightweights under the belt. Let basketball fever begin.