A new attitude has to be permeating University of Louisville basketball practice sessions, now that the worship and adulation has been replaced by realism and disappointment. If the UofL basketball team were the stock market, a depression would have been declared.

The first clues that all was not well should have been picked up when Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa were not introduced as the starting guards. Smith apparently focused on something other than weight and basketball during the summer. Sosa had that familiar look of frustration and an inability to manage a dribble drive.

Based on Sunday’s performance, this team closely resembles last season’s team before David Padgett returned to the lineup. Samardo Samuels is playing, to be sure, but at least one opposing coach has figured out how to stop Padgett’s replacement. Other coaches will be applying the same measures to stop Samuels.

Padgett bequeathed his ability to manage the floor and find open shooters to Terrence Williams but T-will apparently left it on the bus.

Excluding Samuels with 36 minutes in the game, the other additions to the active roster accumulated only 11 minutes of playing time — Reginald Delk had five, Terrence Jennings had three, Jarod Swopshire had two, and George Goode had one.

Coach Rick Pitino’s apology is accepted. This team has to be reshaped and reinvented. The tools are available but he’s got a lot of work to do. David Padgett is not walking through that door.

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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.

One thought on “The Missing-David Padgett Syndrome”
  1. I received a phone call today from an old college friend. A freind that I was close to during my undergrad days at WKU, and a friend I’ve stayed in contact since those days. After the obligatory, good-natured ribbing about Louisville’s loss to the Toppers on Sunday, the conversation took a more serious turn. I’ve condensed and editoralized her remarks below…as best as I can remember them.

    Western has been sort of an afterthought in college basketball over the past few years, excluding the Toppers magical run in the NCAA tournament last year. Courtney Lee, a starter on that team last year, has gone on to a successful career in the NBA. Two players on the current team, Stephon Pettigrew and A.J. Slaughter came from high schools only a half hour from metro Louisville. Yet, the headlines in USA Today’s Sports section blared about the upset, as if the Hilltoppers were as unheralded as (gasp) VMI or Gardner-Webb. There is a proud basketball tradition at WKU, after all…the Toppers do lead in the annual series overall against UofL. Still, the pecking order among some fans in the state ranks WKU as “baby brother”, UofL as “little brother and UK, I guess as Wally Cleaver or “big brother”. (I don’t condone or agree with the theory, but it is UK or UofL who gets the national press and high profile coaches). Western has been a stopping point for coaches on the way to the “big time” and it’s rasied an inferiority complex amongst Topper backers.

    Sunday…”baby brother” climbed out of the crib and kicked “little brother” squarely in the knee. Last year, “baby brother” crawled to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA.
    “Big brother” watched on TV. Maybe it’s time that they were viewed as one of the state’s best. It’s doubtful, though..if the rest of the state will don the same glasses to view them this way. Nevertheless, Sunday was “one shining moment” for the Bowling Green hoopsters, and don’t be surprised if there are a few more during the course of this season. Almost makes me glad they aren’t on the Lady Cards schedule this year.

    Congrats to the Toppers, and a salute for a job well done. At least in this viewers eyes, you’ve gained respect and recognition.

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