“ALL RISE!!! Court is now in session. The honorable Bucket Hat King LJ tha Fiasco presiding. Please be seated and come to order”
What the hell?? This isn’t football season!! Why am I staring at a bunch of basketball notes?? Oh that’s right, I was asked by the higher court to consider doing some pieces for basketball and I obliged. I was really trying to hibernate until September but I will never get tired of talking or writing about Louisville Athletics.
(Fumbles through papers) So what do we have here? A win over Memphis State. A win over Grand Canyon who is nowhere near the actual Grand Canyon and who boasts a student section that is somewhere between a molly induced rave and a doomsday cult. A game we don’t have to talk about against a team down the road. Ah yes, conference play, we can start there!!
Before we get started, shout out to the fighting Cardinals. The undefeated Louisville Women’s basketball team lead by the always enjoyable Jeff Walz. The Cards have been killing it for a while and although they are highly ranked I still feel like they deserve more publicity and praise. Coach Walz has put together some classes that would make Calipari and Coach K blush, and it is finally paying huge dividends. Lead by Asia Durr, the former #1 ranked prospect in the nation, Myisha Hines-Allen who is dominating the paint, and junior Sam Fuerhing who I like to call Sam “Fury” the Cards are sitting pretty at 18-0. I hope this is the year they can make it back to the title game. They have a big match on Thursday against Notre Dame and oh yeah, that trip up north to take on UCONN who again finds themselves at #1. Regardless, they are awesome and the fanbase should continue to rally behind them.
Welp, I have procrastinated long enough……..TO THE NOTES:
Any outbursts and you will be removed from the court by the bailiffs @snickelfritz35 and @darylfoust4. They don’t take disrespect to the fighting Cardinal’s lightly. And as we are always reminded, they are not the Lady Cards….they are just the Cards. If we knew better we would do better. Well now you know, consider this your lesson:
- With the complete embarrassment that occurred on Friday, Dec. 29th in a certain city in Kentucky, the fanbase was reminded that we are still under a first year coach who was thrust into the head spot two days before the season started. Not only that, he had to put together a staff on the fly. The only thing we wanted as a fanbase was to see improvement against Pitt. And we did. Although this Pitt team is struggling (they started 5 freshman) it was still encouraging to see the Cards ball movement and defense ramp up to fluster the Panthers and get the first conference win of the season.
- You all know I have been a strong advocate of Quentin Snider. Fans like to point the blame and then watch film later. Not really sure why some of you think bashing our senior point guard will help but hey, do you. I don’t think bald guys should give advice on barbershops but what the hell do I know? What is the reason though? Is it because he is a local kid? You guys still mad about Michigan and want to blame him? You guys obviously hate stats so just trying to figure out your motivation for Q hating. I mean, do you really want to sit Snider at this point? Enjoy the seniors on this team, they won’t be around much longer.
- I don’t like bashing players, so I won’t. I try to give players the benefit of the doubt, so I do. But I am not going to sugar coat the play of Deng Adel recently. It if frustrating to watch at times and this is where you start to miss the old staff (yeah I said it). At times Deng plays like its just him and no one else. Other times he dribbles into trouble or takes ill advised shots early in the shot clock. It is very puzzling to say the least. After Deng went through NBA workouts he was tasked with certain things to work on. It it not clear what exactly has happened but it is apparent that there is a disconnect. As a fan, I really hope we have not reached the point were the players have this “hero ball” mentality. Deng Adel should come off the bench the next game. There is no other way to put it. It seems that Adel does too much in the wrong moment and either results in a turnover or bad shot. His dribbling is an unsolved mystery and at times he loses his teammates on a fast break. I count a handful of times where if he just passes to a teammate on a run-out it will be an easy basket. Very frustrating to watch. I think you let Dewayne Sutton take the 3 spot and move VJ over to the 2 for the time being. But what do I know, I am just a 30 something with a kid-less dad bod and a bucket hat collection. I really hope Deng can improve over the next few months, we all wish for him to have success along with the rest of the players.
- The same could be said for VJ but my thoughts are that he has improved on being aggressive this season. He attacks the rim and has stepped up his rebounding and defense. VJ still takes some questionable shots but it’s still things that can be fixed. Again, you hope the team is still in tact and no one has gone into “get mine” mode.
- Ray Spalding will play in the league, I am willing to bet on it. We heard in the summer that he had an opportunity to be a huge factor but I don’t think I expected this. He has stepped his game up in nearly every area (still has trouble with fouls). Ray is a rebounding machine and offensively the team is able to depend on him to score in the paint. Padgett has really worked with him and Anas Mahmoud and it shows. As this team gels and Spalding’s role increases it could really play a huge factor in how far this team can go. This school has already had one guy name Big Play Ray in football. I think we can use that nickname for basketball as well.
- I really, really, really wish the Ryan over Q talk would stop. Look, I am huge Ryan McMahon (McMayne if you listen to the TCZ Podcast) fan and I have also been a fan of the smallest guy on the court boasting the biggest heart. But lets be real for a millisecond. Nothing….and I mean NOTHING has shown me where Ryan should start over a senior point guard. Play them both at the same time, absolutely. Take away Q’s starting job, put the bottle down and stop drinking before noon. And honestly, I am quite tired of the disrespect a portion of our fanbase has shown the hometown kid. It’s not like he is jacking up shots from all over the court or making absolutely horrible decisions each time he steps on the court. While he has had a few bad turnovers, it is not enough to warrant he lose his starting job. I have seen some terrible point guards here at UofL, most notably the one that has us in the position to lose our 2013 banner, but Q is not one of them. We are going to miss Q when he is gone. TRUST ME.
- I’m sorry but I can’t seem to shake the comments that Anas made back in the fall about “practice is much easier now”. We all know Pitino would run the team until their knee caps bled, but we used to be a team that prided ourselves on defense and wearing the other team down. I am not sure if that comment meant what I thought it did, but the play on the court this year sometimes makes me wonder. I just want someone on this team to get mad, just get fired up. At times, this teams identity is is more comparable to a team that just ate a ton of BBQ and now have the itis. Sometimes they are one step slower, not hustling to loose balls, basically playing like they couldn’t care less. And it seems like the team is waiting for one person to step up and say NO……..this is not Louisville basketball. Problem is, there seems to be a lack of a clear vocal leader on this squad. Gone are the days of Garcia, T-Will, Siva, Trezl, Lee, and Mitchell. I hope that changes in the next few weeks.
- Let’s not pretend that we have not lost to Clemson before. We lost to them two seasons ago on the road under the former staff. Stop it. It doesn’t excuse it, but now is not the time to pile on the interim coach. And speaking of which, let me remind you that Coach Padgett is learning on the fly, ya know, since he was asked to coach the team 2 days before practice was set to start and all. Hey, if you put me on the fries at Rally’s in the next 5 minutes I am either burning those jokers or someone in Louisville is getting food poisoning from eating under-cooked food. I think a portion of the fanbase, including some former players who have not been relevant since MTV played actual videos, have these lofty expectations that they are expecting this team to meet. Same team, different staff. We all need to keep that in mind. This entire staff, the players, and the great city of Louisville were all dealt a sh**y hand and we just have to do the best we can with it. I have said it before and will continue to say it, this team gets a mulligan and every win they earn is like finding a $20 bill on the ground on the way into a restaurant.
- Speaking of former players, when David invited all of you back at the beginning of the season that wasn’t an invitation to toss your hat in the ring to join the staff. I am not name dropping but several former players have made tweets or public comments either criticizing the team or making it known that if they were on the staff they could help the team. If you were on the team we would be f***d six ways to Sunday. Just because you were great in the 80’s, 90’s, or even great at 2k doesn’t mean you are qualified to coach a college team. You guys are the equivalent of a former high school player that was great and now shows up to random gyms and holds up a game of 21 trying to teach someone how to set a pick correctly. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I mean, I can grill but I don’t show up to FDKY and tell the guys to let me show them a thing or two on the smoker. Humble yourself.
- Putting out a APB for Jordan Nwora. He was ever present in Louisville’s first few games but now he and Darius Perry rarely get off the bench. I don’t see this team in practice so I don’t know what happens behind closed doors. But it is very strange that his role has faded here lately.
- With apologies to David Levitch, Ryan McMahon is the real baby faced assassin.
And in closing we still can make the tournament, but it will take someone on this team to step up along with Ray Spalding. We are 1-1 in conference play and I think with a 10-8 record or even an 11-7 record it is possible. The problem is, we lost our 3 quality non-conference games against Purdue, Seton Hall, and that team down the road so when I expect Louisville to be firmly on the bubble because of that. BUT….this is a weird season and seems there is no clear cut favorite in college basketball. I mean, UNC lost to Wofford at home for goodness sake. The Cards have to win the rest of their home games, minus Virginia because we know Tony Bennett has some type of sorcery over this program. You gotta beat Pitt, you have to get UNC at home. It would help to sweep V-Tech and you cannot lose to BC. Then you gotta pray that you get some luck here and there and steal some games on the road. Pretty simple right?? (pulls out flask)
Be cool in this hot city.
Court Adjourned (bangs gavel)