Trent Johnson Named Cardinal Hoops Assistant

During the few moments when I’m able to move on from depression over the state of U of L Men’s Basketball, I can summon the perspective that the situation is as fascinating as it is sad.

Off the court, there’s the NC2A sanctions surely over the horizon, recruiting woes and the curiosity what Rick Pitino will say when he finally talks, because I’ve been around him enough to know he’s dying to be heard. And will break his silence, no matter what legal advice he’s getting.

On the court, there’s wondering about how David Padgett’s going to be as the new Coach P, whether the players will respect and respond to him as they have for his predecessor?

There’s also been conjecture about when and how many new assistants there will be on staff? And who they’ll be?

Padgett: “There’s no shortage of interest.”

That conjecture itself has been intriguing to consider and talk about. I’ve had any number of conversations in the last week about the situation. A constant thread has been the suggestion that former Cardinals will be tapped to fill the spot(s).

Here’s a partial list of names that have been posited to me during verbal back and forths with fellow Cardinal fans. Denny Crum, an octogenarian for heavens’ sake, who just had a stroke. Butch Beard. Jerry Eaves. Kyle Kuric. Rodney McCray. Peyton Siva. To name a few.

To all of which suggestions, I’ve offered a counterpoint. Those are fans’ thoughts. Padgett’s going to choose folks he’s comfortable with, not some members of the Cardinal family for families sake. 

So, the appointment of former Stanford, LSU and TCU coach Trent Johnson really shouldn’t come as a surprise. He was available, last coaching the Horned Frogs season before last. He was head coach at Nevada, when Padgett was prepping in Reno and played HS ball with Johnson’s son.

Everybody’s going to have an opinion on the hire, and many naysayers will point to Johnson’s not so glossy 276-264 career record as the head man at four different D1 schools.

To me, the hire not only makes sense, given Padgett’s position, it’s a good one, especially with the emergency nature of the deal. Experienced. Mature. A steady sidekick for Coach P. A basketball lifer, as Johnson referred to himself during the introductory press conference.

My guess is there will be two other new assistants, as soon as the university can terminate Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fair. But Padgett couldn’t or wouldn’t confirm that.

Stay tuned. More to come.

 * * * * *

During the portion of the media meet and greet, when Padgett was talking about the team, he was asked what he’s telling players being recruited?

As a half century Cardinal lifer, I love love loved his response.

“Long before I came to Louisville, long before Coach Pitino came to Louisville, and long after I’m gone, putting on a Louisville uniform is an honor.”

He had me at “Long.”

— Seedy K

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