Tag Archives: College Hoops

Hump Day Hum: Inner City Blues, The Letter +

So, I ran into Scotty Davenport the other day by the Water Company Reservoir, where he was taking a break from his jog.

When he noticed it was me who stopped and rolled down the car window, he smiled and waved.

Because it’s what I do, I shouted, “You need to get the Cardinals to come play you at Freedom Hall!”

Have you ever seen how Davenport reacts on the sideline when he doesn’t like a call, how his demeanor changes, how he goes after the ref, and doesn’t give up? Well, that’s what happened when he heard what I said.

His animus wasn’t directed my way, but in the direction of U of L.”

“Never gonna happen. Never.

“It’s just that volleyball . . .

“Who do Louisville fans hate the most?”

Before I could answer, he did so himself.

“Kentucky. Well, Louisville’s the same person.” Continue reading Hump Day Hum: Inner City Blues, The Letter +

So, Yeah, I Went to Watch DJ Wagner

OK, I’ll hold off on my usual self referential hoo ha and cut to the chase.

DJ Wagner and his New Jersey Scholars mates opened their stay at the Louisville session of the EYBL Saturday morning with a 73-71 W over ProSkills.

Bottom Line: Yes, Milt’s grandson is a baller you would like to have playing for your favorite school.

Even my less than astute eye can tell that.

In spite of his his superprep top of his class or close to that status, he doesn’t preen. He doesn’t posture. He doesn’t complain to the refs.

He plays the game. He stays focused.

He handled the rock 4, 5, 6 times before ever taking a shot. He sees the court. He finds his teammates. His passing is deft.

He’s a great ball handler.

Like elite players do, he accelerates effectively when taking the ball to the rim. Especially on straight line drives, when he was relatively unimpeded thanks to sets being run by his squad. Continue reading So, Yeah, I Went to Watch DJ Wagner

Tuesday’s Cardinal Chitter, Chatter & Clatter

Yes, I know it’s baseball season.

And that, as I write U of L hoops coach Kenny Payne is announcing the long-expected but just confirmed hiring of Milt Wagner. To some sort of hybrid position that the Compliance Office has, one would assume, advised won’t hinder the recruitment of a certain grandson.

But, can we talk football for a moment?

Of course, the fingers on the keys to the Smith Corona belong to me.

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By all accounts during recent seasons the Atlantic Coast Conference has been considered the least powerful of the self-designated Power 5.

Gridironly speaking. (OK, last year also in men’s b-ball, but that was an outlier, and today isn’t about that.)

What a difference a year makes. Continue reading Tuesday’s Cardinal Chitter, Chatter & Clatter

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Back on the Beat

Inquiries have been made.

So I’m advised.

“Why hasn’t Seedy weighed in on the whole NIL deal?”

For one, I have. Kinda.

Back when railing against those fat cats asking for the return of a former U of L AD, I suggested they put their energy, and significant disposable wealth into forming a collective. So there’s that.

Plus, I have nothing to add to the rampant dialog about the accelerating phenomena. It’s the Wild West out there. Those under the table envelopes of cash are now Bitcoin deposits into off shore bank accounts.

You thought the Oklahoma Land Rush was a clusterfuck on meth? Silly you. Google up Isaiah Wong to see how the culture of college sports has changed, seemingly overnight.

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Speaking of that Miami Hurricane, I tried to go Wong on Glorious Editor and the guy controlling the purse strings in Finance on the 73d floor, a fellow named John Beresford Tipton IV.

“How about a little bump for the kid,” I inquired? “I’m read. I’m nothing if all but about name, a nom de plume affectation, image and likeness. Have you seen those mashup vanity portraits I post with my articles? Some would say that stuff is more important to me than quality of content, but there’s always going to be nabobs of negativitude. I’ve been nothing but NIL for years.” Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Back on the Beat

Considering Cardinal Cage Conundrums

So, after reading yet another article about the increasingly wild and wooly world of NIL, in which it talks of incoming college athletes getting seven figure contracts from “NIL Collectives,” a U of L fan’s gotta ask.

If these deep pocketed Jurich diehards, who are beating on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past, are indeed Cardinal fans first and foremost, how about they exert their energy and focus to form an NIL Collective to benefit current and future Cardinal athletes?

Asking for myself. As well as a curious fanbase, anxious to move on in football and basketball, in hopes of getting back to where they once belonged. As it now with women’s hoops and volleyball and swimming and baseball.

It’s a new dawn in college athletics.

Where this NIL stuff goes nobody knows.

But if you don’t jump on board, you be standin’ at the bus stop for a long long time. Continue reading Considering Cardinal Cage Conundrums

The Recruiting Elephant in the Room

The air throughout the Ville smells like Cardinal Spirit.

Fans who had jumped ship are returning. Acolytes who never left are energized again like the halcyon days.

Here we are now, entertain us.

The focus is turning by any observation to recruiting generally, to one legacy, albeit a generation removed, specifically.

Like his father before him, one DJ Wagner, Camden HS Class of ’23, is viewed by many as the Second Coming. (At least the Third, or Next. Westley Unseld was obviously First. Darrell Griffith, the Second.)

More reasonable minds understand, as great a baller as Milt’s grandson may be, he probably is not transformational for the U of L program. Other than, as any *****, Top 20 recruit would be for this once proud program to get back to where it once belonged.

We’re not talking a Danny Manning here. Unless he happens to maybe be a Carmelo Anthony.

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So, I ask all who might be obsessed with this consideration to gather round, and allow me to once again tell the informational tale of one Winford Gladstone Boynes III. Continue reading The Recruiting Elephant in the Room

Nolan Smith Comes Back Home

Spoiler Alert: The only addition to Coach Kenny Payne’s staff announced at U of L Basketball’s Monday press conference was the one we already knew about, Nolan Smith. Meaning the following contains essentially no breaking news about other members of the staff or roster changes.

Early in the presser, one anxious scribe, poised to jump the gun — guilty — inquired, when we might expect announcements about others on the staff?

To which fellow, KP gently chided that the question was premature, saying, “Good timing. I just hit a home run.”

Sufficiently chastised, allow me this observation: Nolan Smith checks all the boxes.

In fraternity parlance, he’s a legacy. He lived in Louisville until he was six, attending preschool at The Temple, then summered here through his youth. His father, you may have heard, was a starter for U of L’s first title team in ’80.

He’s intelligent and articulate. He’s a family man with an engaging wife Cheyna, a daughter and son.

To this point, he was tutored in his coaching career by the GOAT, at Duke, where Smith was an All-American and national champion.

Sitting in the jam-packed conference room, the inner Cardinal diehard in me had goose bumps.

Actually, truth be told, what I felt was verklempt.

This whole Kenny Payne/ Nolan Smith reformulation of University of Louisville Basketball Just Feels Right. Continue reading Nolan Smith Comes Back Home

Hoopaholic’s FF E2: Off the Court Ponderings

Trying to deal with severe withdrawal symptoms, awaiting anxiously all the news that will be breaking about the Louisville Cardinals men’s program in weeks and months to come, a few last morsels of snark from last weekend’s Last Weekend.

Every time I look at Bill Self, I wonder: Is he wearing a toupee?

Always thought so.

A few years back, I presented the question in the media room before a game. It was universal that my supposition was absurd.

I remain skeptical those follicles atop his noggin’ are all ones grown naturally.

I am not alone. Write this in your search engine, “Does Bill Self wear a toupee?” and there are a plethora of articles considering the same curiosity. The consensus of conclusions: Yes he does.

I posed the query during a recent lengthy hoops colloquy with Doc. Who is an actual medical M.D., not somebody who just plays one on TV or stayed at a Holiday Inn last night.

He agrees with me.

It’s a rug.

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For the opening portions of U of L’s semi against South Carolina, I watched the alternative telecast. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s FF E2: Off the Court Ponderings

Hoopaholic’s Final Fours E1: On the Court

As an admitted, not yet in recovery hoopaholic, I saw every dribble, Friday through Monday. Except, I’ll admit,  for a moment or two at the fridge for just a smidge more guac. And the periodic nature’s calling moments. I took notes. This first edition includes a few random thoughts about what transpired on the hardwood. You’ve already read enough I am so very sure. Coming soon, some snark, the peripheral stuff. 

The most impressive performance: Destanni Henderson.

Setting aside for a moment how she completely shut down U of L sparkplug Hailey Van Lith, Henderson totally dominated South Carolina’s title game spanking of UConn.

Yes, Aliyah Boston was all that. 11 and 16 against the Huskies. An obvious winner of the FF MOP award, combining that with her presence in the semi against the Cards. But Ms. Destanni was all that, plus much more in the final.

Career high and game leading 27 points. She controlled tempo. She set the Gamecock O in motion throughout.

Plus, as she did checking HVL, she throttled the nation’s most talented baller for the entirety. That would be Paige Bueckers.

One thing struck me as a Louisville fan. Henderson is 5-7. The same height as Van Lith. But with significantly more savvy and experience.

Which is to say, and it’s only partially wishful thinking with a lot of expectation, HVL will be kicking it up a notch or four next campaign. Given her legendary drive and work ethic, I wouldn’t be surprised if she passed on spring break at the beach to break down film, work on her game. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Final Fours E1: On the Court

Louisville CardFile: South Carolina

Hear me now, and believe me if you choose.

It was not going to happen.

The University of Louisville Cardinals were not going to conquer season-long top-rated South Carolina. Too may variables had to fall in place. It was not impossible obviously — that’s why they play the game — but chances were miniscule.

There are 351 schools that competed for the opportunity to advance to the Final Four in Minneapolis.

The four best who are clearly the best made it.

That group included — rightfully and justifiably so — U of L. Simply, for a whole passel of reasons, the Cardinals weren’t a match for the Gamecocks.

They would not have won had they had matched their best playing of the year. It would have taken that, then kicking it up a notch, Then another notch. Then get a lucky bounce, or three.

Instead, let’s be honest here, the Cards weren’t quite up to the moment. They played harried and nervous. They calmed for interludes, but never fully found their mojo. Stage fright seemed ever present.

My hope, and I have to assume every Cardinal fan’s hope, is that the squad returns to Louisville with heads held high. Proud of the showcase excellence of their 29-5 season.

Obviously, as one of the school’s four FF contestants, the ’21-’22 Cards are in the conversation as Best Ever.

Beyond that, one thing seems clear, at least to this acolytic observer.

This is perhaps the most galvanizing U of L basketball team, any gender, in the school’s storied hoops history. Ok, maybe, along with the ’80 champs. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: South Carolina