Louisville Cardinal Hoops Scrimmage Report

joaniecardWe’re just five days, and an itty bitty Thursday night pigskin encounter on the gridiron, away from the half past High Noon tip off of the ’14-’15 basketball season.

And, oh yeah, how could I possibly forget, there’s that traditional Trick or Treat thingie Friday that ends the months long Halloween Season.

There are those who would say Saturday’s encounter against Barry, and that the following week against Bellarmine, are but “B” Game exhibitions, that the season doesn’t really start until Kenny Klein keeps official stats against Minnesota in Puerto Rico.

But I say if it’s part of the season ticket package, if the Kroger Krewe is in the house, If Sean Moth is asking “Who wants a t-shirt?” and one of the teams consists of players not enrolled on the Belknap Campus, it’s a real Cardinal Basketball Game.

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Between Coach Rick’s frequent interludes as Mr. Microphone, the Cardinals played their last public inter-squad scrimmage on Sunday at the Yum!.

Here are some random, totally subjective observations.

Shaqquan Aaron can shoot. He’s silky, Jamaal Wilkes smooth. But he’s painfully thin and somewhat frail. He makes Francisco Garcia in his freshman year look as muscle bound as Hans and Franz. The newcomer from Seattle also has a penchant for shuffling his feet a few steps when he takes a pass. A traveling call or three early will hopefully cure that.

I know Adoy Agau has missed a lot of practice because of a sports hernia. Whatever that is? But he still looks like a perennial pine timer to me. I hope I’m wrong.

Mango’s going for the Sampson thing. Now that he’s wearing his hair longer, he’s significantly stronger on the boards. Still not much of an offensive threat,1 he loves to mix it up on the boards. 16 caroms, 12 of which were off the offensive glass.

After the first public showing last week, I opined that Mahmoud and Onuaku would slowly but surely replace Mathiang in the middle as the season progresses. Now it looks like the Cards will have three capable options in the pivot.

The team can play taller than it has in years. Taller than I can recall.

I know this is nothing new, that it shan’t come as a surprise, but . . . Silent L is a beast. I just hope Trez doesn’t feel compelled to display every trip down the court, to the NBA scouts who shall be aplenty all season, that he’s a threat from 18′ and beyond.

At some point, Jaylen Johnson is going to become a significantly contributing Cardinal. It may not be this season however. He’s still out of shape and learning the system. He grabbed nary a board yesterday in ten minutes of action. But, on his first touch, he showed a deft shooting feel from 15′.

My favorite Cardinal du jour, Anas Mahmoud, has a tendency to, when playing D, let his man get by him to the hoop. Often he recovers for a block. But it’s a tendency that ratchets up the personal foul total. But one that can be corrected with better footwork and stronger lower body.

David Levitch started for the White team, instead of Quentin Snider. Which I thought kind of odd. Pitino seems considerate of what appears to be a fragile side to the Ballard grad’s personality. Last week, he went out of his way to praise Snider, rather than going to his default constructive sarcasm.

Snider did grab nine rebounds, way good for a guard. But only took three shots in 26 minutes. I like the way he keeps his head up, eyes alert, when driving down court with the ball on a fast break.

Matz Stockman plays stiff. The tallest guy on the court only grabbed five boards in 20 minutes of action. I will be dumbfounded if he isn’t redshirted this year. And it will be fascinating to see if he finishes his college career as a Louisville Cardinal. I can foresee The Rick recruiting over him, though that’s just my opinionation.

Wayne Blackshear has a really quick release on the three when open on the wing. He still tends to foul too often. Yesterday he committed eight.

One of the keys to success of this team will be how Chris Jones sublimates his characteristic to want to do it all himself at every key moment. He’s a baller and plays with great self confidence. But he watched up close last year as Russ Smith took over games, whether it was part of the strategy or not, and might feel this year that’s his role.

He fired off 26 shots in the scrimmage, canning only 8.

My main man Terry Rozier was the only player on the court for the full forty minutes. He was, as we’ve come to expect, steady as he goes. 19 points (7/15 FG, 4/5 FT). 6 rebounds. 5 assists. 4 steals. Only 3 turnovers.

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And now for that breakdown, with which you are very familiar.

A consideration of FT shooting.

Wayne Blackshear canned a couple of charity tosses right before halftime. Which pushed the teams’ total to 11/18, just over 60%. Not a national contender-worthy number.

In the second half, that percentage soared. 31/40. Let’s hope the trend continues.

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There’s been much consternation by a significant portion of the fan base over this season’s unis, as dictated to the program by adidas.

Yes, they do have a kind of surf boarding look to them, with that broad horizontal stripe at the top of the shorts.2

While I’d love a more traditional look, I like them. They’re far more stylin’ than the day glo orange joke the team was forced to wear the year it sneaked into the Final Four in New Orleans. Or the t-shirts in which the champs were garbed when they took the podium for the national crown season before last.

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Kudos to the crowd at the scrimmage. Getting to the gym was not easy.

Sunday afternoon saw the worst traffic jam in the history of downtown Louisville. There were lane closings because of expressway work. There were thousands and thousands of folks gathered for a cancer gathering on the Waterfront. And directors of traffic amid the gridlock without a clue what they were doing.

I’d love to share how I maneuvered through the mire, but the Statute of Limitations hasn’t run yet. I still parked at 4th and Muhammed Ali. Walking was significantly quicker than trying to drive close.

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Stay away from the Snickers, kids. The Rick doesn’t want you showing up Saturday with an increased body fat percentage.

Let’s tip it off.

— Seedy K

3 thoughts on “Louisville Cardinal Hoops Scrimmage Report

  1. I think credit should be given to J Johnson for a nifty pass while on the baseline, and Mahmoud again showed he is deft at making the high post to low post pass, which Montrezl should appreciate.

  2. 2012—Snuck into the final four? Are you kiddin’ me Old Blue? Your big blew bias is shining through again.

    We were one second half basket away from taking the lead in the 2012 semi’s and putting un-Gawdly pressure on your beloved Cayuts. But for DMiller making a couple of clutch shots and maybe your second best player making his one or two only baskets of the game, the victory would have justly gone to the hi-glow orange cards.

    Plus, I assure you that the 2012 Cards were and are much better than the 2014 UCONN Husky squad that had their way with your beloved semi-pros last year.. This past years Cards should have/ could have been ringing up their third consecutive Natti C but for some poor free throw shooting and inexplicable foul calls on the good guys as we were on the verge of blowing the top off the game in the 2014 sweet 16 against Cal’s criminals–just like we did against the 2014 champs 3 TIMES last year.

    Accordingly, the ONLY thing really important in your entire diatribe is your brief mention of our unbelievably poor foul shooting in the first exhibition game. I will take yesterday’s second half foul shooting and welcome your Cayuts into the YUM any day.

    I know it is hard for you to stop fondling Cal’s love muscle, but the Rick has it going on….and is doing it the way L1C4 likes it….so there….why don’t you just move to Lexington anyway??????

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