Wednesday Seedy KO’s: Nwora, Network, Coach Nowhere to be Found ++

So, I’m at the cable store the other day, getting a box that fritzed changed out.

As the no fuss transaction is almost done, I ask my friendly, very helpful clerk Taylor, “Do you know if Spectrum is going to be carrying the ACC Network or not?”

At which point she looks up, smiles, then starts laughing, as does the clerk taking care of the customer next to me.

“I guess I’m not the first to ask, huh?”

Taylor: “Every day.”

The clerk next to her: “Every single day. Every single customer.”

Of course, neither had the answer, but it’s impossible to conceive that it won’t be carried since Louisville is the biggest college basketball market in the country, and has been for a number of years now.

But, an announcement would be nice.

 * * * * *

I used the occasion of spending last weekend at The Jim, covering U of L baseball in the NCAA Regional, to chat up other media heads to see if anybody had tried to track Bobby Petrino down for any comments the former U of L football coach might wish to share about last season and his departure?

One scribe, who had not been able to contact Petrino directly, said he was informed that the former coach was “open to an interview.” With this caveat, “but he needed to talk to his lawyer first.” After we went back and forth on what a mess Petrino left the program in, and conjecturing about what his state of mind might have been, etc, etc, the scribe said, “Listen, Petrino is a bad guy.”

Who am I to disagree?

One other fellow I chatted with also indicated he’d had no luck, but offered, “Then again, I never had much luck talking with him when he was here coaching.” This TV guy did say Petrino had been spotted at a Little League game in southern Indiana, but knew nothing further.

Bobby, Bobby, come out, come out, wherever you are. There are plenty of us who’d love to hear from you.

  * * * * *

Along with fellow draft dabbling Cardinal Steven Enoch and the gent still their coach, Chris Mack, Jordan Nwora met the media on Tuesday.

First, here’s Sam Vecenie’s take from on Nwora’s draft decision:

Jordan Nwora — Returns to Louisville: Nwora had a very strange pre-draft process. He didn’t work out for anyone prior to the combine, hoping to unveil his skills at the combine to build his stock that way. Then, he hurt his calf prior to the event, and didn’t really get a chance to get in front of a large number of decision makers until his pro day on May 28. Then at his pro day, Nwora really struggled to do what he does best: knock down shots. Additionally, he couldn’t get separation while being guarded in 3-on-3 by Francis Alonso, a player who will have a long career in Spain but not someone who is particularly interesting right now to NBA executives. I’m willing to chalk up Nwora’s issues on Tuesday to him not being at 100 percent, but the end result was the same: at no point in the pre-draft process did Nwora get a chance to show out in front of a large number of evaluators and heavy-hitter decision makers.

So at the end of the day, Nwora didn’t really have enough clarity on his stock to guarantee himself the ability to end up with an NBA contract next season. Therefore, he made the only decision that made sense: he returned to Louisville. Nwora will be the leader for a Cardinals team that should start the season somewhere in the top-seven, and will be among the favorites to win the ACC and get to the Final Four in Atlanta. If he does what he’s supposed to do, puts in the work this summer, gets better on defense, and helps Louisville reach those lofty hopes, he has a good chance to go in the first round next season.

Understand, young Mr. Nwora is a cocky kid. (Coach Mack, during his part of the presser, “Sometimes I have to tell him he has too much confidence.”)

As the Card’s leading scorer was going in to details about the draft decision, he stated several times, “I was going to be drafted. No question.”

When asked whether his role might change next season, because of all the talented freshmen coming in, Nwora said, “I don’t think I’ll have to change my role. Nobody does what I do.”

What Mack said he was looking for from Nwora: 1) Better ball handling, 2) More efficient shooting, and 3) Another level on defense.

Steven Enoch was more self effacing when discussing his experience.

He said it, “gave me a clearer vision of what it takes to play (at the next level).” The three areas he said he was advised to work on: 1) Better rebounding, 2) Better distributor of the ball, and 3) Overall end to end conditioning.

My favorite reveal of the presser was Nwora advising that it was Mack who, several days before the decision to return was made, sent him the video Jordan used on social media to announce he was coming back to U of L.

Good move, Coach Mack.

 * * * * *

They hype about next year’s hoops team is cranked to 11. Not only the fan base, but the national college basketball press.

As if I know something others don’t, I get asked what I think just about every day. Top 5? Final Four?

Ever the pessimist when it comes to my beloved Cards, I’ve pumped the breaks somewhat. It’s early. Two of the newbies — David Johnson and Aidan Igiehon — won’t be on campus for another month.

The core of the team, its leaders, are still the fellows who couldn’t close against Duke at home, and whose psyche was severely shattered by the loss. To the point, they played with no confidence the rest of the season. They were also part of the squad from the strange season before that couldn’t close UVa, when they were on the ropes at the Yum!

So, before I go full throttle with my expectations, I want to see what kind of leadership Fresh Kimble provides, and how much swag the rookies bring to the table, and how those two factors help the returnees ability to close.

That reticence notwithstanding, it could be a glorious ride for the Red & Black Faithful.

Yet, as I often tell my buddy Bruce, a serious 24/7/365 Cardinal fan, “Don’t peak too early. It’s only June (July, August, September, etc).” Then he’ll call, as after last season’s highlight afternoon in Chapel Hill, and inquire, “Can I peak now?”

 * * * * *

Loved seeing four of the new Cardinal cagers at The Jim last weekend, taking in the U of L nine in the Regional.

 * * * * *

Friday’s first pitch against East Carolina is High Noon.

Be there or be square.

— Seedy K

3 thoughts on “Wednesday Seedy KO’s: Nwora, Network, Coach Nowhere to be Found ++

  1. Thanks for the dose of reality, in re: our Card Cagers. It’s quite normal to be excited, things DO look bright, Chris Mack is a wonderful, dignified, caring coach, but the aftertaste of last year’s “fold” is never too far from the surface, in my humble opinion. The Duke game, in particular. (I also notice Georgetown is ranked in some Top 25 prognostications. I am very high on Mac and Akimbo, but reflect on last year’s strange “disappearing acts.”)

  2. I will be interested to see if Jordan plays for the front or the back of his jersey. He’s coming back to improve his draft stock. I get that. But will he understand that playing to pad his own stats is not the way to get that done.

  3. Thanks for pumping the breaks. I like confidence but CCM could have his hands full with JN, who could be a major disruption on an otherwise solid but young team. If JN plays for the front of the jersey, his leadership and talent could be a difference maker. C’mon Jordan, you can do this and make your dreams come true, too.

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