Louisville CardFile: Prairie View

It is difficult, and to be honest, unfair to try and assess what kind of team U of L is going to be at this juncture, because half the expected rotation is out with injuries.

Meaning, among other things, I’ve been forced to learn how to spell Wiznitzer.

Not an onerous task, mind you, but certainly one I hadn’t considered, while bubbling in here at the Seedy K Sports Suites on the 17th floor of Culture Maven Tower.

So I’m trying simply to get a general idea about the team conceptually, along with more specific takes on those who are actually taking to the hardwood.

In Sunday’s 22 point dispatch of Prairie View, 86-64, the only holdovers to see action were Aidan Igiehon, who to Cardinal fans’ chagrin still is aways away from prime time minutes, and David Johnson. More about DJ in a bit.

So, here are my takes on the newcomers, at least as much as can be discerned from a three game sampling. As well as a few plusses and minuses from the victory itself.

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Dre Davis didn’t have a noticeably significant game against the Panthers. Yet he did tally a dozen points and grab five boards.

He was the spark that ignited Louisville, when they took their first lead with 6:01 to go in the 1st. (Which statement is not meant to disparage DJ, whose trey, the first for the Cards after six misses, knotted the tilt at 18. It was Davis who garnered the assist on that play.)

After Johnson’t triple, Davis intercepted a DeWayne Cox pass. Then at the offensive end took it strong to the hoop. But missed. He stuck with it, fighting for his own miss, and putting in the follow for a +1. Which he converted.

Up three, the Cardinals were in charge the rest of the way, even though the visitors momentarily knotted it again.

Davis moves his feet on D. (You’re going to be hearing that a lot here, because all the newcomers seem to be doing the same.)

Davis plays smart. Because he high schooled as a Hoosier. And is the son of the coach of Warren Central.

 * * * * *

Quinn Slazinski, whom I believe to have a scorer’s mentality, and can net the three, didn’t have a great shooting day. Duh. 1/6 from the field. Still he was 5/5 at the line (where U of L as a team drained 24 of 32).

What I like about QS is his facility to be in the right spot for rebounds. And, while the phrase “ball handler” should never be used to describe him, he can on occasion beat his man off the bounce and get it into the middle.

Not fleet afoot, he moves his feet on D.

 * * * * *

JJ Traynor was just off in his third game as a collegian.

It happens.

But, as I’ve mentioned through the years, his father Jason Osborne was one of the most talented ballers ever to wear the Red & Black. Unfortunately, he played in an era when school prexy Donald Swain thought it prudent to make the school’s eligibility standards higher than those required by the NCAA.

Traynor can play, and he’s going to do his dad and the Cardinal tradition proud.

 * * * * *

After the Seton Hall escape, I had to hang up when checking in with Doc, a Cardinal fan to the core. I was pumped with the thrill of victory, extolling the virtues of Jae’Lyn Withers.

Doc, knowledgeable about the game and an astute observer, started to break down the redshirt frosh’s flaws.

Flushed with excitement of a short-handed W against a Big East foe, I wasn’t having any of it. “Enjoy it, for heaven’s sake,” I implored before hanging up.

After Withers’ breakout 20/9 effort Sunday. Doc was more complimentary. As he knows he should have been.

When I chided him for finally recognizing Withers’ talent — “It’s about time you came around on my man JW.” — he pointed out that Withers seemed more comfortable playing at the 4, facing the hoop, than with his back to the basket.

I recall Chris Mack saying something last season, when JW was redshirting, that he would/could/might end up being the best of that bunch of freshmen.

He finishes.

He moves his feet on D.

 * * * * *

Carlik Jones.

Is I.N.D.I.S.P.E.N.S.I.B.L.E.

One of his immediately noticeable talents, among many, is his ability to finish in the paint.

Not only when taking it all the way to the hoop, but stopping at 8 to 12 feet straight on from the basket, and netting a floater or a stop and pop J. It’s an art not practiced much these days.

He, you know, seems to move his feet on D.

 * * * * *

Which brings me to David Johnson, who is bearing the burden of lofty expectations. A rookie breakout in Cameron Indoor on national TV will do that.

He played much more under control Sunday. Most of his four turnovers were early.

He finished with 19 on 6/10 marksmanship, 6/6 at the charity stripe, along with 6 assists and 3 caroms.

He posted up his man on several possessions, remind us old timers of Jim Price.

Until opponents are forced to respect Louisville from long range, thus opening up the middle, Johnson will need to be more judicious driving into a crowd in the paint.

 * * * * *

I know the one word that most every, if not every single Cardinal fan thought of when walk on Hogan Orbaugh drained a trey from the corner.

All together now: “Wichita State.” (I know that’s two words.)

 * * * * * *

Louisville ended up 6/17 from the beyond the arc, acceptable if not exceptional.

But, after as previously noted missing their first six attempts, the Cardinals were 6/11.

U of L’s advantage was only ten at intermission, 41-31.

But the team had connected on its last 7 FG attempts of the 1st.

Then quickly, after the break, increased its advantage to 15.

Last five minutes of the 1st, first five minutes of the 2d. Important.

 * * * * *

Two more HUGE battles in the bubble this week.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Tuesday, the Cards 4th game in 7 days. Then NC Greensboro on Friday.

After which, the Cards and my fingers get a few days off.

— c d kaplan