U of L CardFile: Ky Wesleyan

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is showtime, are you ready for Showtime?

Kenny Payne, are you ready for Showtime?

Coach, come on down, it’s time to play Truth and Consequences.

The Louisville Cardinal regular season commences next Monday against the Retrievers of Maryland Baltimore County.

It is time to put up or shut up, to be frankly a smidge indelicate after last night’s dispiriting L for the second season in a row in an exhi.

Reality is, the Panthers, with their storied history, are probably better than many schools the Cards will face non-conference.

But still.

I believe Kenny Payne has a plan, with this season’s upgraded roster. Whether it’s legit and will work is blowin’ in the wind. Only time will tell who has fell and who’s been left behind.

Or, whether University of Louisville basketball is on its way to being relevant again.

The Eye Test is now engaged and not for a trial run.

Before last night’s tilt, I went through the non league schedule. I believe that to approach an acceptable outcome to the season, the Cardinals need to start 8-3 outside the ACC. Including a get back against that pesky rival over on Norris Place, with a coach salivating like a Ralph Steadman sketch at the opportunity for two in a row.

 * * * * *

What I must believe about last night’s game: that KP’s stated plan to see who is ready and who is not mattered more to him than winning the game.

At one point down the stretch, sphincter tightening time, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and Ty-Laur Johnson were on the court.

BH-H has essentially shown nothing at all this preseason to indicate he’ll be a positive factor for the Cards. Any factor. When he’s on the hardwood, it’s like the Cards are playing with four guys and somebody they picked up off the sideline for shirts and skins and said, “just go stand over there.”

Ty-Laur Johnson was also on the court. He played with energy. But displayed two traits he hasn’t yet moved on from that KP specifically addressed on Media Day. He was out of control when running the offense. He kept trying to strip the ball from the guy he was checking.

I have to believe that KP wanted to see how they’d react in pressure situations. It couldn’t have been because he thought they were his best options.

 * * * * *

There were several truly disturbing stats, underscoring how Wesleyan was ready and U of L was not.

The Cards were -16 on second chance points. (2-18)

The Cards were -14 on the boards. (33-47)

The Cards were an almost unfathomable -35 off the bench. (4-39)

Neither team shot the ball very well.

At the 7:30 TV timeout in the 1st, the Cards were up — gulp  — 12-9. Both squads were 3/18 from the field.

Louisville shot 34% on the night. The victors 36%. Except the Panthers launched 14 more attempts. (61-47)

 * * * * *

There were some positives. True.

The game was a fait accompli with 5:04 left. Panther Kennedy Miles missed the second of two FTs. But Alex Gray snared the rebound, got it to Miles who drained a triple for 53-49 advantage.

Yet, the good part, Louisville though deflated Did Not Quit.

The Cards kept making their FTs.

And Skyy Clark showed his mettle and was almost able to will a victory. He ended with 24 points and 7 rebounds.

U of L was 31/38 at the charity stripe. 82%.

Which essentially kept them in the game. Along with Clark’s play down the stretch.

 * * * * *

Dennis Evans, who started, oddly played only 15 minutes. He had 5 boards, blocked 3 shots (+ a goal tend thanks to Jamie Luckie) and had a steal. He had the only +/- of positive significance at +9.

He did not officially take a shot. (He was fouled on a put back so no attempt.)

JJ Traynor had four blocks.

Manny Okorafor and Koron Davis DNP.

 * * * * *

Oh was I bummed walking out of the gym.

I am a fan first and foremost.

As my stomach was churning, I kept thinking of a distinct memory from the last few years of the Denny Crum decline. Louisville was playing some C-USA schlepper — Charlotte or UAB maybe. The game was nip and tuck down to the wire.

My stomach was in turmoil. My heart was beating triple time.

“I care too much,” I said to myself.

More than a score of years later, I still do.

Beat UMBC.

— c d kaplan


8 thoughts on “U of L CardFile: Ky Wesleyan

  1. Agree on all levels. BH-H just takes up space. We get almost nothing out of the 4s and 5s, and this from the supposed Big Man Whisperer. To let a Div. II team whose tallest player is 6-7 get so many offensive rebounds is inexcusable. Don’t they have rebounding drills? Kenny’s explanation for why Okorafor didn’t play in an exhibition game was nonsensical. Hard to see how this obviously more-talented team is really any better-coached than last year’s team. Very sad. Beat Virginia Tech.

  2. What is the definition of insanity? Some wag said something like doing the same thing over and over again—and expecting a different result. And I spent over$5000 for this sh*t?

  3. Could not agree more. The jury is out on KP for sure but I’m afraid that it is going to return a verdict sooner rather than later.
    And it’s not going to be pretty.
    I played a lot of golf years ago at the Cardinal Club with KP and he’s a great guy, but Louisville is paying him millions of dollars a year to win games, not be a father or grandfather to these kids.
    Could he just be too nice?
    Hard to believe that Denny Crum or Rick Pitino would’ve only one four games with last year’s talent.

    1. He is definitely not too nice to these players. He calls them out directly in practice, and berates those who are appearing to not go hard, and challenges them to explain why they were not where they were supposed to be. Unfortunately as a big man developer, he continues to try to make BHH (Bless His Heart) do things he actually doesn’t appear to be able to do

      1. To cornrtcard
        You were there and I wasn’t so you might be right, but something is wrong and I don’t have the expertise to know what it is – maybe just not good enough players?
        Guys play for division 2 teams for the main reason that they are not good enough to get scholarships at division one schools.

        The very idea that we should ever lose to a division two school is absurd.

  4. My oh my. A few new players but why would you watch a rerun of last year’s debacle? Disorganized, lack of understanding of the fundamentals of basketball, non-shooters, and to this point abject failure of the coaches to coach up the bigs. The front line is a “mess”.
    I am not sure anyone on the court understands the rich tradition of Cardinal basketball. It is not ok to settle for mediocrity. Nor must the fans. Not too many of them around who have enough money to just piss away 4 or 5 K a year to watch a s..t show. If now it’s all about dollars, then I wouldn’t expect the fans to buy “defective basketball”. Harsh? Yes, but it is how much I care for this program.

  5. Thank you for spelling out our first regular season opponent. After 3 weeks I finally know who UMBC is

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