Tag Archives: Russ Smith

U of L Cards have Owned Coach K

The abrupt missive got right to the point.

No words were minced.

It came from the umbrella hoops writer’s association, to which I hope to keep my membership. BABBLE (Basketball America Back Benchers for Literary Excellence).

It was personally signed by organization prexy, Naismith Chamberlain, the only man known to be descended from both the inventor of the game and Wilt the Stilt.

Serious credentials, those. Not to mention, his mentor was Dick “Hoops” Weiss.

Dear Mr. Kaplan:

It comes to our attention that it has been 127 hours since the first reports that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will retire after the 21-22 season.

You have yet to write an article about the situation. This is a serious breach of organizational protocol.

Should you fail to do so before the end of the next business day, your membership in BABBLE shall be suspended, pending permanent dismissal.

(S) Naismith Chamberlain

Well then, I’d best get to it. Continue reading U of L Cards have Owned Coach K

Friday Card Quips: Bobby P, E2 Y3 & Istanbul Russ

petrinoBobby P, Era II, Year 3. There were moments of offensive firepower so explosive during Card Coach Bobby Petrino’s first two ventures in town, initially as offensive coordinator for a season, then as head mentor from ’03-’06, that the Red & Black Faithful were oft taken to exclaim, “He’s the next great college coaching genius.”

We were not alone in our assessment.

Not the least of his achievements was beating the Cats in his first game, when wearing the leader’s head set. And each season after that.

More monumental — after all, beating UK on the gridiron is no big deal — was an offense that trampled the tundra, seemingly at will. Wide open receivers, a deceptively effective running game. The Cards hung 50, 60, 70 on its mostly mid major schedule, at their pleasure. There were also big Ws over big time schools, skunking the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, eviscerating the Beavers from PAC-12 Oregon State. And that victory over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl.

In ’06, Louisville was a W that wasn’t to come in New Brunswick, NJ away from a spot in the national title game.

Then . . . I’ll save you a reiteration of the details . . . he was gone.

Soon enough, he was back. Continue reading Friday Card Quips: Bobby P, E2 Y3 & Istanbul Russ

Louisville Card File: North Carolina State

joaniecardOn the fourteenth of February in 1929, a half dozen business associates of George Clarence “Bugs” Moran, along with an innocent mechanic who, much to his misfortune, happened to be repairing the wrong vehicle in the wrong garage at the wrong time that St. Valentine’s Day in the Windy City, never made it home with roses and heart shaped boxes of chocolates for their sweeties.

Nor did Joe and Jerry, a couple of musicians, played in Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot” by Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. They happened to be carrying their instruments through that garage at that inopportune moment, witnessing the territory clearing carnage known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. During which the minions of one Alphonse Gabriel Capone, aided by several former associates of a brotherhood known as Egan’s Rats, chose to circumvent the chances for success of their rival through the use of machine guns, rather than threeballs.

Joe and Jerry, along with their instruments, which may or may not have been crafted in Paris, France and adorned with Louisville Cardinal logos, and donated by Mark and Cindy Lynn, were more fortunate. They skedaddled to Miami Beach in the cloak of night as transvestist members of an all-girl band, which featured one Sugar Cane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe).

While what happened to the Louisville Cardinals yesterday at the Yum!, a steady and stealth-bereft beatdown at the hands of Anthony “Cat” Barber and those of his fellow North Carolina State Wolfpack, wasn’t a massacre, it was also not even a reasonable facsimile to a Kiss Cam-worthy bed of roses. Continue reading Louisville Card File: North Carolina State

Louisville Card File: Pitino’s Summer Progress Report

dunikcardMy fellow Cardinal fan Bruce and I have a running joke, which we invoke when we meet periodically for lunch.

Despite the ever increasing length of the basketball season — and we both thank Naismithius, the Hoops Deity for that — we meet more often than not when it’s out of season. Like this past Tuesday, the day before The Rick did a meet and greet with the press for a team update.

Bruce is always at mid-season excitement level, whatever the time of year. I will advise him “not to peak too early.” If we lunch in, say, mid February, he’ll ask, “Is it too early to peak now?”

Which I advise as a prelude to my admission that I feel a bit more pumped about U of L hoops than I know I ought to be this time of year.

* * * * *

I have a theory about next season’s team, which, reading between the lines, making assumptions from peripheral comments, I have extrapolated that Coach Pitino might also believe. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Pitino’s Summer Progress Report

D Day: Defeat to Deutschland ist Denada & the Draft

soccerRemember Rule #2 from back during post season hoops?

2) Survive and advance.

Style points mean nichts. (Which admonition is now really an adjunct explanation to Rule #2, though the Rules Committee is considering elevating it to Rule status at its next meeting.)

Die Nationalmannschaft 1, USMNT 0.

Given Portugal’s 2-1 W over depleted Ghana, the loss is of no consequence now. Nor, is that last second header given up to Portugal. Had the U.S. held on 2-1 then, it would not have changed a thing, assuming today’s result was the same.

Actually, if the Americans had qualified already for the knockout round prior to today, Jurgen Klinsmann more than likely would have rested most, if not all, of his starters and Germany might have rolled by 4, 5 goals or more. Continue reading D Day: Defeat to Deutschland ist Denada & the Draft

ABCDs of Baseball, Playoffs, That Futbol Thing & Mo’ (Music Video Included)

b-ballLeBron and DeWayne showed what they were made of Tuesday night. It was superstar time in Indy and the superstars showed up. The Pacers had no answer.

Miami’s W on the road evened the Eastern finals at 1-1.

If the Pacers don’t fold like tent in the wind, t could be, it might be, it can be, but will it be a good series?

But, a Heat sweep at home would be the death knell for Indiana.


* * * * *

My baseball team is the Detroit Tigers. Continue reading ABCDs of Baseball, Playoffs, That Futbol Thing & Mo’ (Music Video Included)

Monday Musings: Smith, Sam & Sterling

russWhile, in the aftermath of the unfortunate “mishap,” it’s not quite fair, there’s still a part of me that wants to wag my finger at Big Russ, admonishing, “Why the hell are you shipping Fed Ex?

“Louisville is a UPS town. Fed Ex is Memphis. Remember when Calipari was going to trot his Tigers out in Fed Ex unis?

“Anybody who cares a hoot about Louisville ships with its major industry when possible.”

So there, I got that out of my system.

Which is to avoid the obvious. There’s a Fed Ex employee here in town, who’s got Russ Smith’s 2013 tourney jersey hanging on his bedroom wall, like some stolen Renoir. Continue reading Monday Musings: Smith, Sam & Sterling

Louisville Card File: Kentucky

dunikcardFree Throws.

Closing the Deal.

* * * * *

Rare is the team whose fatal flaws — the ones that shall spell ultimate doom — don’t manifest themselves during the course of a long, long season.

There are exceptions. The recent Kemba Walker-led UConn Huskies were certainly were one outfit that overcame previous bouts of malaise to win it all. This year’s Kentucky Wildcats might be another.

The Louisville Cardinals, with 31 Ws against but six losses, proved the rule. Not the exception.

Free Throws.

Closing the Deal. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Kentucky

Louisville Card File: Manhattan

dunikcardRule #1: Survive and advance.

It was no less an authority than Al McGuire, who once opined that you’d always have at least two nailbiters along the way, if you were going to advance in The Dance.

Last night, the Cardinals got one out of the way — 71-64 over Manhattan — in the Round of 64.

Remember style points matter not in the tournament. There are no Russian judges to please.

Score more points than the other team. Play in the next round.

* * * * *

At THE critical juncture of last night’s heart attack of a game, I was reminded of a conversation with Luke Hancock at Media Day before the season. I asked him how the Cards were going to fill the void of leadership with Peyton and Gorgui gone?

Without haughtiness or bravado, but with steel-eyed quiet confidence, he looked at me and said, “I’d like to think I had something to do with that.”

Point taken. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Manhattan

Louisville Card File: Houston

dunikcardThere is, of course, but one philosophical rumination that is paramount in the wake of yet another essentially indescribable performance last night — the best yet, frankly — by He Who Is Russ.

Coach Rick Pitino pulled Smith out of last night’s basting of Houston with 6:09 to play, the Cards up by 29 (84-55), and . . . Russ just four points short of breaking Wes Unseld’s all-time single game scoring record of 45.

Did Russ Smith deserve the opportunity to go for that record?

Given Unseld’s premier importance in the development of U of L basketball, was it better to leave the record be, to allow #31 to remain at the top of that list?

There is no easy answer. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Houston