Updated 1/21 at 1:15.
The dunk, ah yes, The Dunk.
Well, ever the contrarian, I shall not start with that moment. Though, rest easy and be patient, I shall get to it soon enough.
After all it has hoopaholics locally and across the B-ball universe ODing. And, should Dickie V have been telecasting U of L’s 84-65 W over Florida State, we may have had the unfortunate pleasure of watching him implode with hyperbole before our very eyes, his viscera blasting through 55 inch Samsungs across the country. (Thankfully he was elsewhere.)
So, yes, more in a bit about Donovan Mitchell’s splendorous slam, and its place in Cardinal lore. But first, I want to talk about my favorite play of his last night. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Florida State
The official announcement:
Louisville’s Shaqquan Aaron Will Transfer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville freshman guard/forward Shaqquan Aaron will leave the Cardinals’ program at the conclusion of the spring semester.
“We are in total agreement with Shaqquan transferring and we wish him the best,” said UofL Coach Rick Pitino.
Aaron averaged 1.3 points and 0.7 rebounds in 23 games as a freshman. He totaled a season-best 11 points and five rebounds at Wake Forest on Jan. 4, but scored 15 points for the remainder of the season. He had to sit out the Cardinals’ first nine games of the season due to an NCAA eligibility issue.
The 6-7 wing from Seattle, Wash., led Rainier Beach High School to the 2014 Washington Class 3A state championship. A two-time first-team AP Class 3A all-state selection and the state player of the year as a senior, he was ranked among the nation’s top 35 high school prospects by most media outlets.
Fingernails, length intact, remain unbitten.
In an opening round squeaker, the Cards, flummoxed by the presence of a 7-6 Senegalese Anteater aberration, were pushed to the brink before prevailing. While last night in its Round of 32 encounter, U of L took a 14-13 lead it never relinquished over favored Northern Iowa after 8:21 of play, keeping the Panthers measured until midnight tolled for the erstwhile Final Four wannabe from the Mo Valley.
So, prone to frustrate even its most ardent fans, but fortitude rich and full of pleasant surprises, this feisty 2014-15 edition of the University of Louisville Cardinals forges ahead to a Sweet Sixteen date in Syracuse with conference chum North Carolina State.
As one loyalist hummed, as the clock ticked down, the victory secure, “You’re sixteen, you’re beautiful, and you’re mine.”
* * * * *
That the Cardinals never lost the lead in the second half, doesn’t mean there weren’t moments that increased the heart rate. This was, after all, the NCAA tournament, with the last berth of the second weekend’s games the prize. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Northern Iowa
There are important games.
Then there are big games.
This is not my delineation, though I wish I’d have postulated it first.
Charles Pierce is my favorite writer, a scribe of storytellng, wordweaving consequence to which I can only aspire. It is from his postulation that I extrapolate.
Big games transcend. Either from tradition through the decades. Or from the reality and ramifications of the now.
While important games have immediate effect in the short run of time, big games live on through the years.
This game, this improbable victory by a lesser Louisville team, this stalwart effort against an immaculate Cavalier squad that contests with a mature, steady unwavering sturdiness, this regular season ending, well- conceived, earnestly executed win, this, my favorite Cardinal game ever at the Yum!, this was a Big Game.
In a season I have previously described as wobbly, the University of Louisville Cardinals, locked in from the opening tip, focused like no time previously this campaign, never wavered, never withered. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Virginia
If Louisville’s successes this season hinge on how hard the team plays defense, and I fall in line with The Rick, and most everybody else who has observed the Cards flaky, often non existent, on again off again offensive prowess, agreeing that it’s stops über alles.
If that be the case, then it’s Man Up!
Mano a mano.
English translation: Man to man, Denny Crum style.
Or, as Jim Larranaga would call it: Manslaughter on man. (More on that in a moment.) Continue reading Louisville Card File: Miami
Watching Purdue’s solid 67-63 W over rival Indiana last night in Assembly Hall, to surprisingly sweep the season series, I saw the future of Louisville basketball.
And, no, I don’t expect to be the next Cards coach, as John Landau became The Boss’s manager, after writing an article, declaring “he’d seen the future of rock and roll and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”
Watching the Boilermakers’ backup pivot, 7’+ Isaac Haas, lay 12 points on the Hoosiers, while grabbing 9 boards in just a dozen minutes of action, all points generated within a step of the hoop, here’s what I envision next season and beyond in the Yum!. Quinton Snider from the point, or Anas Mahmoud or Chinanu Onuaku at the high post, feeding Matz Stockman for easy buckets from the semi circle.
Rick Pitino is not only not afraid to run his offense through a big, posting low, I believe he’s inclined to prefer it. When the Cards had Wildcat transfer Marvin Stone, they did it all the time, including, to winning effect, about the first dozen offensive possessions in the one game Stone played in red and black against the Big Blue.
Anyhow, Purdue’s plan worked to victory against shorter IU.
As it will for the Cards in the future.
Remember where you heard it first. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Louisville’s Future, Pitino at his Worst, TV Madness & More
Corrected 2/19 at 11:25 am
It didn’t take long after the final buzzer for the calls and texts to come rolling in.
“Did you hear that thud? The sky just fell.”
“Boeheim totally shut us down in the second half. Why didn’t The Rick adjust?”
Something about the ineffectiveness of Anton Gill’s game, in a conversation with Doc, the details of which I can’t recall. Because, by that time, my brain was shortcircuiting due to the whirligig of despondency over the Cards’ second half meltdown, second loss in a row, and its third in the last four outings.
And, oh yeah, some more sighs and the invocation of this too often heard refrain, among friends and in the media, “Where are Luke, Peyton, Russ and Gorgui when we really need them?” Continue reading Louisville Card File: Syracuse
Coincidence or catalyst?
With 12:05 left, Louisville’s unimpressive five point halftime advantage had dissipated.
And then some.
A Panther trey had just given the feisty visitors a six point advantage. L 39, P 45.
Never one to hold onto timeouts, The Rick called his fourth of the battle, second in the last 90 seconds. To the bench, he escorted Chris Jones, who was playing as if he was still 1 on 5 at Northwest Florida State College, along with Anton Gill, who has yet to rediscover the scoring panache he displayed in prep school.
In their stead, coach inserted Q and Qx2 into the lineup. That would be Quentin Snider and Shaqquan Aaron. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Pittsburgh
In my excitement over Louisville’s W last night in the balmy clime of Coral Gables, its 4th W in 5 road encounters during its inaugural ACC season, I forgot to stay tuned to WAVE3 TV for Kent Taylor’s piece on ’86 Cardinal star Billy Thompson.
That the station should run a where-is-he-now? segment on the fellow, who led that team to the school’s second national crown, is timely and germane, given the disturbing dynamic playing out this year between a portion of the U of L fan base and senior forward Wayne Blackshear.
Thompson was generally considered the best player in the land, coming out of high school in Camden, N.J.. He announced his college choice on national TV with Al McGuire. The Red & Black faithful had extremely high expectations for Billy T. Which started to wane, during his rookie season, even before he missed a breakaway dunk in the national semis against Phi Slama Jama, a non-score which far too many fans ridiculously felt cost the Cards that game.
Thompson was inexplicably reviled for his “underperformance” the rest of his career. Until, that is, he kicked it in gear midway through his senior campaign, paving the way for that NC2A crown. I specifically remember one fellow who sat behind my father and me at Freedom Hall, who, full of vitriol, as if Thompson was playing bad on purpose just to piss him off, never let an opportunity pass to loudly spew his venom toward BT.
The same type of thing is happening in this, his senior season, to Wayne Blackshear. He obviously is not meeting the expectations of many Cardinal fans, who seem to relish every chance they get to express how little Blackshear does for this team, how “awful” or “horrible” he’s playing, what a “non-factor” he is.
It all seems misplaced to me. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Miami
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity . . .
Wise words, those. Perceptive guy, that Charlie Dickens. I mean, it’s like he was in the house yesterday.
Literate too. Maybe the C-J will hire him for the vacant Himmelsbach spot.
* * * * *
During halftime in the corridor, I saw Griff, Scooter and Phil Bond together, breaking down the first half woes of the Cards, who looked to those icons, Dickie V, Doris, a full Yum! and all the hoops world like Hans and Franz Loser Men.
I breached the perimeter of the all-time Cardinal greats’ circle, and asked, “Is it my imagination, or does U of L have no appreciable, workable offense?” Continue reading Louisville Card File: North Carolina