July 28, 2012
Cardinal Week in Review
In yet another fan friendly move, Coach Strong will allow fans to attend the team's first two practices of the season. The first open practice will take place on August 3rd and will begin at 5:45 p.m. The timing of the second practice has yet to be announced, but will likely take place early Saturday morning.
Ware on the Rise
One of the more surprising developments during the recent Cardinal Caravan was the progress and praise of sophomore Kevin Ware. Coach Pitino called Ware one of the team's most improved players, while Siva went as far as to project him as the frontrunner to start as the team's two guard. It's this writer's opinion that the starting five will be Dieng, Behanan, Blackshear, Hancock and Siva. Nonetheless, it's great to hear that Ware is doing well and will be a contributor.
Cards in the Summer League
The NBA Summer League is in full swing and there are a handful of Louisville alums paying this summer. The most productive of the former Cardinals has been Samardo Samuels. The Jamaican big man played for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Las Vegas league and fared very well. Samuels averaged 12.2 points and 6.8 rebounds, while playing 20 minutes per game.
Straight of the milk carton's missing person's report, Terrence Jennings played for Philadelphia in the Orlando league. TJ saw a good deal of action, playing 14.8 minutes per game, but didn't convert the minutes to production, averaging just 2.8 points and 2.6 rebounds during his five game stint.
Technically Derrick Character isn't a Louisville alum, but he's always a person of interest around the Cardinal nation. D.C. played for the Atlanta Hawks in the Las Vegas league, but only saw action in three of five games and averaged just 1.3 points and less than one rebound per game.
The NBA Summer League continues later this month and Jerry Smith will suit up for the Brooklyn Nets. We'll keep you posted on Jerry's progress.
Urban Bourbon Trail
The big news Tuesday surrounded a new partnership between U of L athletics and Maker's Mark. The partnership will be vital to the construction of a new $8 million academic center for student-athletes.
"The Academic Center of Excellence addresses a critical need for our department and what we need for our student athletes to be successful academically," said Vice-President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich.
The shiny new Academic Center will be built underneath the Norton Terrace on the south end of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. According to UofL, the center will house the academic operations for the entire athletic department and all student-athletes and academic staff will be located in one building.
Obligatory Conference Expansion Note
Speaking during the Big 12's Media Day on Monday, the league commissioner, Bob Bowlsby, spoke about stability in the league bolstered by the conference's new TV contract. A quote worth noting regarding Big 12 expansion was "if we were to press for raised hands in a meeting room around the issue of expansion, I don't know that we'd get two votes for moving to a larger number."
Still, Bowlsby didn't completely disregard a chance of future expansion, saying
"Now, having said that, expansion is on every conference's list of discussion items," Bowlsby said. "I don't think we can ever afford not to think about it. But if the Big 12 had to vote on it today, we wouldn't take any new members in.
Clifford Rozier will remain the lone Rozier in Cardinal history. At least for now. Coach Rick Pitino confirmed this week that Cardinal commitment Terry Rozier will not join the team for the upcoming 2012-13 season. Rozier, a talented shooting guard from Shaker Heights, Ohio, will instead spend the next year at Hargrave Military Academy
"We have spoken to Terry and without question, he is headed to the ideal spot for him to improve his academic standing and to play with teammates very familiar with him," Pitino said. "A.W. (Hamilton, Hargrave's head basketball coach) is an outstanding coach and was a terrific backcourt player himself. Another year academically and athletically in prep school will be a great opportunity for Terry."
The news of Rozier to Hargrave is not unexpected. Most of Louisville's players have been enrolled in classes and have been on campus throughout the summer. Rozier averaged 25.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.7 steals as a senior last season.
More Preseason Accolades
Our parent site, YahooSports.com, ranked Louisville at No. 26 in its preseason poll. Of particular note was the site dubbing Louisville native Devante Parker being singled out as a possible
"Breakthrough Player". Regarding, Parker, YahooSports.com had this to say:
"Parker had 18 catches last season as a true freshman, with six of them going for touchdowns. He is big (6-3/205) and athletic, and look for him to become a more physical receiver this season. He had some trouble getting off press coverage last season, but that should not be the case this fall. He has the ability to go deep but also is effective on crossing patterns."
Hancock Close to 100%
Pitino updated the status of forward Luke Hancock this week:
"He's dribbling the basketball well, but Fred Hina is a very conservative trainer. We want to have him for the whole season. He'll be in individual instruction in September, but we're going to hold him out of full contact until the start of practice. He'll be 100% by October."
The Governor's Cup press conference was held Thursday which featured Coach Strong and UK coach Joker Phillips at the Cardinal Club in Simpsonville. There wasn't much newsworthy material from the annual event as both coaches played it safe and close to the vest. Still you can watch the full video of Coach Strong's remarks here:
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