Men’s basketball must learn on the fly in 2017-18

By on November 13, 2017

By Dalton Ray —

On the court, men’s basketball starts this season similar to ones in the past: ranked in the Top 25, an established starting five and talented bench.

Off the court, No. 16 Louisville is clouded with uncertainty. 

Replacing Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino is David Padgett, a former Louisville player and Pitino assistant.

Despite being in bad situation, Padgett says all the right things when he steps in front of a microphone.

“We have a chance to have a very good year on based our talent level. We have a good mix of returning experienced players that got significant minutes for us and a very nice group of talented freshman,” Padgett said.

Louisville is led by seniors Quentin Snider and Anas Mahmoud and junior Deng Adel. The three upperclassmen will be leaned on for production and guidance through a dubious time.

Snider, a local product, has 271 career assists. His calm pace sets the tone for U of L. A crafty offensive player, Snider is the team’s returning leading scorer (12.4 points per game).

Future NBA prospect Adel is primed to be the star for the Cardinals. The 6-foot-7 athletic wing will likely be one of the best two-way players in the ACC this season. Expect Adel’s junior campaign to thrust him into the first round of the NBA Draft.

Mahmoud is the vocal leader of the Cardinals. Mahmoud doesn’t have the ideal weight for a star center, but is a quality defender that can step away from the rim. With 114 career blocks, Mahmoud is sitting just outside the top 10 in program history.

The other two expected starters are sophomore VJ King and junior Ray Spalding. King can play either the two or three and Spalding is an athletic 6-foot-10 forward. Both have NBA talent and could potentially be difference makers for U of L if they stay consistent.

Padgett expects the team to be a quality offensive team.

“At this point of the season, we’re farther ahead offensively than we have been,” Padgett said. “We’re a little behind defensively where we have been in the past.”

An area of improvement Padgett knows his team must address is depth. And there’s only to achieve that: Time.

“(The freshmen) just have to go through it,” Padgett said. “I wish there was an easy way to inject experience into these guys but there’s not.”

The bench is filled with underclassmen. Ryan McMahon and Dwayne Sutton, a pair of redshirt sophomores, have limited experience and will likely be two of the first off the bench.

McMahon, a 3-point specialist, will miss some time early with a rib injury. Sutton is a powerful 6-foot-5 wing and his athletic ability allows to play bigger than his height. A known slasher and rebounder, Sutton sat out last season after transferring from UNC Asheville.

Freshman Darius Perry will step into the spotlight early because of McMahon’s absence. McMahon said Perry will grow through committing turnovers.

“(Perry) is the most ‘freshman’ in terms of what he has to learn, but he’s also probably the most talented,” McMahon said.

Freshman Malik Williams, 6-foot-11 can stretch the floor with his shooting ability.

“I don’t know if we’ve had a guy of William’s size that can shoot from outside,” Padgett said. “He just has to learn he can’t just float out there.”

Jordan Nwora and Lance Thomas are the remaining two scholarship freshmen. Nowra is a 6-foot-8 forward that can knock down the outside shot and Thomas is a raw 6-foot-10 forward.

Louisville’s talent is undeniable. Before the Pitino fallout, the Cards were potentially a top-five team.

U of L’s success will bank on Padgett’s ability to learn on the fly as a first-time head coach.

You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477. 

Photo by Laurel Slaughter / The Louisville Cardinal

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-18) that is technically award winning.Email: dray@louisvillecardinal.com

One Comment

  1. Niyonshuti Joseph

    November 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Wow am really great ful because of having people like you and I really thank the lord who give talent.blessings to you all.

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