By Micah Brown —
The 2018-19 men’s basketball roster sees the addition of three graduate transfers: Christen Cunningham, Khwan Fore and Akoy Agua. While the trio provides depth to both the backcourt and frontcourt, UConn transfer Steven Enoch will take on the largest role among players new to the team.
“He plays hard, extremely competitive,” head coach Chris Mack said on Enoch. “He’s a tough kid. He’s going to have to be a factor for us to be a good team.”
Enoch, alongside sophomore forward Malik Williams, is tasked with replacing Anas Mahmoud and Ray Spalding. The two big men combined to average 19.1 points, 13.7 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game throughout the 2017-18 season.
“We lost a lot of size off last year’s team,” Mack said. “We’re going to have to keep the ball in front of us a lot more than teams of the past because we don’t have the erasers behind us.”
While Enoch is unlikely to fully replicate the offense and stonewall defense displayed by his predecessors, his ability to shoot the ball as a 6-foot-10 center makes him a key starter this season.
During preseason play, Enoch proved his strong case to lead from the paint against Bellarmine and Simmons College of Kentucky. Along with a big presence in the post, the junior got the crowd going with back-to-back three-pointers. Watching Enoch fit well into Mack’s game plan is an encouraging sight with the long season that awaits.
“[Enoch] can do a little bit of everything,” Mack said. “We’ve got to keep him out of foul trouble, so he’s got to be able to tame his aggressiveness.”
While at Connecticut, Enoch never seemed to find a niche in the system of head coach Kevin Ollie. The center averaged just over three points and two rebounds per game. In contrast, Enoch’s offensive skillset already displayed itself in the team’s preseason scrimmages and home opener.
With Louisville men’s basketball packing a smaller squad, it’s safe to say they will not return the same abilities that Mahmoud and Spalding provided last season. The defense may not see as many blocked shots, but Enoch and Williams certainly provide this year with the talent and the height (6-foot-10 and 6-foot-11, respectively). This is not to mention their abilities to shoot the three, which could prove a significant factor if the offense struggles to find looks elsewhere.
“I think my competitiveness is at an all-time high and that comes through experience,” Enoch said. “I’m blessed to be where I am right now.”
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Photo by Taris Smith / The Louisville Cardinal