By: Jason Krell
Earlier this year, University of Louisville athletic director, Josh Heird named Kenny Payne to the head coaching role of the men’s basketball team. With the firing of former head coach Chris Mack, Heird faced a lot of pressure in getting this decision right in hopes of bringing Louisville back to the national powerhouse it used to be.
Historically, Louisville basketball is a winning program. With dominance in the 1980s and steady success through the 2000s and 2010s, a lot is at stake for Payne to make Louisville basketball relevant again. Former coaches like Denny Crum and Rick Pitino have set the standard where anything less than an ACC championship and final-four run would be considered a lost season. Or would it?
This will be Kenny Payne’s first gig as a head coach, at any level so it is expected for things to not be perfect and smooth sailing. However, valuable assets such as Nolan Smith and Danny Manning showcase to fans that Louisville basketball has one of the most experienced coaching staff in the country.
In addition to a distinguished coaching staff, players such as Sydney Curry and El Ellis will be looking to make their case for ACC player of the year and make a run in the NCAA tournament. With so much young talent on the roster, you can’t help but think they have nothing to lose, and a team that has nothing to lose come March can be a dangerous thing.