By Ken Cross
The Louisville Cardinals are getting ready for one of the most deep and talented teams of the Rick Pitino era. The chemistry and definition of the basketball team was capitalized with the election of Anas Mahmoud, Deng Adel, and Quentin Snyder as the tri-captains for the 2017-18 campaign.
“I am surprised but very excited to see that Anas Mahmoud got the most votes,” said Louisville’s Rick Pitino, who enters his 17th campaign with the Cardinals, “Each player on the team and the coaches voted.”
Mahmoud’s election was nearly unanimous and Ray Spalding and V.J. King were also receiving votes.
“We are going to need that type of leadership our practices and conditioning have gone really well this summer,” noted Pitino, “It’s very exciting and refreshing to see such an incredible attitude of guys gaining strength and losing body fat. They have dedicated themselves like nothing I have seen.”
The Cardinals had the number one strength of schedule in the nation a year ago and that will be a nor this season with Seton Hall, Indiana, Memphis, Kentucky, Purdue and the usual rigors of the ACC schedule.
The lack of care by the NCAA in looking into the Cardinals program where it alleges, not proves, that strippers were provided for basketball players has taken it’s toll on the program and now Louisville is ready to hit the court on October 1 and put that aside. The mighty “authority of investigation” is taking the word of a prostitute and former Cardinals assistant Andre McGee, who was not in the good graces of the program when he left.
Pitino noted that buy-in for recruits and their families is as strong as ever.
“It’s strange, sometimes, when you face adversity its strange how it works in our favor,” he noted, “We have had our best recruiting in my 17 years here in the last couple of years. We got very lucky with Steven Enoch, a 6-10, 255-pound player who is a very talented young man and a transfer from Connecticut coming in.”
Enoch has to sit out this season, but as Mahmoud graduates after ’17-18, he will fit in well at center even though 6-11 Mailk Williams will be a stalwart in the paint. Enoch plays with his back to the basket while Williams faces up as well. Two different styles inside are an anomaly in the college game these days and will give Pitino even more options in a year.
Louisville is still attracting recruits as Pitino says this year and next year may be his best since he came to Louisville.
“Sometimes there is no explanation, but I think when everyone takes their time and researches, they know what we are all about,” he explained, “They see the potential of this program right now and they see the young players in here and they are very talented. Every single recruit said the same thing, ‘We know what you are all about,’ and then every family said, ‘We know what you are all about,’ and that is very important because we have been through such torment around here.”
The Perilous NCAA Transfer Rule
For whatever strange reason, the NCAA is talking about making everyone eligible to transfer after every season. This situation continues to wreak of the rich getting richer and since we know that the NCAA is all about money, it looks to be getting deeper in bed with the power conference while ignoring the plight of the mid-majors.
“In the last four or five years I have witnessed a lot of great things that the NCAA has done with the meal plans and travel with parents, but this is the worst piece of proposed legislation I have seen in my lifetime, explained Pitino, “It wouldn’t be bad for the University of Louisville, but it would be terrible for Miami of Ohio. If someone has a young man who blows up at a mid-major school…this would kill mid majors.”
It would also give more credence to AAU coaches and sneaker companies who would get involved to promote their players.
Then, player development is again an issue where some players would move interminably while mid-major coaches could be spending time developing kids who would then leave their programs for a higher profile league. Once again, the NCAA showing it has no clue where human rights and the good of the game(s) are concerned.