By Ken Cross
Louisville coach David Padgett needed a strong assistant coach as he sails what could be uncharted waters in abruptly being named head coach upon the firing of Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino last month. Enter former college basketball coach Trent Johnson, who was sidelined last season after his firing from TCU.
Johnson was a head coach from 1999 until 2015 as he had stops at Nevada, Stanford, LSU, and with the Horned Frogs. Johnson generally had rebuilds at all four stops and made the schools competitive. As TCU won the NIT last season, Johnson had recruited every contributor on that squad and then Jamie Dixon did a masterful job of creating chemistry and building the Horned Frogs into a winner.
“I would want my son to play for Trent Johnson,” said Georgia coach Mark Fox in a prepared statement as he was Johnson’s assistant at Nevada, “He cares about young people, and he cares about doing things right. I think he will be a great addition to their situation.”
— Louisville Athletics (@GoCards) October 11, 2017
Adding Trent Johnson to the Louisville staff was an excellent move as David Padgett and the program needed a veteran coach with lots of experience to help them sail through the tough pre-conference schedule and the ACC. Johnson’s expertise will be huge in situations that occur potentially on and off the court during the regular season.
Johnson is know as a defensive coach whose teams are known for locking opponents down in the half court and then committing themselves to the boards. Padgett will commit to Pitino’s up-tempo and pressure style, but Johnson can certainly add his points of view in this and in the half-court systems.
Let’s not forget the talent on this team. It has Top 10 and then Final Four potential. The key is the stability of the program and the willingness of a mature team to be able to get through adversity when it comes up. Johnson will certainly be a key for the Cardinals in 2017-18.