Archive for June, 2011

This article was written by Tyler Bloyd, a contributor with

One thing heading in the right direction for the UK football program heading towards the 2011 season is recruiting, Joker Phillips and company are getting commitments left and right from good players who will be impact guys down the road, but another thing that needs to go positive, and do so soon is the change of reins at QB.

Some might be happy that former Cat Mike Hartline has graduated, he was always the guy that was “loved to be hated”  by some fans even though he had a good career despite an injury and violations and are welcoming in junior Morgan Newton with open arms.

Newton is no stranger to the program, having started a conewton2uple games during the 2009 season and most recently filling in for suspended Hartline in the BBVA Compass bowl this past January, losing to Pittsburgh 27-10. Now other than those few games we have not been able to see him run a team, or be the guy. He has not been able to get in the flow of a full season and show his true talents, during his high school career at Carmel IN, he accumulated 4000+ passing yards with 37 touchdowns, and tagging on 2000+ rushing yards and again 37 touchdowns. These huge numbers earned him All-American honors from Parade, The Sporting News, ESPN/Rise Magazine and SuperPrep. He also led his team to 3 state championships and named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Indiana his senior season. So the guy has raw talent, he can throw darts, and pound the ball on the ground for that 3rd and short situation, and now is his time to finally show his talents. He will, and has been be able to do so from day one with no competition which is always a good thing mentally for a younger guy, and if he develops a leadership roll, that this offense desperately needs, we could see good things to come from him. So let’s cheer on our quarterback, because he is MY QUARTERBACK, T.O! and I CAN’T WAIT for kickoff! Go Cats!

63 Days!


This article was written by Daniel Wormley, a contributor with

Kentucky fans all remember the recruiting saga last year over 5 star point guard Josh Selby who eventually decided on Kansas over Arizona, UCONN, Tennessee, Syracuse, and Kentucky. Of course picking Kansas wasn’t what we wanted but the kid made his decision and that decision may just help Kentucky in the future. Now I’ve got you wondering….How does Josh Selby going to Kansas last year help Kentucky???

However, Josh Selby’s’ decision may not only help Kentucky but could help many other college programs as well to include Louisville. The one-and-done industry is big business in college basketball whether we like it or not. Personally I am more for a two-and-done format or just get rid of the one-and-done rule and go back to the old way. Potential one-and-done players are amazing basketball players whom can greatly help programs and are hard to pass up in college basketball. Of course Coach Calipari goes after them all but many teams are slowly starting to realize the potential of these players and go after them as well. Duke grabbed Kyrie Irving and while he did get hurt and couldn’t help them throughout the year as much as they would have liked, he still went number 1 in the draft. Ohio State has had their share of these players as well as Texas and a few other programs. Other teams are starting to get their hands in the mix as well such as Louisville this year with the possibilities of Wayne Blackshear or Chane Behanan playing one year only.

Kentucky has set a standard for one-and-done players that other programs have to prove as well. To get one-and-done players you have to put these kids in the NBA after one year and they want to go high. If you still don’t see where I am going with this…keep reading slowly. Kyrie Irving went number 1 in the draft, Brandon Knight went number 8, Cory Joseph went 29th, Tristan Thompson went 4th, and Tobias Harris went 19th. All these players were one-and-done players that went first round in the NBA draft and were scattered throughout last years player rankings out of high school. Three of these players hold importance to our subject and those are Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight, and Cory Joseph. Rivals listed these players respectively at 2, 3, and 4 out of high school. Josh Selby was considered the number 1 point guard in the country and was highly recruited and was considered a top 5 NBA draft pick early on. What happened that made him drop to be a second round number 19 pick (49th overall) doesn’t really matter. Keep thinking about it…

Self and his beloved Kansas Jayhawks (GAG) failed Josh Selby somehow, someway! The preseason number 1 point guard in the nation fell out of the first round and went late in the second round which is a long way from guaranteed money or guaranteed playing time. I don’t care how this happened and neither do all the future potential one-and-done players that are currently or will be searching for college programs to play for, but it did happen and players will take note of this. Think about it, if you are a top tiered senior in high school and you are looking for a program and a coach that is going to ensure you make it to the NBA early in the draft and hopefully in those guaranteed money spots where do you go? Well thanks to Josh Selby falling so low you probably don’t even consider Kansas and Self anymore do you??? But you do look towards Duke, Kentucky, Texas, and other schools whom have proven they can put you in the NBA easily. You also still look toward teams like Louisville even though they haven’t put out any one-and-done players, they haven’t failed to either.

Josh Selby falling so low hurts Kansas in the recruiting world and gives other schools a huge advantage over them.  Kentucky, Texas, Duke, etc can now tell a recruit that they have proven they can put kids in the NBA early while Kansas can’t.  So now when you see the list of a recruit and that list includes Kansas you better believe that other schools will be bringing up the Josh Selby situation.

Siva breaks down the team and upcoming season

Posted: June 22, 2011 by Raashaan Myers in Louisville Basketball

Rick Pitino and Peyton Siva - Kentucky Wesleyan v Louisville (Photo:

In part two of my conversation with Louisville point guard Peyton Siva I wanted to know more about his thoughts on how things finished up  with the disappointing loss to Morehead State and what are the prospects moving forward. Clearly there seems to be a renewed focus from the whole team says the 5’11” floor general.

“We had a disappointing ending to the season, but we definitely exceeded a lot of people’s expectations last year.  And we come into this year we are in the gym right now, everybody is committed, and we all have a common goal and bond. We haven’t been out of the first round the last two years and this year is the year I feel we can get past the first round,” said Siva. “Everybody is committed and everybody is determined to get it done and we are getting started early this year. We are taking the trip to the Bahamas and I think that everybody’s mindset being on basketball is really going to help this team out. Since we will be getting in the gym and working hard is really going to help this team out.”

Peyton says that the experiences from last year and the advantage of having almost the whole team returning will pay big dividends this coming year. “I feel like everyone is coming back and we are a bunch of older guys now. They know what to expect from Coach Pitino and they know what to expect from the system so I think that will help us out a lot this season. And that will also help us with the younger guys also to bring them in and we can all help them get where they need to be,” said Siva. “They will have the opportunity to get started early and it will be good because they will know what is expected of them coming into the season. Everyone is coming back committed to that common goal and Preston really set a great example for us last year.”

Coach Pitino mentioned during his last press conference that he has not selected team captains yet but Siva feels that he along with the two seniors have stepped to the forefront to lead this team.

“I think that me, Kyle, and Chris Smith are the guys that have really taken the lead with this team. Kyle is more of a show you type of guy and is a leader by example. Chris is a guy that talks a lot and is more vocal than Kyle. It has been very good and we have come into this season with the mindset that we were going to do everything right we are going to do everything correct and we are going to bring the young guys along the right way,” said Siva. “I am able to tell the young guys about my past experiences like when I came in playing behind Edgar and paying my dues. Now Coach P allows me a lot more freedom and that is something I will be able to share with them. I think the three of us will do a great job of leading this team.”

Every returning player from last year’s team has been on campus since the first session of summer school started back at the beginning of June, but only one of the freshmen made it in for the first session. Everyone is expected to be in by the time the second summer session begins in July. That freshman is Cincinnati native Chane Behanan and it has not taken him long to make an impression on Siva.

“I think Chane is a guy that will be a great help for us this year. He is relentless on the glass and has high motor and has really long arms that really help him out. He is also very strong and has legs like tree trunks. With him coming in this early and being able to work out and lose some of that baby fat is a great opportunity for him,” said Siva. “And also we have (Rakeem and Swopshire) coming off of injury and they are trying to get back to 100 percent. He will be able to push those guys as they are coming back and also his ability to rebound will be something that the whole team can learn from. He is in open gym now showing off his rebounding and he also has a very nice
jumpshot as well so I think he will be good for the team.”

Another player this is going to be a big contributor to the coming season is sophomore big man Gorgui Deing. Now that Terrence Jennings has decided to forego his senior season and play professionally he will need to be an impact player for Louisville and Siva thinks he will deliver.

“You can see a big difference in Gorgui’s game. In every open gym he is working on several nice post moves and he has gained about 15 or 20 pounds so he is a lot stronger. One thing people may not know about Gorgui but he didn’t really focus on weights and lifting before this summer, but now he has been lifting all summer and he is really committed to it. He is working hard and wants to learn and he is learning a lot,” said Siva.

Louisville will be heading to the Bahamas for a foreign trip this year to prepare for the 2011-12 season and Peyton thinks that it will be good for the team as a whole.

“I can’t wait to get to the Bahamas. I know Coach P is really concentrating and focused on the 10 days of practice and he is loving that. The freshmen will have the opportunity to find out what our practice is all about and we will have the opportunity to come together as a team. It will be a great time to learn how to play together and learn one another and bond together,” said Siva.

Looking toward the prospects for this latest edition of the University of Louisville men’s team Siva feels the team could be in for some big things.

“I think we can be really good this year but of course we have a long time to really find out. I think with the core group of guys are ready to play and we are battle tested. And the depth of our team will really help us out in practice we will have 16 or 17 guys out there and everyone will push each other because everyone wants to play,” said Siva. “Coach P goes off of what happens in practice and if you go out there and you don’t play hard you won’t play. It is really good because you have multiple guys that play at every position and guys that can play several different positions so that will really help us out as a team.”

One question that all U of L fans will of course want to know is about the big Battle of the Bluegrass game with UK. What does Peyton think about the annual rivalry?

“I definitely look forward to that game, but remember I am not from here and I am not from Louisville so I don’t know that much about the rivalry. Though the game did hit me a bit and I felt it this past year, but I don’t think it hits me as much as maybe some of the other guys on this team like Chane or Bullet,” said Siva. “They will probably take the game a lot more seriously, but I think it will be another top game against a top ten school and it will be a great game.  It is definitely more of the fan’s game, but I definitely don’t want to lose that game because I hate losing and we will also have to hear about it the rest of the year.”

One of the most exciting players in all of college basketball Peyton is known for both is athletic prowess and breath taking plays on the hardwood. He says he tested out with a vertical leap in the 37 to 38 inch range in high school and it is something that he uses to lift up not only himself but everyone involved.

”It is something that I have done since high school. I know people will come out there and say oh he did a 360 and it is just two points, but the way I see it can be a momentum changer. I look at it as I can go out there and if I can pull that off it will get my teammates hyped up and get the bench hyped up and change the momentum of the game,” said Siva. “It gets my teammate involved and gets the crowd involved when I do my athletic plays it can make a difference. Whether it is an assist to Kyle in the corner or an alley-oop to TJ off the break it is all about changing the momentum of the game. If I we are down in the game and guys start to hang their heads then I go down the lane and throw down a dunk on someone it can change everything around and that is what it is all about.”

With his uncanny ability to make the spectacular play as well as find himself as a fixture in the ESPN top ten plays some have wondered if maybe Peyton has an eye on heading off to the NBA in the near future. Well that will have to wait for now says Peyton.

“Of course every kid has dreams and aspirations of playing in the NBA, but we have not even been able to get out of the first round thelast two years so that is really what I am focused on. This year I am just focused on getting out of the first round and winning games throughout the year and I will worry about that stuff when it comes,” said Siva. “When you have that mindset of I am leaving after the year you kind of get sidetracked. All I am focused on is this team and I want to win games because if you don’t win game you are not going anywhere. I am just going to come out every day and work as hard as I can and the sky is the limit.”

Peyton had one of the finest seasons passing the ball of any player to play for the Cardinals coming in just behind Louisville greats LaBradford Smith and Terrence Williams on the single season assist total with 182 for the year.  So finishing only 3 assists behind Williams at 185 and 44 assists behind Smith at 226 on the single season mark does Siva look to shatter that record this coming season?

“I am going to try to get that. I was behind Terrence last year but I am definitely going to try to get it this year.”

This article was written by Tyler Bloyd, a contributor with

Everyone knows that John Calipari and staff year in, year out put players in to the NBA, and as we enter the week of the 2011 NBA Draft, we should take aquick look at our “Draft Cats” for this years class.

Starting with another one of Cal’s point guards, Brandon Knight. He came off a great freshman season for the Wildcats, averaging 17 points 4 assists and 4 rebounds, playing in the foot steps of John Wall who was last years #1 pick. Knight stepped up, hitting game winning shots against Princeton and Ohio State before advancing to the Final Four and now he is predicted anywhere in the 1-7 range. You think a good option would be Cleveland, considering they have 2 picks(1 & 4) and can pick a big and small, but if they do choose Irving, then watch for the Utah Jazz to look into Knight.


Moving to DeAndre Liggins. He was a solid contributor all season, was on the ropes about leaving at first but at the end other priorities called and he made the right choice. Liggins is know as a stopper, or the go to defender for the Cats, as he consistently locked down opposing teams best player, who was usually smaller and quicker than him, but his length and toughness made up for it. Now word coming out is that he has had good workouts, and impressing scouts with more of a offensive game than most thought(we always knew DeAndre!) and he has one of the better “NBA ready” body’s so he should get picked and I’m thinking anywhere in the late first to early second round depending on where other guys fall ahead of him.

Now for one of the more loved players in recent years, Josh Harrellson. The big fella was basically unknown coming into the season, playing behind DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton last season, but everyone knew his name come April. He tore up the final month of the season, grabbing boards left and right and showing a little bit of a offensive game. His most known performance came in the Sweet 16 against Ohio State and the so called best big man in the Nation Jared Sullinger. Sullinger got his, but the fact that “Jorts” held his own and neutralized him, caught scouts eye and allowed him to be invited to camps where he has done good, but we are not sure if we will hear his name called or not, but my prediction is a late second rounder as Calipari seems to get everyone in these days.

Last but certainly not forgotten is the guy who never played a minute for the Cats but made a big impact on campus and around the team. Enes Kanter from Turkey, who everyone knows got robbed of his eligibility no matter what happened when he was a kid, he wanted to play college bball but couldn’t, but that’s another story and now he has taken it personal, tearing up drills for every team that’s worked him out.  He’s been impressing with the versatility of his game, banging hard down low but also stepping out and knocking down jumpers, and a lot of people are saying they wouldn’t be surprised if the Cavs take him #1 overall as he will be meeting with owner Dan Gilbert this week, but if not there you could see him drop to #6 to the Wizards which would officially make them my favorite team with him playing along side our man Wall.

But whatever happens to these guys, BBN and KYSCO would like to say thanks for everything you guys did while at UK, on and off the court, and we hope for the best and can’t wait to see you all back at Rupp! Go Cats!


This is part one of a two part in depth conversation that I  had the opportunity of having with Louisville point guard Peyton Siva on Father’s day. I first wanted to talk about Peyton’s summer plans as he has been a busy guy and he had the opportunity to train with some of the best players in both the NBA and college hoops.

His first stop of the off season took Peyton to Texas and the Dallas Mavericks training facility. He along with University of Washington point guard Isaiah Thomas was invited to down to Big D to train with fellow Seattle native Jason Terry in advance of the Western Conference Finals. Peyton says that he wanted to get some help improving his total game.

“It was good. I wanted to work on getting more consistency on my jumpshot so I went down (to Dallas) with Isaiah Thomas. And who better to train with than Jason Terry and it was great. We worked hard and we learned a lot so it was really great,” said Siva. “It was really amazing the amount of work he put in with us. Especially during the playoffs guys usually tend to relax and not do too much, but he was in the gym everyday with us. He shot jumpers with us and broke down each of our jumpshots and helped us the whole time.”

Of course Terry and the Mavericks would go on to make the NBA Finals and defeat the Miami Heat to win the first title in franchise history. Terry was a huge part of Dallas’ success in the finals and seeing how well he played on the biggest stage had a big impact on Siva.

“Just seeing him go out there and make the shots we worked on and he was consistent with it. The shots he practiced were the shots that he took in the game. It just really just drove home the point that a lot of guys talk about shooting and show you little techniques, but to see him to go out there and do it was a whole different thing,” said Siva.

Peyton who as a senior at Seattle Franklin High School shot 37% from 3 point range as well as 83% from the free throw line. While his free throw shooting has been a constant issue he shot a very good 40% from 3 point range as a freshman at Louisville before dropping to 27% as a sophomore. What does Peyton attribute those struggles to?

“I just had a bad year shooting the ball and a lot of it had a lot to do with confidence. Last year I really just focused on really becoming a better point guard and really trying to learn more about the pick and roll situations,” said Siva. “I concentrated on really taking it to the hole and kicking out and that is what I really worked on, but this summer I am really concentrating on my jump shooting.”

So has the training and shooting drills from Terry helped Peyton see some improvement so far?

“I can really see some improvement and a couple of my teammates have really noticed my improvement as well. It is really good to go out there and knock down some shots then it carries over to open gym. To go out there and see all that hard work paying off is a real blessing,” said Siva.

Peyton’s second stop of the summer took him to South Beach but not for the Sun and surf, but to train with some of college basketball’s elite guards at the prestigious CP3 camp host by Hornet’s all-star point guard Chris Paul.

“That was also a really good experience down at CP3 camp. I got the opportunity to work with Chris Paul one of the best point guards in the NBA was great. We worked a lot on changing speeds and getting in the lane taking those floaters and runners. That is something else I wanted to add to my game is not going fast all the time and changing it up and keeping the defense off balance as well as adding the floater as well,” said Siva. “Chris Paul told us a good story about how he was fourth in the league in free throws is first two seasons but how his body could not take all the punishment in the lane. So once he added that floater he got to stay away from a lot of that wear and tear. That is something that I think would help me from taking all those unnecessary hits by adding that runner and floater it will help me out.”

It is a great honor to be selected to play at the camp and Peyton was training alongside of some of the best players in college basketball. Guys like North Carolina duo Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall and Duke teammates Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry.

“I knew a lot of the guys out there and I knew what a lot of those guys could do. I got to be out there with Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche from Syracuse, Kenny Boynton from Florida, and Jordan Taylor from Wisconsin was my roommate at the camp,” said Siva. “I got to see that those guys were out there working hard and they had some things in their game that is may not have had as a part of what I do. So the thing that I want to do is to take a little bit from what they do and try to add it to my game.”

Coming in part two of my in depth conversation with Peyton Siva we will discuss the prospects for the upcoming season, the UK game, as well as the NBA and more! Stay Tuned!

This article was written by Kelly Patrick, a contributor with

During these summer months there isn’t always so much to discuss in the world of Cardinal athletics, but I’m here today to help you prepare for the upcoming football season and to give a little bit of a preview as to what we can look forward to starting September 1st when the Cards suit up against Murray St. at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

9/1 VS Murray State : I don’t expect the Racers to give the Cards much trouble, the last time the two schools met was to kickoff the 2007 season and the Cards were victorious 73-10 so I can’t imagine the Cards will begin the season on a bad foot. This Thursday night game will be nationally televised on ESPNU. I predict a Cards blowout victory.

9/9 VS Florida International University : This will be the first meeting between these two schools and once again I don’t see the Cards dropping the ball in week 2 against the Golden Panthers from Miami, FL. FIU is coming off a win over in the Little Caesar’s Bowl over Toledo at Ford Field in Detroit, MI, and a share of the Sun Belt Conference Title last season. Although I am a little nervous about a strong FIU program who many are predicting could win as many as 8 games in the 2011 season, I am predicting the Cards will defend their home field and be victorious in week 2.

9/17 AT the University of Kentucky: The Cards will go on the road for the first time and it will be just down I-64 to Commonwealth Stadium. The Cards have allowed the Cats to win the last four meetings between the two rivals (UK also leads the all time series 14-9) but I see the winning streak ending under second year head coach Joker Phillips and new starting QB Morgan Newton. I just see the youth and athleticism of the Cards defense being too much for the less than impressive skill position players for the Wildcats offense. Offensively I don’t expect too many points to be put on the board for either team but I can see Victor Anderson scoring a touchdown and along with Will Stein doing a good job of controlling the tempo of the game. I predict the Cards beat the Cats this season, finally.

9/24 Bye Week

10/1 VS Marshall: The Cards will come off their bye week and will meet the Marshall Thundering Herd at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The Thundering Herd are lead by second year Head Coach Doc Holliday, in his first season as the Head Man Marshall finished 5-7 with a team that was thought to have had below average talent for the Conference USA. Their defense returns 9 starters and will have to really lead the team because of a lethargic offensive attack. I see this as must win for the Cards being that it’s at home and coming off a bye week. I predict a Cards victory.

10/8 AT North Carolina: The Cards visit the Tar Heels at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill for their last game before BIG EAST play begins. The Tar Heels have uncertainty at most of their positions, including QB where Sophomore Bryn Renner (only two career pass attempts) will try to take the place of T.J. Yates (Drafted in the 5th round by of the NFL draft by the Houston Texans). The defensive line will bring back some quality players and will ultimately (I feel) prove to be too much for the Cards offense to handle. I pick the Tar Heels to beat the Cards, unfortunately.

10/15 AT Cincinnati: The Cards will take on the Bearcats for the rights to the ever-so precious “keg of-nails” this time at the home of the Cincinnati Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium. With the Bearcats returning their starting QB, RB and best WR on offense. Despite finishing the and returning ALL ELEVEN of their defensive starters I can’t pick the Cards to win this one in Cincy this year. I predict the Bearcats beat the Cards.

10/21 VS Rutgers: Last year the Cards beat the Scarlet Knights in their regular season finale in New Jersey 40-13. This year the game comes to Louisville’s home field and I predict the Cards will be victorious again. Greg Schianno’s (entering his 11th season as the Rutgers Head Coach) Rutgers won only 4 games and finished 1-6 in conference play, they are returning 10 offensive starters, including starting QB Chas Dodd (1,637 passing yards with 11 TDs including two 300 yard passing performances). I predict a Cards victory over Rutgers.

10/29 VS Syracuse: Led by red-shirt Junior QB Ryan Nassib (19 TDs, 9 ints. And 2,334 yards passing) the Orangemen will come into Syracuse to avenge a 28-20 Cardinal victory last season in the Carrier Dome.   With the return of a talented receiving corps and a very experience offensive line the Orangemen will be difficult for the Card’s defense to handle. Defensively they lost too much from a very productive 2010 unit and are expected to struggle. Ultimately the offensive unit will be too much for the Cards defense and I predict the Cards lose to Syracuse in 2011.

11/5 AT West Virginia: Charlie Strong will lead the Cards into an even more chaotic situation in Morgantown this year than normal with a very bizarre coaching drama unfolding involving a surprising resignation which lead to the coach-in waiting turning into a head coach earlier than the original plan intended for him to, all shortly after a supposed drunken incident at a West Virginia casino. Aside from all of that, the Mountaineers football team is chosen by many to finish at the top of the BIG EAST and to contend for a BCS Bowl bid, WVU seems to have the most action packed program in the conference, some of the reasons being good and some being bad. I predict the Mountaineers will beat the Cards in 2011.

11/12 VS Pittsburg: After a rather tumultuous offseason coaching Carousel in Pittsburgh, which included Dave Wannstedt stepping down, form Miam of Ohio HC Mike Haywood accepting the position then getting fired after just two and a half weeks due to domestic violence charges, former Tulsa Head Coach Todd Graham is taking over for his first year leading the Panthers. Offensively the Panthers are returning plenty of talent and experience, most notably Junior RB Ray Graham who backed up Dion Lewis (selected in the 5th round of the NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles) but still managed to rush for 922 yards (6.2 yards per carry) last season. Defensively they are losing a lot, but due to their offensive potency and overall talented roster I have to predict that the Panthers beat the Cards in 2011.

11/19 AT UCONN: Losing 12 year Head Coach Randsy Edsall to Maryland and replacing him with Paul Pasqualoni, it is difficult to envision the Huskies having a very good season, especially when you factor in that Jordan Todman (taken in the NFL draft, 6th round to the San Diego Chargers) decided to forego his senior season unexpectedly. Despite having surprisingly good seasons for the past five years, I am predicting the Huskies have a disappointing season and lose to the Cards.

11/25 AT SOUTH FLORIDA: Skip Holtz, heading into his second season as the head coach of the South Florida Bulls has a good team returning that relies primarily on playing good defense and controlling the clock by running the ball. The offensive firepower won’t exactly win any games for them as returning QB B.J. Daniels had 11 TDs and 13 INTs last season. Although the Bulls are losing quite a few starters there are plenty of players who had significant playing time last season who are projected to fill in adequately. I predict the South Florida Bulls will beat the Cardinals in 2011.

So I predict the Cards go 6-6 again during the regular season and make it to a similar Bowl as last season. Let me know which of my predictions you disagree with.

This article was written by Kelly Patrick, a contributor with

Cher, Barbara Streisand, Beyonce and Rodney Purvis. These are the first names that come to my mind when I think of the word “Diva” these days.  Being that Purvis announced he is not longer considering the Cardinals (or the Cats) it has me wondering: Do the Cards need to recruit the same types of guys that Cal goes after? Or can we leave that up to UK and instead focus on bringing in multiple top 100 players who can come together and play as a team.

This is not an attack on Rodney Purvis, for all I know he may be the greatest kid on the planet, and regardless of him being a good person or not, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t welcome him to become a Cardinal even after all of this drama (i.e. Kevin Ware).  This is instead me wondering if the Cards should avoid guys who seem to be known as being the #1 player in their high school class or even the #1 player at their position in their high school class. I think a championship can be built without having these types of players and I would argue that more often than not the national championship teams are built from good (above average D-1) players who have an edge and who take pride in being good team players instead of having the proverbial “one foot in the NBA” the entire time they are with their respective university.

Need I remind you that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team and that after years of being slighted (in his crazy competitive mind) he was still seemingly very bitter while being inducted into the Basketball hall of Fame in 2009.

Would Michael Jordan have won all of those Championships and won all of those MVPs if he had been praised from a young age like Lebron James or any other “Top Recruit”? I’m not suggesting that a guy like Kevin Durant, Carmello Anthony or even John Wall can’t win a national championship during their one year on the collegiate level (obviously at least Carmello could), instead I am asking: Are the Card’s better off if they avoid these types of guys? I look forward to your responses.


It was the 2004-05 academic year and starting on Sept. 4th, 2004 with a 28-0 whipping of rival Kentucky at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium would begin a banner season and era in U of L athletics. Under the direction of budding super AD Tom Jurich the University of Louisville’s surge to elite program status would rise to its greatest heights as a total sports entity.

After the dismantling of UK the Cards would take a 4-0 record on the road to face the #3 ranked and undefeated Miami Hurricanes. Everyone knows the story of that game with Kerry Rhodes dropping the would be game winning interception and the Miami comeback win.  Yet in defeat Louisville would earn more respect in that game than any other the rest of the year. Of course Louisville would go undefeated the rest of the way culminating in the historic showdown of top 10 teams vs. undefeated #10 Boise State. In what many considered the best game of the bowl season and an ESPN instant classic Louisville finished off the Broncos 44-40 and claimed the #5 ranking in the final polls. This season put Louisville football in the ranks of the elite and would culminate in the 2006 Orange Bowl victory over ACC champ Wake Forest.

While Bobby Petrino and crew were plowing through their November stretch of the season Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino was beginning the process of erasing the disappointment from the previous season’s stinging first round upset to Xavier. After a couple of tough early losses to Iowa in the Maui Invitational and at home to UK in the infamous Patrick Sparks walk game the Cards turned it on. Suffering defeat only twice more the rest of the season en route to the CUSA tournament final with John Calipari and the Memphis Tigers. As would become the norm for this season the game would become an instant classic with shades of the UK/Sparks game coming to mind with Memphis freshman Darius Washington fouled attempting a three pointer as time expired. After knocking down the first Washington would miss the final two freebees crumpling to the floor and giving Louisville the 75-74 victory and great momentum heading into the NCAAs. The Cards would march through the competition on the way to the West Regional Final vs. soon to be conference foe West Virginia. And in its third instant classic of the season Louisville would comeback from down 20 points and defeat the Mountaineers in overtime and claim Louisville’s first Final Four bid since 1986. Though the Cards would lose to Illinois in the National Semifinal this improbable run put Rick Pitino’s stamp on the program and signified Louisville return to basketball elite status.

While both the football and men’s basketball teams were reaching near the pinnacle of success in the 04-05 campaign the women’s basketball team started something special in a much more subtle manner. In his banner season to that point head Coach Tom Collen would lead the Lady Cards to a 22-8 regular season behind super soph Jazz Covington. That success on the court would lead to the Lady Cards earning their first bid to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001. This was the first of what has become 6 of the last 7 seasons the U of L women would play in the NCAA tournament.  Louisville would go on to lose in the first round vs. USC but the biggest victory in program history came after the season was over. That spring Collen and Louisville would reel in the dynamic duo of Angel McCoughtry and local product Candice Bingham who would take the women’s program to the next level and ultimately the 2009 NCAA championship game vs. UConn.

It was after the 2004-05 season that Louisville AD Tom Jurich truly became thought of as the finest Athletic Director in the country and from the looks of things the 2011-12 season could serve as a reminder of that. The three revenue producing sports at Louisville are now poised to have another banner season that could approach and maybe even surpass the success of the 04-05 season if things go smoothly. Each of the three teams have stockpiled as much talent as may have ever been seen at any point in the program’s history  and well as the finest coaching staff each has seen as well.  Add to that a ton of youth on the rosters to promote continuity, a super support staff, and the greatest fan base in college athletics and you have the makings of a super season.

Head coach Charlie Strong will begin his second campaign with Louisville after an overachieving 7-6 season and Beef O’Brady’s bowl victory. Though he does have to replace 27 seniors and there will be a considerable youth movement Louisville will have as much talent on the field as any team in the Big East. After signing 2 of the top 3 classes in Louisville history including Elite 11 quarterback Teddy Bridgewater the Cardinals will have a team on the rise in a mediocre Big East football conference. The team will have possibly the best defense in the conference and an offense full of playmakers. Look for the Cards to go bowling again this year with an eye on a possible return to the BCS in 2012.

The Louisville Men’s basketball program will bring into this season its most deep and talented roster in Rick Pitino’s tenure. Returning 9 of the top 10 players  from a team that finished 3rd in the Big East as well as McDonald’s All American’s Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan as part of the best recruiting class in Pitino’s time at Louisville things look promising. Louisville will begin the season as a top 10 team led by point guard Peyton Siva will be a team contending for another run at the Final Four and a national championship.

And the team I feel may have the best season of all is Jeff Walz’s Lady Cards.  Coming off a year that saw a team completely dominated by underclassmen including freshman All American Shoni Schimmel reach the Sweet 16 the Cards return everyone of note except starting center Keisha Hines.  Add to what would have been a Final Four contender with the roster as is the greatest recruiting class in program history including McDonald’s All Americans Sara Hammond and Bria Smith and Louisville is poised for something special.  The Lady Cards have the talent and depth to challenge UConn and Notre Dame for the Big East crown as well as contend for the National Championship.

Needless to say the prospects for the coming season are exciting for all the top programs at U of L and Tom Jurich is the man that has made it all possible. So Louisville fans enjoy what guarantees to be a fun ride this season and if you get the opportunity thank the man that has made this all possible. And maybe just maybe the drought of basketball national titles will come to a halt this year and if not in the very near future.

One of the first times I tried to act like a big shot sportswriter and go to an event I probably had no business at (and still don’t) was a Louisville basketball media day/open practice a couple of years back. I had no idea what I was doing, so I just kind of wandered around like a little kid lost at the mall. I was terrified to ask anyone questions, so I just kept wandering… and listening.

After the Q & A session was over and all the slick reporters like the triumvirate of Bozich/Lindsey/Deener got all their needed info, the team began warming up for a scrimmage. I was finally back in my comfort zone… sitting in the stands and watching hoops. What happened next will be something I never forget. Supposed Louisville bench-warmer George Goode put on a performance that you, honestly, had to see to believe. An unofficial 47 points in my book with a mid range display that would make Bernard King proud. If Goode had an open jumper, you might as well have marked it down like Milt Wagner shooting free throws in the final 2 minutes. I was in absolute shock.

I told myself right then that George Goode would be Pitino’s secret weapon at some point and had the ability to contribute on a Final Four contender. There was no way Rick Pitino could leave a guy on the bench that just completely abused his stud recruit, Samardo Samuels. Right?

Unfortunately, that scrimmage was NOT an indication of things to come. If you look at Goode’s stat-line over his career as a Card, I was very wrong with my assessment. The man who started from a 4-star recruit with promise… to academically ineligible… to eligible and hurt… to healthy and out of position… never really got his fair shot. With all those factors involved, it’s hard to put the blame on Pitino or George on why his Cardinal career turned out making a smaller splash than expected.

Last week, Goode decided he would play his last year of eligibility at Missouri, ending his career as a Louisville Cardinal. Although George’s name will never be in the rafters at the Yum! or at the top of the all-time leaders in any category, a basketball fan can appreciate what Goode did for the squad over 3 years and 60 games.

Averaging 1.9 points in less than 7 minutes of action isn’t exactly what most would call filling up the stat sheet. However, what you don’t see is the impact Goode had on the Cardinal program since joining the team in the 2007 class. At 6-7 225, Goode has a prototypical body for a Big East forward. Due to injury and team need, he was forced to play center in a brutal conference with a smallish frame that didn’t match. With that, not an ounce of complaint was heard from Goode. Whatever the team needed, he was there to fill a role. Every successful business or team has people who sacrifice individual accolades for the greater good of the squad. Goode was that man.

Whether he was in the game for 1 minute or 10… Goode took care of business. Louisville hasn’t been the luckiest team in the country over the time Goode was in town. However, George helped soften the bad luck blows the Cards were dealt in his time with the squad.

Goode was a part of two Elite Eight teams (didn’t play in one), a Big East title and overall #1 seed, the closing of Freedom Hall, and the opening of a state-of-the-art arena. He was also around for the debacle against Morehead, the Derrick Caracter departure, and SypherGate. Just like classmate Preston Knowles, Goode has seen the good, bad and ugly of Louisville.

On the sidelines, Goode looked like any other Card fan in the stands. He was always in the center of the often used bench camera shots during a big run or close game. Goode’s extra-large smile could be seen in row ZZ of section 327 of the Yum!. Someone never would have gathered by watching that the guy cheering on the bench caught so many bad breaks and came into school with a lot of promise. There is something to say about that team-first attitude Goode possessed.

Off the court, Goode is hilarious on twitter (@GGoode0) clowning on people and ending every tweet with #wordaapp. By all accounts, he is the consummate teammate. Never can I remember anyone saying he had an attitude problem, alienated teammates or lacked work ethic. Not the same can be said for guys Goode played with who saw more time on the court. Pouting, complaining, or giving up just don’t seem like thing George Goode would be down with.

On a team as tradition rich as Louisville, for every superstar there is a team guy who could have gone elsewhere and had more individual success. For every Pervis Ellison and Francisco Garcia there was a Mark McSwain and Otis George. George Goode was not a superstar by any means, but the fact that didn’t seem to bother him is what should garner the same respect.

I’m not trying to tell you George Goode got screwed or using this post as another way to bash Pitino for his mysterious ways. All I’m trying to say is that if circumstances were different, more people would be aware of Goode’s ability to play some really good basketball at a high level. Former Louisville assistant Tim Fuller would not have suggested Goode to his new boss, Missouri coach Frank Haith, if ability to play big-time college hoops was even remotely an issue.

Goode never hit that big shot or even had that big game that would have etched himself in the memory of Louisville fans forever. He did, however, make an impression on me that will last. With the arrogance of athletes these days, the unselfishness Goode showed in his time at Louisville is refreshing. Give me a guy that can knock down the mid-range jumper and play gritty defense on my team any day of the week.

So, one last time from Cardinal Nation, I would like to bid farewell, good luck and one last #wordaapp to the outgoing George Goode. He will forever be a Cardinal, but hopefully he gets to showcase his skills next year in Columbia.

Adios, George. Give ’em hell.

Ryan Taylor has made it clear he wants to play at Louisville despite the lack of interest publiclly shown by Louisville and Rick Pitino. Now after an impressive showing in two games for the Kentucky All-Stars versus the Indiana All-Stars, Louisville may not even get the player who once yearned to wear the black and red.

According to Jeff Goodman of, Taylor will be making a unoffical visit to Lawrence, Kansas to meet with head coach Bill Self. According to Taylor’s high school coach at Louisville Western High School (who is also his uncle) Paul Handley, Self has already offered the 6’6 Taylor a scholarship on Monday. Handley also says the Ryan does have offers on the table from West Virginia, Indiana and South Carolina.

Despite all this though two things seem to remain. 1) Ryan wants to be a Louisville Cardinal and has made no secret about it publicly and 2) None of this matters unless he (Taylor) doesn’t get a high enough score on his most recent SAT test to qualify to be eligible next season. A score he should know the results of this week.

Taylor has said if he does not make the grades to play this upcoming season that he planned to attend Hargrave Military Academy next year and then planned to join Louisville’s roster as part of the 2012 class.

The most important question on the table though in this entire drama is “Does Louisville and Rick Pitino even really want Taylor nearly as much as he wants them?”

Louisville has made moves in the roster to make room for late incoming players such as 2011 recruit Kevin Ware and are facing a full roster for the upcoming season with very few adjustments left to make room for Taylor.

Could this recent unofficial visit to Kansas be a ploy on the half of Ryan Taylor’s camp to raise the interest in Pitino’s eyes to push him towards getting him on the roster? Despite Handley stating that Indiana offered Taylor a scholarship. Several reports out of Bloomington have said that IU does have possible interest in Taylor but to this point have offered no such scholarship.

Taylor is listed as a 6’6 205 pound small forward. He is a 3-star recruit according to

I have seen Taylor in person play numerous times this season and as a Louisville fan myself I think he would definitely benefit from going to a school like Hargrave Military Academy for a season. He is not an impact player in the next couple seasons and honestly I laughed when I saw that Kansas was wanting him. He brought me back to the days when North Carolina was “supposedly” interested in local big man Jared Carter. The Tar Heels interest was influential in pushing then UK coach Tubby Smith to offering him a scholarship and well I think everyone knows how that movie ended.

Taylor is not Carter for starters. For one Taylor isn’t 7’o feet tall. As a Louisville fan I love the fact that Ryan wants to be a Cardinal this much. Whether he would even get off the bench ever or not how can you pass on a player who is showing that much desire to play here?

Hopefully all these questions will finally be answered as the Saga of Ryan Taylor comes to an end this summer.