Cardinal Basketball

Tom Jurich Named To NCAA’s Search Committee For New Executive VP Position

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Photo: Pete Cautilli

The NCAA has recently launched their search to hire a new executive vice president to oversee the Association’s regulatory functions.

University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich is one of nine people selected by NCAA President Mark Emmert has named to his search committee to help identify candidates for the new gig.

–David Berst, vice president of Division I, NCAA

–Greg Byrne, vice president for athletics, University of Arizona

–John Cochrane, director of athletics, Cornell College (Iowa)

–Carolyn Schlie Femovich, commissioner, Patriot League

–Jeremy Foley, director of athletics, University of Florida

–Lynn Hickey, director of athletics, University of Texas at San Antonio

–Tom Jurich, vice president & director of athletics, University of Louisville

–Gene Smith, vice president & director of athletics, The Ohio State University

–Carolyn Stone, director of athletics, Palm Beach Atlantic University

According the NCAA’s press release, the new executive vice president will for the first time bring all NCAA national office regulatory functions – Academic and Membership Affairs, the Eligibility Center and Enforcement – under one umbrella. The position was created following the recent restructuring in senior staff announced last month by Emmert.

College Basketball Moves Beyond the Love of the Game

Photo: Associated Press

Photo: Associated Press

“College basketball is the most wholesome major sport in America.”

That’s the statement a friend submitted for my consideration early this week. He and I, as many others recently have, were trying to piece together what it means to be a sports fan in today’s world. After making the declaration it’s easy to see why he’s right.

The NFL’s problems won’t stop coming. Major League Baseball still has the stench of steroids surrounding it. College football’s conference realignment made it clear that television networks hold all of the power. The NBA is dealing with its second racism scandal in just a few months. Sorry hockey fans, it just doesn’t count.

I spent some time believing this to be true and quickly built up college basketball as the last bastion of truthiness in American sport.

Then that evening I received a text from a friend.

“Blakeney :(“ flashed on my phone.

By now we all know the talk that is accompanying this particular decommitment. How Antonio Blakeney plays for a Nike sponsored AAU team. How the shoe mega-company is rumored to have had a hand in his reconsideration. How four Nike schools have been newly listed as the front runners for his college services.

Of course this narrative is favorable to us as Louisville fans. It helps us go on believing that Rick Pitino is a great recruiter, and that Louisville can compete with the Kentuckys of the college basketball world.

But with or without Blakeney, decommitments happen. They are a fact of life, and most of the time they have nothing to do with shoe companies.

What bothered me the most was this subtle reminder that college basketball isn’t the last stronghold of wholesomeness in American sport. A nudge on the elbow that told me it’s not about Rick Pitino, Jim Boehiem, or even John Calipari. It’s about World Wide Wes, Phil Knight, and the Amateur Athletic Union. Just like all other sports, it’s not about the love of the game.

Eric Crawford wrote brilliantly this week: “If you’re looking to fight the war of shoe company involvement in college sports, you missed it. It’s over. The shoe companies won.”

For some coaches, even these advantages aren’t enough. As evidenced by odd turn of events surrounding the Yahoo Sports piece that called out Duke Coach Mike Krzyewski’s relationship with the United States men’s national basketball team.

The piece questioned whether Coach K and thus Duke was receiving an advantage by coaching with the US team. As the coach, Krzyewski has a unique access to high school players on the lower levels of the USA Basketball system. But, so do penty of other coaches like Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim.

Kentucky’s John Calipari has apparently reinforced concerns about the relationship the USA coaches have with possible recruits in coaching circles. Jim Boeheim took to the media to refute that concern this week.

Boeheim noted that while USA Basketball “doesn’t hurt” recruiting, it hasn’t made the difference in any top players he’s signed. He also brought up that Karl Towns signed with Kentucky after working with Calipari’s Dominican National Team.

It was long suspected that Calipari’s involvement with the Dominicans was tied to Towns, then the number one player in his class. After all, it may have made more sense for Rick Pitino to coach the team considering the Dominican captain is former Cardinal Francisco Garcia.

The petty quarrel reached a fever pitch when Coach K called a news conference to push back against Calipari’s points. Krzyewski was oddly emotional and defensive, calling the idea that he has an advantage “utterly ridiculous.”

The whole exercise felt less like a discussion on modern college athletics and more like a high school gossip war. It doesn’t matter who’s right, because everyone’s actions were just so immature and fishy. I’m not I’ve ever seen coaches spar over something so trivial, in such an open fashion.

What these controversies tell us is that college basketball is just like its pigskinned counterpart, but with less hoopla. Peel away the outer skin of schools and coaches; what’s left is another machine. While this one might not print money as fast, it’s not devoid of the feeling you’re watching a mirage. We all want to believe it’s all for the love of the game, but it hasn’t been for quite a while.

But college basketball was wholesome once. Back when it wasn’t about one and done. In a time where recruiting wasn’t about AAU, it was about how you played in high school or even at the playground. In the age where shoes didn’t dictate where you played, and thousands of twitter trolls couldn’t take a kid to task for his college decision. When schools cared less about fans being consumers, and more about fans being fans. It was a simpler sport back then.

This week I wanted college basketball to be more like that. But it’s not, and it probably won’t ever be again. While that’s not the end of the world, it’s certainly something we must remember.

Louisville Comes In At No. 4 In ESPN’s College Hoops Future Power Rankings

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Photo: Pete Cautilli

The folks at ESPN recently put together a piece where they predict Which college hoops programs will have the most success over the next three seasons (2014-15, ’15-16, ’16-17).

The panel (Andy Katz, Jeff Goodman, John Gasaway, Paul Biancardi, Jay Bilas, Eamonn Brennan) rated programs on a 1-to-10 scale in five different categories: Coaching, Current Talent, Recruiting, Program Power and Stability.

Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals came in at No. 4.

ESPN cc

ESPN.com

Duke and Kansas held down the top two spots while Kentucky was at No. 3.

E$PN In$ider Link

Rick Pitino & Tom Crean Will Co-Chair The Indiana Derby Next Month

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Prior to their December meeting at Madison Square Garden for the Jimmy V Classic, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and Indiana head coach Tom Crean will meet at the Indiana Downs in October.

Last week the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino announced that Pitino & Crean were named co-chairmen of the Indiana Derby.

Both coaches will make an appearance at the race, sign autographs and be present at the trophy presentation.

The Indiana Derby will take place in Shelbyville, IN., on Oct. 4.

Here’s more from Indiana Downs:

Honorary Co-Chairs Head Coach Tom Crean and Head Coach Rick Pitino with Special Indiana Derby Honoree Guest Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Coach and Hoosier Legend Bobby “Slick” Leonard. Other special guests include: Pacers Legends Mel Daniels, Freddie Lewis, Darnell Hillman, Bob Netolicky, George McGinnis, Billy Keller and Don Buse, Members of the 1954 Indiana State Champions and Milan High School Basketball Team and 2013 Playboy Playmate of the Year Raquel Pomplun.

Jeff Walz Lands Commitment From The Top Ranked Recruit In The Country

Photo: FIBA

Photo: FIBA

Since officially joining the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1st, multiple athletics programs at the University of Louisville have seen improvements on the recruiting front.

Rick Pitino currently has the top ranked 2015 recruiting class in the country while  Bobby Petrino is assembling a very strong class as well.

On Tuesday afternoon, Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz joined the party as he received a commitment from the top prospect in the 2015 class.

At a scheduled ceremony at St. Pius X High School in Atlanta, GA., Asia Durr announced that she will be attending the University of Louisville next fall. Durr, a 5-foot-10 point guard, is widely considered to be the top overall player in the 2015 class.

She chose Louisville over Baylor, Duke, Maryland and Notre Dame. Durr was also being recruited by Tennessee, Florida State, Georgia, Rutgers, South Carolina, Connecticut, Kentucky and LSU.

“It was the family environment, the fan base, the support, the players and the coaches,” Durr tells ESPN. “It felt like home as soon as I got on campus.”

As a junior, Durr averaged 24.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game for St. Pius X, leading her team to a 30-3 record and back-to-back Georga 3A State titles. Durr Durr also averaged 18.4 points in for Team USA in 2013 in Mexico, leading the United States to the gold medal in the FIBA Americas tournament.

Video: Court At The KFC Yum! Center Receives ACC Makeover

Yum Court Makeover

When the Louisville Cardinal basketball program takes the floor for their first season in the ACC, they’ll be playing on a newly designed court. Over the past few weeks the court at the KFC Yum! Center has been going through a makeover. The official YouTube channel for UofL athletics released this great time lapse video on Monday morning.

The ACC logo being added was an expected change, however the biggest difference is the new logo in the center of the court. In years past, UofL used the Cardinal logo with large wing. Now they’re using the standard Cardinal head. It looks much better, in my opinion.

Five Star Shooting Guard Antonio Blakeney Has Committed To Louisville

Photo: JD Coffey

Photo: JD Coffey

Rick Pitino and the Louisville basketball program received some great news on Thursday night. Just a few days after taking a visit to the University of Louisville campus, five star shooting guard Antonio Blakeney announced via his Twitter account that he has committed to the Cardinal program.

As I’m sure you know, Blakeney has been a top target for Rick Pitino and his staff for well over a year now. In late July, Blakeney announced that he had trimmed his list to Louisville, Kentucky, Oregon, USC, LSU and Missouri. The Florida native was also being courted by North Carolina and Florida but decided to cut the two programs from his last.

The five star prospect was set to take visits to other schools in the next few weeks, but fortunately he saw enough during his time on the UofL campus over the weekend to make a decision.

Rick Pitino and his staff did an incredible job in pursuing the five star prospect. While the entire staff deserves credit, it was Pitino and asst. coach Mike Balado who established a very strong relationship with Blakeney.

The 6-foot-4, 170-pound scoring guard is the fourth commitment for Louisville in the 2015 class. Blakeney joins fellow five star prospects Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel, along with four star forward Raymond Spalding.

Rick Pitino now has three of the top 21 players in the 2015 class, per the Scout.com rankings. This is without question going to be the best recruiting class in the history of the Louisville program.

Date & Time Released For Two Basketball Red & White Scrimmages

Pete Cautilli | The Cardinal Connect

Pete Cautilli | The Cardinal Connect

Although the entire Louisville Cardinal fan base is buzzing off the football season finally being here, we’re actually just a little over two months away from tipping off basketball season.

Earlier this week, the folks at UofL sent out a release regarding the annual Red & White scrimmages. Below is an excerpt from the press release.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville men’s basketball team will compete in a pair of public Red-White intrasquad scrimmages in the KFC Yum! Center on consecutive Sundays in October on Oct. 19 and 26, both at 2 p.m. ET.

Tickets, priced at $10 for lower side and corner arena seats and $5 for end zone and upper arena seats, will go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 5 at the UofL Ticket Office, located near Gate 2 of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium at 2800 South Floyd Street. The ticket office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Cardinal fans may also purchase tickets by visiting Ticketmaster online at www.Ticketmaster.com, calling 1-800-745-3000 or by visiting any Ticketmaster Ticket Center, including statewide Kroger locations. Convenience fees are applied with Ticketmaster orders.

A limited number of tickets are available for UofL students to each scrimmage at no charge. Student tickets — no more than two for each scrimmage — must be obtained with a valid student ID in advance beginning Friday at 10 a.m. at the UofL ticket office.

The Oct. 19 scrimmage is in concert with UofL’s “Welcome bACC” Homecoming festivities, which will include special activities surrounding the game.

These intrasquad scrimmages aren’t usually super intense, but this will be your first chance to see all of the newcomers in action.