Rick Pitino’s coaching tree is vast, expansive, and its roots stretch far and wide. NCAA men’s basketball coaching is absolutely littered with former Pitino protégées. Former player turned coach, Andre Mcgee, is reportedly up for a position at UMKC.
McGee blossomed into quite the outstanding young coach during his brief time spent on the UofL coaching staff. That quick development earned him a leg up up the coaching ranks.
Now another former Cardinal player, David Padgett, will be stalking the sidelines in his suit next season. Padgett is one of The University of Louisville’s favorite big men, and fans all across the city are teeming with excitement over the news of his return. David Padgett has the chance to impact Louisville’s frontcourt in a major way from his coaching position.
Andre McGee helped turn guards Peyton Siva and Russ Smith into two of the best on-ball defenders in the nation. He somehow transferred his intensity and relentless onto the two Cardinal stand-outs. Andre was a defensive anchor at the point guard position during his time spent as a player at Louisville. McGee was groomed into an excellent coach, which has led to interest from other programs because of his work with guys like Russ Smith. David Padgett has the potential to have the same impact on Louisville’s frontcourt as Andre Mcgee had on Louisville’s backcourt.
David Padgett was no Blake Griffin. Padgett’s game was centered on footwork, basketball I.Q, and desire. His fundamental knowledge is what made him a great player, and fundamentals are what will help any large human become a great big man. At least one of Rick Pitino’s four freshman post players will be forced into action during the upcoming season. David Padgett could be the key to getting some of the youngsters seasoned.
Padgett’s basketball savvy and flawless instinct will help a player like Matz Stockman transition to the American game. Chinanu Onuaku will need a few lessons on boxing out, Padgett is your man for that. Anas Mahmoud has showed Rick Pitino that he is more stretch power forward than defensive minded center. Padgett’s ability to play the high post will quicken Anas Mahmoud’s development into a complete basketball player.
Montrezl Harrell has always been seen as an unmolded ball of dunking clay. Padgett will get a chance to sharpen Trezl’s skill set for an entire offseason. The thought of Montrezl Harrell developing the ability to use both hands, or pass from the high post is a scary one for ACC coaches. Padgett and Harrell will undoubtedly be locked in the gym this summer, polishing Trezl’s game.
Padgett can also help Mangok Mathiang better understand defensive rotations. Mangok had to sit for key stretches last season due to unfamiliarity with the defensive system. Padgett was able to protect the rim with defensive positioning and timing, not with leaping and a shot blocking ability. Mathiang could be a dominant defender if he could adhere to Padgett’s intellectual style of play while utilizing his own natural athleticism.
He cannot turn any of these players into a carbon copy of himself. All he can do is simply give each individual player the tools each man needs to succeed. It really is up to the player whether or not he utilizes those tools. Louisville’s guard play was on another level these past few years, and it would be foolish to say Coach Andre McGee didn’t play a role in that.
The consistent presence of a great Cardinal big can only be beneficial to Louisville’s loaded front court. Padgett will undoubtedly help all of the big men in their development during this season and many seasons to come. His greatest contribution to the University of Louisville may be made as a member of the coaching ranks.