Cardinal Basketball

David Padgett Could Play A Huge Role In The Development Of Louisville’s Front Court

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

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.

Report: Chane Behanan Will Declare For The NBA Draft

Pete Cautilli | The Cardinal Connect

Pete Cautilli | The Cardinal ConnectR

The past year has been a crazy one for former Louisville forward Chane Behanan. Since Louisville’s 2013 national championship, Behanan has been in the headlines multiple times, but unfortunately it hasn’t been for good reason.

For the second consecutive season, Behanan started the year on suspension from Rick Pitino. He eventually earned his way back on the team and was back in the lineup for Louisville throughout late November and all of December.

On Dec. 30, Rick Pitino conducted a press conference to announce that Behanan had been dismissed from the team for repeated violation of university rules and policy.

After being dismissed from the program, Behanan worked with former NBA player John Lucas in Houston, TX. Lucas runs a drug and alcohol treatment program for athletes and coaches. He’s worked with NFL player Tyrann Mathieu, former Kentucky and Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie, Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy and ex-Rutgers coach Mike Rice.

A lot of folks speculated that Behanan would enter the NBDL and start working towards a professional career. However, Behanan decided on a fresh start at the college level and committed to play next season for Larry Eustachy at Colorado State. He enrolled in online classes and was set to become eligible during the second semester of the 2014-15 season.

Just as things seemed to be heading in the right direction for Behanan, he found himself in the headlines for the wrong reasons once again. On April 2, Behanan was cited for marijuana possession. The Louisville Metro Police Department said that Behanan was the passenger in a car that was pulled over at 1:15 AM on West Broadway.

Reports out of Colorado State indicated that the situation would be handled internally and that Behanan would still have the opportunity to suit up for the Rams next season.

While Larry Eustachy will welcome the former west region MVP with open arms, it doesn’t appear that he’ll be in a Colorado State uniform next year. Adam Zagoria of SNY.TV reports that Behanan has hired an agent and will enter the NBA Draft.

“Yeah, sometime this week,” the source tells Zagoria when asked if Behanan will declare. “He signed, he’s got an agent already.”

On Wednesday Behanan sent out a Tweet saying that no decision had been made and that nothing is official until it is stated by himself. Larry Eustachy told the the media in Colorado that he’s aware of the situation and he’s communicating with Behanan. He also noted that he wants Chane to do what is best for him.

David Padgett Will Join The Louisville Staff

Dave Easley - Associated Press

Tim Easley – Associated Press

During Wednesday afternoon’s press conference, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino stated that he’d be bringing on a former Cardinal player to his coaching staff.

Former Louisville center David Padgett will join the program as the assistant video coordinator. Doug Davenport, the son of former Louisville assistant and current Bellarmine head coach Scott Davenport, was hired last year as the full time video coordinator.

Padgett, a Reno, NV., native played three seasons for the Cards from 2005-08 after transferring from Kansas following his freshman season.

He was a three-year starter and captain at center and was a unanimous First Team All-Big East selection as a senior and also earned USBWA All-District IV honors. Padgett averaged a team-leading 11.2 points and grabbed 4.8 rebounds his senior year, helping Louisville reach the Elite 8.

He finished his career ranked second in career field goal percentage at Louisville, hitting 61.3 percent of his shots. His 66.7 field goal percentage as a senior was the second-highest in school history. Padgett set a Conference field goal percentage record for league games in 2008, hitting 68.3 percent of his shots in the 18 games.

After graduating from Louisville, Padgett went on to play professionally in the Canary Islands. He joined the Louisville staff as a program assistant for the 2010-11 season where he mostly worked with strength and conditioning.

Padgett spent just one season with Pitino’s staff before being named an assistnat coach at IUPUI. Head coach Todd Howard was let go following the 2013-14 season which left Padgett looking for a job.

When initially looking for a replacement for Kevin Keatts, Pitino noted that he wanted to bring in an experienced coach to work with the incoming freshman, particularly the front-court.

Kenny Johnson may be able to help in that area, but he’s mostly known for his recruiting efforts. When it comes to working with the incoming big men, Id’ say David Padgett will likely play a big role. Padgett is one of the more fundamentally sound players to play under Rick Pitino at Louisville.

Press Conference Recap: Kenny Johnson Introduced As Louisville Assistant Coach

Photo | @JeffGreer_CJ

Photo | @JeffGreer_CJ

On Wednesday afternoon Rick Pitino met with the local media to officially introduce Kenny Johnson as his newest assistant coach. Both Pitino and Johnson spoke at the presser. Below is a recap.

Pitino: ACC Schedule

It’s really back in the Big East, southern style. From 2005 we spent some incredible years in the Big East. We’re back at it where you’re going to see eight or nine teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Pitino: Decision to hire Johnson

I wanted someone who the players would look up to. I told him we wanted a close relationship with our players at all time. We’re a very close unit and I felt that he would be someone hat would be a great mentor for our guys. He’s someone who everyone in the recruiting circle has great respect for. He’s someone who wanted to be a scientist and ended up as a high school coach.

 Pitino: Recruiting focus for 2015

We need three players next year. We need three that play multiple positions.

 Pitino: Importance of recruiting & Johnson’s readiness

Recruiting is the lifeline. Keatts was responsible for bringing me Montrezl Harrell, Luke Hancock and Chris Jones. We recruit as a team. Coming from a program with Tom Crean, he’s a lot like us in regards to preparation so Kenny already has a lot of that experience.

Johnson: Being hired by Pitino

It was an honor. He has actually been ar ole model of mine for many years, I told him a story when I met him that back when I was in college, one of the games that changed my life as far as my aspirations as a college coach was that Kentucky was down 30-points on the road at LSU. They came back and won the game. I remember watching that and thinking wow, if I ever become a coach that is the style I wanted to play. My players play free and disciplined. To receive a phone call from him it was pretty humbling.

Johnson: Relationship with Tom Crean

I’ve known him for eight years, back since the day he was recruiting Maurice Creek. He’s been a supporter and friend for years. Leaving his program as one of the hardest thing I’ve done in my life just because of the respect I have for him. I loved Hoosier nation, I always will. But understanding the rich history here at Louisville.

Johnson: Why he’s a great recruiter

My life is based on relationships. Rather it’s my personal life or the recruiting world. If you have a guanine relationship with people good things happen. Every talented player is not the best fit for your program. I try to be realistic in getting to know the player and their family. I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved with people who have high character. Honestly when you work for good people it makes it easier.

Johnson: Influenced by recent asst. to leave for head coaching jobs

My ultimate goal is to be the best coach that I can be in general. I believe that when you do the best job at where you’re at, good things happen. I am not at a point in my life where I’m consumed in being a head coach. I want to do the best job I can do to repay Rick Pitino for giving me the opportunity. When you’re doing the best you can do, opportunities arise.

Johnson: Biggest selling points for recruiting at Louisville

If you had asked me before yesterday, I wouldn’t have started with this, but after going through the Yum! Center I’m like wow. I wanted to put on a  jersey and shoot some shots myself. The program sells itself. To me you combine coach Pitino and what he’s been able to accomplish and the history of the program. The conversation starts from there. It’s a tremendous city to recruit to. The setup of the campus, the sports in general. It’s as strong as any in the nation as far as overall athletics.

Johnson: Playing against IU next season

That’s two great programs playing in one of the most historic venues in the world. If I was at home on the couch I’d be tuned in to that game, but luckily I’ll be on the sidelines and be a part of it. That game will be special. I have strong relationships with the players there.

Johnson: Working with the other assistants

I’m excited to work with Wyking and Mike. I’ve known them in passing and it’ll be good to team up. I didn’t want to compete with Louisville in recruiting. Competing with those guys is going to be a great experience for me. 

Louisville Makes It Official With The Hiring Of Kenny Johnson

Photo | Associated Press

Photo | Associated Press

News broke on Monday evening that Kenny Johnson would be leaving Tom Crean’s staff at Indiana to join Rick Pitino at Louisville.

UofL made it official this afternoon via a press release.

“We’re very excited to have Kenny in our program,” said Pitino.

“The first thing I did when Kevin Keatts left to become the head coach at UNC Wilmington was to ask my son Richard to find the best rising assistant coach in the business. He spoke to a lot of people and they led directly to Kenny Johnson and others think he is outstanding as well. He is extremely bright, having studied cell, molecular biology and genetics in college.”

Johnson was on the staff at Indiana for two years where he helped bring in five top 100 recruits for Hoosiers. He previously worked on the staff at Towson and was a dominant force on the national AAU scene for nearly a decade.

National media has described this as a lateral move for Johnson, which is absurd, in my opinion. Indiana a prestigious program, but so is Louisville and they won a national title just a year ago.

Louisville should be viewed as one of the top assistant coaching jobs in the country, considering Rick Pitino has consistently churned out head coaches and is a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Johnson will have a press conference at noon. We’ll be sure to provide a complete recap.

Scott County Guard Expected To Visit Louisville This Week

Photo | Nation of Blue

Photo | Nation of Blue

If you follow Kentucky High School Basketball, then you’re well aware of the name Trent Gilbert. The Georgetown, KY., native has been one of the top combo guards in the state for the Scott County Cardinals for the past two seasons.

After leading his team to the state title game earlier this month, Gilbert was offered a preferred walk-on spot with the Louisville basketball program. Cardinal assistant Mike Balado has been courting Gilbert in recent weeks.

According to Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal, Gilbert will take a visit to Louisville at some point this week, likely Thursday.

“I’ve always wanted to play at the highest level, and that’s what this is, and it would be a chance to play for a legendary coach in Rick Pitino,” Gilbert tells Jones.

It may be tough to lure Gilbert to Louisville as he’s finally starting to pick up some scholarship offers. Winthrop and Marshall are the latest Division 1 schools to offer. He also has offers Tennessee Tech, Kentucky Wesleyan and Georgetown College.

He was told by the Louisville staff that he could potentially earn a scholarship down the road.

A lot of times you’ll see preferred walk-ons be added to keep the team GPA up and simply provide an added body in practice.

Gilbert isn’t the next Russ Smith, but anyone who has watched him in action knows that the kid can flat out play. The fact that he doesn’t have more scholarship offers is puzzling to me.

The 6-foot-2 combo-guard was a finalist for the 2014 Kentucky Mr. Basketball Award. He averaged 25.9 points per game and made 40 percent of his three-point attempts this season. He’s also a 91 percent shooter from the free-throw line.

Rick Pitino Says The NBA Is A Different Coaching Animal Compared To College

Pete Cautilli - The Cardinal Connect

Pete Cautilli – The Cardinal Connect

Believe it or not, Rick Pitino has had some success as an NBA head coach. Unfortunately, most people only remember Pitino as an NBA coach for his tenure with the Boston Celtics. He spent two season with the New York Knicks from 1987-89. In his second year Pitino won 52 games with the Knicks and finished first in the Atlantic Division.

With all that said, I think we can all agree that Pitino is best fit for collegiate hoops. He’s the only college coach to win national championships with multiple programs and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.

The college to pro coaching carousel has slowed down somewhat in recent years. However, Brad Stevens made the jump from Butler to the Boston Celtics last year and now Florida’s Billy Donavan and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo are being mentioned as potential candidates from multiple head coaching job.

If there is one person that can accurately compare coaching at the collegiate leven and coaching at the pro level, it’s Rick Pitino. He was a guest on ESPN’s nationally syndicated radio show “Mike & Mike” on Wednesday morning to discuss the topic.

“When you go from college to the NBA it’s a foreign country,” Pitino said. “In the NBA you’re managing people who play over 100 games and aren’t into practicing a whole lot. College kids are looking to practice as much as they can so they can make the NBA. College coaches just don’t realize how much of a different game it is. You’re basically a CEO.”

After noting how different it was from college level to the pro level, Pitino didn’t rule out college coaches having success in the NBA. However, he think Donavan may be more fit for the pro level than Izzo.

“Billy would be terrific because he is a lot like Brad Stevens with his personality,” Pitino said. “The NBA is a different coaching animal. I had a very easy transition because I worked under Hubie Brown or two years.”

“Tom Izzo is a lot like myself in many respects. You think the game should  be played a certain way. Tom is a different type of basketball coach. Not that he couldn’t be a successful pro coach, but he’d really have to adjust to the professional athlete.”

I’m still a huge fan of pro basketball, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t prefer the late 80’s to mid 90’s NBA over today’s game. I think some fail to realize just how different the NBA is compared to 15-20 years ago.

“The athlete has changed tremendously,” Pitino tells Mike & Mike. “I was coaching Ewing, Oakley and Jackson, they were four year college guys. Now you’ve got guys who’ve been in college for eight months. The mindset is totally different. It’s much harder to coach in the league than it was when I did in 1987.”

Getting To Know Rick Pitino’s Newest Assistant Coach: Kenny Johnson

Chris Howell | Herald-Times

Chris Howell | Herald-Times

The news broke on Monday evening that Kenny Johnson would be leaving Tom Crean’s staff at Indiana to join Rick Pitino at Louisville. Johnson had been rumored as one of the top candidates for the job for the past week.

Pitino mentioned at this final press conference of the 2013-14 season that he hoped to replace Kevin Keatts with a veteran and experienced coach that can help develop the incoming freshmen, particularly the front-court players.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that Kenny Johnson isn’t a veteran coach that can teach the game of basketball, however in the college hoops landscape he’s known for one thing. He’s an elite recruiter.

Johnson was born and raised in Oxon Hill, MD., and attended the University of Maryland where he graduated in 1999. In the early 2000’s Johnson served as an assistant coach for some of the top high school programs in the state of Maryland. He was later named the head coach at Paul VI High School in Fairfax, Va.

Johnson also served as the vice president/assistant director of basketball operations of the AAU club “Team-Takeover” for six years. He was also the head coach of the clubs 16 and under age team. Team Takeover become one of the top AAU clubs in the country under Johnson’s direction. The club produced over 50 Division One players.

After establishing a great reputation on the AAU circuit, Johnson was hired as an assistant coach at Towson where he spent just one year before being hired by Tom Crean in May of 2012.

He was in Bloomington for just two seasons, but got quite a bit accomplished in a short amount of time. Johnson helped IU land guys like Noah Vonleh, Robert Johnson, Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson.

Louisville has had some good recruiters in the past with Kevin Keatts, Tim Fuller and even Steve Masiello. That said, Johnson may be able to get the program to a level its never been in regards to landing top tier talent.

I imagine there will be a press conference at some point this week to officially introduce Johnson as Rick Pitino’s newest assistant coach.

7-foot-1 Anas Osama Mahmoud Officially Signs With Louisville

Photo |

Photo |

We’ve known for the past few months that Louisville will be adding six new players to the roster in 2014, however only have had officially signed until this morning.

UofL announced via a press release that 7-foot-1 center Anas Osama-Mahmoud has officially signed his national letter of intent with the program.

“Anas is an extremely versatile seven-footer,” Rick Pitino said in an official release from UofL.

“He is a very skilled athlete who is a very good scorer and passer. His only weakness is strength. We will base a consideration of redshirting him on how quickly he can gain necessary strength to be effective. We’re delighted to have Anas at the University of Louisville.”

Mahmoud is originally from Egypt, but attends West Oaks Academy in Orlando, FL. He verbally committed to Louisville on March, 3. Mahmoud chose Louisville over Minnesota, Cincinnati and Georgia Tech. According to the official release, he had 23 total division one scholarship offers.

During his final season of prep basketball, Mahmoud averaged 13.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.1 blocked shots per game. ESPN ranks him as the 98th best prospect in the 2014.

For the first time in the history of the program, Louisville will have two seven footers on the roster. Mahmoud joins 7-foot-1 Norwegian native Matz Stockman who signed with the Cards on national signing day.

Louisville’s ACC Hoops Schedule For The Next Two Seasons

Pete Cautilli | The Cardinal Connect

Pete Cautilli | The Cardinal Connect

The University of Louisville basketball program’s Atlantic Coast Conference schedule for the next two seasons was released on Tuesday afternoon. Needless to say, this is without question one of the toughest conference schedules in the history of the program.

The 18-game conference slate features games against each ACC team at least once, with two games each against Pittsburgh, Virginia, Miami, and North Carolina in 2014-15. The Cards will face Pittsburgh, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Duke twice in 2015-16.

Photo |

Photo |

Louisville: 2014-15
Home/Road: Pittsburgh, Virginia, Miami, North Carolina
Home: Clemson, Duke, NC State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame
Road: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Boston College, Syracuse

Louisville 2015-16
Home/Road: Pittsburgh, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Duke
Home: Florida State, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Boston College, Syracuse
Road: Miami, Clemson, NC State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame

“It’s just an awesome schedule for our fans,” Rick Pitino said in a press release from the University. “This is like being back in the best years of the Big East, southern style. We’re very excited to take on this challenge. I relish the thought of facing competition and programs that I haven’t personally seen before.”

Click here to view the entire slate of ACC match-ups.