Random

Shoni Schimmel Invited To The WNBA Draft

Paul Hafacre - USA Today Sports

Paul Hafacre – USA Today Sports

It was announced on Thursday evening that Louisville star Shoni Schimmel would be invited to attnd the 2014 WNBA Draft at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Schimmel is one of the twelve players invited to this year’s draft.

Shoni Schimmel, Louisville

Odyessey Sims, Baylor

Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford

Stefanie Dolson, UConn

Bria Hartley, UConn

Natalie Achonwa, Notre Dame

Kayla McBride, Notre Dame

Chelsea Gray, Duke

Meighan Simmons, Tennessee

Natasha Howard, Florida State

Alyssa Thomas, Maryland

Markeisha Gatling, North Carolina State

DraftSite.com projects Schimmel to be the 13th pick in the draft, going to the Tulsa Schock. Louisville forward Antonita Slaughter is projected to be the 24th overall pick, going to the Minnesota Lynx.

Coverage of the first round will begin on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET. Coverage of the second and third rounds will be televised on ESPNU from 9-10:30 p.m.

Peyton Siva Making The Most Of His Opportunity With The Pistons

Photo: USA Today Sports

Photo: USA Today Sports

At this time a year ago, former Louisville point guard Peyton Siva was guiding the Cardinal program to its third national championship. On Saturday evening, Siva may have had the best performance of his NBA career.

The Detroit Pistons were down by 19 points in the second half to the Boston Celtics, but Siva’s fourth quarter efforts helped the Pistons claw back for a 115-11 victory.

“How couldn’t you root for Peyton Siva tonight?” said interim Detroit coach John Loyer. “Peyton was solid. If you don’t go home for a better appreciation for Peyton Siva you really didn’t watch the game. He guarded the ball. He hustled, got on the floor for loose balls. He played with confidence. He was very, very good. You expect good things from Peyton because he prepares so hard. If he’s not the first one in the gym, I guarantee you he’s the last. He has been an incredible worker for us.”

In 15 minutes of action, Siva finished with five assists, three points and two steals with zero turnovers. Here are some of his fourth quarter highlights.

Bill Walton Compared Gorgui Dieng To Kevin Durant & Lebron James. Seriously

Gorgui-Dieng USA Today

Greg Smith – USA Today

Maybe it’s just me, but I find former NBA star and currently analyst Bill Walton to be an extremely interesting character. During his time in the NBA, Walton wasn’t your typical professional athlete. The former UCLA Bruin was and still is a man who marches to the beat of his own drum.

This day in age, it’s not entirely uncommon to hear insanely idiotic statements from college and pro basketball analysts/personalities. These statements are most often made just to get a specific reaction or simply troll a certain fan base. When it comes to Bill Walton, I’m 100% convinced he believes everything that comes out of his mouth.

Former Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng recently had the best game of his young NBA career. In a win over the Utah Jazz last week, Dieng scored eight points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots in 22-minutes of action. Bill Walton was on the call for Fox Sports as the color commentator. Needless to say he was extremely impressed with Gorgui Dieng and compared him to Kevin Durant and Lebron James.

You won’t hear his commentary in the video above, but I can promise you it happened. Here are a couple of key witnesses.

 

 

Never change, Bill. Never change.

Passion and Proximity: The Problem With College Basketball

AP Photo - Tori Eichberger

AP Photo – Tori Eichberger

Absurdly inappropriate things are done in every sports arena. I’ve yelled profanity at referees. I’ve taunted coaches and players. It’s a strange concept that has manifested itself so successfully in sports: the idea that perfectly normal people enter stadiums and can become angry hooligans. The anonymity of being a sports fan in the crowd provides a solace; the peace of mind that the guise of fandom excuses any insult that one can hurl.

What happened last night in Lubbock is the worst of this problem. There is no question that Marcus Smart was wrong to get involved physically with Jeff Orr, the Texas Tech “mega-fan.” But can we truly hold a 19-year-old to a higher standard than a 50-year-old man? No matter what Orr said, Smart can’t respond. However, this situation is just a representation of a vast problem with college basketball.

Using sports as an outlet for acting in manners unacceptable in normal society, isn’t anything new by any means. European soccer is perhaps the best example of this phenomenon. In the 1940s, fans of F.C. Barcelona used their chants to denounce the Franco regime in Spain; an act that was considered treason everywhere else. For over a century, the Old Firm rivalry between Glasgow’s Celtic and Ranger football clubs has surrounded the dichotomy between Catholics and Protestants. For decades it was common to hear the protestant Rangers fans chant obscenities regarding the Pope. Today its still commonplace to hear monkey noises directed at players of African-descent, or worse see bananas thrown onto the field.

But for basketball, there’s an even more volatile relationship between fans and competitors. The sport that prides itself on bringing fans the closest to games has invited them to become involved with the play. Courtside seats allow fans to become the closest they possibly can be to being a part of the action. Basketball fans are truly convinced that they can impact the outcome of the contest.

This November will mark the 10 year anniversary of “The Malice at the Palace,” the worst fan-player altercation in American history. While the blame following the events was placed on the Indiana Pacers players and mostly Ron Artest, it was the first massive warning sign that fan behavior at games was becoming a problem. The NBA immediately limited the sale of alcohol and increased security between players and fans.

In many ways the relationship between college basketball fans and players is more heightened than at the pro level. Rivalries are more fierce, fans are more involved through being boosters or otherwise, and the inclusion of students both as competitors and fans make decision making a much more foggy proposition. All in all, the recipe for disaster is likely higher in college basketball than it is in the pros.

College sports are largely celebrated for its vast tradition and passion. Here it is yet another ingredient in a cocktail ready to boil over. College fans simply care more; the personal connections fans feel with their teams are like blood pacts. Fans not only support through buying season tickets and sporting team gear. Many spend thousands of dollars on donations to athletic departments. They are convinced that they are effectively making their teams better. In some way, they had a hand in the performance of the product on the court.

The passion only reaches a fever pitch when it comes to rivalries. There’s no need for me to explain this much, we see it here when it comes to our friends from down I-64. Kentucky and Louisville fans hate each other with the deepest of furors. We are the prime example of how this part of the formula can go overboard. When it comes to Red vs Blue we major in mudslinging.

But isn’t this what makes college sports so enjoyable? The deep feelings and reactions it musters from each of us. As a young man who spent his early life in love with professional sports, college athletics provides the most satisfying fan experience. Because we invest so much it rewards us in a matter that cannot be matched.

However, this is where it can so easily go wrong. Much is being reported about Jeff Orr, a self-proclaimed “mega-fan.” Louisville athletics has several Jeff Orrs. Fans so obsessed with supporting this school that it becomes their lifeblood. We celebrate these people just like Texas Tech itself has done for Orr. These are men and women who would do almost anything in the name of being a fan. A passion that isn’t possible at the professional level.

Much is being said on possible past transgressions Orr has made. But let’s not kid ourselves; Orr can be interchanged with any one of a wealth of “mega-fans.” Countless would have made a similar remark to Marcus Smart, and perhaps garnered an even worse reaction from the young man. Under the disguise of being a fan, we can find an excuse for any action. “I didn’t mean it, it’s just sports.”

The addition of thousands of maturing students only sweetens the pot. Student sections are more likely to act in disrespect. Just this season the Missouri student section was banned for two games after making absurdly deplorable chants that were sexually graphic and homophobic.   We’re asking young men and women to act with civility and respect, when their grown adult counterparts can’t even do the same.

This is even heightened further when fans storm the court, a purely collegiate practice. We are putting hundreds of fans, mostly students, right in the face of these similarly aged athletes. It’s a miracle that nothing significant has happened in the past. We were close to an incident this season when Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison was confronted by Arkansas fans storming the court. These situations, while a staple, merely beg for an awful situation to emerge.

As college basketball fans we have to be better. We have to be more mindful of our surroundings and understand that we’re in a Molotov cocktail of emotion. We have to realize that any action performed in the name of “being a fan” isn’t excusable. We must remember that any actions not only reflect badly on ourselves but on the reputation of the universities we love so dearly.

Unfortunately, this incident is unlikely to drastically change the behavior of college basketball fans. Obscenities will be shouted at every game. Some of these yells may be racial slurs. As long as the recipe remains the same, I fear that it’s not a matter of if but rather when a situation similar to the Pacers-Pistons brawl occurs in a college arena.

Podcast: Cards Escape Houston & Greg Brown Reportedly Joins Petrino’s Staff

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed Thursday’s edition of Inside The Press Box, here is the podcast. Click here to listen from your mobile device.

On today’s show we discussed the breaking news of Greg Brown reportedly joining Petrino’s Louisville staff. We also recapped Louisville’s win over Houston and Chris Jones’ role going forward. In the final segment we talked about Terrence Williams’ stellar play in the NBDL and the possibility of him getting another shot.

 

Tune-in on Friday at 5 PM on 1450 The Sports Buzz. You can always stream live if you can’t tune-in on the dial.

Ice Storm Special: Top 5 “Ice In His Veins” Clutch Moments in UofL History

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

I fully acknowledge this is the cheesiest contribution I’ve made to this site and I’m completely okay with that. The fact is that we’re all probably freezing our butts off at the moment, hopefully with power, and could use some warm cheer. I couldn’t let you guys down, so I give you the cheesiest “top 5″ list you’ll read today: The Top 5 “Ice In His Veins” Clutch Moments in U of L History.

The way most of these lists start off is with honorable mentions, so I guess that’s where I’ll start since there are definitely plenty of clutch moments worth remembering.

First honorable mention…

Goes to the combination of Reece Gaines & Bryant Northern for doing their best Reggie Miller against Tennessee in a Christmas-time thriller in Freedom Hall in 2001. Down 6 with 30 seconds remaining, the Gaines & Northern hit 3 consecutive 3-pointers, outscoring the Volunteers 9-2 to end one of the more exciting comeback victories Freedom Hall has seen. Spoiler alert: this won’t be Reece Gaines’ only appearance on this list.

Second honorable mention…

Goes to Aaron Horton who scored the game winner in the dying seconds of the 2010 NCAA College Cup Semifinal against North Carolina. He came on as a last-roll-of-the-dice substitute and boy did he make an immediate impact! The Cardinals reached their first College Cup final in program history thanks to a cheeky chip – “Cool as you like!” (doing my best Ian Darke voice) – over Heels goalkeeper Scott Goodwin. Louisville would go on to lose 1-0 to Akron in the final, but there was no shame in that as Akron’s squad boasted a fair number of current MLS contributors. Nevertheless, this is without doubt *the* clutch moment in U of L soccer history. Icy veins aren’t exclusive to the revenue sports at U of L.

And now to the top 5:

5. Brian Kiser against UCLA, 1996

Some (probably most) of you won’t remember this one, but this was one of the first clutch shots I remember in my 26 years of watching Louisville basketball. Before Michael Jordan stuck a couple of daggers into Utah in ’97 and ’98, most of my driveway buzzer beaters were in emulation of Brian Kiser. His 3-pointer with just 2 seconds left (assisted by my idol DeJuan Wheat) topped the would-be Pac-10 champions and started my bad habit of only shooting 3s in my brief youth basketball career. This video just adds to the retro excitement I get from this video. My favorite player of all-time passes the ball to one of the best 3-point shooters the Cards have ever had (2nd all-time in career 3-point percentage at 43% behind another personal favorite – Dwayne Morton) and then the video is capped off with Jim Harrick completely beside himself. How much does he look like Michael Scott in that video? Uncanny.

4. Bridgewater to Copeland against Cincinnati, 2013

I wasn’t around to see Johnny Unitas play, so it’s hard for me to make any comparison between those 2, but if you exclude Johnny U from the list, Teddy Bridgewater is hands down the greatest quarterback to ever put on a Louisville uniform. He may even contend with Johnny U on the scale of all-time legends, he’s been that good and that important to the program. Teddy Bridgewater did some amazing things in his 3 years at Louisville and none more amazing than his Brett Favre-esque heave to Copeland for a key score in the season finale this year at UC. That was simply incredible and probably the first one that will come to mind when we look back on the many lasting memories Teddy has left us.

3. Edgar Sosa against Kentucky, 2009

Say what you want about Eddie Sosa, but he’s one of my favorites. His shot against Kentucky is one of my all-time favorite sporting moments I got to witness in person. Standing in the upper corner of Freedom Hall, I watched and yelled the same word all of you exclaimed as he released what seemed like a 50-footer… “NO!”… When it went in, I literally ran down the stairs of the upper deck, watched the final buzzer go and stormed out of the arena jumping in elation with 19,000 of my closest friends. I’m sure that’s how all of you remember it, but in case you’re having a hard time recalling that moment…

2. Louisville basketball against Marquette, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011

I couldn’t pick one and far be it from me to deprive you of the beauty of those three daggers. Reece Gaines in 2003. Francisco Garcia in 2005. Jerry Smith in 2007. All magnificant shots from magnificant Cardinals. And cap that off with The Miracle on Main St. It would just be too much to post all of those videos, so please do feel free to take a gander at YouTube for the others, but I’ll give you my favorite. It still holds the record for the only Dick Vitale call I’ve ever enjoyed hearing: “Gaines! He’s from Wisconsin!

1. September 26th, 2002

This is still, for me, the program’s defining moment. I could give you a description, but I’m definitely one for dramatic narration as well, so watch for yourself…

After writing this piece and watching all of those videos, I realize now that giving all of you the chills wasn’t exactly the the best-timed Ice Storm Special ever, but I do hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did. If I’ve missed any icy-veined moments, please do leave them in the comments below or find us on twitter @Knabelism.

Getting To Know The Staff: Garrick McGee

Birmingham News

Birmingham News

The Offensive Coordinator position under Head Coach Booby Petrino is an intriguing one to say the least.  As one of the most prolific offensive minds in coaching, Petrino drafts a system that allows him to handle his own play calling.

With that, the offensive coordinator is going to be relied upon for recruiting, molding an elite offense along side Petrino and quarterback development.  Former UAB head coach Garrick McGee will do exactly just that.

McGee has a proven track record to work along side his new boss and do everything that is called upon him.  As O.C. for Petrino at Arkansas in 2010 and 2011, the duo were responsible for building Arkansas into one of the country’s most prolific offenses.

During an 11 win 2011 season the Razorback offense totalled 40 or more points six times and lead the SEC conference in total offense with an average of over 438 yards per game.  At season’s end, three of the offensive starters were chosen in the NFL draft.

As a former quarterback himself (Oklahoma), McGee was an instrumental component to the unprecedented progress of Arkansas Quarterback Ryan Mallett, who broke 45 school records in his two seasons and became just the third SEC quarterback to top 3,500 passing yards in back-to-back seasons.

As have many of the great coaches along the way, McGee is the son of a football coach.  Garrick played at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa for his father Larry McGee.  His first two collegiate seasons were at Arizona State under Petrino and then finished out his career at Oklahoma for two seasons with a stop at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in between.

Garrick and his wife Tiffany has two children; a two year old Grant, and a three year old Cameron.

Louisville Enjoying An Extended Stay In Miami

miami

Rick Pitino wasn’t joking last week when he said he wanted his team to spend some time away from the city of Louisville as the annual rivalry game against Kentucky approaches.

The team has been in Miami since last Wednesday and they aren’t expected to return to Louisville until Thursday. They practice in Miami on Thursday and Friday leading up to their 85-56 win over Florida International on Saturday.

Instead of heading back to Louisville following the game, the team stayed in Miami they’re expected to practice Sunday and Monday. They’ll then take a couple days off for Christmas and head home to their families. I assume they’ll return for practice on Thursday.

Coach Pitino has always preached to not take any opponent lightly and I’m sure they spent some time preparing for FIU, however it wouldn’t surprise me if they also spent some time last week getting an early look at Kentucky.

You’ll hear both Rick Pitino and John Calipari talk about his this is “just another game,” but this year’s match-up has more significance than years past. It’s always an important game for the fans, but this year both teams really need this win to boost their out of conference resume’s.

Photo Gallery: Louisville vs. UMKC

Pete Cautilli - The Cardinal Connect

Pete Cautilli – The Cardinal Connect

TheCardinalConnect.com photographer Pete Cautilli was on hand for Louisville’s win over UMKC on Wednesday evening and got some great shots of the action. Click here to view from your mobile device. Make sure you check out Pete’s personal photography website PeteCautilli.Zenfolio.com.

Podcast: Clint Hurtt’s Comments On UK Football & Pitino’s Humility Concerns

hurtt cbs

If you missed Tuesday’s edition of Inside The Press Box, here is the podcast. Click here to listen from your mobile device. We spent a lot of time talking about Clint Hurtt’s comments about Kentucky football and also Pitino’s humility concerns.