If I had thought about doing this post sooner, I could have done more research and had more stats to give and really looked into how these guys played against Louisville. But since we play in less than 6 hours, I need to go ahead and post this…
Merriam-Webster.com defines “villain” in the following way:
: a character in a story, movie, etc., who does bad things
: a person who does bad things
Over the years of watching UofL basketball, you always seem to have those players on opposing teams that you just don’t like. Maybe they are good kids, but they just had great games against the Cards and that bothers you. Maybe they acted like punks and pushed people around. It could be someone that only faced the Cards once, or faced them many times as a member in the same conference. You can have your own reasons.
In saying that, I feel like there is another potential villain for Louisville basketball. His name is Anthony “Cat” Barber, the guard for NC State that you will see tonight.
Barber’s story with Louisville goes all the way back to when Rick Pitino was recruiting him a couple of years ago. Barber was on a visit to campus, which is usually a good thing. All of the sudden, the visit is over and Louisville has moved on from even recruiting him. What the heck could have happened?
We have heard all kinds of things and pretty much know the story of what Barber did on his trip here. Rather than me speculate, I will reference Tim Sullivan’s article in the Courier-Journal talking about that exact topic…
A McDonald’s All-American at Hampton High School in Newport News, Va., Anthony “Cat” Barber visited Louisville in Sept. 2012 and said Thursday U of L was one of the final three schools on his list, along with N.C. State and Kansas. But for reasons Pitino declined to clarify this week, Louisville abruptly backed off on Barber to pursue another point guard, Chris Jones.
“It’s not a big deal,” Pitino said Tuesday. “We just went in a different direction, which happens in recruiting. It’s not anything more than that.”
Maybe so. Asked Thursday how he settled on N.C. State instead of Louisville or Kansas, Barber said, “I just felt more comfortable here.” And perhaps it’s just that simple. Yet given the relative profiles of the programs Barber was considering — and his own exalted status as one of the nation’s highest-ranked high school prospects — it seems likely that there are more twists to this tale.
A web site called BustingBrackets.com, citing an unnamed source, has reported that Pitino lost interest in Barber after some players discovered belongings missing during his recruiting visit, a version of events consistent with the story told Thursday by a U of L insider. That Pitino has chosen to remain vague about the particulars is consistent with the coaching credo that you don’t impugn someone else’s player.
So there you go, it starts there. Barber goes to NC State and we don’t think of him too much during his freshman season. Then the Cards enter the ACC and we face them this year. Not only does Barber go for 21 points and lead his team to victory over Louisville, but this happened…
Well alrighty then. It’s not over just yet. In the press conference leading up to tonight’s game, Barber said “If I was any coach, I wouldn’t press me.” He also said “their new point guard, he’s going to have his hands full…But I don’t get into that.” Looks like you just put yourself in that, Cat Daddy.
We will see if he adds fuel to this fire tonight and becomes the next villain with Louisville basketball.
Everyone has their own preferences, and that is why I reached out to some people and didn’t want to just come up with my own list. I wanted to know who people thought of when they heard “villain” associated with Louisville basketball and players they have faced from the past. And so here is your CSZ name drop for those who contributed to this post: Ryan Harrington, Chris Tingley, Chris Neichter, Hassan Mahdavi, Pat Ridge, and CSZ’s Steve Rummage. Shout-outs are kind of corny on here, but I had to give credit, because it is everyone’s list, not just mine.
Here are just some of the villains that Louisville has had to deal with over the years. There could have been many more listed…