Quick Thoughts From Menís Hoops Open Practice

OPEN BASKETBALL?? WHAT??

Where are we?? Is this the sign of a new beginning??

With a new coach, comes new tradition. This is one tradition that fans will definitely love.

I’d say there were about 200ish fans at the Yum! Practice Facility today. All eager to get a glimpse of the 2018-19 Louisville Cardinals.

The atmosphere felt like a Red/White scrimmage. Fans were cheering for big dunks and made baskets.

I really like this team. The guys are stronger, faster, more focused and most importantly, meshing. They are extremely vocal on the court. They’re having FUN. They don’t looked stressed or pressured. For the first time in a while, the air around men’s hoops is light.

Honestly, Louisville†is a lot better than people think. I don’t know if we’re top 25 caliber just yet, but we’re not far off. Look for this team to pick up resume building wins. Maybe even a few upsets.

After all, Louisville is no stranger to being an underdog.

After watching the guys play a fun pick up game, I gathered my thoughts. This is done in a stream of conscious so bare with me if it seems scattered…

First of all, Jordan Nwora. He’s bigger and better. You can tell he’s been working extremely hard in the offseason. His shot is more accurate. His ball handling is much better. He has incredible vision on the court. It wouldn’t shock me if he has a “Donovan-Terry-esq” break out season.

Stephen Enoch is going to be a HUGE presence for Louisville. The guy is a beast. He’s tall and muscular. But, his size doesn’t slow him down. He’s also extremely physical in the paint – something Louisville really needs. You can count on him to come down with boards.

Christen Cunningham reminds me a lot of a Peyton Siva or a Quentin Snyder. He does just about everything right. He’s a great passer. If the ball is in his hands, it’s secure. He didn’t take many shots today, but when he did, he was accurate. He can get in the paint and grab an easy layup. You can also look to him to draw a foul and hit a few free throws.

Richmond transfer Kwahn Fore is extremely athletic. I really enjoyed watching him with the ball. He’s quick, he handles the ball well. He’s going to be a great addition to Louisville’s back court.

Akoy Agau has returned. He’s definitely changed a lot since we last saw him in a Louisville uniform in 2013-14. He brings much-needed depth to the Cardinals front court. Agau also brings veteran experience. His enthusiasm today was contagious. I really think he’s going to be a source of positivity for the Cards.

Darius Perry. Russ Smith Jr. Perry plays with a controlled erraticism and it works for him. He’s extremely fast. He’s not scared to take chances. His athleticism is unreal. Look for Perry – along with Nwora – to make HUGE leaps this season. They’ve both taken four or five giant steps up and it shows.

Malik Williams. For some reason, I adore that guy. He was literally in the line to meet Donovan Mitchell today with a notebook for Donovan to sign. He seems so light and down to earth. On the court, he has definitely improved in the off-season. He’s fast – and not just big guy fast. Williams ran a five-minute mile earlier this summer. He’s definitely been working on his three pointer, as well as his physicality in the paint. He’s going to be a much need presence for Louisville not only in the post, but on the perimeter.

VJ King looks different. He acts different. He looks like he’s having fun. King also looks much bigger. He’s definitely put time in the gym during the off-season. I’m excited to see his Sports Center Top 10 worthy dunks this season. Fans thought VJ would take a huge step up last year – and he did – but he’s taken an even bigger step this season. He’s going to be scary good.

Ryan McMahon’s three pointer is still amazing. He also made a few cuts inside today for contested layups. He’s consistent. That’s what makes him a great player.

Dwayne Sutton looked great today, too. He’s picking up where he left off last season and expanding upon it. I didn’t see him take many shots today, but we all know he can put the ball through the hoop. I like his energy.

Jo Griffin, Wyatt Bataille and Jacob Redding will be fan favorites this season. Think of them like David Levitch Jrs. All three are extremely athletic. They also have great vision on the court.

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