Louisville Men’s Basketball: Looking Ahead to 2020-2021

With the 2019-2020 college basketball season officially canceled, “way-too-early” preseason rankings are being published every day.  Louisville is particularly hard to rank because the roster is not even close to being finalized. The Cards are losing a significant portion of their minutes from last season. There will almost definitely be additions made to the roster via the transfer portal, but until then they can only be ranked off of the roster as it currently stands.

Louisville’s Way-Too-Early Rankings as of 3/25 (Links Included)

ESPN: Unranked
CBS: 26th
NBC: 16th
USA Today: Unranked
Yahoo: Unranked
Stadium: 15th
247sports: Unranked
Three-Man-Weave: Unranked
Jon Rothstein: 29th

It’s no secret that the media as a whole is down on the Cards entering next season. These rankings will be updated over the next couple of months as additions come in and NBA Draft prospects make their decisions. We have a pretty good idea of who is going and who’s staying for Louisville, so they would probably move up in most rankings if Chris Mack is able to land a transfer or two.

Now, we’ll look at how the roster is shaping up for Louisville’s 2020-2021 season.

Departures:

G Ryan McMahon
G Fresh Kimble
G Keith Oddo
F Dwayne Sutton
C Steven Enoch
F Jordan Nwora (NBA Draft)
G Darius Perry (Transferring)

In case you were wondering, that is 75.9 percent of Louisville’s scoring from last season and 76.1 of its minutes. The Cards will be counting on multiple players to make a significant jump in production.

Probably Staying:

Malik Williams

F/C Malik Williams

8.5 points, 6.5 rebounds., 0.3 assists

Williams missed the first four games of the season and picked up another injury in late February. As the season was coming to a close, Malik had become one of the most important contributors on the team. You can probably count on him to return for his senior season, but it would not be shocking to see him test the NBA draft waters,  Assuming he comes back, you’re looking at a captain, a guaranteed starter, and one of the most important pieces on the 20-21 roster.

Johnson-VT

G David Johnson

6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists

Johnson also missed the first four games of last season due to injury. After returning, he played sparingly until he broke out in conference play. During the final 15 games of the year, he averaged 8.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. Johnson has appeared on some late season big boards and seems to be on the radar of NBA scouts. Don’t be surprised if he tests the waters, but decides to come back to school.

Returning:

We will assume that the remainder of the 2019-20 roster is returning to school.

Williamson-VT

G/F Samuell Williamson

4.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.6 assists

Coming to the Ville as a 5-star McDonalds All-American, Williamson saw the floor right away last season and remained in the rotation all year. Williamson showed flashes, but he did not put up a ton of production in his freshman season. That probably had to do with the depth at his position. He was the 4th forward in the rotation and the majority of the shots were coming from elsewhere. He is someone that the Cards will definitely count on to make a big leap heading into next season.

Slazinski/Mack-SU

F Quinn Slazinski

1.0 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.2 assists

Slazinski scored 15 total points in 15 games last season as a freshman. He was never expected to be a major contributor off the bench. He had reclassified into the 2019 class and was initially expected to redshirt. Slazinski only played in 1 of the first 12 conference games, but saw action in 4 of the final 5 to finish the season. He’s a long wing who has shown the potential to shoot the ball at a high level. You have to think he’ll be in Coach Mack’s plans heading into next season.

Igiehon-FSU

F Aidan Igiehon

1.0 points, 1.0 rebounds, 0.0 assists

It was hardly the freshman season that most had anticipated for Aidan Igiehon. The 6-10 forward played 9.4 minutes through the first five games of the year, but only played in 8 total games after that to finish the season. Igiehon played twice in the year 2020 and did not dress during the final games of the season because of injuries. There is still plenty to be excited about when it comes to Aidan. He’ll have a big opportunity to make an impact next season with all of the departures.

Nickelberry-EKU

G Josh Nickelberry

0.8 points, 0.2 rebounds, 0.1 assists

Nickelberry played infrequently during his freshman season at Louisville. He was likely a victim of the team’s upperclassmen depth. Coach Mack went with a strict 9-man rotation for the majority of the year and the opportunity was just not there. Much like Slazinski, Nickelberry is a guy that has some potential and figures to make an impact heading into next season.

Withers-VT

F Jaelyn Withers

Withers sat out the 2019-2020 season as a redshirt.

Walk-Ons

C Hogan Orbaugh

G Grant Williams

Newcomers:

Jay Scrubb
Photo Courtesy of @jscrubb1 on Twitter

G Jay Scrubb, John Logan College

Jay Scrubb is the consensus number one ranked JUCO prospect in the nation. Scrubb won Seventh Region Player of the Year as a senior at Louisville Trinity in 2018. He battled academic issues throughout high school and went the JUCO route as he was not eligible to play NCAA ball as a freshman. Talking about Scrubb’s commitment last September, Evan Daniels of 247sports said the commitment was “equivalent to getting a top 15 high school prospect.” Scrubb would be an immediate difference maker for the Cards, but it is still unclear if he will ever play a game at Louisville. Scrubb declared for the 2020 NBA draft on March 25th and intends to sign with an agent. He appeared in a few mock drafts prior to the season and has spoken about wanting to be the first player since 2004 to be drafted from Junior College. Scrubb still has the option to withdraw his name and come back to school. It will likely depend on the feedback he receives while going through the draft process. Only time will tell, but if he decides on coming to Louisville, Jay Scrubb will be one of the more important recruits the Cards have gotten in recent years.

D'Andre Davis
Photo Courtesy of @DAndreDavis14 on Twitter

F D’Andre Davis, Lawrence Central (Indianapolis)

6-5/170

247 Composite Rankings: 95th National, 19th Position, 2nd State

Davis is a versatile wing prospect who had an impressive senior season while leading one of the top ranked teams in the state of Indiana. Here’s the CSZ story from his commitment this past October. (Link).

JJ Traynor
Photo Courtesy of @JJTraynor20 on Twitter

F JJ Traynor, Bardstown High School (KY)

6-8/195

247 Composite Rankings: 112th National, 21st Position, 1st State

Traynor also committed to the Cards this past October. Traynor made a big jump in the recruiting rankings last summer and chose the Cards over many other power conference offers. (CSZ Story Link)

Grad Transfer(s)?

Louisville has added a graduate transfer in 4 of the past 5 seasons. The grad transfer market is getting larger by the year and you should expect the Cards to add at least one name to the roster heading into next season. With multiple scholarships available, Chris Mack has the option to pick up more than one grad transfer off the market if he thinks they can help the team. There have already been reports that Mack has been on the phone reaching out to many different players in the portal. It would not be all that shocking if Louisville picks up an undergraduate transfer as well who will be required to sit out the 2020-2021 season.

We will keep you updated over the next few months as the roster finalizes.

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