Louisville Men’s Basketball just landed a commitment from one of the top transfers in the portal this morning. University of Florida transfer Noah Locke committed to the Cards. What does 6’3 guard bring to the Cards as a player? Well, let’s analyze that shall we?
Noah Locke is being brought into the fold as an ace shooter for UofL. That is his greatest asset. He’s a long-range threat that Louisville was sorely lacking last season. Over 3 seasons at the University of Florida, Locke averaged 10.1 points per game. He did so shooting 40.8-percent from the field, 40.3-percent from the arc, and 75.8-percent from the free throw line. He made 217 career 3-point shots for the Gators. According to floridagators.com, that’s good for 9th on their career list. He also averaged 2.4 rebounds per game.
Locke is a true sharpshooter that is at his most dangerous beyond the arc. He can very capably shoot it from NBA range. Locke is at his best as a catch-and-shoot player. This bodes well for a guard like El Ellis to be able to drive and kick for open shots. Locke also shows a penchant to be able to square up off balance and easily make the 3-point shot. He has a little leg kick on some of his shots reminiscent of Cardinal great Dejuan Wheat. Locke has such a high, quick release that, even when well-defended, he can still make the shot. His shot is smooth and consistent on or off balance, which makes him tough to defend. Bob Knight would drool over Locke’s excellent shot fake. He uses that to either send defenders flying by for a wide-open 3-point attempt or to take a couple of dribbles in for an open mid-range jumper. Locke can pull up in transition, use a little rhythm dribble, or a shot fake and side dribble to drain threes as well. With his ability to square up even when off balance, a pass doesn’t have to be perfect for him to still hit the shot off the catch. Nor does he need to create a ton of room to get his shot off.
Locke isn’t all about 3-point shooting. He can drive and get to the rim and make a tough finish here or there. However, when driving, he’s at his best hitting pull-up mid-range jumpers and floaters. In this regard, he reminds me a lot of Carlik. He’s not as crafty as Carlik was around the rim, but he has a nice mid-range game like Carlik. His shooting touch is evident when he pulls up in the lane for little floaters and jumpers. His high release makes him very hard to block as well.
While not the quickest player, Locke is still plenty quick. I think he will fit nicely into Mack’s defense, as he’s got a long 6’8 wingspan and is an experienced SEC player. I expect he will learn his role defensively and be able to do what is asked of the so-called Mack-line defense. I think being is this type of defense should help Noah Locke on that end of the floor.
Locke is a fine ball handler and should help Louisville break presses when they are thrown at them. He’s not going to be a primary ball-handler though. He’s at his best moving without the ball, running off screening action, and getting to open spots beyond the arc for 3-point shots. Locke is not going to be a decision maker on the court in my opinion. When he’s handling the ball, he’s doing so to get a shot off period. He’s a true 2-guard.
With it being mentioned Coach Chris Mack wants to revamp the offense, I think Noah Locke’s commitment shows maybe a glimpse of what he wants to do. I think we will see more screening action off the ball to get a guy like Locke open 3-point attempts, attempts that are expected to be made. This will open up the lane more for driving by guys like El Ellis and post up attempts for Malik. Noah Locke is a true key to the offensive resurgence for UofL. He’s going to be relied upon to get open and knock down the 3-pointers. The lack of outside shooting last season really hindered the ability of Louisville’s offense to truly flourish. Noah Locke will unlock the true potential of the Cardinal offense.