Well, here we are on the roller coaster ride. Shaqquan Aaron was staying, but now it appears that he will transfer from the University of Louisville.
With the addition of Trey Lewis and the possible addition of Damion Lee and/or Maverick Rowan, not to mention Deng Adel coming in, maybe Aaron simply didn’t want to compete for playing time. We will post more information as it becomes available.
I had to put a time in the title of the post because there seems to be news every few hours with the basketball team and roster. So this is just to update you on what has been going on with the Cards and what we could see happening soon.
The roster news continues today for the University of Louisville basketball team. It has been more good than bad, and this news is that freshman Shaqquan Aaron will stay at UofL and not transfer, as some had thought he would do.
One of the roster questions appears to have been answered. According to the Courier-Journal, big man Chinanu Onuaku will return to the University of Louisville. After Rick Pitino’s press conference on Monday to wrap up the season, there was a question as to whether Onuaku would be one of the players that would transfer out of the program.
Soon after the press conference, it was learned that Anton Gill would transfer. The other two question marks appeared to be Onuaku and Shaqquan Aaron. There is still no word on Aaron just yet, but it is good to hear that Onuaku will be back.
Rick Pitino met with the media on Monday afternoon for almost 30 minutes to wrap up the season, which saddens me. It is about 8 days too early, but it happens. He said that Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell will both go pro, and also hints that a couple of players could transfer.
Since the press conference this afternoon, we learned that sophomore Anton Gill will transfer.
Transcript from Courier-Journal.com. Edited by me.
Before I leave on the recruiting trail, we had individual instructions and I missed you guys so I wanted to say goodbye to you one last time. You know, there’s good and bad in every season, and I’m not going to mislead you and tell you that it doesn’t hurt. Outside of the Christian Laettner loss, I think this was probably the second most-bitter defeat that we have faced, because, you know when Mangok made that first free throw which shouldn’t have gone in, I said, we’re going to win this thing and for a span of a short period of time all I could think of was, ‘We just have to play defense for four seconds.” At first there was three-point-something, and they changed it. And I said all we’ve got to do is play defense for four seconds and we’re in the Final Four, because I was positive the second one would go in after that luck. And it didn’t go in. And we missed a lot of free throws down the stretch, a lot of layups down the stretch, and that’s the bad.
Is there anything else to be said? Well quite honestly, yes there is. It was a great game before Mangok Mathiang delivered the dagger to beat Virginia. Read that sentence again. My computer almost wouldn’t allow me to even type it. Terry Rozier gets trapped and delivers the ball to the open man. When you realize who that open man is and that HE IS ACTUALLY RISING UP TO TAKE THE SHOT, it was the classic “NO NO NO NO YESSSSSS” moment. And good for him. This may ignite him to finish the season strong. Or it could be the last positive thing he does. Who knows? Regardless, he had his moment tonight, and it was awesome!
“I’m as proud of this basketball team as any game I’ve ever coached because I’ve never seen a team have so many open looks from layups to wide open shots off good ball movement and (the shots) not falling. Earlier this year we had the same thing happen and we got down and we didn’t play good defense. But these guys kept their attitude and just focused on one thing: winning the game. You know Georgia Tech is just like us. We have two better players than them, but they’re just like us. They run great stuff, but the ball doesn’t go in. They’re not a good shooting team and we’re not a good shooting team. And that’s the most frustrating thing because they do so many great things offensively and so many great things defensively, and so did we. But when the shot doesn’t go in, you struggle. But they’re a team that played Duke to the wire and had them. Notre Dame in overtime. They’re young right now and they suffer the same things we suffer and that’s ‘you have wide open shots and they don’t go down.'”
You know, we played well. I thought Quentin Snider played outstanding. It wasn’t his play, it was Wayne Blackshear not getting in foul trouble. We had to go substitute out of weakness rather than strength. But I thought we moved the ball great in the first half, did a lot of really good things. We missed a lot of shots that would have kept us in the game in the second half, wide-open, we had two in the corner.
But what’s stopping us from being a very good basketball team is the last three years we’ve been one of the most feared defensive teams in the nation, with steals, turnovers, and we’ve just been void of both. I’m going to put out there on Kenny (Klein’s) web site to try and motivate our guys — who’s getting the deflections. Again, we’re falling short of it, so I’m using you to motivate my players.
Right after the game ended, Coach Pitino did a quick interview with the ACC Digital Network. He raves about Montrezl Harrell, and says they caught a bad break with Wayne Blackshear.
Check out these photos from the North Carolina game on Saturday. These were taken by Tim Haag. Follow him on twitter for more great pictures @UofLBirdsNest.
Sometimes, the worst thing that can happen after a loss is a lot of time off between games. It feels like the Cards haven’t played in a month. They will finally hit the court again on Sunday at 4 p.m. when they take on the Pittsburgh Panthers on the road. The game will be on CBS.
Rick Pitino talked about the game at his press conference on Friday afternoon. Here is what he had to say.
“As you all know, Pitt’s had a great winning record at home, nearly 88 percent, and certainly, they have a great home court with their student body. It’s always been a tough place to play, and we’re looking forward to it. Obviously it’s a nationally televised game, and I know our players are fired up about it.”
The Louisville Cardinals are no strangers to being in a high quality basketball conference. That has never been an issue. But even with that, there is something pretty special about being apart of the ACC now. And the Cards (13-1, 1-0) began this chapter with a victory on the road against Wake Forest (8-7, 0-2) 85-76 on Sunday night.
The main thing that jumps out from this game is the play from Chris Jones. Easily the most criticized player on the team this year (for reasons on AND off the court), Jones played his best game since arriving at UofL last season. He had 8 assists in the first half and was clearly looking to get the ball to his teammates and not look for his shot first. That gameplan worked out great as Montrezl Harrell was the beneficiary of a lot of Jones’ passes and scored 20 points in the first half.
One of the main reasons I have this website is to be able to voice my opinion and have a forum to do it on. Rather than send 50 tweets or make a Facebook status (which I rarely do about sports anymore) about a particular game, it is easier to be able to make a post on here, where I have all the room that I need. If people choose to read it, then that’s great. If not, well I still survive so it’s OK.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game on Saturday afternoon. Like I did a few times during football season, this will be a post of thoughts from me without watching the replay yet on TV. It is always different being at the game or watching at home, where you can hear the announcers and probably have more information. I am not sure I will watch the game again, but these are just 5 thoughts that stick out just from being at the game and seeing it only once.
Finally got news on Shaqquan Aaron. This is the official press release from UofL:
Dec. 9, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville freshman guard Shaqquan Aaron can make his debut with the Cardinals’ men’s basketball team on Dec. 20 when U of L plays at Western Kentucky.
According to this tweet, the NCAA will let Louisville know about the status of freshman Shaqquan Aaron sometime next week. This is an issue about the NCAA clearing him to play that shouldn’t have taken much time at all, but keeps dragging on and has kept Aaron out of 3 games so far.
This news means that Aaron will miss at least 2 more games, as the Cards host Savannah State on Monday and Cleveland State on Wednesday.
Photos by Tim Haag (@UofLBirdsNest)
Freshman Shaqquan Aaron did not suit up when the Cards faced Barry this past Saturday. Coach Pitino said he wasn’t pleased with the way Aaron had been practicing. On his radio show last night, Pitino revealed that Shaqquan is dealing with “an eligibility issue” and he has not been cleared yet by the NCAA to play. He also won’t play against Bellarmine this Sunday.
All indications point to this being something temporary and not something that will linger on. Let’s hope that is the case since the season officially starts next Friday (Nov 14) against Minnesota.
ESPN says the Cards Small Forward battle could be “one of the most intriguing position battles in the country”
ESPN released their list of the top 10 reserves in the country today and Louisville freshman Shaqquan Aaron came in at number 7.
7. Shaqquan Aaron, Louisville Cardinals
The fight for playing time in Louisville will be intense in 2014-15. Aaron, an explosive wing from Seattle who will likely begin the season on the bench, will push Wayne Blackshear for minutes at the small forward throughout the season in one of the most intriguing position battles in the country.
We are all expecting Wayne Blackshear to break out this season and become what has now been tabbed as “High School Wayne”. This will be necessary if the Senior wants to hold on to that starting job because Freshman Shaq Aaron can flat out play! Either way the Cards look to have a loaded roster again and October 19th (Red/White Game) can’t get here soon enough.
With all of the freshman now on campus for the University of Louisville basketball team, the roster on GoCards.com has now been updated. This includes what numbers each player will wear.
|#||NAME||HT||WT||POS||CL||HOMETOWN (PREVIOUS SCHOOL)|
|0||Terry Rozier||6-1||185||G||SO||Cleveland, Ohio (Shaker Heights/Hargrave Military Academy)|
|1||Anton Gill||6-3||185||G||SO||Raleigh, N.C. (Ravenscroft/Hargrave Military Academy)|
|2||Quentin Snider||6-1||170||G||FR||Louisville, Ky. (Ballard)|
|3||Chris Jones||5-10||175||G||SR||Memphis, Tenn. (NW Florida State College)|
|4||Dillon Avare||6-0||150||G||RS FR||Lexington, Ky. (Lexington Catholic)|
|5||Matz Stockman||7-2||240||F/C||FR||Oslo, Norway (Canaria Basketball Academy)|
|10||Jaylen Johnson||6-9||215||F||FR||Ypsilanti, Mich. (Ypsilanti)|
|12||Mangok Mathiang||6-10||210||F/C||RS SO||Melbourne, Australia (IMG Academy (Fla.))|
|14||Anas Mahmoud||7-1||205||F||FR||Cairo, Egypt (West Oaks Academy)|
|15||Trent Gilbert||6-0||180||G||FR||Georgetown, Ky. (Scott County)|
|21||Shaqquan Aaron||6-7||175||G||FR||Seattle, Wash. (Ranier Beach)|
|22||Akoy Agau||6-8||230||F||SO||Omaha, Neb. (Omaha Central)|
|23||David Levitch||6-3||180||G||SO||Goshen, Ky. (North Oldham)|
|24||Montrezl Harrell||6-8||240||F||JR||Tarboro, N.C. (Hargrave Military Academy)|
|25||Wayne Blackshear||6-5||230||G/F||SR||Chicago, Ill. (Morgan Park)|
|32||Chinanu Onuaku||6-10||230||F/C||FR||Lanham, Md. (Riverdale Baptist)|
Our Louisville Cardinals were one of the featured teams this week on ESPN.com’s “Position Battles”. This weeks battle was at the Small Forward position and looked at Sr. Wayne Blackshear and Frosh. Shaqquan Aaron:
Louisville: Wayne Blackshear vs. Shaqquan Aaron
“In late March, coach Rick Pitino gave reporters this postseason assessment of Wayne Blackshear: “The only player I’ve had in the past four years that hasn’t had substantial improvement is Wayne Blackshear.” That’s not good, but it’s true. Blackshear was a McDonald’s All-American in high school, but the Chicago product suffered a shoulder injury that prevented him from playing in that game, which was held in his hometown after the 2010-11 season. He has never reached that pre-injury promise. So Aaron, a four-star forward from Seattle who is ranked 33rd in the 2014 class by RecruitingNation, could grab minutes from Blackshear if he continues to underwhelm. Louisville has the pieces to compete for the ACC crown in its first year in the league, and Pitino won’t let Blackshear ruin that potential, especially with all of that young talent on his bench.”
I still remain optimistic that Wayne will turn it around this year but Rick made it very clear he will not be afraid to play Shaq. The Red White games may just be highlighted by this match up come October.