Preaching Patience With Louisville and David Padgett

Posted by Chris Hatfield on November 30th, 2017

In the blink of an eye — 48 hours, can be a long blink, right?– David Padgett went from the “tall guy” on the coaching staff to the head coach of one of the premier jobs in all of college basketball. The quickness with which Padgett was thrown into the role perhaps became most apparent on Tuesday night this week, when Louisville lost at Purdue, 66-57, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It was apparent in the sense that Louisville was bound to fail in the defining moments of the game — or maybe Padgett was. It represented the first time he was forced to make decisions in a hostile road environment. It was the first time he had to deal with significant foul trouble from his players. It was the first time he had to truly own the role of the head coach at the University of Louisville. He handled it all very well. There were things that could have gone differently, too. Still, an opportunity to learn on the fly needed to happen and a scenario where that learning ended in victory seemed impossible. This is life for the Louisville program after Rick Pitino: plenty of talent to make some noise this season with an equal number of reasons to fail to capitalize on it.

Louisville Fought Hard at Purdue But Came Up Just Short (USA Today Images)

Full disclosure: I walked into Mackey Arena expecting Louisville to get blown off the floor. That feeling was compounded when Padgett played a host of disoriented-looking freshmen during critical stretches. Instead, a few different bounces could have put the Cards in position to win the game. Still, the notion that Louisville is an above-average team with a sky-high ceiling wouldn’t dissipate. Its schedule to date has been weak (254th nationally), and Padgett’s team has failed to put together a full 40 minutes in all but one game (Southern Illinois). Luckily there is enough talent for the Cardinals to make expansive strides from now to March. Their performance at Purdue has already shown that they will be prepared in hostile environments, but the next step in that process will be about execution. Forthcoming match-ups against Seton Hall, Memphis and Kentucky in December will provide further evidence on how far Louisville has to go. Padgett welcomes the pressure and thinks those strides will be made. “It’s going to hurt. It should hurt. But I told our guys if you give me that kind of intensity and effort every night, we have a chance to be a special team.”

If Louisville is to become a special team, Padgett is going to need more consistency from senior guard Quentin Snider his topsy-turvy tendencies have been present again this season. At his best, Louisville is a threat to beat almost any team in the country — just ask Kentucky, a team against which he scored 22 points in last year’s 73-70 victory. So far this season, the hometown kid has scored over 10 points only twice in the Cardinals’ first five games. With Donovan Mitchell at the off-guard spot a year ago, Louisville went 15-3 when Snider scored 10 points or more and 6-4 when he didn’t. He doesn’t have to be spectacular. Most nights Louisville will get enough production from expected NBA first-rounder Deng Adel along with either VJ King, Anas Muhammad or Ray Spalding. But he has to be more consistent. He has to knock down open shots. He has to be better than 13-of-44 (29.5%) shooting. “It’s just one of those times. When it falls, I keep it going. Right now it’s not there yet.” Snider told the Courier-Journal. For Padgett’s team to reach its potential, Snider must play like he can. Regardless, it’ll take patience to get there.

Chris Hatfield (9 Posts)

Indeed, ball is life, but can we find a new expression?

Share this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *