Photo courtesy of Adam Creech/Louisville athletics
Guards, guards, and maybe a big man?
That’s what the Louisville men’s hoops program will look to add to this season’s team. With several players leaving or transferring and still several others coming into the program, the Cardinal faithful will see plenty of new faces in this coming winter and spring.
Not only has the roster seen some turnover, but the coaching staff itself has seen a couple plane tickets punched and some new faces brought into the mix.
With the departure of assistant coaches Luke Murray and Dino Gaudio, it appears that head coach Chris Mack seems to want to place some new faces at a program that didn’t make the NCAA Tournament this past season. Though the circumstances surrounding the two’s departure aren’t known to the public, it might be safe to say Mack wants to show he’s making changes to get a prestigious program back to the top.
One already official replacement is Kahil Fennell. Fennell is the former director of operations who got the nod to take one of the assistant coaching roles. With a close connection to the players, he seems to be a familiar face and one Mack wanted to have on his bench.
The other spot, though not official, seems to be Ross McMains’ to lose. McMains is currently coaching in New Zealand but seems to have deep and wide reaching connections in both the NBA and international world. He’s had stints as an assistant across several NBA G League teams as well as the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and the New Zealand national team.
Louisville had six players leave the program after this past season. Three have transferred and three are going pro.
Carlik Jones, fan favorite and point guard, left to try his hand in the NBA.
David Johnson, fan favorite and potential first-rounder, did the same.
Charles Minlend, transfer guard who had most his season at Louisville riddled with injuries, will move on and try his hand at professional ball. He will most likely end up overseas.
Aidan Igiehon, Josh Nickelberry, and Quinn Slazinski all transferred from the program to get a fresh start. Igiehon and Nickelberry leave after injury-filled seasons with little playing time. Slazinsk is also likely searching for more playing time elsewhere.
Louisville added Miami transfer Matt Cross to the roster. Cross, who played his freshman season at Miami, is known as an outside scorer. That’s something Louisville was looking to add for the upcoming season.
Jarrod West, graduate transfer point guard from Marshall, will also finish his career at Louisville. West is known for his ability to score, pass and pick pockets on defense.
Florida transfer guard Noah Locke also decided to spend his next few years as a Cardinal. Locke is another knock-down shooter from outside.
Louisville also adds recruits El Ellis, a guard, center Roosevelt Wheelerand and forward Mike James to the roster. All are four-star prospects. Other targets in Bobby Pettiford and Eric Van Der Heijden decided to go with Kansas and Ole Miss, respectively.
This leaves Mack with two open scholarships for the 2021-22 season. Most assume one of those additions will be a point guard. The second may be another guard or a big man.
Projected Starters As Of Now
Fortunately it doesn’t, but if the 2021-22 season started today, here’s the starting lineup that the Cardinals would likely trot out:
PG: Jarrod West
SG: Noah Locke
SF: Sam Williamson
PF: JJ Traynor
C: Malik Williams