Photo courtesy of Louisville athletics
College basketball for 2020-21 will be a wild time of game time changes and coronavirus restrictions.
And in this scene, finds a battered but brazen Louisville program. Injuries have sidelined or hampered several key players. That includes one Malik Williams — starting center and team captain.
Injuries Add Up
With Williams injured and unable to be called upon until February 2021, the Cardinals bring in several high school prospects and graduate transfers, including top transfer prospect Carlik Jones.
Jones is considered one of, if not the, top transfer prospect in America this past offseason. The following Cardinals have had or are suffering from injuries this season:
Malik Williams (Sr.) C, (Out until February) – Surgery on foot
Charles Minlend (GT) G, (Six weeks) – Knee injury
Samuell Williamson (So.) F, (Able to Play)- Pattela tendon
Jae’Lyn Withers (R-Fr.) F/C, (Able to Play)- Ankle sprain
Josh Nickelberry (So.) G, (Status unknown)- Offseason knee surgery
Newcomers Must Emerge
Even with said injuries, Louisville will welcome in several prospects this offseason. The Cardinals just recently signed several more for the future. Here are the newcomers for Louisville:
Carlik Jones, G (graduate transfer)
Charles Minlend, G (graduate transfer)
JJ Traynor, F/C (4-star incoming freshman)
D’Andre Davis , F (4-star incoming freshman)
Gabe Witzner, F/C (3-star incoming freshman)
The Cards will rely on younger players more heavily than head coach Chris Mack is used to. Many of the upperclassmen from last year are either gone, injured or have transferred out of the program.
This season, many don’t know what to expect from the Cardinals. With injuries knocking out several key players, Louisville will rely on a ton of new faces. All that being said, don’t believe the Cardinals are down and out before the season starts.
The Cards do bring in talented and experienced transfers as well as return highly-thought-of sophomores David Johnson and Samuell Williamson. And if healthy when he returns, Williams will be a key contributor to the Cards.
When Charles Minlend, Malik Williams and Josh Nickelberry become healthy, all three are expected to compete for starting jobs. When taking injuries into account, this is what seems to be the most likely lineups to start the wild 2020-21 season:
PG: David Johnson, Carlik Jones
SG: Carlik Jones, D’Andre Davis
SF: Samuell Williamson, Quinn Slazinski
PF: JJ Traynor, Aidan Igiehon
C: Jae’Lyn Withers, Gabe Wiznitzer