As the news cycle related to the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting continues to spin, the actual college basketball season fast approaches.
Louisville’s second intrasquad scrimmage is on Friday, and the Cards’ first exhibition against another opponent, Kentucky Wesleyan, is set for next Monday.
This is the perfect time to answer some questions about the program, how it moves forward and what to expect in the short and long term.
Chris Hatfield (@_ChrisHatfield): Will (interim head coach David Padgett) put any of his spin on this team, or is he, as expected, going to go strictly with (Rick Pitino’s) style?
Jeff Greer: I’d think he will start out using much of Pitino did, but as things progress, he might add more wrinkles of his own. He is a product of his own experiences, and his time as a player (not that long ago) might influence some tweaks. And don’t forget the potential impact of having three assistants (Trent Johnson, Greg Paulus and R.J. Evans) who have experience at different programs with different coaches.
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C.D. Bradley (@cdbradley2): Expect any changes to the offense, given its tendency to stagnate? More Anas Mahmoud as high-post distributor, like Padgett was?
JG: Along the same lines as the first question, it seems logical to expect Padgett to run things very similarly to Pitino. But C.D. brings up a good point here: How can Louisville incorporate Padgett’s experience as a point center passing from the top of the key? Mahmoud is smart and savvy enough as a player to become that kind of impact passer. Ray Spalding has potential for it, too.
James Salman (@jamessalman1): Any chance since we cleaned house, we can keep the banner? Chance David Padgett gets the full-time job? Chances the NCAA ignores these latest penalties since it’s a “national” problem?
JG: Lots of hypotheticals here. For one, it’s written in the NCAA rules that outside incidents can’t influence an appeal because the original decision was made based on the information available at the time. All that said, Louisville could add to its arguments that Pitino is no longer employed there, but that doesn’t impact whether Louisville used ineligible players during the time the violations occurred. And don’t bet on the NCAA ignoring this case. It might take a while, but the NCAA will get involved at some point.
As for Padgett, it’s hard to answer that before the Cards have played a game. But they have a good roster and a chance to win a lot of games. Given what is likely looming in the program’s short- and long-term future, Padgett may end up being the best full-time option.
Chad Blanton (@Chad_Blanton): Will U of L self-impose in February once they see we’re a threat in tourney?
JG: Funny. Legitimately intrigued to see when the NCAA weighs into this case. As of now, the FBI has told the regulating body for college athletics to hold off. If that continues into the season, there’s no reason for a school to do anything other than what Louisville has already done, which is hold Brian Bowen out.
Leland Ratcliffe (@LelandRatcliffe): What is this staff doing in regards to recruiting?
JG: Right now, Louisville’s coaching staff is trying to find a sense of normalcy and settle things down. Remember, Padgett only had one assistant coach on Wednesday; now he has three. It’ll be very tough to recruit for a myriad of reasons, and perhaps even tougher than the fact that the FBI investigation ensnared the program is that Padgett is only the interim. Prospects and their parents like continuity and assurances, neither of which Padgett can provide right now.
Benjamin Siegel (@Benjamustache): What do you think are the long-term recruiting ramifications of the recent storm of scandals on U of L men’s basketball?
JG: Hard to answer this just a few weeks after the FBI scandal broke, but I’d imagine the impact will be significant. Does Louisville eventually lose more scholarships than the four over four years the NCAA already took with its previous infractions ruling? Do they remove Padgett’s interim tag? Is there a lack of institutional control penalty in Louisville’s future once the NCAA investigates this case?
Now, Padgett is a straightforward guy who has already had some conversations with prospects about what’s going on. We wrote two weeks ago that former Louisville pledge Courtney Ramey was open to Padgett’s overtures, as is another former Cards commitment, Anfernee Simons. But listening and convincing a kid to play for a program in serious limbo are two totally different things.
Howard Anglin (@AnglinAnglin): When do you expect final ruling from NCAA?
JG: Howard is presumably referring to Louisville’s ongoing appeal in the infractions case related to the escort scandal. Interim Louisville President Greg Postel said he expects a final ruling sometime in January. That means a hearing could be in November or December.
@curtisburch: What is Wayne Turner’s role with the team?
JG: He is the director of player development, tasked with helping individual players through instruction and film.
Howard Pieratt (@hfpieratt): Some argue that with the right talent, anyone could coach a champion. What is a reasonable expectation of this team’s potential?
JG: That’s a logical statement to a degree. Having a coach making key adjustments and substitutions at the right time helps a lot. With the talent level what it is, and that’s all we can base this on because we haven’t seen Padgett coach a second yet, Louisville can still eye a top-four finish in the ACC, at least 20 wins and a good seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Lizmon Daniel (@lojalmighty): How good would U of L have been without Bowen?
JG: We are about to find out, aren’t we, Daniel?