News and Notes
Obviously the hot topic and the question everyone wants answered is what conference will UofL join and when will it take place?
We have stated for weeks, based on information obtained from our reliable sources, that the Cards would land in the Big East almost immediately following Miami's decision about its future conference affiliation.
And with the on-going nature of this conference sage nearing completion, we still believe the Cards are headed to the Big East…and soon.
But the Conference changes aren't the only things going on around the UofL Athletic Program. The 2003 UofL Basketball Camp just concluded and the July recruiting period is about to begin.
With all this going on….here are some interesting News and Notes from around campus.
*The ACC's decision to invite Virginia Tech instead of Boston College and Syracuse was a major curveball for University of Miami officials. The Hurricanes entered the expansion talks with the ACC under the assumption that its northeastern counterparts from the Big East would come along for the ride to form a 12 team conference that could stage a lucrative football championship game.
However, without the Eagles and Syracuse, important to Miami for future fundraising efforts, and without assurances from ACC officials to expand to 12, the Hurricanes major incentives to bolt the Big East have apparently fallen through. There are now major doubts in South Florida that an 11 team league can generate the revenue that Miami officials desired.
Miami's delayed announcement surely represents the fact that it has major concerns about this new arrangement in the ACC and probably represents its last attempt to pressure ACC presidents to reconsider extending an invitation to Boston College over the weekend.
Regardless, our sources insist a formal invitation from the Big East conference will be extended to Louisville shortly after the Hurricanes announce their decision early next week.
*We also continue to hear more glowing reviews of UofL Athletic Director Tom Jurich's handling of this situation and he continues to show why so many believe him the finest AD in the country. When the official invitation is issued to UofL from the Big East, Louisville fans will not have to worry about lawsuits from its C-USA brothers or disparaging remarks from its commissioner, Britton Banosky. Ever the consumate professional, Jurich has been certain to work through the "proper channels" and deal with people in an honest and honorable manner. His leadership through this process will have UofL smelling like a rose at the end of the day.
Basketball and Recruiting
*While Rajon Rondo is likely headed to Oak Hill Academy this fall to play his high school ball, it looks more and more likely he will eventually become a member of UofL's class of 2004. Rondo, who attended Coach Pitino's individual instruction camp this week, has been playing great basketball this summer. He'll attend the adidas ABCD in early July and will travel with the Derek Smith All-Stars to the adidas Big Time Tournament later next month.
*While Brandon Bender has been hanging around the SAC and participating in unsupervised scrimmages with the UofL basketball team he is not currently a member of the UofL program. As of Thursday afternoon, Bender was not enrolled at UofL and was still awaiting the results of his academic performance from Cincinnati State CC for the spring semester. He has been playing well in the considerable action we've seen but our understanding is there is currently no available scholarship nor has an invitation to rejoin the program been extended at this time. Only time will tell the Bender's fate with the UofL program.
*James Davis, 7'0, 285 center from Minneapolis North High, is headed to Garden City CC in the fall. UofL Assistant Coach Vince Taylor is keeping a close eye on Davis and the big center lists the Cards as his favorite. The Cards are involved with several big men from the class of 2005 but you can be certain Davis will receive lots of continued attention from the UofL coaching staff.
*Remember where you heard the name first. An intriguing prospect at this weeks Individual Instruction Camp was 6'5 Martez Walker, an 8th Grader from Louisiana. A lefty blessed with incredible presence and skill, Walker was a standout all week in drills and competition. According to Walker's father, Larry, doctors expect "Tezzy" to top out at 6'8 before he's done growing. The younger Walker is a huge UofL fan and dreams of playing in the red and black, according to his father and really enjoyed his time in Louisville this week. Also of note, Martez plays on the same AAU team as super freshman point guard 5'9 Desmond "Tweetie" Carter. Larry Walker is the coach of the AAU team.
*Lots of former UofL and UK players have dropped by the SAC this summer to run with the nationally ranked Louisville Cardinals. Players like DeJuan Wheat, Alvin Sims, Jason Osbourne, Nate Johnson, and BJ Flynn have been frequent participants. This week, former UK players and current NBA'ers Scott Padgett and Derek Anderson dropped by to work out against the current group of Cards.
*Earlier this month, ITV reported that 6'11, 270 Justin Lee from Scott County High had unofficially visited the University of Louisville and was contemplating joining the basketball program as a walk-on in the fall. We understand that Lee would be welcomed in the UofL program but that concerns of Lee's academic records from high school have held up a final decision.
Football and Recruiting
*The voluntary weight lifting workouts have started for the football team and
ITV has learned that nearly all the returning players are on campus and
participating in the almost daily routines. Additionally, four incoming freshmen
(Michael Bush, Sergio Spencer, Todd Brigman and Brent Moody) have arrived
and are taking part in the workouts as well.
* A number of talented players have been invited to become preferred walkons this fall. OL Torre Ray of Louisville Manual, K Rob Zarrili of Orlando Colonial, DB Derek Parrott of Mayfield and K Todd Flannery of Louisville Male have all decided to join the Cardinal football program. ITV also believes that there will be a few more additions during the coming weeks.
* The football staff is currently on a much needed week vacation. The new Cardinal coaches have worked nearly non-stop since arriving in Louisville. Upon their return, the staff will continue preparations for the start of fall practice, which is scheduled to begin August 7th.