Cardinal preview: Three new walk-ons

Cardinal Authority will be featuring the players on the University of Louisville men's basketball roster this week. Next up are the three new walk-ons – Logan Baumann, Michael Baffour and Jordan Bond.

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has never been shy about adding walk-ons to his roster and then playing them.

Pitino has done is throughout most of his career, most recently using Kyle Kuric, Elisha Justice and Tim Henderson for the Cardinals.

Henderson is still on the roster for the Cardinals, but Pitino has added three other walk-ons. Cardinal Authority talked to those three:

LOGAN BAUMANN

A 6-foot freshman from Hartford, Ky., Baumann started his college career as a manager for the Cardinals.

Baumann said he turned down smaller schools like Transylvania and Centre and wasn't going to play in college. So, he wrote letters to U of L to become a manager and was accepted, starting that role in the fall.

"I was a manager from the start of school until (early October)," he said. "Its crazy and it's a long story. Sometimes it seemed like it all happened within the snap of a finger. It's been pretty crazy."

The process actually happened with a call from Pitino.

Baumann said he was in class when equipment manager Vinny Tatum told him that Pitino wanted to see him in his office.

"I had read coach (Pitino's) blog asking about walk-ons," Baumann said. "But I figured (the meeting) was something about being a manager.

"He asked me if I had played in high school and could I bring the ball up the court against Russ (Smith) or Peyton (Siva). It was the first time I had ever sat down and talked to coach, and here I am."

Baumann was the Third Region Player of the Year as a senior at Ohio County High School. He averaged 17.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and buried 69 three-point goals as a senior in helping the Eagles to a 29-3 record.

Baumann, who will wear No. 14, didn't score in the three Red-White scrimmages but hit a field goal in two minutes of the Pikeville exhibition.

"It's a big change for me, but I can't believe I'm here," Baumann said. "I'm putting on the same jersey as some of the players that I grew up watching."

Michael Baffour

A 6-foot-2 junior from Lexington Bryan Station, Baffour excelled in three sports in high school but came to U of L just as a student.

He made friends with current U of L junior Russ Smith at freshman orientation and said the two "just clicked and that was that."

"We became friends and we did everything together," Baffour said. "I also met Rakeem Buckles and they all figured out I could play basketball.

"My brother Tony ran track (at U of L), so that's when I became a Louisville fan."

Smith gave Baffour the nickname "Dark Slime" and he started hanging around the players. When Pitino was looking for walk-ons, Baffour said he was ready.

"It's hard work but it's all worth it," he said. "I am really looking to play. I work hard and I really want to play for this team."

As a senior at Bryan Station, Baffour averaged 11.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He was also a baseball player and hurdler for the track and field team.

Jordan Bond

Bond, a freshman from Manual High School, just recently joined the team after seeing a blog that coach Pitino was looking for walk-ons.

The 6-foot, 165-pound Bond went through a tryout.

"Before I even started, coach Pitino said not to get any ideas about making the team," Bond said. "But I came out and worked hard on defense and tried to show them I wanted to be a part of this team.

"After film one day, coach (Wyking) Jones pulled me aside and asked me if I wanted to be a part of the team. It was a great feeling."

Bond, who averaged 5.4 points a game as a senior at Manual, is the son of former U of L point guard Phillip Bond.

His father Phil Bond was the starting point guard on the U of L 1975 NCAA Final Four team. He's still ranked third in career assists at the school with 528.

The younger Bond said it's "really neat" to be a part of the team.

"It's been a great experience," he said. "I am taking everything day-by-day and going as hard as I can. It's tough but it's worth it."


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