There are a number of advantages of being a member of the University of Louisville basketball team. You have the opportunity to improve your craft with a Hall of Fame coach in the finest facilities one could hope for on the college level. Sold-out crowds and television cameras await your arrival during every week of the season as you compete for conference and national championships. The list of benefits is seemingly endless.
Another added benefit helps fuel a contest of sorts among many that make up the Cardinals roster. The ability to pick from the latest in basketball shoe technology, not to mention color, from international shoe giant adidas has helped many on the team fill their closets with even more footwear selection.
However, getting the latest kicks from adidas only fills a small portion for what are large collections for a number of the players. In fact, the question about who has the most pair of shoes on the team created a reaction that gave the appearance that there is a competition among a few.
While many on the team have sizable shoe collections, there are two that rise above the rest.
“Ooh, that's a battle,” sophomore center Mangok Mathiang said. “It's going to be Terry or Montrezl. They both have a lot of shoes. Don't forget about Anton, he's sneaking up on us because he has a lot of shoes, too.”
It's not just sneakers either. It's important to have a certain look for a particular event.
“It's fun going to into your room to get ready for a date or something and you get to pick what kind of shoe, what color to wear,” explained Mathiang.
It's also an opportunity to express one's personality off the court.
“It's a personality thing,” junior forward Montrezl Harrell explained. “It shows so many things about your game and it shows so many things about you. By having the many shoes that I have gives a different arsenal so you can go with dress shoes, and then sneakers, being able to change things up. You can't go into a business meeting with jeans and sneakers, you have to be able to change it up.”
Newcomer Jaylen Johnson lists a shoe outlet as his favorite web site in the media guide.
“I love shoes,” he said. “I like the variety. I'll wear like Gucci, Jordans, Nike, adidas, stuff like that.”
Sophomore guard Terry Rozier was often mentioned as one that has a large selection of shoes, potentially the most on the team. Rozier looks up to and models his game after 10-time NBA All-Star Dewayne Wade and has a number of shoes from the 'Way of Wade' sneaker series.
“Everybody asks where I get my 'D Wade' shoes from, because I never see anyone wearing 'D Wade' shoes besides me and him,” he said. “I got a lot of pairs of shoes.”
The consensus among teammates regarding the lead in the shoe battle had Harrell and Rozier at the top.
“I'm climbing up the ladder,” Mathiang said. “I'm doing the best that I can to catch up, but those two have a lot of shoes.”
Rozier agreed with the unofficial tally and seemed to give the nod to the junior All-American.
“If I don't have the most, then he does,” said Rozier. “It's him or me.”
According to some, it's not even close.
“It's not a close battle,” said Johnson. “Montrezl has a lot of shoes.”
Harrell was quick to claim the title.
“I'd say that I'd win that by a long shot,” said Harrell. “I've always loved shoes, even when I was young. My grandma used to tell me stories about how I told her that I was going to have my own shoe.”