December 2, 2020

Independent analysis and commentary on UVA athletics

ACC Offseason Refresh – #7 Louisville

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Chris Mack enters his third year in the ACC with his first roster that’s predominantly his players, though that means he’s got a full-fledged youth movement on his hand. The roster features only three upperclassmen, and two of those are grad transfers from smaller programs. Mack’s recruiting has been strong since he arrived; is this the season his hotshot recruits break out?

Coach: Chris Mack; 256-115 in 11 Seasons Overall; 44-21 (25-13) in 2 seasons at Louisville

2019-20 Record: 24-7 (15-5); T-2nd in ACC

2019-20 KenPom Efficiency:

National: AdjO: 114.5 (12th of 353)
AdjD: 93.1 (30th of 353)
ACC: AdjO: 107.9 (2nd of 15)
AdjD: 97.3 (4th of 15)

Roster Roundup

Departures:

PG Lamarr Kimble (Graduated)
31 G, 21.8 mpg, 5 ppg, 2.7 apg, 28% 3P%
G Darius Perry (Transferred to UCF)
31 G, 19.5 mpg, 5.2 ppg, 2.5 apg, 39% 3P%
G Ryan McMahon (Graduated)
31 G, 24.7 mpg, 8.7 ppg, 1.8 apg, 44% 3P%
G/F Dwayne Sutton (Graduated)
31 G, 31.5 mpg, 9.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 35% 3P%
F Jordan Nwora (Turned Pro)
31 G, 33.1 mpg, 18 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 40% 3P%
F/C Steven Enoch (Graduated)
31 G, 20.4 mpg, 9.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 52% FG%

Returners:

SG Josh Nickelberry (SO)
15 G, 3.7 mpg, 0.8 ppg, 0.1 apg, 29% 3P%
G/F David Johnson (SO)
27 G, 16 mpg, 6.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 22% 3P%
F Samuell Williamson (SO)
31 G, 15.3 mpg, 4.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 33% 3P%
PF Quinn Slazinski (SO)
15 G, 3 mpg, 1 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 38% FG%
F/C Aidan Igiehon (SO)
13 G, 4.7 mpg, 1 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 63% FG%
F/C Malik Williams (SR)
26 G, 18.7 mpg, 8.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 50% FG%

Additions:

G Carlik Jones (RS SR Transfer, Radford)
32 G, 33 mpg, 20 ppg, 5.5 apg, 41% 3P%
G/F Charles Minlend (RS SR Transfer, San Francisco)
34 G, 29.4 mpg, 14.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 30% 3P%
G/F D’Andre Davis (4-star FR)
F Jaelyn Withers (4-star RS FR)
PF JJ Traynor (4-star FR) 
C Gabe Wiznitzer (4-star FR)

*Projected starters in bold

Outlook

The Cards are losing their top 6 players in terms of minutes played last year and 6 of their top 8 scorers. Jordan Nwora turned pro. Steven Enoch, Ryan McMahon, Dwayne Sutton, and Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble are all graduating, and Darius Perry is transferring. To add insult to injury, stud recruit Jay Scrubb decided to skip Louisville to go pro.

The only returning upperclassman is 5-man Malik Williams, who was due for a breakout but will miss the first few months of the season after foot surgery. The other six returners are all underclassmen, which then had to be supplemented with true freshmen and grad transfers. That big highly regarded “six-shooters” 2019 class now enters the spotlight, but only David Johnson looked the part last year. McDonald’s All-American Samuell Williamson scored only 4.4 ppg, and the rest were either invisible or redshirted. To man the backcourt with a veteran presence, Mack went out and got two grad-transfer guards in Carlik Jones (Radford) and Charles Minlend (San Francisco). Carlik’s supposedly the real deal, the Big South POY, but I could see Minlend struggling in his adjustment to the ACC.

This team entered the fall feeling like it was maybe a guard short, especially with poor 3P%’s from Nickleberry, Johnson, and Minlend last year, and too much of the talent is in the front court. But the injury news to Malik Williams, coming just weeks before the start of the season, crush Louisville’s ceiling, as he was their only reliable post presence. I’d expect a big step back this year coming from last year’s Final Four aspirations; there’s a ton of young talent but they’re not necessarily an NCAAT team until a couple of those 4-star underclassmen break out together, especially in the front court.