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Welcome back to the Hoos Place 2018 Summer Hoops Refresh, where we review last season and this summer's personnel moves for all 15 ACC programs in alphabetical order. To read program capsules already complete, you can click here. Today we look at the...

Louisville Cardinals

Scandal struck the Cards for the 2nd time in the last few years last season with the Brian Bowen bribery scandal getting Rick Pitino fired and interim coach Dave Padgett unable to coax an NCAAT berth out of a quality lineup. Padgett is gone and Chris Mack was poached from Xavier, but he's got a big job fixing the mess he was left.

Coach: Chris Mack; 215-97 in 9 seasons overall, first season at Louisville.

2017-18 Record: Last season: 22-14 (9-9); ACCT Quarterfinals (9 seed); NIT Quarterfinals (Lost to Miss St)

2017-18 Efficiency:

National:

ORtg: 112.2 (57 of 351)

DRtg: 96.8 (39 of 351)

ACC:

ORtg: 106.3 (9 of 15)

DRtg: 102.0 (4 of 15)

 

Roster Roundup:

Key Departures:

PG Quentin Snider (Grad)

SF Deng Adel (Pro)

F/C Raymond Spalding (Pro)

F/C Lance Thomas (Transfer)

C Anas Mahmoud (Grad)

18 G, 33 mpg, 13 ppg, 4 apg, 1.7 topg, 46% 3p%

16 G, 34 mpg, 16 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 48 2p%, 35% 3p%

18 G, 27 mpg, 13 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.3 blkpg, 57% fg%

5 G, 4 mpg, 2 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 0 blkpg, 75% fg%

18 G, 24 mpg, 7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.2 blkpg, 55% fg%

Key Returnees:

PG Ryan McMahon (RS Jr)

PG Darius Perry (So)

SG Dwayne Sutton (RS Jr)

G/F V.J. King (Jr)

F Jordan Nwora (So)

C Malik Williams (So)

18 G, 17 mpg, 6 ppg, 1.4 apg, 1.3 topg, 42% 3p%

18 G, 14 mpg, 3 ppg, 1.3 apg, 0.9 topg, 43% 3p%

18 G, 16 mpg, 4 ppg, 0.8 apg, 0.5 topg, 33% 3p%

18 G, 26 mpg, 8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 47 2p%, 22% 3p%

11 G, 10 mpg, 6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 50 2p%, 50% 3p%

18 G, 11 mpg, 5 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.3 blkpg, 46% fg%

Key Additions:

PG Christen Cunningham (RS Sr Grad Transfer)

 

PG Kwhan Fore (RS Sr Grad Transfer)

 

PF Akoy Agau (RS Sr Grad Transfer)

 

F/C Steven Enoch (RS Jr Transfer)

 

18 G, 36 mpg, 11 ppg, 6.5 apg, 2.6 topg, 41% 3p%

    2017 at Samford

18 G, 33 mpg, 11 ppg, 2.9 apg, 1.3 topg, 31% 3p%

    Last year at Richmond

18 G, 19 mpg, 5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.6 blkpg, 55% fg%

    Last year at SMU

14 G, 10 mpg, 3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.3 blkpg, 53% fg%

    2017 at UConn

*Statistics based on ACC play. Projected starters in bold

 

2017/18 ACC Opponents:

Home & Away: Boston College, North Carolina, Pitt, Virginia 
Home Only: Clemson, Duke, Miami, NC State, Notre Dame 
Away Only: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest 

 

Outlook:

50 ppg are out the door. Their third coach since last summer. Four transfers stepping into the rotation, three of whom only arrived this summer. This is a lot to ask of a new coach to take on. Don't get me wrong, Chris Mack is a heck of a coach. The ACC is going to hate him once he gets rolling, and to me it looks like the Cards fell upwards in trading Pitino for Mack, even if a couple of tumultuous years are the cost. For this year, however, a lot will come down to how well the grad transfer pair of Cunningham and Fore acclimate to ACC play. Cunningham has more promise, even though he's coming from the smaller school, as he's shown the ability both to run an offense (6.5 assists a game as a junior in SoCon play) and hit his 3's (41% shooter from range). I have more reservations about Fore, who was an undersized 2-guard at Richmond and wasn't overly efficient with his scoring. I could see Cards veterans McMahon, Perry, or Sutton pushing to take the starting 2-guard position from Fore, though none of them will immediately set fear in other ACC squads. Wing VJ King is the lone player on this team with real star potential, a former 5-star recruit, but his 22% 3-point shooting from last year is a major red flag about his lack of versatility. Nwora is promising as a young but talented combo forward, and Malik Williams could breakout as a center now that he's out of Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud's shadows. Neither of the transfer big men are going to be plus ACC starters, but could at least provide serviceable depth at the 4 and 5. 

Overall, it's not a bad lineup, per se, but it's not all that impressive either. I have zero confidence that they'll be able to assemble a competent defense this year; none of these players are known shutdown defenders like Snider, Adel, and Mahmoud could be last year. Their only hope is to put together a competent enough offense to keep them in games, but with all those transfers and a new coach in the mix, this year may see them stuck in neutral in a deep ACC. Falling to the NIT for the second straight year isn't out of the question, though good guard play could push their ceiling to a double-digit-seeded NCAAT team.

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2018-Summer-Hoops-Refresh, XXX