Welcome to the Hoos Place 2019 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...
Meet one of the 2019-2020 season's most hyped teams, the 2nd year of the Chris Mack era in Louisville. The national buzz is palpable with a mix of star veterans, hyped freshmen, and grad transfers looking to capitalize on heavy turnover from the rest of the league's Blue Bloods (UVA included). Is this the year the Cards finally boast a true contender as a member of the ACC?
Coach: Chris Mack; 235-111 in 10 seasons overall, 20-14 (10-8) in 1 season at Louisville.
2018-19 Record: Last season: 20-14 (10-8); ACCT quarterfinals (7 seed); NCAAT 1st round (7 seed)
ORtg: 113.7 (28 of 353)
DRtg: 94.4 (24 of 353)
ORtg: 104.1 (7 of 15)
DRtg: 97.3 (5 of 15)
PG Christen Cunningham (Graduated)
PG Khwan Fore (Graduated)
SF V.J. King (Turned Pro)
PF Akoy Agau (Graduated)
33 G, 31.4 mpg, 10.1 ppg, 4.8 apg, 34% 3P%
34 G, 19.3 mpg, 3.3 ppg, 1.2 apg, 32% 3P%
32 G, 13.7 mpg, 3.9 ppg, 3 rpg, 11% 3P%
19 G, 5.8 mpg, 1.6 ppg, 2 rpg, 31% FG%
G Ryan McMahon (RS SR)
G Darius Perry (JR)
G/F Dwayne Sutton (RS SR)
F Jordan Nwora (JR)
C Steven Enoch (RS SR)
C Malik Williams (JR)
34 G, 19.2 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 1.8 apg, 35% 3P%
33 G, 16.3 mpg, 5.4 ppg, 1.5 apg, 38% 3P%
34 G, 31.4 mpg, 10 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 35% 3P%
34 G, 31.9 mpg, 17 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 37% 3P%
34 G, 19.1 mpg, 9.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 53% FG%
34 G, 18.2 mpg, 7.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 42% FG%
PG Lamarr Kimble (RS SR Transfer)
G/F David Johnson (4-star FR)
G/F Josh Nickleberry (4-star FR)
SF Samuell Williamson (4-star FR)
F Jaelyn Withers (4-star FR)
PF Quinn Slazinski (3-star FR)
F/C Aidan Igiehon (4-star FR)
23 G, 35.5 mpg, 15.6 ppg, 2.8 apg, 29% 3P%
as a RS Jr at St Joseph's
*Projected starters in bold
2019/20 ACC Opponents:
|Home & Away:||Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Pittsburgh, Virginia|
|Home Only:||North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest|
|Away Only:||Boston College, Duke, NC State, Notre Dame|
Four fifth year seniors, three juniors, and six true freshmen. Arguably no one in the country had a better offseason than Mack. He lost three seniors but only one was an impact player. He said farewell to one disgruntled, low-impact former Pitino recruit. But he brought back six of the top seven scorers from his NCAAT team last year, the coup being stud combo-forward Jordan Nwora withdrawing from the NBA Draft. The returners now have all had a second full offseason under Mack's staff and should enter this season with a good degree of comfort in his systems and culture. But while those returning six will carry a lot of load, it's the seven newcomers that have Cards fans abuzz.
Lamarr Kimble was one of the top 5 transfers on the market this year and will slot right in that the 1. He was an alpha scorer at St Joe's, so it will be interesting to see how he takes on more of a facilitator role in Louisville, especially given the absence of any other true PGs on the roster. The six-man freshman class boasts four Top 100 players and is full of high-upside wings and posts; it'll be intriguing to watch to see which rise into the primary rotation, maybe even start, vs those that are still a year away. We're pegging Williamson, a McDonald's All-American, to be the breakthrough freshman, and I'd also bet on Nickleberry and Johnson crashing the back end of the guard rotation. Igiehon should also pick up time at the 5 when veterans Enoch and Williams are resting or in foul trouble.
The buzz is legit. The Cards are the ACC's most proven roster at the moment and will most certainly finish in the ACC's top tier. They're probably even a safe bet to win the ACC's regular season, especially with bottom-half home/away opponents like CU, GT, Miami, and Pitt to stock up wins against. I'm not sure I'm ready to start picking them for a Final Four run; I'd like to see more proven shooting, and I think the guard rotation is very good but lacks NBA-upside. But it's absolutely fair to put them in the Top 10 this season, and to expect them to finally challenge the recent Virginia/UNC/Duke monopoly on the league.