2008 Louisville Cardinals Basketball Preview
As head coach Rick Pitino starts his eighth season with the Louisville Cardinals (27-9 overall, 14-4 Big East), the guy seems confident that his team can go all the way in 2008-2009. Last year, the Cardinals finished third in their conference and made it to the Elite Eight in the tourney where they lost to North Carolina 83-73. There’s one thing for sure—this Louisville team has the talent to vie for the league title and go deep into the NCAA Tournament.
Junior forward Earl Clark (28.5 MPG, 11.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 47.6 FG%, 65.4 FT%) will go high in the NBA draft once he enters it. Clark produces points inside and outside. Senior forward Terrence Williams (35.9 MPG, 11.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.5 APG, 41.1 FG%, 57.1 FT%) may be a frontcourt player, but he has the smarts of a backcourt guy, dishing off assists with aplomb. Freshmen Terrence Jennings and Samardo Samuels, both amazingly talented, will see time in the frontcourt. An academic redshirt kept George Goode from playing and practicing in 2007-2008. This season, Pitino expects him to be a major contributor.
Junior guard Jerry Smith (28.8 MPG, 10.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 45.5 FG%, 77.1 FT%) hits threes at a rate of 38.4% and is a go-to shooter with the game on the line in the waning seconds. He’s also a fine defensive weapon, ably stealing balls and pressing opposing ball-handlers. The point guard position will be shared between senior Andree McGee (20.3 MPG, 6.5 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 40.2 FG%, 71.4 FT%) and junior Edgar Sosa (21.4 MPG, 7.6 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.8 APG, 39.3 FG%, 65.2 FT%). McGee is a fine playmaker, getting the ball to the open player while Sosa is more skilled in all aspects of the game.
This club is a healthy conglomeration of new guys and vets. The
Cardinals will compete with UConn and Notre Dame for the Big East
crown, and they possess the talent, athleticism and skill to get
to the Final Four or perhaps even the big game. A lot depends upon
Sosa in the backcourt and Samuels in the front. Both must come through.