Louisville 2016-17 College Basketball Predictions & Preview
Many might consider the NBA as the most followed basketball league, but College basketball is equally intriguing. College basketball is the home for Rockies who find themselves playing in the NBA after graduation or after attracting a major franchise. As a result, the teams in college league are too under the same glare of the limelight as the ones in the NBA.
Louisville is one of the college team looking to make a major comeback following their spell in the cold after a one-year ban by the NCAA. Louisville coach Rick Pitino needs to find a viable replacement for its current top three scorers and rebounders. Some of the problems that Rick Pitino will deal with is settling a Centre and building a squad depth at the point guard area as well as finding different players who can offer much firepower when it comes to 3-pointers. Although he still insists that the current crop of his is still good enough, a major league needs depth as the league wore on injuries and fatigue plagues teams.
Chananu Onuaka was Louisville standout center; he, however, jumped ship to in NBA after a spectacular sophomore season. These are some of the demons that the head coach has to deal with as getting a like-for-like replacement for Chananu is very unlikely. He was leading rebounder on the team with an averaging (8.5rpg). He is all rounded as he was also the third best scorer with (9.9 ppg) as well as the best interior defender. Too much to ask for a single man. Right?
Those who are likely to replace him will have to work hard to fill his large shoes. Senior Mangok Mathiang is one of those lined up as his replacement, but he missed the end of last year as well as summer practice due to a foot injury he sustained. Next is Anas Mahmoud who although he is towering at 7’0″ was supposed to bulk up to cope with the physicality of the game but that never happened?
Deng Adel is considered a bright talent by coach Pitino. Although he suffered injury setback last year, should he shrug them off and improved on his 3-point shooting, he is bound to be invaluable to the team. Others hoping to make a name for the new team setup are Raymond and Jaylen Johnson. Both are powerful and good at defending. Both players need to improve to realize their potential and also to help Louisville reach its potential.
In the back court, there is a starting rivalry between Quentin Snider, Donovan Mitchell, Tony Hicks and V.J. King. Pitino has the option of using a three-pronged guard attack. Snider, who will be the Co-Captain with Mathiang will be tasked with initiating of attack from the back. Although his finishing needs work, he is bound to be one of the names on the team sheet. He will need the support of those mentioned above to keep Louisville’s clock ticking.
Newcomers will have to bring their A-game to see some minutes on the court. V.J King is lethal, but he needs to improve on his shooting. Tony Hicks is not bad at shooting, but more is expected from him.
IN CONCLUSION, Pitino needs Snider’s ball distribution to drive the team on counters. Adel and Mahmoud need to step up and grab the opportunity to be regulars in the team. The coach needs to insist on Hicks, King and Adel to improve on their 3-point skills to assist the team in scoring from all angles. Players like Johnson need to bulk up to match the league strength.