Louisville Card File: UConn

I have seen the future.

His name is Gorgui Dieng.

I’m reminded of watching a similarly raw, still undeveloped Hakkem Olajawon play for Houston against Carolina in the ’82 NCAA semis in New Orleans. Though you could sense that had the right instincts and athletic attributes, he was not nearly as good at that juncture of his career as Dieng is now.

Will GD develop so that Cardinal fans of the future utter Gorgui in the same reverential conversations as they do Charlie, Westley, Rodney and Pervis? Who knows? It’s going to be fun to watch, and I, for one, wouldn’t bet against this kid.

While we’re waiting to see if he’s going to be a superstar, he went 13/12 against a Top 15 team on national TV. He’s long. He’s got soft, sure hands. Far more than one should expect from such a neophyte, he understands where to go with the ball. And when. He gets rebounds. He blocks and alters shots.

And to think he was a consolation recruit in the aftermath of failing to secure the signature of Fab Melo.

* * * * *

Louisville’s best moment of the season?

You can have your Marquette comeback.

I’ll take this 2:07 segment in last night’s W over UConn. With 17:32 to play, UConn scored its 9th straight unanswered point to start the 2d half, to erase a less comfortable than it looked U of L halftime lead and take a 1 point advantage.

Then the Cards turned HUGE. Preston Knowles missed a jumper, Rakeem Buckles nabbed an offensive board, then Peyton Siva — Bobby Knight’s new favorite player — hit Kyle Kuric for a trey at 17:03. At 16;31, Siva again assisted Kuric for another 3. At 15:25, Siva nailed another triple, assisted by, ahem, Gorgui Dieng. Defensive rebounds by Knowles started those last two scoring possesions.

40-32 Cardinals.

Ball game.

* * * * *

TJ scored 8 of the Cards’ first 10 points, chest thumping to his teammates on the bench after each score. He coulda — woulda, shoulda — had a career game. Instead, he got in foul trouble and watched his understudy steal the night away.

Stephan VT had 5 boards in the first 8 minutes of play. He totaled 7 in his nineteen minutes of action. Stalwart. If he can develop any offensive presence at all, he’ll be a mighty cog for the remainder of his Cardinal career.

Meanwhile Rak continues to regain his b-ball chops.

Everybody who played contributed.

Russ Smith sat on the bench in street clothes.

* * * * *

As impressive as that run described above was the Cards flexing match-up zone. Skin tight. What I love is that there’s a lot of communicating going on. I wish I totally understood what they’re doing, and thus be able to regale you with an explanation. But I can’t.

I know this. It works.

* * * * *

Here are my favorite numbers from last night.

Louisville: 16 assists, 8 turnovers. UConn: 8 assists, 16 turnovers.

Louisville: 40 rebounds, 8 blocked shots. UConn: 36 rebounds, 4 blocked shots.

The number that consistently disturbs me: Preston Knowles shooting %. Last night he was 2/13, lowering his season number to 38.6 %. And he’s taken well over a hundred more shots on the year than the runner up on the team. He had a beefy 7 assists last night, and should have had more. He remains too often injudicious in his shot selection.

* * * * *

The refs told Brent and Bobby, who were doing the game for ESPN, why they teed up Preston Knowles. Which means the TV audience was privy to info not provided to the paying customers in the stands.

Kemba Walker did something last night I’ve never — literally never — seen before. He ducked between the legs of Gorgui Dieng when the latter was trying to set a pick on him.

* * * * *

I haven’t watched the replay, But I’m advised that Bobby Knight spent the telecast slobbering all over Peyton Siva. Now sweet. And well deserved. Now, if he only would apologize for his ridiculous statements about Kyle Kuric.

All that said, and acknowledging that Knight was a very good basketball coach, he remains a pompous, insufferable and duplicitous human being.

– Seedy K


  1. Phil
    Posted February 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more regarding Dieng. His improvement from early in the season to now has been phenomenal. I think one reason for his progression and his potential is his coach ability. Since he didn’t grow up in the current AAU system, he actually listens to his coaches and try’s to do what they tell him.
    Another thought, with TJ in foul trouble, we lose that game if Rac and Dieng were still on the injured list.

  2. cbcard
    Posted February 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Nice tip of the Jimmy Hatlo to Charlie Tyra. But you were too generous to Knight. He’s a much worse person than you say.

  3. Birdie King
    Posted February 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Next season we 15 fouls to give at the 5 spot – Dieng, TJ and Woods.

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