The Louisville Cardinals have rebounded from the heartbreak of missing the NCAA Tournament to win their first two games in the NIT, but many Louisville fans have already turned their attention to the program’s future after a season filled with drama.
Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were fired after Louisville became entangled in an FBI probe alleging they’d used cash to bribe handlers to steer top prospects into the program.
David Padgett took over as the interim coach but it’s not believed that he’ll be back in an official capacity in 2018-19. So whether younger players facing the uncertainty of not knowing who their coach will be moving forward will consider leaving Louisville entirely.
However, Cardinals freshman Darius Perry doesn’t seem to think so. The reserve guard indicated after the team’s 84-68 win over Middle Tennessee that he expected little change.
“The lowerclassmen who don’t have to come back to school, we just love playing with each other,” Perry said according to Tim Sullivan of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I’m sure we’re all going to talk it out, see what we’re going to do. (But) I don’t think anything’s going to change.
“Choosing a school is a big decision and I feel like we’ve all chosen the right place. Unless something changes to where we don’t feel that way anymore, this is going to be our home.”
In other words, the nine underclassmen on the Louisville roster reserve the right to change their mind depending on who the new hire is and whether that person might try to force some of them out. However, at the moment, they have at least indicated to Perry that they want to see this thing through.
And that’s potentially helpful news on the hiring front. With just Quentin Snider and Anas Mahmoud set to graduate after this year, Louisville could potentially bring back over 75 percent of its scoring from a solid team if they can avoid transfers and NBA defections.
With a tournament-ready roster, that could help make Louisville a more attractive job despite the looming shadow of the FBI probe.
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