New Conference Logo “And Cards Fans Can’t Wait To Go”

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Today the new AAC conference unveiled its new logo. It was another step forward for the former Big East to rebrand the image of the conference before the official launch on July 1. It looks like something you might see on the front page of a Marvel’s Comic Book, but I suppose it will be good enough for a year. Most Cardinal fans including myself just want to get through this season of transition and get to the ACC. I think the American Athletic Conference feels the same way as they omitted Louisville from their conversations in league meetings this summer and also make no mention of the Cards on their new website. They don’t even include them in the header.

“Awkward!”

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HAPPY LUKE HANCOCK DAY!

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A few weeks ago a legend was born among the ranks of the Louisville basketball program when Luke Hancock shot his way into our hearts and earned himself the Most Outstanding Player award in the Final Four in route to Louisville’s third national title. Since Luke Hancock helped Louisville climb it’s way back to the top of the mountain in college basketball he has earned many kudos and has been recognized probably as much as any other player on the team. Tuesday those kudos reached new heights when back in his hometown of Roanoke County Virginia they decalared May 28, 2013 as Luke Hancock Day. He is a 2009 graduate of Hidden Valley High School in Roanoke, VA.

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Luke Hancock will be remembered forever as a part of Cardinal Lore and will go down as a fan favorite, but nothing will ever be as big as being honored by his hometown and making the people who raised him so proud. Luke Hancock will not only be a legend in Louisville Kentucky, but their will now be little kids shooting baskets in Roanoke County VA pretending they are Luke hitting the game winning shot in the NCAA Tourney. Congrats Luke!

Tuesday proclaimed as Luke Hancock Day in Roanoke County. Here’s video of Luke’s big day.

Everyone join me in banging three fingers to the side of your head and all together say Happy Luke Hancock Day!

Louisville Baseball Will Be Regional Host

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The Cardinals baseball team didnt fair so well in the Big East Baseball tournament this past week but they still had a great season winning the Big East regular-season title outright, their fourth regular-season championship in the last five years. They won 16 straight games which was the nation’s longest active streak at the time and Louisville’s longest since 1950. They also matched the school record for regular-season victories (46) set in 2010.

The Cardinals now look to a run in the NCAA Baseball tournament and they found out Sunday night they will host postseason baseball for the 4th time in 7 seasons. This is the 3rd NCAA Regional host in 5 seasons (’13, ’10, ’09). The Regional pairings, including the 3 teams that will join the Cardinals at the Louisville Regional, were announced today at 12:00PM on ESPNU. The Regional will begin on Friday, May 31 with games on FRI, SAT, and SUN, (MON if necessary). First Round Regional action starts Friday at 2PM: Oklahoma State v. Miami (FL). Then at 6PM: Louisville v. Bowling Green.

Regional Tickets will be available online at GoCards.com starting Monday morning or by phone starting Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Make plans to get out to Jim Patterson Stadium and support this team. Lets let the college baseball world see what CardNation is about. Good Luck Cards!

“Cardinal Takeover” At Kentucky Speedway

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We are a little over a month away from the annual NASCAR race at the Kentucky Speedway. This year the race track has a special offer for Louisville Cardinal fans who want to be a part of the Quaker State 400 on June 29th. They are calling it the “Cardinal Takeover” and that seems very appropriate considering the year our athletic program has had. This special package being offered to Cardinal Fans will cost around 135.00 and will include a hospitality area, special tours, concert and pre/post race access to the Pit area.

This isn’t the first time that the Louisville program has been involved in the festivities at the speedway in Sparta, Ky. Coach Rick Pitino was honored by the track back in 2008 during the Nationwide series Meijer 300 when he got to unleash the ultimate fast break and waved the green flag for that race. To my knowledge though this is the first time the track has had a promotion for this type of Cardinal celebration. The track had a similar promotion last year for the University of Kentucky and Michael Waltrip Racing also honored the cats by having a UK national title paint scheme on one of his cars. I’m hoping that the PR folks at UofL reach out to Waltrip Racing or one of the other Race Teams to work out a deal for one of them to race with a UofL paint scheme this year. It would be fitting seeing how Cardinal Nation will be one of the guest of honor.

I’m hoping that Cardinal fans take advantage of this special promotion and that we have a huge turnout for this event. If you have never been to one of these races this is a perfect excuse to experience it for the first time. I know I’m looking forward to throwing back a few cold ones with the Cardinal Nation and watching some racing. Below is the information from the Kentucky Speedway site and their link to purchase tickets for this promotion.

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Click here to visit The Kentucky Speedway website and to purchase your tickets to “The Cardinal Takeover”

Harrell Has A Great Opportunity

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Montrezl Harrell had a breakout year during his first season as a Cardinal. He averaged 5.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 16 minutes a game during the regular season. And he averaged 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game during the post season. He played a key role in the Cards winning their 3rd national title. I can’t wait to see how he improves over the summer and I expect him to be a major contributor in year number two. Today we found out that he got an invitation to U19 World Training Camp. This will help him in his progress and will be a great opportunity for him to represent his country.

Harrell is one of 24 players who have accepted invitations to attend the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Championship Team training camp, it was announced today by USA Basketball. The training camp will be held June 14-19 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Harrell is one of 16 players with previous USA Basketball experience.

The 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team will be led by a trio of experienced and successful college coaches, including Florida’s Billy Donovan as head coach, and Shaka Smart (VCU) and Tony Bennett (Virginia) as assistant coaches. Donovan and Smart were coaches for the 2012 FIBA Americas championship.

“We have a really impressive group of talented players and a large number of the players have USA Basketball and college experience,” said Jim Boeheim, chair of the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee. “Selecting our 12-man U19 team will be extremely difficult, but the committee is excited and confident that we will be able to field another strong USA team.”

“The FIBA U19 World Championship might be from top to bottom the most competitive competition FIBA conducts,” Boeheim continued. “Any of the teams that are competing have a real chance to win the U19 gold medal as has been shown by six different countries winning the title over the last six U19 World Championships.”

The USA 19 training camp will be used to select the 12-member USA team that will compete in the FIBA U19 World Championship. The U19 training camp will begin on June 14 and continue through June 16. Team finalists will be announced following the June 15 morning session, and the team will continue training June 17-22, before departing for the Prague, Czech Republic, for the FIBA U19 World Championships, June 27-July 7.

Other collegiate players competing for spots on the squad include: Damyean Dotson of Oregon, Texas’ Javan Felix, Shaq Goodwin of Memphis, Oklahoma State Marcus Smart, Jarnell Stokes of Tennessee, and Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon.

JURICH AND PITINO TO BE HONORED

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It has been an outstanding year for the University of Louisville in the world of college sports. And behind great athletic departments and teams are great athletic directors and coaches. At Louisville we have the best Athletic Director in the country in Tom Jurich and we have one of the greatest coaches in college basketball in Rick Pitino. Wednesday night these two men will be honored for their great achievements over the past year.

First Tom Jurich is nominated for Athletic Director of the year at the Sports Business Awards Ceremony. The Sports Business Awards, a night celebrating excellence in sports business, will be held at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square in New York City. The winners among nominees will be announced live at this event.
Launched in 2008, the Sports Business Awards were established by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily to celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports. The 2013 nominees and winners are being recognized for excellence and outstanding achievement in the business of sports for the period from March 1, 2012 – February 28, 2013.
I don’t think anyone deserves this award more than Jurich and I don’t see how he doesn’t claim it. The other nominees for Athletic Director of the Year are Mike Holder Oklahoma State University, Mal Moore University of Alabama, and Jim Phillips Northwestern University.

Also on Wednesday night Coach Rick Pitino will be presented with the New York Athletic Club’s Winged Foot Award. The Award was established in 1996 by the NYAC and is presented annually to the winning coaches of the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I Basketball Tournaments. The function will be hosted at the NYAC’s City House in mid-town Manhattan. The evening will feature a cocktail reception, dinner, speeches and the presentation of the Awards. Celebrated sportscaster, Billy Packer will MC the ceremonies, as he has done since the Award’s inception.
The Winged Foot Award came into being in the mid-1990s when the New York Athletic Club, an iconic presence in the world of amateur sport, noted that there was no official award to honor the head coaches of the victorious NCAA men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Club presented the first men’s trophy to Rick Pitino in 1996.

Two great men and two great honors. Good luck to Tom Jurich and congrats to Coach Pitino.

Louisville Baseball Owns Nations Longest Win Streak

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The University of Louisville continues their complete domination of the Big East Saturday as the baseball team wins the regular season title outright finishing the sweep of #16 Pittsburgh beating them 7-4. The Cards finish their regular season 46-10 and 20-4 in the Big East.

This is Louisville’s fourth Big East Regular Season Championship in 5 seasons (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013). They finish off their regular season now 31-5 at home setting a new single season record for wins at Jim Patterson Stadium (211-75, .736 all-time).

The Cardinals own the nation’s longest active winning streak at 16 games and it’s the second longest in school history, trailing only a 20-game streak in 1950. I’ve been hearing for weeks that Louisville will host a regional if it wins the Big East regular-season title; the Cardinals are up to No. 16 in the updated Warren Nolan RPI rankings, and their red-hot finish will look great to the committee. They’ll host count on it.

The Traveling Trophy

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When Kentucky won the national championship last season they took their trophy on a tour through the back woods and Hollars of the Bluegrass state. The University of Louisville’s championship trophy has taken a different journey this off-season and it has been the symbol for many celebrations along the way.

Of course the trophy has made stops at the usual places, but it is the unusual places that have created the most buzz. The publications were in a frenzy when the trophy made a stop at a local tattoo parlor for Coach Pitino to get his “champ stamp”, then the trophy found its way on a fishing trip in the Bahamas with coach Pitino and his friends.

Today Total Frat Move news called Pitino the coolest coach in America as he took the national championship trophy for a spin on the town for his daughters 21st birthday celebration.

It’s great to see so many folks writing about the Cards symbol of excellence and it’s great to see so many celebrations being held around the trophy. Who knows where it’s going to end up next but by the time it reaches the Louisville trophy case it will have many stories to tell.

“The Mango” Future King of the Cards Front-Court?

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To continue my series looking at impact players that will be playing for the first time in the 2013-14 season today it’s Mangok Mathiang. I think he oozes with potential and think he could provide valuable minutes next season in the front-court. I think he will be a dominate player down low for the Cards before it’s all said and done.

(name is pronounced MANG-go like the fruit, with a silent “K” MATH-ee-ang)

Mangok Mathiang started his life in the war-torn Sudan but when he turned 5 his father decided to move him and his family to Egypt. The family soon realized that life there wasn’t going to be much better and they eventually ended up in Melbourne Australia. Soccer ruled in that part of the world and Mangok loved the game but by the time he was sixteen his height had reached 6 foot-5 inches and it was obvious what sport Mathiang was destined to play. By the time he was seventeen he was being offered scholarships by top US high schools.

Last August the lanky, shot-blocking Australian signed with the Cardinals but due to the NCAA’s strict rules, Mathiang was unable to produce his school transcripts quick enough and was ruled ineligible for the 2012-13 season. He was allowed to train with the team, and even got to show off some of his potential in last years Red & White game. It was very obvious watching him in those games that he is going to be a good one and he will make his way into the rotation this season.

Mathiang is a very long, active and mobile post player with great upside. He can score around the basket, rebound in his area and block shots on or away from the ball. As his skills continue to develop so will his production but the potential and upside are present.

Rick Pitino on Mangok: “Mangok is extremely quick and agile for a 6-10 player,” “He has a great future because of the way he moves at both the offensive and defensive ends. We’re excited to have him as a part of our program.”

In the West Indies, the expression “to go mango” means to steal another person’s mango fruits. There’s no doubt in my mind that after a few years in Louisville’s strength and conditioning program the expression “To Go Mango” will mean to steal another player’s basket. Because Mathiang will be a premiere shot blocker. There have been lots of comparisons between Mangok and Gorgui and the two have even been mistaken for one another around town. Just like Gorgui I expect Mangok to soon make a name for himself among college basketball’s best. The Mango is often referred to as the “King of Fruits”, before it’s all said and done “The Mango” will be the king of Louisville’s front-court.

Peyton Siva Starting The Next Chapter Of Life

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Peyton Siva is not only one of the best point guards to ever play for the Cards but could be one of the best people to ever play for the Cardinals. His list of achievements on the basketball court is nothing compared to his personal achievements off the court. Peyton had to overcome some crazy setbacks and dysfunction as a kid growing up but it made him a remarkable human being. Peyton has served as an inspiration to many people and lives his life to make the world a better place.

Peyton was the catalyst for the Cardinals’ mile -a-minute transition offense when he took over the point guard starting job his sophomore season. The team relied on his speed to push the ball and his ability to distribute and find open 3-point shooters. While there were many moments that highlighted his Louisville career I will remember him most for that post season run when he lead the Cards to four wins in four days averaging 12.5 points and 6.5 assist for a Big East championship. He won the most outstanding player award but what he was able to do in those four days was amazing. He would average 9.4 points and 6.2 assist in the NCAA tournament that included that great 17-point game against Davidson also that year. And I will never forget his gutsy performance against Michigan that helped the Cards win their 3rd National Title. He finished his Louisville career as second all-time in assist and the all-time steal leader. He is also a member of the 1000-point club. His list of accolades is long and now he is moving on to that next phase in life.

Saturday Peyton started the new chapter in his life and walked across the commencement stage to get his degree as an academic all-American and in Kyle Kuric fashion proposed to his girlfriend. Sunday morning he and his new fiancé were baptized in front of the congregation at Southeast Christian church. Peyton will head to the NBA Draft combine on Wednesday.

Early last summer I got to spend a few moments with Peyton at one of the caravans. Not only did he give me his full attention and genuine interest I watched him do the same thing for many other fans that day. He really is a one of a kind. I will really miss this young man but I know that he is going on to do some amazing things with his life. Congrats, on your graduation, baptism, engagement, and good luck in Chicago Peyton. Keep making us all proud! L1C4

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