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Louisville F/C Chinanu Onuaku Will Have Medical Procedure

May 17, 2016 -- 3:11pm

Louisville F/C Chinanu Onuaku Will Have Medical Procedure




LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville forward/center Chinanu Onuaku will have a medical procedure done in Chicago today to correct a heart rhythm issue known as Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome.


“After an extensive physical with the NBA doctors over the last few days, they noticed a situation that will require a minor procedure that will keep me off of the court for approximately 7 to 10 days,” said Onuaku.  “After the 7  to 10 day window, I will be ready to start my workouts again in pursuit of my NBA dreams.”



Louisville Adds More Penalties

Apr 06, 2016 -- 1:52pm

According to WDRB's Eric Crawford, the University of Louisville has added more sanctions in connection to the ongoing NCAA investigation. U of L has released the following statement...

Statement From the Office of the President / University of Louisville

Regarding NCAA Compliance Review and Additional Measures

The University of Louisville continues to work collaboratively with the NCAA in the investigation of the University’s men’s basketball program.  As a member of the NCAA, the University takes its responsibility for NCAA compliance seriously, and has cooperated with the NCAA in an effort to close this difficult chapter as soon as possible consistent with NCAA enforcement procedures.  Under NCAA rules, the University is not able to discuss the investigation or the facts developed to date, but looks forward to doing so at the conclusion of the NCAA enforcement process. 

Although the investigation is on-going, the University has elected proactively to self-impose certain penalties consistent with NCAA legislation, including withholding the men’s basketball program from post-season competition this year.  The University has also elected to self-impose certain other penalties in the men’s basketball program, including reductions in the number of future scholarship awards, recruiting opportunities and official visits.  In addition to the post-season ban previously announced, self-imposed penalties will include:

§  Reducing by two the number of scholarships awarded in men’s basketball, (one in 2017-18, and one in 2018-19).

§  Reducing recruiting opportunities immediately in men’s basketball (days coaching staff may recruit) by 30 (approximately a 24% reduction); and

§  Reducing official visits in men’s basketball by two (one in 2016-17, and one in 2017-18).

Like the decision on the post-season ban, the decision to impose these penalties was difficult and reached through a collaborative process; President Ramsey has received input from its NCAA compliance and infractions counsel Steve Thompson of Nixon Peabody LLP; its lead investigator and NCAA consultant Chuck Smrt of The Compliance Group; the University’s special investigative committee; Director of Athletics Tom Jurich; and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Rick Pitino.  Steve Thompson, counsel to the University, stated: “After much deliberation, the University believes that self-imposing these penalties is appropriate.  While the University could elect to wait until the infractions process is complete, those consulted agree that these penalties are consistent with NCAA legislation, and imposing these penalties now is the right thing to do and may advance the University’s goal of expediting resolution of this matter.”  

In addition, the University’s athletics department is working on implementing additional corrective measures to improve its oversight of the men’s basketball program and ensure continuing compliance with NCAA and ACC Rules.  While the athletics department has a strong history of and commitment to compliance, the University looks to strengthen its procedures wherever possible; these additional measures will be designed to promote communication and transparency, prevent future violations before they occur, and make clear to the University community that violations of NCAA legislation will not be tolerated.

President Ramsey wishes to thank the faculty and staff who have assisted with these decisions, and particularly Tom Jurich and Coach Rick Pitino.  Their integrity and decisive leadership have served the University well during these challenging times.  As we navigate through this process, we appreciate the support of so many in our University community; we look forward to putting this matter behind us as we continue to advance the University’s mission of excellence in teaching, research and service.  

Consistent with NCAA rules, the University will have no further comment on this matter until the conclusion of the NCAA enforcement process.

Embracing the End

Feb 15, 2016 -- 1:49pm

By Andy Sweeney

This year's rendition of Louisville basketball has given their 2 week notice. Unforunately, we'll all have to suffer through the final 6 games. That's what Saturday's loss at Notre Dame taught us.
And I don't blame this group of kids. Not at all.
They've been tricked. Bait and switched to believe they were chasing a championship, yet really are chasing nothing but pride. 
It's easy for fans and media to demand your best when there's no gold at the end of the rainbow, pardon the pukey analogy. But for this group that is the exact problem. And I'm not sure there's a thing Rick Pitino can do to fight off that inevitable feeling.
After a tumultuous second half Saturday at Notre Dame, Trey Lewis questioned Pitino's substitution pattern, feeling he has been on a short leash, looking over his shoulder after every mistake.
I don't blame him. He sees the writing on the wall.  Truth be told, Louisville would be better letting Donovan Mitchell play more. Hell, it would be better for the future if Mitchell not only started but played the majority of the minutes.
Lewis knows that. He sees it. He's at his third program. There's no tricking him.
This is a team with two different objectives in the final six games. Win, yes that still matters even though not in the official capacity, but getting ready for the 2016-17 campaign is more important. Pitino mentioend as much today during the ACC teleconference...getting Deng Adel, Anas Mohmoud and playing time is something he'll look at in the final weeks.
Sorry Lewis, your time here is done (almost).
Pitino can say what he wants. Keeping this team locked in and focused will be a job we've never seen him attack. What makes him so great is that very ability to get his teams ready and peaking by NOW. But to achieve that is giving ultimate effort, even desperation.
Do we expect to see desperation in the wanning days? 
Or maybe not.
"The guys played really hard the last two games, but you can see it's weighing on them a little bit," said Pitino.
Of course, we'll never truly know how much it will affect the win/loss record. We'll probably be able to look at the box score and check "playing time" to see the story. 


Either way, human nature has taken over and the reverberations of two Fridays ago are starting to settle in.

Another Calipari Money Grab?

Jan 11, 2016 -- 2:05pm

Andy Sweeney
ESPN Louisville Host, Producer


At times, sports can be predictable.

The Bengals lose in the playoffs. The Spurs are good at basketball. And John Calipari will at some point be wooed by an NBA franchise.

We've been through this before. It's become so foggy that I can't tell whether Calipari wants the NBA,  the NBA wants Calipari or the entire thing is a farce. At this point, who's keeping score?

The newest report from Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has Calipari (through Wes) demanding 10 years, 120 million and full control to take over any franchise, specially whatever shell is left of the Brooklyn Nets. They've apparently shown interest after firing Lionel Hollins and GM Billy King.

Of course, all of this comes on the back of offseason reports that the Sacramento Kings' minority ownership group was interested and Calipari gave them a chance to woo him . And who could forget the confirmed reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers offered 10 years, 80 million for Calipari's services before Lebron James and Kyrie Irving inked their new deals.

We'll never know if Calipari has turned down various offers or that the interest isn't as real as we thought. Either way, the Calipari rumblings haven't stopped, and it doesn't look like they ever will, despite Calipari's latest plea to stay at Kentucky.


But here's the only question that matters: Is there real interest from Calipari in running AND coaching an NBA franchise, or is it another money grab to open the unlimited vault of cash that resides in Mitch Barnhart's office? And if even Calipari was playing the NBA against Kentucky, he knows he doesn't have to. So why the leaks? Why the discussion? Why the need to go through this multiple times each year? 

Is this simply an exercise and a flexing of the muscle by Calipari? Is he setting the stage to amend another contract this May?

After all, his last restructured deal has him making $7.25 million this season, with that number growing throughout the life of the contract.

I tweeted this out earlier today...


Is this where we are? Rich owners incessantly enamored with the sweet talking, full of swag Calipari. They’re ready to offer the world to a guy who was 72-112 his first stint in the league. Hoping his bus load of NBA prospects coached in Lexington will follow his lead when the stakes are high and criticism is tougher. Because guys this is becoming a trend.


Here's what's honestly the craziest part of this...if Calipari wants to lead an NBA franchise, $10-12 million per year isn't crazy. In the same city that houses the Nets are the Knicks, and they're paying Phil Jackson $12 million a year  just to run the franchise and Derek Fisher  -- a rookie head coach -- another $5 million annually to coach it. You could make the argument that $12 million per season for Calipari comes in under budget. I said you could argue, not that you'd be right.

So with Kentucky playing Mississippi State on Tuesday, where are we?

Much like other years, Kentucky fans will wait. They'll mock the reports. We'll do segments on the radio how much Calipari has waited for his 2016-17 recruiting class, .how much true potential they have.

Those on the other side will remind college fans that the NBA is the real league where you prove your coaching worth. Front office "experts" will proclaim that Calipari isn't negotiating, but rather his agent is (a notion I agree with). Meanwhile, the Nets will continue to stink after running their franchise into the ground and shipping out most of their upcoming draft picks.

Fortunately, none of this matters. If Calipari wants to be back in the NBA, he'll get his wish. There sure seems to be enough interest. And money.


Sweeney: Kentucky's 'Weak' Performance

Jan 06, 2016 -- 1:57pm

Andy Sweeney
ESPN Louisville


There are congratulations that need to be handed out after the 85-67 drubbing that LSU laid on Kentucky last night.

First, congrats to Kentucky and John Calipari. It's not easy making Johnny Jones look THAT good. Second, congrats to the players. Somehow, in January, the coaching staff is still having to prod guys to, ya know, play hard. 

What UK fans witnessed last night wasn't simply a blip on the radar, but rather a trend and a narrative that continues to get worse this season. Three losses to teams NOT in the top 25. Three losses where the team’s toughness has been questioned by everyone. Three losses where you never felt Kentucky was going to win.

In a post game interview, Jamal Murray blamed the players, calling the team “weak.”

Calipari went a step further.

"We weren't up for the challenge. We weren't ready to compete at the level they were competing at, especially our inside people," he said in a truncated post game press conference.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, IS the narrative. 

Kentucky isn't playing with emotion. They’re not executing and, quite frankly, the returning guys expected to lead the way simply are not doing so. 

And it's the returning guys that bother me the most.

I've been consistent on air that the leaders for this team are not freshmen. Alex Poythress has been through the wars. But why is he still so inconsistent? In UK’s losses, he has scored 6, 4 and 4. Simply not good enough. He'll look like an NBA first rounder one night, and the next he disappears.

Marcus Lee is no better. Last night he fouled out in 5 minutes, scoring no points and grabbing but two rebounds. 

I'll admit, I was flat out wrong. I thought the upperclassmen would shine knowing that freshman Skal Labissiere is simply not ready to  contribute at a high level. I thought Poythress and or Lee would emerge from the shadows of NBA first rounders that have come before them and show how much they've developed in three years. The trend is showing otherwise. 

When asked about his bigs, Calpari said, "I don't know, you'll have to ask them. They didn't compete like they needed to, I know that."

Calipari can only do so much. They'll continue to develop and get better, but still coaching effort in January is a major problem. (And this is after the daunted and much publicized "Camp Cal")

How did this team beat Louisville? I'll never know. But I do know for one night they made Johnny Jones look like a good coach, and that's not easy to do.

Pitino Lacks Awareness, Creates Media Stir

Dec 28, 2015 -- 12:45pm

By Andy Sweeney
ESPN Louisville


Let me be clear: I like Rick Pitino a great deal.

He's one of my favorite coaches in any sport and on any level.

But as I sat in the Rupp Arena media room, I was overcome with fatigue about the storyline of the next few days -- Rick Pitino not doing the normal post game media Q&A. I knew the discussion would be venomous, and it has. Red and blue fans alike proclaim they know what normal protocol for any coach is after a game of Saturdays magnitude.  Twitter trolls have emerged from their caves as though they've been apart of any media scrum. Irrationality at its finest.

Above all else, I'm mad at Rick for making it a story. He created it. The Sports Information staff at Louisville did not.

The media has furthered the story, but make no mistake, we did not create it.

Pitino released a blog Monday morning (knowing he was taking heat) about the lack of question taking:

"Let me set the record straight about not doing a postagme press conference. I told  
Kenny Klein and Paul Rogers 24 hours before the game that it didnt' matter, win or
lose I would speak to our fans through our postame radio interivew and Ralph
would speak with the media"  


Of course Rick released that via his blog.

He did so knowing what the chatter among fans has been since Saturday. He knew a large segment of his fan base was embarrassed.

As Pat Forde and Rick Bozich independently pointed out, the lack of grace and professionalism was staggering. And any notion that anyone in the media was alerted this would be the case is flat out wrong.

Two Louisville SID members said post game that Pitino would go to the podium. The media, knowing this would never be the case, swarmed the  Cards' hallway. We were then told Pitino wouldn't come to podium, but rather speak in front of their locker room.

Finally, Bob Valvano was called into the locker room where he spoke to Rick for the network. We waited 10 more minutes and Willard was the sacrificial fall guy.

But back to my point...I'm mad this is even a story. And it's upsetting that Pitino created this distraction.

And let's be honest: Pitino's actions make John freaking Calipari look like the good guy. He did the post game presser. He was gracious in winning, even complimentary to the Cards. Pitino made himself look like the bad guy. As a fan, that would irk me, especially when Calipari is universally never viewed as the good guy.

Lastly, I'll never understand this from a fan viewpoint.

Maybe it's emotion talking. I'm a New York Giants fan, and after Sunday night's loss to the Vikings, I wanted to hear why that game was such a debacle.

Why do Louisville fans not want to hear their coach speak to a fanbase and do so in an appropriate manner that all coaches do after each game? Why protect your guy when he does wrong? We surely don't do this in any other walk of life. Why start here?

If 19 year olds can face the music then so can their 6 million dollar coach.

Truth be told, Louisville played a hell of a game Saturday. They very well are in the group of 15 teams that can win it all. They'll only get better as guys like Adel, Spalding, Anas and Mitchell get more comfortable. That should be the story. Coming back from 16 down in Rupp and having a shot in the air to win should be the story.

I'm tired of talking about mysterious middle fingers or blowing off press obligations. Coaches always stress doing the right thing and persevering through adversity. I thought players from both sides did that on Saturday, just not the coach in red.

Instead of the players, coaches too should live up their one day contract.

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