Louisville Basketball: The New Era


Apr 8, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Peyton Siva (center) holds the trophy after Louisville won the championship game in the 2013 NCAA mens Final Four against the Michigan Wolverines at the Georgia Dome. Louisville Cardinals won 82-76. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What we as Louisville fans get to experience in college basketball is nothing short of amazing.  We get the super highs and at times the heart-breaking lows.  This “era” of Louisville basketball, that we all just saw abruptly end, is unquestionably one of our finest and most memorable.  Though the loss still stings, it is time for us to prepare for the future.

I have been the most die-hard Cardinal fan for the better part of my life, and the past 3-4 years of basketball have been the most exciting I have ever experienced.  I was just a child during the 80s, so I didn’t really get to enjoy that amazing era, and for that, you will have to forgive me because I am a bit biased.  The opportunity to experience a Championship is unforgettable.  Watching the game last year seemed surreal and was very emotional for me.  I will never forget those games and I will never forget the friends with whom I got to enjoy it.

Having the opportunity to watch players grow and become a cohesive unit, is something that I cherish.  It is something that up until a couple of years ago I took for granted.  Cardinal basketball, well for that matter, Cardinal sports are special.  How many schools have their own mantra?  Louisville First, Cards Forever.  That saying embodies so much about where our program has come and where it is headed.  I hated to see Peyton, Gorgui, Russ, Luke, SVT, Wichita and even Chane leave, but how great a group of guys was that?  Not only did they help define the new chapter in Cardinal athletics, but the change that occurred to Rick Pitino during that time was and is staggering.

We all know the story, but Rick was at, (what one could only imagine as rock bottom) and that group of guys re-taught him the game of life.  The new humble, focused, Cardinal ambassador Rick Pitino is a pleasure to watch.  Not only have I been proud of those players, but I have been proud of his new attitude and outlook on life.

Cardinal fans, the time for being sad is over.  What is about to happen is why we enjoyed the past 3 seasons.  Without the new guys, the new story-lines, the new highs and lows, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate how special these past seasons have been.  Perspective is such a powerful tool and while we will have some struggles next year, watching a new team grow together will be exciting.

Some of the best memories are from the 2012 team.  The team that no one expected.  The team that had 10 losses and still made the Final Four.  Could something magical like that happen next year?  What player or players will step up and assert themselves as the new leaders on this team?  Will Wayne Blackshear stare the end of his career in the face and finally be the player we all know he can be?  Will one of the new guys blow us away with his poise and composure?  These questions are what make Louisville First, Cards Forever so special.  Someone will embody that saying and several years down the road we will be writing about how they helped define the new era of Cardinal basketball.

Russ Smith, Stephen Van Treese, Tim (Wichita) Henderson and Luke Hancock, thanks for the memories.  You will live on in our hearts and minds for years to come.  Now is the time to create a new chapter in Cardinal Athletics.  Cheers to the start of the next era.  L1C4.