Louisville basketball: Cards get their point guard of the future

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – MARCH 07: Head coach Chris Mack of the Louisville Cardinals is assessed a technical foul in the first half during a game against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena on March 7, 2020 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

How does Bobby Pettiford Jr. fit for Louisville basketball?

Bobby Pettiford Jr is a do-it-all type of point guard; last season he scored 21.8 PPG while adding in 6.0 RPG, 7.4 APG, and 2.9 SPG. He possesses extreme burst and explosiveness, paired with elite downhill speed. Those traits along with notable athleticism will cause fits for opposing backcourts and will allow Louisville to get out and run in transition.

Watch: Bobby Pettiford Jr’s 2019-20 season highlights

On Pettiford Jr, 247Sports Expert Travis Branham wrote:

“6-foot-1, Pettiford possesses decent size to go with a set of long arms and has a lean, wiry frame, giving him capable physical tools for the lead guard position.

Athletically, he is quick and has plenty of bounce but his biggest strength here comes in his end to end speed. Pettiford is fast and couple that with his aggressiveness in the open court, he makes for a dynamic playmaker in transition.

Offensively, there are plenty of tools to work with and gives the point guard upside, starting with his quickness, speed and toughness. Pettiford is at his best in the half court, attacking downhill where he gets into the paint and can both finish at the rim with both hands and through contact or can stop on a dime and hit his teammates for open shots on the wings and corners.”

There should be no concerns over how he fits in Mack’s system, considering that he is a dynamic playmaker with improving vision. With that being said, there are some things than Pettiford needs to improve on.

Only shooting around 30 percent from deep, he will need to improve his perimeter offense, to help open up the lanes for his driving abilities. However, there are no mechanical issues with his form, as it is fluid and smooth. It can be inferred that more practice and reps would help in that regard. Outside of scoring, Pettiford Jr has shown flashes of good facilitation but will need to make it a priority to get teammates involved more often, to enhance offensive cohesion.

Read more: Three biggest questions for 2021 Louisville Basketball Recruiting

While being a high-energy, active defender, Pettiford will need to work on contributing to team defense and increasing awareness of opposing offensive tendencies. But his quickness and active hands project him as an above-average defender with the ability to be elite.

In terms of collegiate career predictions, he projects as a quality two-way guard that is capable of leading a team in scoring. With David Johnson likely going to the NBA after this season, Pettiford will have more than enough opportunities to make an impact early. His role will likely be anywhere from a primary to a tertiary scoring option that is able to fill it up from all three levels.

Despite only being 6-foot-1, he has the speed and quickness to haunt opposing defenses right away; couple that with his defensive tenacity, and it looks like Louisville may haven gotten one of the biggest steals in the 2021 recruiting class.

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