Louisville basketball head coach Chris Mack joined the BRL Podcast.
It’s been a little over two months since Coach Mack spoke with the local media and since then a lot has happened internally for the Louisville basketball program. The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruption across all spectrums of life and business, including in the world of college basketball.
Due to social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions, the normal offseason routine, which makes the game of college basketball what it is, has completely been washed away. Gone are the trips to AAU and high school events.
Players making the trip to campus for visits, team workouts at the facility, having players around each other, and much more. In order to keep things moving and keep the program afloat for the long-term, it’s taken the staff making wholesale adjustments including doing everything virtually.
Louisville basketball ahead of schedule, in “positive” mood
Despite those changes and adjustments, Mack and the Louisville basketball program are doing well. In recent weeks, players began to make their way back to campus and although they are not practicing with the coaching staff, they are able to work on conditioning during voluntary workout times.
Coach Mack felt like his team’s mood was very positive and that his guys were in the right mindset and ready to get back to work. In an industry that’s all about certainty and knowing what’s ahead, Louisville has done everything possible to keep things as normalized as possible.
New faces for Louisville basketball
“We’ve got a lot of new faces” Coach Mack acknowledged when asked about team 107 truly being his first youthful team during his time at Louisville.
However, Mack is confident with the team that he has going forward. In his third season, he loses a lot of important pieces but will bring in a group of talented players that fit the mold of his style of basketball.
Mack called Team 107’s style “confrontational” and “attacking,” and made mention of the fact that fans will get an opportunity to see a squad that is going to get the ball inside a lot more and get the ball going downhill.
One of Louisville basketball’s greatest challenges is going to be replacing Dwayne Sutton, Jordan Nwora, and Steven Enoch upfront in 2020-21. Mack spoke highly of Jae’lyn Withers, who has grown since arriving on campus and made an interesting player comparison for the rising redshirt freshman. Withers’ role on this team could be a little different than what most fans expect it to be, and Mack explains why.
Louisville basketball officially cancels Armed Forces Classic
Back in April, Mack and Cincinnati coach John Brannen exchanged friendly barbs on Twitter, unofficially announcing that the Cardinals would travel to Cinci as a part of a home-and-home series.
The one issue with the scheduled date is that the Cardinals are slated to play Oklahoma State the same day, November 13th, in the Armed Forces Classic.
“I’ve heard from the beginning of my time at Louisville that (Cincinnati) was a game that fans always wanted,” Mack told BRL.
Mack went on to say that given the uncertainty of travel restrictions and everything involved with the Armed Forces classic, it made more sense to try and reschedule and instead replace the game with a bus trip to Cincinnati.
We also go into the detail about Mack’s relationship with Brannen and if he would ever be interested in making a return trip to his alma mater and previous head coaching gig at Xavier.
Mack addresses Louisville basketball sanctions
One big elephant in the room for Mack and Louisville basketball is the Cardinals’ ongoing NCAA sanctions and how the university and athletic department are handling potential punishments that could be levied in the coming months.
Mack goes over how Louisville addresses these issues on the recruiting trail, and how Louisville basketball will be affected in the long and short-term. Also, will Louisville go the IARP route or stick to what it has done in the past?
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