Louisville basketball: Steven Enoch finds his first professional home

The former Louisville basketball big man has signed his first professional contract.

For two seasons Steven Enoch roamed the paint for Chris Mack and the Louisville basketball program, developing into one of the most consistently productive big men in the best conference in college basketball.

After a breakout junior season where the 6’10, 250-pound big man averaged 9.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in just 19 points per game, Enoch flirted with leaving the college ranks early and declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft but ultimately decided to return to a loaded Louisville roster to compete for a National Championship.

A year later, Enoch is looking to begin his career as a professional and while no one knows what sports will look like over the next six to 12 months, the former Cardinal has found a new home playing for Obradoiro of Spain’s Liga ACB, one of the most renown leagues in all of Europe.

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According to Matt Babcock of Babcock Hoops, Enoch’s contract is unique in that it includes an NBA out clause with no buyout included making him “an option for NBA teams this offseason. Signing early allows Enoch to have a guaranteed home for the upcoming season while staying prepared for the upcoming NBA Draft which has been pushed back to October 16th.

Enoch signing professionally overseas officially puts the finishing touches on a short but successful stint as a Louisville Cardinal. After spending two seasons mostly relegated to the bench of then UConn head coach Kevin Ollie, Enoch decided to pack his bags and head to Louisville to play for legendary hall of fame coach Rick Pitino. Tom Jurich would fire Pitino months later, leaving Enoch to learn from former Cardinal big man and interim head coach David Padgett – before “recommitting” to play for Coach Mack.

In his first season on the floor as a Cardinal playing for Mack, Enoch developed into a legitimate low-post scorer who combined an old school offensive game with the stretch shooting of a modern big. He was able to dominate games and opposing defenders who weren’t prepared to deal with his massive frame and physicality.

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His scoring didn’t just come from in the paint or around the basket either. Enoch was a consistent and dangerous threat from deep, shooting 35 percent and also at the line, hitting 82 percent of his foul shots.

However, consistency was never Enoch’s biggest strength and it was a huge reason why he wasn’t able to earn more minutes away from Williams. Foul trouble, poor passing, long scoring droughts, defensive struggles, and at times completely disappearing from games all prevented Enoch from taking the next step. If all of his games could like what we saw in a blowout win over North Carolina on the road in which he scored 17 points and hauled in 11 rebounds, dominating every big on the Tar Heel roster in the process, then he’d be a surefire top 25 pick. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, but it did lead to Enoch coming back for a senior season.

Enoch was good but not great in his final year on the floor as a Cardinal, showing improvement as a defender but struggling to add another layer to his offensive repertoire. When his offensive game was on, Louisville was an extremely tough team to defend but more times than not, defenses were able to neutralize him with double-teams that led to turnovers or forced shots.

Still, his tenure at Louisville was more than successful and now Enoch finds himself in a spot to receive a nice payday while honing his skills in one of the top European leagues while still keeping the NBA option on the table.

It’s unlikely that Enoch will be drafted come October, as none of the popular mock drafts have included him up to this point, but with his size, physique, and ability to stretch the floor, it wouldn’t be shocking to see a team bring him in for training camp or even on a two-way contract.

There won’t be many players in Spain that are capable of matching Enoch’s combo of size and skill, which will give him the opportunity to focus on learning to dominate and take over games. NBA front offices are going to want to see him become a force, who can take over games in a variety of ways – not just limited to scoring.

In a game that is much more finesse than what we see at the college or NBA level stateside, he should be able to become a reliable scoring threat in the post while displaying his strong outside shooting.

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With scouts paying close attention, he’ll need to show drastic improvement with defensive quickness while becoming a more consistent rim protector. If he’s able to do that, signing with an NBA club could come sooner rather than later.

 

 

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