No. 3 – Carlik Jones
Graduate transfers have been a staple on Chris Mack’s rosters each of his first two seasons at Louisville, and that trend will continue into 2020-21, with what may be his most talented and dynamic addition yet.
Following winning the Big South Player of the Year Award after averaging 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game at Radford, Jones put his name into the transfer portal in hopes of proving that he could play at the highest level.
Being from Cincinnati, Mack was already familiar with Jones and pounced on the opportunity to land the no. 1 transfer in the country. That connection led to a commitment, and now Jones figures to be Louisville’s primary scorer and one half of what could be the one of the best backcourt’s in the ACC.
Jones brings a new level of toughness, swag, and scoring to the Cardinals roster – something that is desperately needed following the departure of Jordan Nwora and Dwayne Sutton. Of Jones, Mack said:
"“He’s very, very, very talented. And, he’s got a lot of moxie, a lot of swagger. He really has big confidence in himself. I think he’s getting pushed extremely hard, and no disrespect to Radford, but the competition here in practice, you know, the asks in the weight room, on the floor accountability look just a little bit different. And so he’s learning some things that I think are going to be very valuable to him as a player and to our team.”"
Mack and team 108 will need Jones to learn fast because his ability to ingrain himself on this roster and get comfortable with playing in arguably the best conference in basketball will go a long way in determining just how good Louisville can be.
Every night Jones will be matched up against a top guard or wing in the ACC, and while I believe he’s significantly more talented than the last two players Louisville has brought in from the mid-major ranks, you saw limitations in both Fresh Kimble and Christen Cunningham each of the last two years.
That’s what makes Jones season so intriguing. Playing alongside of the most talented team of his life, Jones will have to deal with the transition of the Big South to the ACC without missing a beat, something none of us know if he’ll be able to do.
In order for Louisville to meet their potential and have a big season, Jones will have to lead the charge scoring each and every night. After averaging 20 points per game and shooting over 40 percent from the field in ’19-’20, Jones is up for the challenge of being Louisville basketball’s next Damion Lee.