Louisville basketball: Most important players for the 2020-21 season

LOUISVILLE, KY - FEBRUARY 05: Louisville Cardinals players huddle together prior to the start of a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at KFC YUM! Center on February 5, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville defeated Wake Forest 86-76. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - FEBRUARY 05: Louisville Cardinals players huddle together prior to the start of a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at KFC YUM! Center on February 5, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville defeated Wake Forest 86-76. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Louisville basketball big man Malik Williams goes up for a shot attempt
Feb 15, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Malik Williams (5) shoots the ball against Clemson Tigers center Trey Jemison (55) during the second half at Littlejohn Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /

Malik Williams. 1. Pick Analysis. player. 438. Scouting Report. C. Senior

Point blank: if Malik Williams doesn’t have a monster year like he’s capable of, Louisville has real problems.

Williams earned his spot as a starter at the five spot last season, leap-frogging then-senior Steve Enoch about midway through the year. If you look at this year’s roster, Williams won’t have an abundance of help down low, and I can’t stress the importance of his production. No pressure, Malik.

Most ACC teams Louisville will face this season are going to be physical, and Williams will be tasked with weathering those storms and playing through a lot of contact; also a ton of minutes. Louisville hasn’t had a big man with this much action awaiting him in YEARS. It all falls to Williams now.

He’s a senior. He has a lot of heart. And he is athletic as he’s ever been. Expect the double-doubles. Look for him to coach up the younger guys. When it’s all said and done, if Louisville wants a real shot at a conference championship contingency or even a 20-win season, it’s all about Williams.

Next. Louisville's five most intriguing players in 2020. dark

The Cards are insanely thin at the five. Louisville is in deep trouble if he doesn’t show improvement from last season. We’ll need 35 productive minutes per game from him.