Question 1: Where will the scoring come from in 2020-21?
Entering the 2020-21 season, Louisville Basketball returns seven total players, about half of their roster from a season ago, and only 22.0 points/game (about 29.7% of their total scoring). With last year’s Louisville team averaging about 74.1 points/game that means there is about 52.1 points/game up for grabs (or 70.3% of the team’s total scoring) from a season ago.
Senior big man Malik Williams and sophomore guard David Johnson are the only two players for Louisville returning this season after averaging more than 16 minutes/game last season. The two combined for 14.8 points/game last year and were inserted into the starting lineup near the latter half of last season.
Williams and Johnson are not the only two players returning for Louisville though. Sophomores Sam Williamson, Quinn Slazinski, Jae’Lyn Withers, Josh Nickelberry and Aidan Igiehon are all expected to take on bigger roles for ‘Team 107’ this season and provide more depth for Louisville. Williamson, the former McDonald’s All-American, is lined up for a major increase in minutes from a season ago and Chris Mack believes his sophomore forward can be a big factor for Louisville this upcoming season.
During the summer, Coach Chris Mack gave Louisville fans an update on Sam Williamson and his improvement within the program:
"“I think he learned an awful lot watching Jordan and Dwayne and competing against those guys every single day in practice. What I think he’s done a lot better is he’s ready from minute one… Like every freshman when they become a sophomore, I think his confidence has grown, he knows what to expect, both from his coaching staff and the game of college basketball. I expect a whole lot out of Sam this year.”"
In addition to key sophomores stepping up for the Cards this upcoming season, Louisville also picked up two key grad-transfers in G Carlik Jones (Radford) and G Charles Minlend (San Francisco). Carlik Jones, the 2020 Big South Player of the Year with Radford, joins the Cards after averaging 20.0 points, 5.5 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and shooting 40.9% from three-point range per game during the 2019-2020 season. Charles Minlend, the 2x All-WCC performer, joins Louisville after averaging 14.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals per game during the 2019-2020 season. Minlend did all of this while shooting 41.6% from the floor in 34 games with San Francisco.
Both Jones and Minlend are expected to be key leaders for Louisville and provide a lot of offense for this year’s squad. Carlik Jones was already named one of two captains for this year’s Louisville basketball team and has earned the “Gold Jersey” in practice for three straight weeks. The golden jersey is awarded to the best player in practice for Louisville throughout the course of the week.
Although Jordan Nwora, Ryan McMahon, Dwayne Sutton, Steven Enoch and Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble will not be on the court for Louisville this season, the growth of the current sophomores on the roster, as well as the key additions of Carlik Jones and Charles Minlend should provide enough scoring options for the Cards to be just as good offensively. They could even better themselves from where they were a season ago when they were ranked as the 12th best offensive in the country according to KenPom.