Kenny Payne’s inaugural season comes to a close against Boston College

Kenny Payne’s first ever season as a Head Coach ends at his alma mater with a 4-28 overall record. 

The former NBA first-round pick accepted the Head Coach position a year ago in March 2022 to take over for the former Rick Pitino replacement, Chris Mack. In Chris Mack’s last season with Louisville, he put together a 13-19 season with impressive wins over NC State, Pittsburgh, and Clemson.

However, a 13-19 season was still unusual for the University of Louisville. After decades of success under Head Coach Denny Crum and Head Coach Rick Pitino, the Louisville basketball program had risen to the elite programs in the nation alongside the likes of North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas.

After being on the mountain peak of success, this valley of mediocrity can be difficult to swallow for a lot of fans. But, with all of the outstanding circumstances that Louisville was under prior to  Kenny Payne’s arrival, it did not leave him with a recipe for success to spearhead his head coaching career.

His vision for the program is not a ceiling of four total wins across 32 games because his history of success within the program as a player would not be okay with a four-win team. Not only does he have a passion for success, he also has a passion for the University of Louisville and understands more than most just how important winning is to this program and this city.

Kenny Payne does not have a lot of support from the fanbase. Those who were excited about his hire are not calling for his job. It is impossible to please everybody. But, what is really impressive is that the former NBA assistant coach has garnered support from players, former players, fellow coaches from around the college basketball landscape, and even his own Athletic Director Josh Heird.

Tim Sullivan, a contributor for Louisville’s Leo Weekly, recently reported that Josh Heird said Kenny Payne is safe due to his vision for the program.

Boston College 80, Louisville 62

After just four wins, Louisville secured the lowest seed in the 2023 ACC Tournament Bracket. #15 Louisville took on #10 Boston College in the first round yesterday afternoon and despite taking a three-point lead into halftime, the Cardinals lost by eighteen points. El Ellis led the way with 16 points, followed closely behind by Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and JJ Traynor with 13 and 12, respectively.

The Cardinals escaped the game with only nine turnovers, which was on the lower side for the entire season. But, they also only forced four turnovers, meaning that ball protection was very important to both teams this game.

The leading scorer for the Eagles was Makai Ashton-Langford, who only had 16 points matching El Ellis. So, the name of the game was not offense for any particular player in this game, especially in terms of the three-point shot.

Louisville shot 4-for-14 from behind the arc to Boston College’s 5-for-19 from deep, which left the main difference for the two ACC foes in field goal percentage. Louisville’s 38.0% could not measure up to Boston College’s 46.8%. The Eagles had more attempts with a better percentage and it’s hard to win games if you can’t put the ball in the basket.

But now, the weight of judgement on a national level is behind these players and coaches. Kenny Payne and staff can scour the transfer portal and the few 2023 high school prospects who have yet to commit to find talent to add to this roster and look to improve significantly next season.