The 2023-2024 roster construction for Kenny Payne is nearly complete at this point. Seven players entered the transfer portal from last season’s Louisville basketball roster and as of now, eight new players are coming in: Dennis Evans, Skyy Clark, Trentyn Flowers, Koron Davis, Kaleb Glenn, Tre White, Danilo Jovanovich, and Curtis Williams Jr.
If you can’t remember all of the names that have departed from last season, they are El Ellis, Jae’Lyn Withers, Devin Ree, Fabio Basili, Roosevelt Wheeler, Sydney Curry, and Kamari Lands. On paper, the talent coming in far outweighs the talent heading out. This offseason, Kenny Payne had the ability to construct a roster the way he wants to without any outstanding restrictions.
The athleticism, ball handling, and size coming in is what screams off the page, but it’s the work ethic of these athletes that really caught the attention of the coaching staff and will be on display for the fanbase to see. WDRB’s Rick Bozich published an article towards the beginning of April and he had one quote that really stood out:
"“Louisville needed nearly a complete roster reset. The players needed a fresh start in a new environment they did not associate with failure. Payne and his coaching staff needed a fresh set of players who won’t need around-the-clock reminders about what is required to win — and win big — at the high major levels.”"
The comment, “Payne…needed a fresh set of players who won’t need around-the-clock reminders about what is required to win” is what screams off the page and gives you a brief insight into what went on in the locker room last year. The players were a combination of complacent and apathetic and their off-the-court feelings were exposed all the more on the hardwood floor under the bright lights.
But now, the new class coming in will exude the exact opposite aura. Rick Bozich just recently published another article in which he discussed the roster overhaul that Kenny Payne has completed thus far. Yet again, one quote stood out among the rest:
"“Expect an unrelenting work ethic to be a prime quality of the seven newcomers on the roster that Payne and his coaching staff have recruited for next season.”"
That is something that was missing in the locker room last season, but now the locker room seems to be re-energized with fresh talent and fresh perspectives. No longer a legal or mental cloud surrounding the program and now the progress can move forward rapidly.
With eight new incomers and five returning players, the Louisville basketball program has one open scholarship remaining. If they do not choose to extend it to presumed walk-on guard Hercy Miller, here are two under-the-radar players that I wouldn’t mind seeing in a Cardinal jersey.