The Floyd Street Tribune: How a small adjustment has Louisville's forwards making more plays
Inside: Going to the Monitor gifs show Sam Williamson's renewed contributions. Plus, an ode to Jarrod West's defense; a big stat of the week; and a recruiting thought.
Happy new year! Thanks for reading The Floyd Street Tribune. In the previous edition, Monday’s TFST Extra, we hit refresh on Louisville’s NCAA Tournament resume entering the new year and discussed a big recruiting win.
A Quick Thought
Louisville is now 14 games into the season — four into league play — and I still don’t know if I have a good grasp of what this team is or is not. What I do know is Louisville is 4-0 in a league where the preseason top five is a combined 8-7. Have three of those wins, all of them nail-biters, come against the worst teams in the ACC according to KenPom’s rankings? Yes. But at this point, the key word in there is “wins.” Everyone would rather learn from wins.
In this week’s newsletter, we run through some illustrations (in gif form) of how an adjustment to Louisville’s offense helped open up new options and got Samuell Williamson back on track. I also pulled a Quote of Note on Jarrod West in a tribute to his on-ball defense against Michael Devoe. I see a trend in Louisville’s roster-building for the future, and I include a little levity from Mason Faulkner and a stat of the week you’ll want to see. Before any of that, here’s Josh Pastner being Josh Pastner:
Going to the Monitor
After watching his team labor through scoring droughts and off-shooting nights, Chris Mack repeatedly stressed the need to get the ball in the lane. To make up for a roster that, outside of El Ellis and Mason Faulkner, doesn’t really have drivers who can beat their defenders off the dribble, Mack and his staff worked with Louisville’s forwards on cutting into the lane off post entries and drives. In other words, they wanted another way to get the ball into the middle of the floor.
That slight change has made a significant difference in the fluidity of Louisville’s offense — and it helped revitalize Samuell Williamson, whose December slump befuddled his coaches and concerned Cards fans.
“I think it's fair to say that he's gotten more opportunities, and he probably feels a little bit calmer on the floor,” Mack said after Louisville’s win over Pitt. “… He's playing better and he's playing with a lot of confidence against teams that play zone defense. He's really good in the mid-range and he's a good passer.”
Before we show you how Williamson bounced back, here is what that bounce back looks like in numbers:
So here’s the how …
“At times we were getting the ball into the lane, but the only good options were sitting there behind the 3-point line,” Mack said. “We felt like there were some defenders falling asleep who we weren’t taking advantage of ...”
Case in point: