The Floyd Street Tribune: Inside the process of learning a new offense and making it work
Inside: How some Louisville players learned about Ross McMains and the new offensive style. Plus, Matt Cross and Sam Williamson ... playing together? And more.
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Matt Cross, Noah Locke and Jarrod West had already pledged to play for Louisville when Chris Mack hired Ross McMains to overhaul the Cardinals’ offense and enhance individual skill development. As the Louisville staff spread the word to their players, Mack sent out a detailed collection of stories and background information on McMains, a young coach with experience in the G League and NBA as well as overseas.
It was the first time Locke received such in-depth reading on a coach of any kind, and the Florida transfer devoured the content. West, a graduate transfer from Marshall, connected with a former teammate who worked out with McMains to get the lowdown. And Cross, a Miami transfer, did some Internet deep dives (as did Locke).
What they discovered in individual workouts and team sessions over the offseason matched their research on Louisville’s newest staff member. The offensive stats of teams that hire McMains tend to improve, West said, “and you can see why.”
“At certain points in your life in basketball, you think there isn’t more you can learn,” said Locke, a 6-foot-3 guard. “But I really have learned so much more from him. It’s just a lot of little things, like different ways to hit a jab step, different angles to get to the rim, different ways to get a shot off. I learn something every time we work out.”
There is no bigger Louisville storyline this season than the change in offense. It touches every other part of the Louisville story — a frustrated fan base, the discomfort around Mack’s relationship with the university, etc. If Louisville is good, that stuff will fade. For Louisville to be good, the offense has to be better. And if we discuss the offense, we discuss McMains.