The Cardinals ...

>> Thursday, July 2, 2009

Two years after winning the Big East Championship and the Orange Bowl, Steve Kragthorpe and the Louisville Cardinals have only compiled a record of 11-13 with no bowl appearances since Bobby Petrino's exit in 2006. The 2009 season forecast looks to follow the previous two year trend. In what could be a make-it or break-it season for Head Coach Steve Kragthorpe, the Cardinals start the year with an inexperienced quarterback trying to replace Hunter Cantwell, a first year offensive coordinator and a first year defensive coordinator. After averaging the lowest yards of total offense since 2002, Kragthorpe opted to serve as his own offensive coordinator for the 2009 season. He will look to either Adam Froman or Justin Burke to lead the team and succeed Cantwell at quarterback. Froman comes in as a junior-college All American after throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. Burke sat out all of last season after transferring from N.C. State. The Cardinals have unproven talent across the board, including their head coach.

However, the Cardinals do return the 2008 Big East Rookie of the Year, Victor Anderson, after averaging 5.7 yards on 183 carries as a redshirt freshman. In addition, senior wide receiver Scott Long is expected to return after his ACL injury last October. With Long out the majority of last season, Doug Beaumont was able to step up and garner some experience at the wide receiver position.

The Cardinals return seven starters to their defensive with eleven players starting at least one game last season. In his first season as the new defensive coordinator, Brent Guy, does have some inexperienced talent on the defensive end. The Cardinals lose All-Big East linemen Eric Wood and George Bussey, but they do return both of their tackles from last season. The strength of the defensive unit will be their linebackers, leading tackler Jon Dempsey and Antwon Canady. The Cardinals will have to rebuild their defensive line and their secondary unit.

With a lot of uncertainty going into the 2009 season, Steve Kragthorpe must try to rebuild a team this year with his job in jeopardy.


9/5/09 v. Indiana State W
9/19/09 at Kentucky L
9/26/09 at Utah L
10/2/09 v. Pittsburgh L
10/10/09 v. Southern Miss L
10/17/09 at UConn L
10/24/09 at Cincinnati L
10/31/09 v. Arkansas State W
11/7/09 at WVU L
11/14/09 v. Syracuse W
11/21/09 at South Florida L
11/27/09 v. Rutgers L

Season - (3-9)
Conference - (1-6)


Kobe's new Rodman?

The Los Angles Lakers have reportedly reached a verbal agreement with forward Ron Artest. The terms of the deal were believed to be around 3 years and 18 million or so. I love this signing for the Lakers for a couple of reasons.

Ron Artest is a defensive stopper. He will bring some toughness to this Laker team and not to mention he has the ability to put up some big scoring games. He will be able to help lighten the load off the Black Mamba.

Yesterday, I thought that the Pistons had made the biggest move in free agency by signing Villanueva and Ben Gordon, that has now changed. If the Lakers got Artest at this price, then they landed a steal. The Lakers can now let Ariza walk, they basically got an better version of him, not to mention Artest shot near 40% from the three point line last year.

This signing today should eliminate all the talk of Cleveland being the team to beat next year. It appears to me that The Black Mamba and the Lakers will be even tougher to beat next year. Now if they can only resign lamar Odom.


Aloha Ariza?

Kobe Bryant was the man, as usual, in the Lakers recent run to an NBA Title, but Trevor Ariza's late season surge was just as instrumental in their championship. Ariza, who had been known as a defensive stopper with limited offensive ability, slowly developed into an assassin during the playoff run and made several key defensive stops throughout the playoffs.

That recent boost in ability has made Ariza a hot commodity on the free agent market, and it doesn't appear that the Lakers are willing to pony up the cash to keep him. The Buss family were ready to offer a mid-level exception, but nothing more and that has sent Ariza out the door.

Ariza recently met with the Houston Rockets and has several other suitors throughout the NBA, including the Cavaliers and Blazers. Ariza could be a replacement for free agent Ron Artest if Houston is his final destination, but expect Cleveland to make a strong run to add the lanky small forward and bolster their already high championship hopes.


Old School Athlete Tribute....Kevin Johnson

Growing up as a young Phoenix Suns fan in the nineties there were plenty of players that would strike a fan's fancy. Dan Marjele, Danny Ainge, Ced Ceballos and then the great Charles Barkley were all fan favorites in the Valley of the Rising Sun. However, Kevin Johnson, after his trade from Cleveland, became the most beloved player in Phoenix Suns history.

Kevin Johnson was a two-sport star throughout his high school career, excelling in basketball and baseball and lead the state of California in scoring during his senior campaign (32.5 ppg). Johnson was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 1986 and spent a couple of summers in their organization, but it became apparent that Johnson's future was basketball and he stepped away from baseball. KJ went on to become the all-time points, assists and steals leader in his time at the University of California.

Johnson was eventually drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers 7th overall in the 1987 NBA draft. However, his time in Cleveland was short lived and KJ was traded to the Phoenix Suns, where his career began to explode. Johnson's career began to take off the moment he arrived in Phoenix and he was named NBA Rookie of the Month in April of 1988. Kevin's second year in Phoenix helped establish him as one of the truly great players at his position in the NBA. Johnson became just the third player in NBA history to average over 20 points and 12 assists a game (Big O and Isiah Thomas) and Johnson's sudden improvement was awarded with the NBA's Most Improved Player award and helped him gain respect among his peers. KJ's career continued to blossom and he became a regular on All-NBA teams throughout his career and is still labeled among the best Phoenix Suns of all time. Johnson's career finally came to an end following the 1997-1998 season (except for a short return in 1999-2000 playoffs).

Kevin Johnson, who owns a B.A. in Political Science from the esteemed UC-Berkley, announced his intentions to run for the Mayor of Sacramento and following a run-off election against incumbent Heather Fargo, Johnson was named the new mayor of the City of Sacramento.