After Cardinal Nation appeared at Defcon 5 (or whatever a bad defcon status is) last week with five-star junior point guard Marquis Teague picking Kentucky, University of Louisville basketball coach did what you have to do in such situations.
Get on with life and get the next guy.
In this case, the next guy is a good one. Gorgui Deng (pronounced GORE-gee, at least today), a 6-10 center from Senegal, chose the Cardinals today, according to C-J recruiting writer Jody Demling and others.
Deng is a fast-developing big man who averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds per game in prep school in Huntington, W.Va., last season. He also has shown flashes of being a strong passer and should be an effective shot blocker. He looks to run the floor well, too. Deng isn’t a top 25 guy, but should be a solid top-100 side with lots of potential. He also speaks five languages. Don’t know if that’ll help in the Big East, but it can’t hurt.
He hasn’t officially signed with the Cardinals, but is in the process of doing so.
It’s just another indication that next season should be better than the one just ended for U of L. The key, of course, will be development — and that’s something that hasn’t always happened of late. Peyton Siva should mature into a big-time Big East point guard. But guys like Preston Knowles, Terrence Jennings, Kyle Kuric and Jared Swopshire all need to take significant steps forward.
The good news for U of L is that those guys are capable of doing that. I think it’s a good mix for the Cardinals, assuming that Samardo Samuels returns, and only a bout of insanity would cause him to decide otherwise. Add Deng to the mix, and signee Justin Coleman, who is shaping up as a significant story for the Cardinals as he works to get academically eligible, then figure on an increased role for Rakeem Buckles and probably Mike Marra as a sophomore, and there’s no reason this team can’t be in the lead draft of the Big East.
So while the head-scratching over the recruiting class of 2011 continues for U of L, the outlook for next season on the court actually looks good.
(Also, enjoy the dunking cardinal logo. It still ranks No. 1 on the list of U of L basketball logos.)