CRAWFORD | Adel to return as centerpiece of Louisville's 2017-18 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Adel to return as centerpiece of Louisville's 2017-18 team

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WDRB photo by Eric Crawford WDRB photo by Eric Crawford
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – University of Louisville guard Deng Adel plans to return to the team for his junior season, according to multiple reports.

Adel announced his decision to test the NBA Draft waters shortly after the season, but wasn’t invited to the NBA Draft Combine (he was selected as an alternate), and will withdraw his name ahead of a noon deadline today. The news was first reported by Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

Adel averaged 12.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season, and will be the Cardinals’ top returning scorer after the departure of sophomore Donovan Mitchell, who is expected to be a first-round pick in the NBA Draft. The Cards also lost forward Jaylen Johnson to early departure, making Adel the team’s No. 2 returning rebounder, and clearly a centerpiece for the 2017-18 season.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino predicted Adel would emerge as an NBA prospect during his sophomore season, and Adel was extremely productive. He led the Cardinals in scoring over their final six games of the season, averaging 16.3 points while shooting 54 percent from the field. Against Duke in the ACC Tournament, he scored 21 points and was 7-14 from the field while grabbing five rebounds.

On the season, he scored in double figures in 22 of his 30 games.

Adel will largely have the shooting guard spot to himself, which should not be a strain on a player who averaged 29.9 minutes per game as a sophomore, third-best on the team. Sophomore V.J. King is expected to split time at the shooting guard and small forward slots. The Cards also have an incoming wing in freshman Jordan Nwora, with 6-11 freshman Malik Williams having the ability to range outside from the four spot. Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud are the top returning big men, while incoming freshman Lance Thomas will have to be ready to go immediately to provide depth.

In a recent interview with WHAS Radio's Terry Meiners, Pitino said, "We'll let Darius Perry and (Quentin Snider) battle it out at the one. Ray Spalding at the four will battle it out with Malik, then will battle it out with Anas. Jordan Nwora there and then certainly then Lance is another freshman who will battle it out at a few positions, he'll probably need some strength training, but we've got a really nice team coming back. . . . We've got a team coming back of really good athletes that really have to learn how to play, and this will probably be the first year since I've been at Louisville where freshmen are going to have to have a major impact for us to be successful."

Adel, a native of Sudan who migrated to Australia as a child, also is a two-time member of the All-ACC Academic Team for men’s basketball as a communications major.

Pitino will talk about the importance of Adel’s return, and update his program in general, during a noon news conference.

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