CRAWFORD | With five words, Padgett shows he's a different kind of basketball coach
Nineteen games into his first season as Louisville's interim head coach, David Padgett is doing things differently, as he showed again after Louisville's 79-67 win over Boston College.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – “Lesson learned. First-time head coach.”
Those were the five words University of Louisville interim basketball coach David Padgett used to begin his news conference after Louisville’s 77-69 blowout of a nail-biter against Boston College at the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday.
It’s evident, of course, that Padgett is a new head coach. He has yet to develop an ego that would keep him from so readily and candidly admitting an error in front of the media.
He could’ve talked about the quick-shot, garbage-time mentality that allowed an 18-point lead with 3:57 to play shrink to just two with 33 seconds left. He could’ve shared the frustration when he twice put his head in his hands on the sideline after horrid on-court decisions.
He could’ve justified his taking Deng Adel and Ray Spalding out of the game in the midst of Boston College’s run, with 2:27 left in the game, only to have to run them back in to save the victory. He could've mentioned that the Cards were still up 15 with 2:15 to play, and that kind of lead should be safe.
Instead, Padgett said those five words. He took it all on himself.
“I probably should’ve waited a little longer to empty the bench a little bit there,” he said. “Which is part of the learning process.”
The thing Louisville fans can take from this is that Padgett, in fact, appears to embrace lessons when they present themselves.
He has to be doing something right, with the Cardinals at 5-1 and all alone in second place in the ACC.
“With the exception of my wife and kids, I probably would’ve sold my soul to be 5-1 if you would’ve told me that back in November after six games,” Padgett said. “We’re very happy, obviously, but with that being said we can’t be complacent.”
In this game, Louisville couldn’t get much going at all against the Boston College zone. So for a second straight game, Padgett inserted freshman Jordan Nwora and got a spark and broke the team out of its offensive rut. That after three games of not playing at all.
“We spoke. We met,” Padgett said. “He came to me and said, ‘What can I do to try and get on the court?’ . . . It wasn’t even so much what he wasn’t doing well or what he was doing wrong. It was just other guys in front of him were playing well. . . . I just told him, ‘You’ve just got to stay ready.’ You never know when an opportunity is going to present itself, and sure enough, one did.”
CRAWFORD VIDEO | Discussing Louisville's win over Boston College
Nwora said, “I talked to some of the other guys and they said that as a freshman you can play a lot one game and then maybe not play the next. It’s hard to stay patient, but we were winning, and do you want to do something to mess with that? I understood it, and just did my best to stay ready.”
Padgett came out of the halftime locker room without his tie. He expected a grind from a Boston College team that has upset Duke and Florida State. I’m not sure what he said to Deng Adel at halftime, but it worked. Adel went to the locker room without a point or a rebound.
In the second half, he had a double-double, 18 points and 10 rebounds. When he rebounds like that, Louisville is a different team.
And honestly, Louisville looks like a different team anyway, ever since its blowout loss to Kentucky. Aside from dropping a game at Clemson it could’ve won, Louisville hasn’t done much wrong.
“I don’t’ want to say Kentucky was a wake-up call for us, because we played very poorly, they played very well and it was just a horrible day on the basketball court,” Padgett said. “But the three days of practice after that were three of our better practices.”
“It was embarrassing,” Adel said. “We met as a team and said that we have to start doing a better job in practice. That was the main thing. You lose a game like that, not just to Kentucky, but to any team, you have to take a look at yourself and figure out what you’re not doing, and fix it.”
Even if it’s a first-time-head-coach mistake.
It’s hard not to appreciate people who readily acknowledge their shortcomings and try to address them. We can all take a page from that playbook.
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