LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There are a 1,000,001 ways to outline how far the University of Louisville football program slid during its shift from the end of the Charlie Strong Era to the end of Bobby Petrino.
This is an ideal week for the purest proof -- the upcoming NFL Draft.
With the 2019 Draft booked in Nashville starting Thursday, it's the perfect item to load first into the Monday Muse starting gate.
1. From Charlie To Bobby, Oh My!
Some statistics require little context. These qualify. Chances are one player from Petrino's final U of L team will be selected in the 2019 NFL Draft -- receiver Jaylen Smith, who delivered an incredibly uneven performance for the Cards in 2018.
He dropped balls for no reason. He scored one touchdown. He finished 22nd in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 36 receptions.
One guy. One late round projection.
Let's replay the video from the 2014 draft, the one from the spring during the transition from Strong to Petrino.
Four guys -- three (Calvin Pryor, Marcus Smith, Teddy Bridgewater) taken in Round One.
Fast forward one season, to the players that Strong actually left for Petrino.
In 2015 the Cardinals celebrated an NFL draft that made Texas, Notre Dame and Florida State salivate:
Ten players selected, led by Devante Parker in the first round. Don't forget Jamon Brown.
Go ahead and put your $2 on this: Bobby Petrino did not leave Scott Satterfield 10 guys who will be taken in the 2020 or 2021 or 2022 NFL Drafts.
2. Happy Homecoming for Josh Allen
Former Sports Illustrated NFL guru Peter King limits his dabbling in mock drafts to a minimum. Just one. No updates. No hourly obsession. No hyperventilating.
The most interesting local tidbit I pulled from King's 2019 projection is a happy homecoming for Kentucky pass rushing ace Josh Allen.
In today's FMIA column at @NBCSports, you'll find: 😀 My only mock draft. 100% guaranteed to be wrong! 4⃣ First-round trades = First-round QBs 🐬 Where Josh Rosen might land ☠️ How 2019 sked screws Raiders 🎂 Belichick turns 67; what's next ➡️ https://t.co/J8tv322G6n pic.twitter.com/TIrDbAJMKB— Peter King (@peter_king) April 22, 2019
King does not have Allen in the overall top spot that Allen believes that he earned. He isn't in King's top five. No problem. The guy will still get paid.
Allen is listed as the sixth pick in King's mock draft. The joy in that is that the New York Giants need players and Allen will be as close as he can be to family in Montclair, N.J.
If you're going to New York City, why not be part of a rebuilding Giants' defense and earn a few Lawrence Taylor comparisons?
3. The Growth of Donovan Mitchell
You could argue that former Louisville basketball star Donovan Mitchell had more to celebrate during his rookie NBA season that he has had to celebrate during his year two with the Utah Jazz.
A year ago Mitchell challenged Ben Simmons for the rookie of the year award. His plate was stacked with praise for leading Utah on its surprising run to the NBA playoffs.
The Jazz won a series, upsetting Oklahoma City before getting bounced by Houston, 4-1, in the second round.
This season the Jazz are at risk of signing off early as the Rockets go for a four-game sweep at 10:30 pm (EDT) in Salt Lake City Monday.
Mitchell has been unhappy with his performance. He has averaged more than 21 shots per game while making less than a third of his attempts. He went 9 for 27 and missed five free throws when the Jazz lost a must-win home game by three Saturday night. Mitchell, as expected, took the loss hard.
Then one of his teammates, veteran Kyle Korver, stepped forward with some of the most complimentary words I've heard from an NBA player.
📹: After the media interviewed Kyle Korver in the locker room, he asked if he could say one more thing. He finished with some very encouraging words for Donovan Mitchell. #TeamisEverything #TakeNote pic.twitter.com/wjDSH0vYj0— Jake Edmonds (@JakeKUTV) April 21, 2019
Mitchell has work to do to improve his efficiency but the Jazz want him in the middle of everything they achieve.
4. Steph Curry's Unknown Teammate
A serious challenge likely awaits the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs against the Houston Rockets.
Until that happens, the talk around the Warriors will always be happy, especially concerning Steph Curry's warm-up routine.
Curry's any distance, any time, any place approach to shooting creates a stir in Oakland hours before the every game. He concludes his pre-game routine by firing 40-foot three-point shots from the tunnel as he exits to the locker room.
Curry's sidekick in this spectacle is Curtis Jones, a 67-year-old security guard who isn't certain he'll remain with the team when the Warriors move to a new arena in San Francisco next season.
5. Final U of L, UK, IU Grades From Sports Illustrated
Chris Mack gave the University of Louisville basketball program a "B" for the Cardinals' performance this season.
I upgraded the mark to a B-plus, considering the Cardinals exceeded expectations and defeated Michigan State, Seton Hall and North Carolina.
A tiebreaker has arrived from the folks at Sports Illustrated. (The link.)
Louisville received the best mark of any program in the area. SI agreed with my B-plus.
How did SI evaluate Kentucky, Indiana and Western Kentucky?
UK -- B. Didn't win the SEC regular-season or conference titles. Didn't make the Final Four.
IU -- C-minus. Didn't make the NCAA Tournament or the NIT Final Four.
WKU -- C. Didn't make the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.
I looked through the list for the highest and lowest marks.
Virginia and Texas Tech earned the elusive A-plus.
California and Vanderbilt had to show their parents the only Fs -- and got their head coaches (Wyking Jones and Bryce Drew) fired.
6. Gregg Popovich Says It All
I might have mentioned previously that San Antonio Hall of Famer Gregg Popovich and I attended the same high school (Merrillville) in northwest Indiana. I remember watching him play in high school. Got cut one season. Great rebounder. Couldn't win a sectional title.
Maybe that gave Pop his edge.
The man is famously irascible while dealing with the media as he proved during a recent pre-game interaction prior to a Spurs' playoff game.
Gregg Popovich may have had the shortest pre-game press conference ... ever. pic.twitter.com/RcTVPSITgh— Sporting News (@sportingnews) April 21, 2019
What would you ask Gregg Popovich if you were allowed one question?
I'd ask him for his thoughts on Bill Metcalf, the coach who cut him at Merrillville.
7. Russell Westbrook Says It All
There are a few folks in the NBA who love the media as much as Popovich. Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook would make every list.
Westbrook has a particular affection for Barry Tramel, a columnist from Oklahoma City. He won't answer his questions. Golden State coach Steve Kerr, one of the most media friendly guys in the league, believes that is a bad look for the NBA.
I wonder if Kerr believes that what Popovich does is a bad look for the league.
But here is recent media performance by Westbrook.
After Game 4 loss to Blazers, Thunder's Russell Westbrook (14 points, 5-21 shooting, minus-17) alters his "next question" strategy in stand-off with OKC reporter: "Uh, that's a good question. Um. Not sure." pic.twitter.com/c0PSt3y5RP— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 22, 2019
Is it a bad look?
Do fans care?
8. Greatest Double Play Ever
Roberto Clemente did not play for the White Sox but he's always been one of my favorite baseball players. Why?
Dude could throw.
People used to watch Clemente take fielding practice the way fans watch Curry take shooting practice. Running from first-to-third or second-to-home was not recommended against Clemente and the Pirates.
The Oakland Athletics have a center fielder who throws the way Clemente threw. His name is Ramon Laureano.
Laureano made a string of dazzling throws last season. On Sunday he was part of one of the most amazing double plays I have ever seen.
Ramon Laureano made one of the most incredible catches you'll ever see to start a strange double play.Oh, and you might miss crazy plays like this one if you don't have the MyTeams app.Watch the play: https://t.co/JRLP0JCGCPDownload the app: https://t.co/jdF7iRpYYe pic.twitter.com/xmNipn4fE3— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 21, 2019
9. It's Burdi, Burdi Time Again
Getting to the big leagues has been a grind for the Burdi brothers (Nick and Zack) after they completed their careers as closers for the University of Louisville.
Nick has bounced from the Twins to the Pirates. Zack was taken by the Chicago White Sox and fast-tracked to Triple A.
Both pitchers endured Tommy John surgery on their right elbows.
This spring the Burdis are fulfilling their potential.
Nick is part of a strong bullpen in Pittsburgh. He has won a pair of games and struck out 17 batters in 8 1/3 innings.
It's gross... not as gross as the four seam fastball that whizzed by my face at the age of 16 and exploded our family mailbox! https://t.co/uXzXpGGmNh— zack burdi (@idrubkcaz15_U) April 14, 2019
Zack should have a chance to climb to the big leagues by summer. His elbow is healthy but he missed several weeks of spring training with a lat strain. He's been cleared to pitch and will report to the White Sox Class A affiliate in Kannapolis, N.C. this week.
That should lead to a quick promotion to Class AAA in Charlotte and then a move to the White Sox, who are scrambling for pitchers who can miss bats.
10. Rick Pitino Tweet of the Week
Overnight in Santorini was so special. Stayed at Aqua Luxury suites. Awesome ambiance and spectacular views. Never thought I would see anything compare to Lake Como, but Santorini does it!! Thank you Galanis Joannis GM for your incredible hospitality.— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) April 21, 2019
Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.