Louisville Cardinals

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, right, talks to Mangok Mathiang during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Western Kentucky, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 78-56. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Louisville’s Mathiang expected back to practice next week

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Injured Louisville big man Mangok Mathiang is expected to move closer to returning to action in the near future.

The 6-foot-10 forward is slated to return to practice next week, 10 months after suffering a broken foot, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Mathiang broke the foot last December in a game against Western Kentucky, and hasn’t been able to hit the floor without restriction since.

We are moving very slow with him to make sure that he feels confident,” Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said at the team’s media day Tuesday, according to the Courier-Journal, “and that he feels good about playing mentally, when you come off an injury like that.

“But sometime next week he will probably start participating and practicing, and it will probably take him two to three weeks to get back in the groove, and then he’ll be at full strength.”

That timeline puts Mathiang in position to be fully healthy by the time Louisville opens the season Nov. 11, against Evansville. Mathiang, who averaged 18.8 minutes, 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season as a junior,said he’d returned to playing in May but a setback led to having scar tissue removed and a mostly inactive summer.

“I’m feeling great compared to the first time and now,” Mathiang said. “I see a huge difference. I feel a whole lot better. My body feels great, well-rested.

“I’m just ready to get out there and help my teammates out. Coach, I give him big props for being very patient with me and just staying in my corner whenever I need him.”

Louisville’s Mitchell dealing with concussion

Louisville's Donovan Mitchell (45) reaches in against North Carolina State's Anthony Barber (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Louisville has been without one of its expected contributors through the first few days of practice.

Donovan Mitchell, a sophomore guard, has missed four practices due to a concussion, though he is expected to return to the court next week, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal citing coach Rick Pitino’s appearance on a local radio program.

Pitino said that freshman V.J. King would start in Mitchell’s place were the season to start today.

As a freshman, the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 7.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 44.2 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range.

The Cardinals, who potentially could open the season as a top-10 ranked team, are also dealing with an injury to forward Mangok Mathiang, who was expected to return to practice Nov. 1 from a foot injury, but it’s “too early to tell,” if that timetable will stand, Pitino said, per the Courier-Journal.


Louisville big man heading to NBA Draft

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After a day of mixed messages, Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku finally made it official.

He’s staying in the NBA Draft.

“After talking to my family and going through the NBA process,” Onuaku wrote in an Instagram post, “me and my family have decided that it would be best for me to keep my name in the draft.”

The day started out with Cardinals coach Rick Pitino telling multiple media outlets that the 6-foot-10 sophomore would remain in the draft after he declared last month without an agent and attended the draft combine. Onuaku, though, appeared to at least mildly refute that with an Instagram post that said his decision wouldn’t come until later Wednesday evening. Which it did, confirming Pitino’s words.

The confusion may have been frustrating for observers, but Onuaku’s social media presence no doubt has benefited from the bizarre day.

Onuaku averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 assists in 24.6 minutes per game last season, making his per-40 numbers, a metric NBA teams like to take into consideration, nothing short of fantastic. He also shot a not-so-shabby 62.0 percent from the floor. His size, athleticism and ability to score around the basket (he’s taken one 3-pointer in two seasons) make him a potential first-round selection in next month’s draft.

The 19-year-old Onuaku underwent a procedure on his heart last week due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It has been described as a minor procedure that will not affect his ability to play long-term or work out with teams leading up to the draft.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, should be able to absorb Onuaku’s loss seemlessly as they return the bulk of last year’s team that went 23-8 and was ranked 10th in KenPom, but was banned from the postseason as a result of the Katina Powell bombshell. Newcomers Tony Hicks (Penn transfer) and V.J. King (consensus top-30 recruit) will also make for solid additions.

No. 16 Louisville beats Utah Valley 98-68

Louisville's Trey Lewis (3) shoots as Utah Valley's Andrew Bastien (42) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Trey Lewis scored 21 points and No. 16 Louisville used a hot shooting start to coast to a 98-68 victory over Utah Valley on Wednesday night.

Louisville (11-1) made 18 of its first 24 shots and shot 69 percent from the field in the first half (20 of 29) to blow past Utah Valley, one night after an out-of-sync showing in beating UMKC.

Konner Frey led Utah Valley (5-8) with 17 points and Marcel Davis scored 15. Seven Cardinals scored at least eight points.

The Cardinals finished 31 of 56 (55 percent) from the field and hit nine 3s. Utah Valley shot 40 percent.

Broken left foot to sideline Louisville’s Mangok Mathiang

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, right, talks to Mangok Mathiang during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Western Kentucky, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 78-56. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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No. 17 Louisville’s 78-56 win over Western Kentucky Saturday afternoon came with a price, as a key member of their front court rotation was lost due to injury.

Junior forward Mangok Mathiang left the game in the second half and did not return, with it being revealed following the game that he’d broken a bone in his left foot. Due to undergo surgery to repair the break in the coming days, Mathiang is expected to miss anywhere from six to eight weeks.

Mathiang is the third Louisville front court player to suffer an injury over the last month. Freshman Deng Adel has been out since mid-November due to a sprained knee, and sophomore center Anas Mahmoud has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle.

Without Mathiang there will be even more minutes to distribute amongst freshman Raymond Spalding and sophomores Chinanu Onuaku and Jaylen Johnson. Onuaku posted a double-double against WKU with ten points and 12 rebounds, and Johnson added eight points and six rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.

Lee scores 18 as No. 19 Louisville tops Kennesaw State 94-57

Donovan Mitchell, Quentin Snider, Kendrick Ray
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Damion Lee scored 18 points as No. 19 Louisville used another strong shooting performance to beat Kennesaw State 94-57 on Wednesday night.

Louisville (8-1) shot 59 percent (40 of 68). The Cardinals’ 40 field goals were their most since Dec. 22, 2010, against Western Kentucky.

The Cardinals have now shot above 50 percent in eight of their nine games, matching their total for all of last season.

Chinanu Onuaka was 8 of 10 from the floor, scoring 16 points. Donovan Mitchell had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Cardinals.

Yonel Brown led the Kennesaw State (3-9) with 19 points and Kendrick Ray added 13. The Owls shot 39 percent.

It was another blowout for the Cardinals against an outmatched opponent. Louisville made 7 of 15 3s in the first half, matching the number of Kennesaw State field goals, and led 41-19 at the break without shooting a free throw.

Kennesaw State started the game 1 of 15, missing 13 straight while scoreless for more than eight minutes, as Louisville jetted out to a 17-3 lead. The Owls traded baskets for the next few minutes before a 10-0 Louisville run made it 36-14 with 2:23 left before halftime.

The Cardinals shot 66 percent in the second half (23 of 35). Their 14-2 run, highlighted by Mitchell’s steal and one-handed slam, stretched the lead to 70-35 with 9:03 to play. Mitchell’s even more impressive dunk off an alley-oop gave Louisville an 81-43 advantage with 6:06 remaining.

The Cardinals entered the game outscoring opponents by 30.6 points a game, best in the country. Louisville used a significant height advantage to outrebound Kennesaw State 47-22.


Kennesaw State: The 6-foot-1 Ray had the night’s top play with his tomahawk dunk over a 6-10 Onuaku. … Preseason All-Atlantic Sun selection Yonel Brown entered as the nation’s leader in minutes played, averaging 38:54 a game. … The Owls had nine days off prior to playing Louisville due to final exams.

Louisville: Lee made four of Louisville’s 10 3-pointers. … Forward Anas Mahmoud sat out with a sprained ankle.


Kennesaw State visits Chattanooga on Friday.

Louisville hosts Western Kentucky on Saturday.