If you would’ve asked me about the future of Louisville before April 20, I would have kindly explained how bright their future looks with both a post threat in Samardo Samuels and the backcourt threats of Peyton Siva and Justin Coleman.
Now if you ask me that question, I do not believe I could give you an answer. I would simply explain how much the loss of Samuels will affect Louisville next year.
Louisville's 6'9" standout forward Samardo Samuels officially declared for the draft on April 20. Before that, there were whispers of Samuels possibly leaving and it made some fans think about if they could expect as much from next year’s Louisville team.
Samuels led this year’s Cardinals team in both scoring and rebounding. Not to mention he was one of the main reasons why Louisville could stay competitive with so many teams this year. When Louisville needed a bucket they counted on either Edgar Sosa or Samuels to produce offense.
Well, with both gone, who is going to lead this young Louisville team in the right direction?
Rick Pitino expected losing his seniors but never thought of any other player leaving this program—at least I did not.
But that is where economics work its magic.
Samuels and his family sat down with Pitino and had a very productive talk. In the end, both Samuels and his parents agreed that he would be declaring for the draft, but will not sign an agent.
I support his decision 100 percent and so does Pitino, but now he is faced with the question “Who is going to be the backbone of this team next year?”
Not as simple as many may think. Many may point the finger at freshman Rakeem Buckles.
The 6'8" forward showed that he could compete with the better players once the NCAA tournament came around.
But he is neither greatly skilled nor mature enough to be the backbone of this program—not to mention, trying to place so much weight on a freshman’s shoulders is not a good thing to do for development.
The leader doesn’t exactly have to come from the forward position but every other player on this Louisville roster has little or no experience. This declaration is benefiting only one party, and that is the Samuels.
I do not know what will happen next season, but Rick Pitino will definitely have problems trying to replace the team's three best players—Sosa, Smith, and Samuels.