The Louisville Cardinals are making the move to the ACC next season. The way coach Rick Pitino has recruited, along with the return of Montrezl Harrell, it looks like it may be a harder transition for conference mainstays than the newcomers.
The biggest reasoning behind this is just how strong the Cardinals’ frontline will be. Harrell averaged 14 points and more than eight rebounds last year, and he was considered a top-15 NBA Draft prospect before he decided to return for his junior year. Now, with a 2014 class that is believed to be one of the best in the nation coming in, the Cardinals could be contention for a conference championship.
Harrell will be joined by two other extremely talented freshmen with Anas Osama Mahmoud and Chinanu Onuaku. Both players are going to be a strong defensive presence, and if they improve on their offensive moves and skills they could make Louisville a national title contender. Mahmoud is 7-foot-1, but he is slender. He will have to put on some weight if he wants to survive against stronger players. If he smartly utilizes his height, he will be disruptive. Scouts say Onuaku is already believed to be a terrifying defender and a strong rebounder. Harrell, Onuaku and Mahmoud have the possibility to average nearly 30 rebounds per game. If that is the case, the Cardinals’ guards will be free to run wild and take full advantage of Pitino’s fast-paced style.
The ACC has all the makings to be the best conference in the nation, and with the addition of Louisville, it will also be the most entertaining.