LOUISVILLE – October 23, 2022
The University of Louisville men’s basketball team gave fans a first look at what’s to come this season with Sunday’s Red and White Scrimmage, with the Red squad coming out victorious 68-51 at the KFC Yum! Center.
For first-year head coach Kenny Payne, the scrimmage was an invaluable evaluation tool.
“This is their first time being in front of people with the lights on,” Payne said. “The guys had a little bit of nervousness there. I am pleased with the energy. I am pleased with the effort. It’s the first time we have something to evaluate. For me, the most important thing happened the last two (five-minute segments), when the ball was passed five or six times. All I said was pass the ball to each other five times, get the ball in the lane and don’t shoot it. Pass it and then that person drives. Put the defense in rotations, and we will get any shot we want.
“Going to the post after five or six passes, a couple of lane passes, get it to the post and split out. There’s no plays to that – it’s just action and offense. That is the concept I am trying to teach.”
Senior guard El Ellis and freshman forward Kamari Lands paced the Red team with 16 points apiece. Ellis also added seven assists and three steals, while Lands knocked down two 3-pointers.
“Yeah, I really liked what I saw from all of our guys today,” Ellis said. “I’m glad we played together and played hard. That was a little showcase of what this team can really be. We’ll continue to get better, we’ll continue to work hard, and we’ll continue to stay together.”
It was the KFC Yum! Center debut for the team’s seven newcomers, including the freshman Lands.
“It was exciting, honestly,” Lands said. “Definitely, at first, just the jitters seeing everybody out in the crowd. That’s not even what it’s really going to be, but just seeing all that on the floor and being there with my guys. It was all just surreal at first, just trying to soak it all in. But once I got into it, I felt really comfortable. Like I said, it was all really surreal and exciting. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Junior forward JJ Traynor chipped in 14 points and three blocks for the Red.
Payne said confidence is key for Traynor, a two-year veteran of the program, which the Bardstown, Ky., native later echoed.
“Just confidence in myself and the coaches believing in me, my teammates trusting in me and having confidence in me,” Traynor said. “I feel like just going out there and playing hard made the difference.”
On the other side, the White team was led by senior forward Sydney Curry’s double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Fabio Basili tallied 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Up next for the Cardinals is their first exhibition game of the season against Lenoir-Rhyne – coached by former UofL standout Everick Sullivan – at 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 30 at the KFC Yum! Center. The exhibition will stream on ACC Network Extra.