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After nightmare season, Louisville starts fresh vs. UMBC


Louisville fell on hard times last season in coach Kenny Payne’s inaugural campaign, winning just four of 32 games.

The Cardinals reloaded with eight newcomers and will look to make a fresh start Monday at home against UMBC in the season opener.

Leftovers include Mike James, who averaged 10.1 points and 3.3 rebounds a game. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield averaged 6.7 points and 5.4 rebounds, and J.J. Traynor contributed 6.9 points and 3.8 rebounds.

Payne brought in help from the transfer portal with Skyy Clark (Illinois), Tre White (Southern California) and Danilo Jovanovich (Miami) and added 7-foot-1 freshman Dennis Evans.

Clark led the Cardinals with 24 points and seven rebounds in a 71-68 exhibition loss to Kentucky Wesleyan a week before the season opener.

“Hopefully, we learn from this,” Payne said. “All of us — coaches, myself and players — because it’s not acceptable to go out, and the other team is more physical than you, plays harder than you, plays tougher than you, as if you don’t understand what this is.”

Louisville hopes to make quick adjustments to avoid another disastrous start. The Cardinals dropped their first nine games overall last season and finished 2-18 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

UMBC is coming off back-to-back 18-14 campaigns under coach Jim Ferry, finishing fourth in the America East last season.

The Retrievers overhauled the roster with five transfers: Bryce Johnson (Chicago State), Marlon Short (Stanislaus State), Max Lorca-Lloyd (Penn), Khydarius Smith (South Carolina Upstate) and Marcus Banks (Odessa College).

UMBC also brought in four prep recruits with guards Anthony “Ace” Valentine, Franck Emmou and Alpha Chibambe and forward Marcel Gardner.

“I think this group will give us a lot of versatility and we’ve addressed some of the needs that we lacked last year,” Ferry said. “We’ve added size, ball handling, shooting and more athleticism. We’re bigger on the perimeter, and our players will not be stuck at a particular position.”

–Field Level Media

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