One week into the season, the addition of Carlik Jones has already had an impact for Louisville.
The graduate transfer guard looks to continue his strong start and help the Cardinals remain undefeated when they host Prairie View A&M on Sunday night.
Jones, who spent his first three collegiate seasons at Radford and averaged 20.0 points in 2019-20, has hit the ground running to start his tenure for Louisville (2-0). He's scored 18 points in each of the Cardinals' first two games while totaling 13 assists and 19 rebounds. Jones pulled down 11 of those boards during Friday's 71-70 win over pesky Seton Hall.
"Carlik Jones is a very high-IQ player," Louisville coach Chris Mack said. "He uses his body great, and he changes speed.
"He really knows how to use his body and he is not afraid of anything ... We have a lot of experience when Carlik's got the ball in his hands. We really trust him to make the right play."
Jones' talent and experience has already paid off for the Cardinals, who have moved on from the absence of star Jordan Nwora and entered this season as an unranked team. Not to mention the relative slow start of sophomore guard David Johnson, who entered the season with lofty expectations off a strong freshman campaign, but has totaled just 13 points on 6-of-17 shooting through the first two games.
Louisville has shot 50.5 percent in its wins over Evansville and Seton Hall, and held both squads to a combined 31.9-percent shooting to tip off what's already been a unique season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though it would like a little more breathing room than it experienced against the Pirates on Friday.
"You have to be able to do things at a higher level than you've been held to," Mack added. "We're not going to lower our standards.
"I know we have to be patient with our decisions. We're going to learn ... I'm going to be patient on some things and I'm going to be impatient on others."
Mack would hope the Cardinals find themselves in a similar position from their opener, when they cruised to a 79-44 win over Evansville. The Cardinals have won both previous meetings with Prairie View (1-1), but the teams have not played since 2005.
The Panthers opened their season with a 71-66 loss to Little Rock, but rebounded Friday with a 64-61 win over Evansville. D'Rell Roberts had 15 points and Jawaun Daniels scored 13 as Prairie View held the Aces to 35.7-percent shooting from the field and 7-of-27 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc to prevail.
Daniels has averaged 13.5 points through the first two games while Roberts is at 13.0.
"There's going to come a time where we have consistent play in our season," coach Byron Smith said. "There will come a time where we meet our expectations and be what we thought we could be as a team."
Prairie View last won two of its first three games during the 2012-13 season.
--Field Level Media