Sport Nervous Padgett set for head coaching debut at Louisville

18:35  11 november  2017
18:35  11 november  2017 Source:   Associated Press

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LOUISVILLE , Ky. — David Padgett insists his nervousness debuting as Louisville ’s acting coach is about wins and losses. It’s not that simple. Padgett has had to deal with much more than just basketball.

Louisville acting head coach David Padgett answers a question during an NCAA college basketball media day, Sunday, Oct. Timothy D. Easley AP Photo. Sports. Nervous Padgett set for head coaching debut at Louisville .

David Padgett addresses the media after being named Louisville's interim men's basketball coach Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. Padgett, Louisville's director of basketball operations and a former player at the school, replaces coach Rick Pitino in the wake of a nationwide federal investigation of college basketball.© AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley David Padgett addresses the media after being named Louisville's interim men's basketball coach Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. Padgett, Louisville's director of basketball operations and a former player at the school, replaces coach Rick Pitino in the wake of a nationwide federal investigation of college basketball.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) David Padgett insists his nervousness debuting as Louisville's acting coach is about wins and losses.

It's not that simple. Padgett has had to deal with much more than just basketball.

He is replacing longtime coach Rick Pitino amid a national federal investigation into the corruption of college basketball. The probe has cast a shadow over the Cardinals program. Then there's the scrutiny the former Pitino assistant faces as a first-time coach of one of the sport's marquee programs heading into the No. 16 Cardinals' season opener Sunday against George Mason.

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Louisville acting head coach David Padgett answers a question during an NCAA college basketball media day, Sunday, Oct. "Now, I'm nervous for the right reasons and what I mean by that is it's more win-loss nerves than I've-never-done-this-before nervous .

Padgett nervous ahead of Louisville debut . Then there's the scrutiny the former Pitino assistant faces as a first-time coach of one of the sport's marquee programs heading into the No. 16 Cardinals' season opener Sunday against George Mason.

The questions and attention won't end even if the favored Cardinals beat the Patriots.

A loss, though, could raise more questions as to whether the 32-year-old is the right man to guide Louisville - even on an interim basis - as the university navigates its way through another scandal.

Padgett has tried to keep the focus on basketball, and the butterflies he feels indicates he feels the pressure.

''Each day that goes by I get a little bit more nervous,'' Padgett said Friday. ''Now, I'm nervous for the right reasons and what I mean by that is it's more win-loss nerves than I've-never-done-this-before nervous.

''I just want to make sure guys are ready to go, I know they will be. We're getting there, I'm sure I'll be pretty jittery but as long as our guys are ready to go, that's all that matters.''

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Most recently, Padgett served as Louisville 's director of basketball operations for two seasons (2014-16) before his move to an assistant coaching position in 2016. He becomes just the third head coach for the Cardinals in the last 46 years, following Rick Pitino (2001-17) and Denny Crum (1971-2001).

David Christopher Padgett (born February 13, 1985) is an American basketball coach who is the interim head coach for the Louisville Cardinals. As a college basketball player, he had played for the Kansas Jayhawks before transferring and finishing his career at Louisville .

In many respects, Padgett and the Cardinals have been getting ready since Sept. 29.

The 6-foot-11 former Louisville player was named acting coach on that date, three days after Louisville acknowledged it was being investigated in the federal probe. Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave earlier that tumultuous week before his firing on Oct. 16 after 16 seasons on the sidelines for the Cardinals.

Padgett and the Cardinals insist they've been focused on basketball to avoid being distracted by the investigation and the national attention it has generated. Two exhibition games have included growing pains of transition for the coach and players, and they concede it will be a work in progress.

But Louisville is eager to start the new chapter.

Senior Anas Mahmoud said the team has turned the negative into a positive.

''It's been a great experience for us,'' the 7-footer senior said of the preseason. ''A lot of guys have never been here and they've been surrounded by media, surrounded by all the stuff going on.

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One has to wonder, is David Padgett ready in his first gig as a head coach to step into the kleig lights that shine upon he Before his MOP performance, Hancock's debut in a Louisville uniform was less than ready for prime time. Louisville -Virginia set for 3:30 kickoff ESPNU will have the broadcast.

Louisville , with an interim school president, interim athletic director, interim head coach and only one assistant coach , is still trying to figure things out. David Padgett is in charge for the first time, and it's not at all an easy situation for his debut .

''Just going out there on the court and doing what you came here for gives you the drive to focus on basketball. We're back on the right track.''

Mahmoud is among six returnees back from a 25-9 squad that reached the NCAA Tournament second round. Louisville not only must blend eight newcomers and fill an offensive void left by Donovan Mitchell's departure to the NBA, but play the same tight defense Pitino's teams were known for.

Padgett believes George Mason presents a good initial test for the Cardinals. The Patriots return three starters from a 20-14 team, including junior guards Otis Livingston II (14.3 points per game) and Jaire Grayer (11.4).

Louisville's hope is that the nerves disappear quickly.

''They're going to come in here ready to play,'' Padgett said of George Mason. ''We're looking forward to it, looking forward to get going and get into that game routine.''

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