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Monday, July 10, 2017

A Look at New Pros -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Former Cardinals Doing Well Early


Today's article (which is coincidentally kind of about success) will be pretty short and unfortunately shies away from women's sports. I wanted to peek at how some of our former fan favorites have fared (say that five times fast) in the early stages of their professional careers. This will be brief and there is plenty more out on the internet about more in depth statistics and about the guys I don't mention. With all of our talk about success recently, though, I felt like this would be a good time to talk about former Cardinals we loved getting off to good starts on the road that they hope can lead to success in their respective sport.

We also will point out that, although this is primarily a women's sports site...many women's sports fans at UofL follow the baseball and men's basketball squads. We see many of you at baseball and men's basketball. 

Drew Ellis was drafted 44th overall to the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. His pro career started off better than he imagined as he was fully expecting to be sitting around for another 19 picks, where the Boston Red Sox had promised they'd select him. Ellis has since packed his bags and headed to Hillsboro, Oregon to play with the Short A league team there. In eight games, Ellis is hitting .324 with two different 3-hit games. Last night, he hit his first career professional home run. He'll need to knock down the strikeouts (10 in 34 at bats) to be sure, but he seems to be seeing the ball decently well and getting hits when he makes contact. As long as his glove continues to be sure--he's got 0 errors in 17 chances at third base in 53.2 innings--and he continues to improve his hitting, Ellis is probably not long for such a low league.

Ellis's teammate and National Player of the Year, Brendan McKay, has yet to suit up in a professional uniform but he has reportedly seen a victory of his own already. Much ado was made about McKay, the two way star, and how a professional team would be forced to make a decision on how to best utilize his talents. We knew that McKay did not want to be boxed in, and it seems as though the Rays will give him a chance to show all of his talents. Brendan will head to Short A Hudson Valley, where there is a schedule in place for him to be a starter and play first base/designated hitter on some (not all) days that he is not the starting pitcher. There is no word on whether he'll be allowed to hit for himself when he is the pitcher, but this is a major accomplishment nonetheless. Brendan McKay was more than a generational talent at the University of Louisville, and I hope that he gets every opportunity to shine in every way he can at the professional level.

Donovan Mitchell may not have come to the University of Louisville had he pursued baseball, but he did get the chance to throw out a first pitch for the Salt Lake City Bees after being drafted by the Utah Jazz. Mitchell has played in three summer league games so far, scoring 15.3 points per game on 43.9% shooting. He's 5/13 from three, has 10 steals, 10 assists, and only 4 turnovers. He scored 23 in his first game, and he may be best known so far for a fantastic behind-the-back-out-of-bounds-saving assist and for putting Jayson Tatum on his behind with a spin move. Mitchell has clearly impressed the Jazz leadership, as he earned himself a day off last night, presumably so other young Jazz players could get a chance to step out of his shadow and show their stuff. Mitchell has looked nothing but prepared for his transition to the NBA and I'm hopeful that his success continues when the real season rolls around.

He's hardly a new pro, but honorable mention goes to a player that is getting new life in Chinese
basketball. Russ Smith recently signed with a Chinese team and immediately proved that his poor showing in Turkey had more to do with misuse by the team and not a lack of talent. The fact that Russ Smith, who holds the single game scoring record in the D-League, has not been given another opportunity to go wild for an NBA team absolutely baffles me. I seem to see another Russ get to do whatever he wants on the court and receive MVP votes for it. Am I calling Russ Smith as good as Russell Westbrook? No, but it would be hard for you to convince me that Smith could not be a significant bench scorer and defender for an NBA team. By the way, the reason I mentioned Russ is because he's averaging an insane 58.5 points per game through six games on about 50% shooting. He made major headlines when he scored 81 points in his fifth game. It's easy to argue that he's doing this against significantly inferior defensive competition, but it's very challenging to argue against 60 ppg. 

There are many other men and women, a lot that have been mentioned on this site, performing well at the professional level of sports and business and fantastically representing their alma mater. For those who have completed their days at the University of Louisville, I wish them nothing but happiness however they can find it and success in the pursuit of their goals.

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-

2 comments:

  1. i like reading about both. I know things are slow right now. Thanks for continuing to provide daily coverage guys. I have enjoyed the "catching up with" segments on the radio. Hope they continue.

    Curtis "Will July ever be over?" Franklin

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good information. I, like many, come here primarily for women's sports but there's not much going on in July. And I have become a huge baseball fan so was glad to hear about Ellis and McKay.

    ReplyDelete

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