Chris Mack didn’t have a benchmark for the freshmen on Louisville men’s basketball team, but the Cardinals’ head coach expects each player to improve throughout the season.
David Johnson and Samuell Williamson have had the biggest impact for the six members of the 2019 recruiting class that ranked in the top-10 nationally.
Johnson, who missed nearly four months recovering from shoulder surgery in late July, has become a stalwart in Louisville’s rotation in recent weeks. The 6-foot-5 guard has averaged 12 points and 4.5 assists while shooting 57.5 percent from the field in Louisville’s last four games. He was named ACC Freshman of the Week after road wins over Pittsburgh and Duke.
Williamson, a 6-foot-7 wing, scored 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting from the field in Louisville’s victory over Clemson last Saturday. Williamson has scored in 17 of 20 games this season, averaging 15.6 minutes per game.
Mack admitted that freshmen go through times where their play doesn’t match previous games because of the length of the season. First-year players are adjusting to the intensity that starts in August, Mack said.
“I think most freshmen around the country are usually on an upward trajectory,” Mack said. “You’re going to have lulls in their play, you want an upward trajectory as time goes on, I think David and Sam are on that pace.”
Besides Johnson and Williamson, Louisville has yet to have another freshmen emerge. Josh Nickelberry and Aidan Igiehon have appeared in 13 games while Quinn Slazinski has played in 11 games. Jae’Lyn Withers is redshirting this season.
Mack said Louisville’s other freshmen are progressing, but haven’t earned playing time over veterans yet.