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Samuell Williamson Loving New Louisville Offensive System

The Cardinals made some major overhauls to their offensive attack over the offseason, and the junior forward is loving what he sees so far.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - One of the biggest knocks against the Louisville men's basketball program last season were both the inconsistencies they had on the offensive end of the court, and the pace at which they ran their offense to begin with. According to KenPom, the Cardinals' tempo ranked 300th in all of D1, accompanied by an effective field goal percentage of just 47.8 percent.

Head coach Chris Mack wasted little time addressing this issue once the offseason arrived. Back in May, he added New Zealand National Team assistant Ross McMains to his coaching staff - someone who made a name for themselves in coaching circles as an offensive tactician.

It's a system that revolves around the ball to never stop moving, specifically in half-court sets. On top of making tweaks to their offensive attack, Mack addressed the team's depth issues by bringing in eight newcomers. Put it all together, and junior forward Samuell Williamson likes what he has seen in practice.

"I love it," Williamson said when asked what he thought about the new system. "Fast pace, got a lot of guys, a lot of depth. We'll be able to play at a much faster pace, a lot more freedom and more interchangeable parts - less predictable. I'm excited to play in the system."

As you can imagine, the team has spent a lot of time over the offseason working on conditioning, so that they can properly execute the new high-tempo attack. It's even to the point where he'll feel like he's sprinting in practice, only for coach McMains to pull him aside and tell him otherwise.

But pace aside, it's a system that puts a lot of emphasis on freedom of movement and not necessarily having to wait until the end of the shot clock to pull the trigger. If someone has a clear feet-set three-pointer or clear layup early in the possession, they have the green light to shoot it.

Plus, now there is less offensive predictability - partially due to the team's overall versatility. Last season, it was customary for just the ones or twos to come off of ball screens on the perimeter, resulting in the paint getting a little too packed. Now, Williamson says anyone is free to come off a screen, and it will be a lot harder to defenses to predict - especially with the amount of shooters Louisville now has.

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As for Williamson himself, he says it has allowed his offensive game to open up. A mid-range specialist, in seasons past, he would typically settle for his go-to spot. Now, the new system has opened more doors for him on offense, with his bread and butter as a contingency plan.

"When I drive, now I'm looking to get all the way to the rim first, or to kick it out for a three, and then the backup plan is to shoot the mid range - instead of just getting in there and settling for the mid range," he said.

Of course, it's still very much a work in progress. Williamson admits that it has been a "tough process", especially with a roster that sports so many newcomers. But even though it can get hectic at times, he feels that offensive turnovers are trending downwards, and that the Cardinals will be ready by the time the season begins.

Louisville will tip-off the regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 9 against Southern at 9:00 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.

(Photo of Samuell Williamson: Michael Clevenger - Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

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