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Louisville basketball’s Williamson ready to play larger role

Louisville basketball’s Williamson ready to play larger role

Samuell Williamson said he’s not quite at 100% after being sidelined with a knee tendon issue, but he’ll be raring to go when Louisville basketball tips off the 2020 season against Evansville on Nov. 25 at the KFC Yum! Center.

“I started … going through the full practice Tuesday. It’s been pretty tough missing the last month or so and just watching on the side,” said Williamson, a sophomore who plays both guard and forward. “I’ve tried to do everything I could, just from bringing energy to practice and not being the guy who comes in there with no energy.”

Louisville head coach Chris Mack may not have to worry about Williamson’s energy or confidence on offense, but he does know Williamson will need to do more this season, especially with the departures of Jordan Nwora and Dwayne Sutton.

“You’d like to think that experience as a freshman, both positive and negative experiences, sort of prepare you as a sophomore,” Mack said. “It’s been tough because Sam’s been out for really the majority of the preseason. He’s really going to have to put the foot on the accelerator here over the next week or so.”

The Cards’ game against Evansville will start a five-game, multi-team “bubble” event that runs through Dec. 4. The teams will stay not far from the arena at the Galt House. Mack is hoping the bubble doesn’t burst and the event can proceed at planned, but that can be a lot to ask in 2020.

“The best thing I can do as a coach is be transparent with my team, make sure they understand we’re going to have to be flexible (because) things may change from day to day,” Mack said.

That’s already happened with the scheduled opener. Louisville was set to tip off the season against Southern Illinois, but COVID-19 issues shut that down, and Evansville slipped into Southern Illinois’ spot.

For Williamson, no matter who the opponent is, it’s an opportunity to start finding out what this team can be during the 2020-21 season.

“I think we’re a team that’s still trying to find their identity a little bit,” Williamson said. “We lost a lot last year but this year, people gotta step up.”

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