Louisville Cardinals Men’s Basketball Team of the Last Decade

Louisville Cardinals Men’s Basketball Team of the Last Decade

Forgive Louisville basketball fans if they don’t relish looking back over the past 10 years.

While that timeframe includes a couple of NCAA investigations and, most recently, three consecutive losing seasons – including the two worst in Cardinals history – there were some bright spots for the program. 

A few who made the Yum Center their home over the last 10 years have enjoyed lengthy and successful pro careers. In fact, there were more than enough to be considered for the school’s “Team of the Decade."

Utilizing Sports-Reference.com, BetKentucky.com - home to all things Kentucky sports betting - developed the Louisville Men’s Basketball team of the past decade from 2014-15 to 2023-24. The players included had to have played for the Cardinals during this period, and it is based on the combination of Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and Win Shares (WS) during those years with the team.

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Louisville Men’s Basketball Team of Last Decade: 2014-2024

PositionPlayerYears With Team During DecadeCombined PER & WS
GuardTerry Rozier2014-201528.1
GuardDonovan Mitchell2015-201728.7
ForwardJordan Nwora2017-202032.1
ForwardRaymond Spalding2015-201831.6
CenterMontrezl Harrell2014-201531.4

Kentucky sports betting apps list Kansas and Duke as the two closest contenders to UConn’s chase for a third straight title at +1100 odds. UConn is the favorite at +1000.

A Formidable Front Court

After Rick Pitino’s sudden firing just before the 2017-18 season, the program was in a state of flux. However, Jordan Nwora proved to be a stabilizing force. A two-time All-ACC performer and the conference’s most-improved player in 2019, the 6-7 swingman averaged 13.9 points per game over three seasons. He likely would have led UofL to a deep run in the 2020 NCAA Tournament had it not been canceled because of COVID-19.

After being drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2020 and winning an NBA title with the team in his rookie season, Nwora has since played with the Indiana Pacers and currently with the Toronto Raptors. He’s a key reserve for Toronto, averaging eight points and nearly 16 minutes per game.

Louisville native Ray Spalding didn’t necessarily shine like the others on this list, but the 6-10 big man was a formidable presence in the paint. He averaged 12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks as a junior in 2017-18. Spalding has not had the NBA success of his colleagues, but he’s still enjoyed a solid pro career. Playing for the G-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Spalding leads the league in defensive win shares (2.2) and defensive rating (103.7).

Only one year of Montrzel Harrell’s three-year career with UofL counted for inclusion on this team, but the 2014-15 season was a monster one for the 6-8 forward. In earning All-ACC honors, Harrell shot 56.6% from the field and averaged 15.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Harrell suffered an ACL injury before this season and was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers. However, he’s enjoyed a solid career as one of the NBA’s best reserves. The 2020 Sixth Man of the Year has averaged 12.1 points in his eight-year career.

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Big Time Backcourt For UofL

Donovan Mitchell parlayed his success at UofL into becoming one of the top players in the NBA. In 2017, the 6-3 guard was named to the All-ACC and All-Conference defensive teams. Over his two seasons with The Ville, he averaged 11.7 points per game.

In seven NBA seasons with the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers, Mitchell has been named to the All-Star team five times and has averaged 24.8 points a game in his career. He currently ranks seventh in scoring this season with a 26.5 point per game average.

Cleveland is in line to earn the fourth seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs, which start later this month. Oddsmakers at BetMGM Kentucky give the Cavs odds of +4000 to win the title in June.

Terry Rozier joins Mitchell in the backcourt. Like Harrell, only his 2014-15 season counts for the team, but it also was a huge year for the 6-1 guard. He was an all-conference player, averaging 17.1 points and three assists per game. Despite his size, Rozier was one of the better rebounders in the ACC, pulling down 5.6 a game in his sophomore season.

In nine NBA seasons, Rozier has earned the nickname “Scary Terry” after helping lead the Boston Celtics in the 2018 playoffs after Kyrie Irving went down with a season-ending injury. After playing four seasons in Boston, he was traded to the Charlotte Hornets in 2019. In January, the Hornets dealt him to the Miami Heat, where he’s averaging 16.4 points.

Miami is battling for a playoff spot, but the Heat might need to enter through the play-in games. They have odds of +3900 to win the NBA championship at FanDuel.

Louisville Looking Forward

UofL fired Kenny Payne as its head coach last month after he had a disastrous two years leading his alma mater. In his place, the school has hired Pat Kelsey to lead the team into next season.

Kelsey does have a lot of work to do to right the ship.

Besides going 12-52 over the last two seasons, the Cards also have yet to reach the NCAA Tournament since 2019 and last won a game in the big dance in 2017. Oddsmakers believe Louisville will be an underdog heading into the 2024-25 campaign, but their odds aren’t as long as one might anticipate. At bet365 Kentucky, oddsmakers have given the Cardinals +8000 odds to win it all next season.

USA Today photo by Trevor Ruszkowski.



Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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