Louisville Basketball: Cardinals land transfer Carlik Jones, misses on Justin Turner

Louisville Basketball has not had too much success on the transfer market, but they finally broke the ice with a commitment from Carlik Jones.

Louisville Basketball went one-for-two over the weekend on the player transfer market on Sunday. After losing out on Bowling Green transfer Justin Turner, coach Chris Mack secured the commitment of former Radford guard Carlik Jones later in the day.

Turner, one of the most sought after grad transfers, trimmed his list down to three teams by cutting Louisville from consideration. Turner had included the Cardinals on his “wish list” when he announced his final six schools on March 27. However, he is now down to just Missouri, along with Marquette and Iowa State.

While Turner’s rejection of the Cardinals continued Mack’s recent failures of securing a commitment from transfers, it wasn’t long afterward that Mack finally broke through with a major win as Jones selected the Cardinals. Jones chose UofL over Maryland, Michigan State, and Gonzaga. Marquette, Texas Tech, Radford, and West Virginia were also finalists for the 2020 Big South Conference Player of the Year.

“I am headed to Louisville,” Jones told 247Sports. “It came down to my relationship with Coach Mack and the fact that I think he is a winner and a great coach. I think I will fit in well with what they are doing there, and it gives me a chance to prove myself at the highest level and show what I can do.”

Jones is coming off a tremendous junior campaign as he helped Radford claim a share of the Big South Conference’s regular-season title. The 6-1 point guard produced four double-doubles and averaged 20.5 points along with 5.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.5 3-pointers. He shot 48.8% from the field, 40.9%  from beyond the arc, and 81.4% from the free-throw line. Jones, who posted 1.43 points per shot, scored at least 20 points on 18 occasions and topped the 30-point plateau three times.

The Cincinnati native is immediately eligible as a grad transfer and fills a huge void for the Cardinals, particularly in the backcourt, due to several departures. The Cardinals lost Lamarr Kimble, Ryan McMahon, Dwayne Sutton, and Steven Enoch to graduation. Junior point guard Darius Perry has entered the NCAA transfer portal while 2020 signee Jay Scrubb has decided to forego college and enter the NBA Draft. The Cards may also lose star forward Jordan Nwora to the NBA if he declares.

Jones is expected to share ball-handling duties with 6-5 guard David Johnson, who finished his freshman season strong.

“Fitting in with David, I feel will be good,” said Jones. “I watched a lot of film on Louisville. I could see some of the stuff he was doing, and it is similar to stuff I do. He passes well and gets to rim. I think we will work very well together.”

Josh Nickleberry is currently the only other true guard with experience on the Cardinals’ roster. Although Sam Williamson can play either the 2 or 3.

Jones is testing the NBA waters, and if he does return as expected, he will join D’Andre Davis along with J.J. Traynor and walk-on Brad Colbert as part of Mack’s 2020 recruiting class. As it stands right now, Louisville has one scholarship remaining though that could increase if Nwora or Jones officially departs.