IMG Academy alum Jared Swopshire has played a pivotal role in his Louisville Cardinals journey to the final four in New Orleans. Fourth-seeded Louisville went on 18-3 run in the second half to comeback and defeat the Florida Gators and to keep their NCAA championship hopes alive. Scratching and clawing back from an 11 point deficit against the Gators has sent Coach Rick Pitino and his Cards to the schools 9th trip to the final four.
Throughout the tourney the Cardinals (30-9) have experienced a great deal of support and leadership from their veteran forward Swopshire. The 6'8â junior is proving that he has gotten his rhythm back after a season ending groin injury last year. He had a stellar season in 09-10, where he averaged almost 8 points and 6 boards a night reaching double digits on 12 different occasions. He also was ranked 6th in the Big East in free throw percentage, shooting an impressive 84 percent from the charity stripe; something most big man can't even dream of doing. This season, he slowly but surely got back into the Cardinals rotation as the only returning starter from the 2010-2011 season. In the Cardinals upset against the number one seeded Michigan State Spartans last Thursday, Swopshire made all 11 minutes he was on the floor truly count. He scored 6 points, shooting 2-3 from behind the arc, had 2 big-time steals, and was on the passing end of an energizing alley-oop. Winning the 2012 Big East Championship was not enough for these Cardinals; they will most certainly look to Swopshire for his leadership and all-around play during the rest of their march towards New Orleans.
Below is the clip of Swopshire's pass to teammate Peyton Siva for an alley-oop in Louisville's upset against Michigan State: