Will Kingsley be the next to commit to the Cards?
With the current dead period in effect between college coaches and players until this coming weekend, the recruiting front is somewhat quiet for now. But all of that is about to change very soon. Right now coaches are allowed only one call a week to prospects, but starting this weekend the contact can become more frequent and then there will be two more live evaluation periods in July in which coaches can scout players and attend AAU games in person. That’s when things really start to heat up. With this years change to allow coaches back on the road for spring evaluations, the summer will now result in a more narrowed focus of players. In years past, the coaches were essentially starting their evaluations in July. Now they’ve already seen a lot of the players in person and have an idea on who to pursue the hardest. Meaning, expect the Louisville staff to turn up the heat on 6-7 guys and begin to heavily pursue verbal commitments. Here’s a quick look at the current 2013 targets and what we’re hearing about the staff’s interest and whether the Cards have a legit chance at landing their services.
Best Chance: Tyler Ennis – 30%
With all the rumor and speculation about Stevie Clark (a late possible reclassification to the 2012 class with interest in Louisville) and the uncertainty of whether or nor Terry Rozier will qualify, this remains one of the most difficult positions to handicap. Multiple outlets have now reported that the Cards are starting to go all-in with elite St Benedict’s / CIA Bounce product, Tyler Ennis. Though he has a who’s-who of college programs recruiting him, we know there’s heavy reciprocal interest and Louisville should get a visit at some point. We also know that the UofL staff keeps in close contact with Virginia-based point guard Anthony Barber (though it’s not known if that interest has heated up or slowed down since early April). Also, with rising 2014 point guard Quentin Snider already in the fold, the Cards appear to be well set-up for the future. Still, until the Rozier news is finalized – one way or the other – this position remains a question mark for the immediate future.
Best Chance: Anton Gill – Committed; Sindarius Thornwell – 30%
Louisville is already in great shape at the two guard with Raleigh native Anton Gill already committed. But the staff continues to pursue a few other names in an attempt to add future depth. Lancaster, SC product Sindarius Thornwell was one of the biggest movers in the latest Scout.com 2013 rankings as he shot all the way up to #19 and has established himself as one of the most explosive players in the entire class. There’s heavy interest from Louisville and it appears to be reciprocal. On the down side, Thornwell still has a long list and doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to making a decision. Recently, Louisville has also turned up the heat on Scout.com’s #62 ranked player, Davon Reed (Princeton, NJ). According to Mike Hughes of Inside The Ville, the connection here is new assistant Kareem Richardson who was recruiting Reed hard while he was still with Xavier. Reed holds offers from the likes of Syracuse, Villanova, Georgetown, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Miami, Wake Forest and others.
Best Chance: Greg McClinton – 50%
Probably the most loaded position currently for Louisville is the three-spot. With Wayne Blackshear (sophomore), Luke Hancock (junior) and Angel Nunez (sophomore) there may not be a ton of playing time immediately available for someone. Then again, Blackshear plays the two as well and with a solid season he could possibly make the jump to the NBA. Hancock can also play both positions, and Pitino has expressed interest in playing Nunez some at power forward in certain situations down the road. As far as we know, only two small forwards are receiving heavy interest: 6-6 Winston-Salem, NC (Hargrave Military Academy) product Greg McClinton and everyone’s consensus #1 overall player, 6-7 Chicago (Simeon) star, Jabari Parker. Landing Parker is probably a pipe dream at this point but the staff has showed him a lot of love over the last year. McClinton had a rough spring on the AAU circuit and saw his name drop out of the Top 100 rankings, but he remains an interesting prospect and has tons of potential. He has Louisville in his final five and will attend Hargrave Military Academy (Kevin Keatts’ former school) with Gill this coming year.
Best Chance: Jarrell Martin – 30%, Malik Price-Martin – 30%
Similar to the point guard situation, a lot could change in the upcoming weeks. Right now, newly-available 2012 prospect Montrezl Harrell (who got his release from Virginia Tech after they fired head coach Seth Greenberg) has heavy interest in Louisville and will visit this coming weekend. He’s also reportedly interested in Kentucky, NC State and Florida. He was recruited to play at Hargrave by Keatts before he left to take the Louisville job last summer. If Louisville lands Harrell, then there’s no immediate need for a power forward in 2013. You would have Chane Behanan and Harrell, a formidable combination to say the least. However, if the staff continues to pursue PF’s, it may be because they fear Behanan could leave early for the NBA if he has another big year. Right now 6-8 Malik Price-Martin (Miami, FL) has Louisville in his final five and he attends the same high school (Monsignor Pace) as Rakeem Buckles. Louisville also appears to be heavily pursuing 6-8 Baton Rouge star, Jarrell Martin. Like McClinton, Price-Martin has seen a dip in his stock recently but Martin remains a top prospect and is currently ranked 28th overall. Martin visited Louisville for a game this past January and was “blown away” by the atmosphere and facilities. We’ll see if they can get him back on campus this fall for an official visit in an attempt to seal the deal. A lot of what happens here could hinge upon Harrell’s decision.
Best Chance: Moses Kingsley – 65%
There appears to be some conflicting reports out there on the interest levels between a few top center prospects and Louisville. Several names have appeared on the Cardinals’ radar, including BeeJay Anya (Hyattsville, MD), Scout.com’s top ranked 2013 center, Kennedy Meeks (Charlotte, NC), Dominic Woodson (Saxtons River, VT) and Moses Kingsley (New Albany, MS). And while all are publicly saying that their appears to be two-way interest between them and Louisville, we’re starting to hear differently. Anya, like Jabari Parker, is blowing up to a whole different level and might be a reach for Louisville at this point. Woodson reportedly has some baggage and was let go from his Prep School this past year. Meeks is a massive player that needs to lose upwards to 60-75 lbs to even be close to being able to play for a college team. He has incredible footwork and touch but his size and work ethic could hinder him from remaining a top priority for Louisville. It’s probably safe to say that all three of those players are no longer options. Watching this past year’s team run the floor (once they got healthy) you can see that Pitino wants a versatile big man that can move and run the floor without wearing down (part of the reason why Dieng is such a good fit). To that end, Moses Kingsley appears like the best fit. Though he’s still raw offensively and needs to gain weight (sound familiar?) he’s incredibly intelligent and has a knack for blocking shots on the defensive end. A native of Senegal, he has already endeared himself to Pitino and Dieng (after visiting Louisville back in February) and there should be immediate playing time for him after next year.
As always, we’ll keep you up to date as things change and play out over the next several weeks.