Coming relatively out of nowhere, the University of Louisville and Coach Rick Pitino have a new point guard target for 2013. According to Evan Daniels of Scout.com, 5-star point guard Anthony Barber, ranked as the 3rd best point guard and 14th overall prospect by Scout, has trimmed his list of schools to three. Only Alabama, Kansas, and Louisville remain. This should come as a pleasant surprise to Cards fans, as prior to Daniels’ announcement, most fans probably were not even aware the staff was recruiting Barber. The only point guard that seemed to be on the radar was New Jersey point guard Tyler Ennis, and it was unknown just how much mutual interest there was between the Cards and Ennis. A late name to pop up in the sweepstakes to land Barber’s services, it is unclear just how good of a shot the Cards have in landing the versatile Virginia point guard. Needless to say, he would be an absolutely HUGE get for Pitino, but this also brings about the question of incoming 2012 point guard Terry Rozier’s eligibility status.
Watching video of Barber, it is immediately obvious why he is so highly touted. The first three things that come to mind when I watched his highlights were patience, patience, and patience. While many point guard highlight videos today will focus on the players’ blazing speed and quickness, Barber (who does possess both of those traits) displays extreme focus and patience when the ball is in his hands. There are very few moments of him just deciding to take it one-on-one, and instead, he uses his incredibly superior court vision to find open teammates. His basketball IQ seems off the charts, and as the 1:20 mark in this video shows, he will juke you out of your shoes if you get in his way. His passing skills are superb and he also seems to have a nice jumper and impressive athleticism. The one area of weakness Scout attributes to him is his sub-par three point shooting ability. However, his strengths far outweigh that weakness.
Again, this will make fans question the eligibility status of Terry Rozier. As Pitino said to Drew Deener on the Early Birds, he gives it a 70/30 chance Rozier qualifies. Recruiting another point guard could make fans think that this is a negative turn of events in Rozier’s eligibility journey. However, the recruitment of Barber and Rozier’s eligibility concerns likely are not connected. Rozier is a great four-year prospect with tremendous upside, but Barber is the elite of the elite. He has immediate star quality and one-and-done potential. Rozier may or may not qualify, but Pitino is not recruiting Barber as a backup plan if Rozier does not make it. He is recruiting him because he is a game-changing superstar in the making that any coach would be a fool not to consider.
It is unclear just how much of a shot U of L has of landing Barber, as again, they are coming in late. To land him, though, would be an unbelievably incredible coup for Pitino and his staff. I am getting way ahead of myself here (WAY ahead of myself), but with the potential of landing Barber, 5-star SF/PF Jordan Mickey, and one of 4-star centers Kennedy Meeks or Dominic Woodson go along with Anton Gill will make fans who questioned whether Pitino still had it feel all the more stupid. You can see Barber in action below.