It certainly appears possible. After reporting a while back that Anthony “Cat” Barber had trimmed his list to three schools, and Louisville somewhat surprsingly was one of them, it has now come to light that he and fellow 2013 recruit Troy Williams would like to play together in college.
Anthony “Cat” Barber said he and AAU teammate Troy Williams “have been talking all day” about going to the same school.
— Jody Demling (@jdemling) July 8, 2012
Barber said Louisville and Alabama are the options if they want to attend the same school. Said the entire Louisville staff is after him. — Jody Demling (@jdemling) July 8, 2012
Williams is a 6″6 top 50 wing who plays on the same AAU team (Boo Williams) as Barber. He is a Terrence Williams-type wing who, according to Scout.com, plays with superior athleticism, has a non-stop motor and a deadly attack mode. He was apparently down to just North Carolina and Kentucky just recently, but has since opened up more and listened to more schools, one of them being Louisville. Both Williams and Barbers have had standout performances at the Lebron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas, and Williams tweeted this a few days ago:
After Peach Jam, me and Anthony Barber ( Cat ) may have a decision. Key Word -> MAY .
— Troy Williams (@troywilliams_) July 7, 2012
The Nike Peach Jam goes from July 18 to July 21 and the only two schools the two players are mutually considering are Alabama and Louisville. Before jumping to conclusions, two things should be said about this potential “package deal.” First, every year kids come out and say they want to play with so-and-so and will go to whatever college they go to. It does not always pan out that way. In 2010, as Cards fans may remember, Wayne Blackshear and Mike Shaw were supposed to be a package deal. Blackshear ended up at Louisville while Shaw landed at Illinois. That same year, there was speculation that Marquis Teague and Michael Chandler would be a package deal to Louisville. Teague of course decided to slap Cards fans in the face and opt for UK while Chandler decommitted from U of L and committed to what seemed around 76 different schools only to end up at some random junior college in Florida (stay away from Brandon Bender, kids). Of course, they do work in some cases (see Quincy Miller and Deuce Bello to Baylor), but just do not always take these kids’ word for it. They are 18-year olds enjoying the recruiting process and still have plenty of opportunity to change their minds.
Second, do not underestimate Alabama. Let me restate that. Do not underestimate Anthony Grant. While Alabama has pretty much been a college basketball afterthought for the past decade, no one should sleep on Grant. The guy is an outstanding coach and has had recruiting success as well. He is also someone that I would not mind seeing take over the program once Pitino hangs it up. He was an assistant at Florida under Billy Donovan (so if you do the math, he learned from Donovan who learned from Pitino) and had success as head coach at VCU before taking the same job at Alabama. For now, however, he is strictly a competitor, and one that should not be taken lightly.
Landing both of these players would be huge, as they are both elite, immediate impact players, but it could also influence the decisions of other high-level recruits the Cards are after, such as post players Jordan Mickey, Jarell Martin, and Chris Walker. Walker, a top 10 player and 5-star power forward, has been a major standout at the Lebron James Skills Academy and told Jody Demling of the Courier-Journal the Cards are in his top 4. Here is what he had to say about Louisville:
Walker said assistant coach Kevin Keatts has turned up the heat in recent weeks and “is texting me every day.”
“That’s a big part of it, relationships,” Walker said. “He’s telling me what it would be like when I get there and how I would be a rock star. I like how they play … I like Louisville a lot.”
It cannot be said enough just how much Kevin Keatts has meant to this team and staff. He not only has a great coaching pedigree coming from Hargrave Academy, but he also has a way of establishing great relationships with recruits. If it were not for him, we may not have landed Montrezl Harrell, and would likely not be as involved as we are with Barber, Williams, and Walker.
Pitino has a chance to land yet another top 5 recruiting class in 2013, but recruits change their minds all the time, so it is best not to get too giddy just yet. However, with the relationships Keatts has with players, Pitino’s reputation, the opportunity to play in the YUM! Center, and the fact we will be a top 5 national championship contending team, it is not hard to see why we have top-tier recruits so interested.