Every true Cardinal fan has seen the pre-season polls for next season with the Cards ranking among the elite teams in the country (#2 by Andy Katz; #1 by Dickie V). But what is to happen after that? Are the Cards going to fold and finish out the last few years of Pitino on a downward tumble? Louisville only has one scholarship available next season (Terry Rozier), but as well stated on this website, the 2013 Freshmen class will need to be “diaper dandys” in order for the program to continue making strides on into Coach Pitino’s last few seasons.
Think about it…. After hopefully another long run into the post season, the Cards will be losing Peyton Siva and Stephan Van Treese due to the fact they will be seniors. Depending on how far the team goes and how successful the players are, they could also be losing Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear, Gorgui Dieng, and possibly Russ Smith to the NBA or other avenues. Who is left? Angel Nunez…Zach Price….Tim Henderson….Elisha Justice…..Kevin Ware….and Terry Rozier…Don’t get me wrong, two years from now I think this group will be a nice unit of role players, but that is it….ROLE PLAYERS. Maybe Nunez develops into a beast, and maybe Ware and Rozier develop into dependable point guards, but they need the help of young, highly touted recruits.
Louisville has already landed a solid recruit in 6’2″ guard Anton Gill (#43 in the rivals top 150) from North Carolina for the 2013 class, but he won’t be enough to be an elite team. The Cards will have at least 5 scholarships to offer for that class (and maybe as many as 8 or 9), and after looking at the top 150 prospects, I think it is time for Pitino to take a page out of Charlie Strong’s book……
The state of Florida has three players in the top 20 on that list of the top 150 prospects. According to rivals.com, all of these Floridians are considering Louisville (among other schools)….
Chris Walker (#8 in the rivals top 150) out of Bonifay, FL is a very long swing man that can run the floor and finish close to the basket. At 6’9″, he would fit perfectly into our offense running down the floor, providing a high flying target for Anton Gill to dish the ball to. Don’t even get me started about his defensive potential. This kid looks like a more athletic Jeremy Lamb from UConn. Can you imagine what Pitino would do with this kid? He has so much raw talent and would only develop under a future hall of fame coach.
Solomon Poole (#9 in the rivals top 150) out of Jacksonville, FL has some springs. At only 6’1″, he still is able to get to the rim and finish with authority when he gets there. The kid also has a stroke. If the Cards can pluck him out of the sunshine state and put him a city that truly knows and loves its basketball, we could have a better shooting point guard that still has the ups like Siva. I see Gill and Poole fitting right in with our run and gun, up and down style of play. Poole would have at least one highlight dunk a game.
Malik Price-Martin (#20 in the rivals top 150) out of Miami, FL may be my favorite out of the Florida boys. At 6’8″, he is long, agile, and versatile. He is a solid passer for his size, and can take people off the dribble to finish or dish around the basket. He has a nice stroke from mid-range, and can develop (much like Chane will this summer) his three point shot to be almost impossible to guard. He plays on the same AAU team as Chris Walker (Florida Rams), so if the Cards can pull one, it may be tempting for the other to jump on board too. His highlights are all from one tournament as well…pretty impressive.
Since I was an Army Brat growing up, and my whole family is from Florida, I like to consider myself a Florida boy who flew north to live in the city that lives and breathes basketball. There are more fans at Louisville pre-season games and intra-squad scrimmages than UF has at most of their regular season games (I can’t mention FSU here or my family will kill me…) Florida is all about football, but the state has a ton of hoopers. Pitino and the staff have figured that out with recruits like “Rock” Buckles and Jared Swopshire. Let’s hope they can dip into the sunshine state a bit more with these three monsters to continue our program’s ”bright” future.