Great piece here from ESPN’s Jason Jordan on the rising stock and delayed spotlight on Louisville recruit Montrezl Harrell. I’ve heard a lot of people ask why he’s getting so much attention, aside from the fact that every other high major talent for the class of 2012 (aside from Devonta Pollard and Torian Graham) have already signed with their school of choice. If you look at his original offer sheet, it’s certainly nothing that would blow you away: Virginia Tech, Virginia, South Carolina and Clemson seemed to be on him the hardest. Not exactly the who’s-who of college basketball that seems to want his services now (when he received his release from Virginia Tech, he fielded calls from Kentucky, Florida, Louisville, Illinois, NC State, Cincinnati, Baylor and some other heavy hitters). As Harrell himself states in the column, perhaps the reason for his exploding popularity is a simple case of some teams swinging and missing on their first choices.
“Some schools didn’t get the guys they wanted and now here I am,” Harrell said. “Now they want me. I know that. It definitely doesn’t bother me because I’m a confident player. Honestly, I kind of look at it like it’s about time.”
While I agree that’s certainly part of it, the column goes on to shed some more light on his abbreviated recruiting process and how he was a rising star that took his name off the board early. In fact, right as schools like Duke were starting to get involved with his recruitment, Harrell committed on the spot after a visit to Blacksburg in March of 2011 – a full year before many other top prospects were committing. He was yet to turn in two HUGE AAU performances that would have surely sent his stock rising even further (he was named MVP of the regional Jordan Brand All-Star game and Capital Classic) as well as lead his Hargrave Military squad to a near perfect season. His early commitment undoubtedly hurt his ranking as he stayed somewhere in the 70-85 range according to most services. If he would have played out the recruiting process further and ended up receiving offers from schools like Duke, his stock would have soared and he would have been a much more coveted prize. The fact remains, Louisville has a legit chance at landing a late addition that could help put them over the top. An underrated, bruising, power forward that will secure depth at the one position in which its most needed. Harrell is set to visit Louisville this weekend.