Scout.com released its updated 2014 rankings today for basketball, and U of L point guard commit Quentin Snider (pictured) is now ranked as the 25th overall player, the 6th overall point guard, and a 5-star recruit. This is well deserved for Snider, who is a lightning quick point guard as well as an outstanding outside shooter. It would not be shocking if he was ranked even higher on the list after the big summer he has had on the AAU circuit, and he could continually rise if he keeps improving and working hard.
The Cards are in on several big-time prospects for this class, including 5-star players D’Angelo Russell (top ranked shooting guard), Noah Vonleh (top ranked power forward), Jahlil Okafor (top ranked center), Rashad Vaughn (#2 SG), Cliff Alexander (#2 C), Jaquan Lyle (#3 PG), Kevon Looney (#3 PF), Dakari Johnson (#3 C), Chris McCullough (#4 PF), Theo Pinson (#5 SF), and Jalen Lindsey (#6 SF). It is still very early in the recruiting process for this class, but the fact that U of L has one 5-star committed and is actively recruiting eleven others should bring a smile to every Cards fan’s face. Out of the top 75 players, U of L is listed on sixteen players’ lists.
Four names that Cards fans should really keep an eye out for in this class are Russell, Lyle, Okafor, and Vonleh. Lyle is another elite point guard, just like Snider. One might think that one elite PG would not want another elite PG in the same class to come to the same school, but Snider, unafraid of competition, is actively recruiting him to come along with him to Louisville. Both he and current 2013 commit Anton Gill were said to be recruiting Lyle hard at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp to join them in Louisville.
Okafor, the 2nd ranked player in the class, told Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com that Rick Pitino was the first person to text him when the spring recruiting period opened for coaches (texting him exactly at midnight). This really impressed and surprised Okafor, who was not expecting a text from Pitino, and told Zagoria he really appreciated it. He also told Zagoria that while he had no visits planned, he will always remember Pitino texted him first and plans to visit the school eventually.
Noah Vonleh is a 5-star big man who received an offer from Rick Pitino this month, according to Inside The Ville’s Mike Hughes (must be premium member to read the whole article). Vonleh, who ranked in the top five in scoring in rebounding at the NBAPA Top 100 camp, told Hughes he is “definitely interested” in the Cards.
Russell is a particularly interesting story. A Louisville native, Russell left Central High School prior to his sophomore season to go to Montevere Academy in Florida, as is written by Courier-Journal writer Jody Demling in this article. Since leaving Louisville, where he was one of the top players in the state, he has become one of the top players in the nation with several big-time schools after him, including Louisville, Kentucky, and Indiana. ESPN.com national basketball recruiting analyst spoke highly of Russell, telling Demling, “There’s probably not five guys as naturally gifted as him. The game comes so easy for him.” Another national recruiting analyst, Brian Snow of Scout.com, told Demling, “Quite frankly, there just aren’t many kids that have his ability to score and with his athleticism that actually play hard.” Russell told Demling the schools recruiting him the hardest were Louisville, Ohio State, and Missouri. He also plays AAU ball for the Louisville Magic, coached by former Louisville star Ellis Myles (which certainly cannot hurt the Cards’ chances). However, since that article has been written, UK has gotten involved, and Russell enjoyed a recent visit to the school down I64-E. When Calipari and World Wide Wes get involved, it does not make recruiting any easier, and Louisville will have to pull out all the stops to land Russell.
It is way too early to be getting excited about 2014 recruiting, especially when Pitino is aiming for a big 2013 class. Yet, with the commitment of Snider and possible future commitment of Russell, it would be fantastic to see two Louisville natives star for the home team. It is impressive in general that it has been a long while since two Louisville natives were ranked as 5-star prospects, and Pitino is showing that he is still going hard in the recruiting game with no signs of slowing down. It would be a major coup if he were to secure commitments from a few more of these big names to sign alongside Snider to represent the good guys in college basketball.