Recruiting

JUCO Dual Threat QB Pat Thomas Will Visit Louisville Today

Photo | Pat Deaver

Photo | Mitch Deaver

The folks at 247Sports.com broke the news on Tuesday afternoon that junior college All American running back Jovon Robinson will take an official visit to Louisville today. Robinson previously signed with Auburn out of high school, but was ruled ineligible in the fall of 2012. He’s since enrolled at Georgia Military College and is one of the top available running back prospects in the country.

Apparently, Robinson will be bringing one of his JUCO teammates with him to Louisville on Wednesday. Dual threat quarterback Pat Thomas Tweeted that he’ll be joining Robinson on the Louisville visit.

Thomas isn’t as highly touted as Robinson, but the Milledgeville, GA., native has strong ties to the Louisville program. He was previously committed to UAB when Louisville offensive coordinator Garrick McGee was the head coach in Birmingham.

Thomas’ 247Sports profile doesn’t show that he holds an offer from the Cardinal program, but you’ve got to think he’d likely commit if he picked up one. UAB, South Alabama and Troy are the only other schools in the mix.

The QB position wasn’t thought to be a serious need for Louisville, considering they have three on the roster and incoming freshman Reggie Bonnafon. However, if Petrino and McGee feel that Thomas is worth pursuing, I suggest we trust their judgment.

Report: Rick Pitino Will See Five Star Guard Isaiah Briscoe This Week

Kelly Kline | Under Armour

Kelly Kline | Under Armour

With the 2013-14 college basketball season complete and spring football practice recently concluding, you know that that means. It’s recruiting season. College football and basketball staffs around the country will spend the later spring/summer months evaluating talent and extending scholarship offers.

It didn’t take Rick Pitino very long to do just that. Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com reports that Pitino will be watching class of 2015 combo guard Isaiah Briscoe at some point this week.

Briscoe is a consensus five star prospect. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound, New Jersey native has scholarships from some of the top programs in the country and has been on Louisville’s radar for quite some time.

He doesn’t hold a scholarship offer from the Cardinal staff just yet, but that could change at some point. This won’t be the first time Briscoe has been evaluated by a Louisville staff member. Assistant coach Wyking Jones has watched him in action previously.

During his season ending press conference, Coach Pitino mentioned that he’ll likely take just two prospects from the 2015 class, which means there won’t be a lot of scholarship offers extended. I’d imagine the staff will focus somewhat on the back-court, considering they’ll bring in a good crop of post players in 2014.

Louisville Signee Shaqquan Aaron Will Participate In The BallIsLife All American Game

Photo | BallIsLife.com

Photo | BallIsLife.com

Unfortunately, Rick Pitino’s top signee from the 2014 recruiting class will not be participating in this week’s annual Derby Festival Basketball Classic. Shaqquan Aaron, a 6-foot-8 wing out of Seattle, WA., will instead be participating in the Jordan Brand All Star Classic at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The NCAA allows recruits to participate in up to two different All Star games. Given that the Jordan game and the Derby Classic are on the same night, I’d imagine that Aaron would have loved to be a part of the event that takes place in the same city that he’ll be attending college in the fall, had there not been conflicting dates.

Instead, he’ll be participating the 4th Annual Ballislife All-American Game on May 3rd at Long Beach City College. This game hasn’t been around as long as the McDonalds All American Game, Jordan Brand All Star Classic or the Derby Festival Basketball Classic, but it’s starting to catch up.

This year’s roster includes some of the top players in the country.

ROSTERS
Stanley Johnson (Arizona)
Cliff Alexander (Kansas)
Kelly Oubre Jr (Kansas)
Kevon Looney (UCLA)
Daniel Hamilton (UConn)
Goodluck Okonoboh (UNLV)
Tyler Ulis (Kentucky)
Shaqquon Aaron (Louisville)
Chris McCullough (Syracuse)
Craig Victor (Arizona)
Gary Jermaine Clark Jr (Cincinnati)
Chris Chiozza (Florida)
Isaiah Bailey (Fresno State)
Isaac Copeland Jr (Georgetown)
Paul White (Georgetown)
Leron Black (Illinois)
Ahmed Hill (Marquette)
Namon Wright (Missouri)
Caleb Martin (NC State)
Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State)
D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State)
JaQuan Lyle (Oregon)
Chris McCullough (Syracuse)
Alex Robinson (Texas A&M)
Jordan McLaughlin (USC)
Terry Larrier (VCU)

Coach Petrino Picks Up His First Commitment From The 2015 Class

Photo | Hudl.com

Photo | Hudl.com

Bobby Petrino picked up his first commitment from the 2015 class over the weekend.

TJ Jallow, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound safety from Olive Branch, MS., verbally committed to Louisville on Friday just hours after picking up a scholarship offer from Bobby Petrino.

Louisville is the first BCS program to offer the Mississippi native. Tight ends coach Pete Nochta was the primary recruiter.

Jallow is somewhat of an unknown prospect as he didn’t have a recruiting profile with Rivals, Scout or 247Sports prior to his commitment to Louisville.

Coach Petrino has a history of finding “diamond in the rough” recruits and turning them into elite level college players. If there is one coach who doesn’t follow the star rankings, it’s coach Petrino.

“Petrino was just excited because I’m a ball hawk,” Jallow tells Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal. He likes that I get to the ball. He liked that I wanted to commit to Louisville so soon after they offered me.”

With the 2014 spring session complete, you’ll see the entire coaching staff ramp up their recruiting efforts over the next couple of months.

Louisville Signee Jaylen Johnson Is Flying Under The Radar

Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

When ESPN released their updated top 100 rankings for the 2014 class, it was somewhat surprising to see Louisville commit Jaylen Johnson left off of the list. Scout, Rivals and 247Sports all have Johnson in the top 62, however the four letter network left him outside of the top 100.

With Montrezl Harrell on the fence regarding his future, Johnson could have an opportunity for immediate playing time during his freshman season. If Harrell declares for the draft, Johnson and sophomore Akoy Agau will be the only power forwards on the Cardinal roster.

To expect Johnson to be an immediate impact guy wouldn’t be fair. Although he’s very skilled, the Ypsilanti, MI., native still needs some time to physically mature.

Johnson may not be ranked quite as high as guys like Shaqquan Aaron of Quentin Snider, but don’t let that fool you. Many national recruiting analysts have raved about Johnson’s upside. He could be the best player in Pitino’s 2014 class when it’s all said and done.

Earlier this week, Johnson was named Ann Arbor News Player of the Year. He led his high school team to an 18-2 record. Johnson averaged 13.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.1 blocks per game during his senior campaign.

Rick Pitino is getting four positions out of this 6-9, what’s classified as a forward, but I classify him as a one through four, and we’ve used him in every capacity.” Johnson’s high school coach tells the Ann Arbor News.

The 6-foot-9 prospect chose Louisville over Michigan State, Iowa State and Oregon. He also has offers from Florida State, UNLV and USC, among others.

Louisville fans will have their first chance to see Johnson in action next week at the annual KDF Basketball Classic.

Rick Pitino’s 2014 Recruiting Class Ranked No. 4 By ESPN

2014 class 6

Yesterday the recruiting folks at ESPN released their final top 100 rankings for the 2014 basketball recruiting class. Four of the six members of Rick Pitnio’s 2014 class were ranked in the four letter network’s top 100 rankings.

On Thursday, ESPN released their updated 2014 class rankings. Louisville currently comes at No. 4, behind only North Carolina, Kentucky and Duke. The Cards are the only team in ESPN’s top 40 rankings that has commitments from more than five players.

2014 class rankings

Louisville may not end up at No. 5 when it’s all said and done, considering there are still some top prospects that have yet to commit, but I think it’s safe to say that Rick Pitino’s staff will least finish with a top ten class.

Here is ESPN’s write-up on Louisville’s 2014 class.

Who they have: The Cardinals got a surprise when ESPN 100 Quentin Snider decommitted from Illinois and signed with Rick Pitino’s program. He will be able to create and make good decisions not only on the break but in the high number of on-ball screens that are a huge part of the Cardinals’ half-court offense. Louisville also nabbed Chinanu Onuaku, Shaqquan Aaron and Jaylen Johnson. Aaron is extremely long and athletic, scoring best when driving and taking pull-up jumpers. Johnson is a versatile power forward who displays a good skill level while rebounding and blocking shots. Both players have room to grow and develop into all-league players. Louisville also got a surprise commitment from Norwegian center Matz Stockman.

Who they want: The Cards picked up all of their top targets during the early signing period.

Four Future Cards Make ESPN’s Final Top 100 Rankings For The 2014 Class

2014 signee

The recruiting team over at ESPN.com released their final top 100 rankings for the 2014 class on Wednesday and four of the six future Louisville Cardinals made the cut.

Small forward Shaqquan Aaron (#33), point guard Quentin Snider (#40), center Chinanu Onuaku (#75) and center Anas Osama Mahmoud (#98). Power forward Jaylen Johnson and center Matz Stockman are the two other Louisville signee’s that didn’t make the cut.

[ESPN Full Top 100 Rankings For 2014]
RK PLAYER POS HOMETOWN HT WT STARS GRADE SCHOOL
33

Shaqquan Aaron
SF Seattle, WA
Rainer Beach High School
6’7” 185  Four-Star 89

SIGNED
40

Quentin Snider
PG Louisville, KY
Ballard High School
6’1” 160  Four-Star 87

SIGNED
75

Chinanu Onuaku
C Upper Marlboro, MD
Riverdale Baptist High School
6’10” 220 Four-Star 83

Louisville
SIGNED
99

Anas Osama Mahmoud
C Orlando, FL
West Oaks Academy
7’1” 197  Four-Star 80

Louisville
COMMITTED

Below are the ESPN.com’s updated evaluations for each of the four future Cardinals.

Shaqquan Aaron

Strengths:
Aaron has a frame and a budding skill-set that oozes potential. He handles the ball well in the open court and he’s a high-level passer. He does a great job of getting to the rim off the bounce as well. He can slash his way to the rim and finish in a variety of ways. He can pull-up in transition and nail the 3-point shot and his shot is smooth as well.

Weaknesses:
Despite having an advanced skill set, Aaron does have a tendency to over handle it at times and become turnover prone. In addition, he is so used to having the ball in his hands, when he doesn’t he needs to do a better job of moving without the ball. Lastly, he has a frail frame at this stage, but that should be expected considering his youth. Defensively, he needs to show a greater urgency to want to shut down his opponent and utilize his length and quick hands.

Bottom line:
Aaron has all the physical gifts to be a high-level player. If he is willing to work hard on developing his game at both ends of the floor and stay humble as he grows as a player, his potential is immense.

Quentin Snider

Strengths:
Snider is a true point guard that in addition to being a scorer from anywhere on the floor he is a excellent ball handler and passer. Snyder hit mid range and three point jumpers off the catch or dribble in the half court and also has an impressive stop and pop three on the break. His stroke is confident and smooth. Snider has a tight handle and can get the ball to open teammates with his excellent court vision and ability to pass with either hand. He has an excellent feel for the game and makes good decisions with the ball. He never seems to be out of control and he can make plays at end of clock situations. Snider has the tools to be a special player if he continues to develop.

Weaknesses:
Snider is thin and needs to rapidly add strength in order to handle physical play on both ends of the floor. At times he can over penetrate which leads to an turnover. He also will need to be a consistent finisher in traffic but adding strength should help improve in that area.

Bottom Line:
Snider is a skilled point guard with good speed and quickness. He can score, run the team and get others involved. He can make plays at end of clock situations as well. He must add strength but with steady improvement Snider has all the tools to be a special guard.

Chananu Onuaku

Strengths:
Onuaku is a long and strong center that puts his mark on the game on the defensive end of the floor. He is a very good low post and help defender in addition to being a good shot blocker as well. Onuaku is a strong two handed rebounder in traffic in and out of his area. He runs the floor pretty well most of the time and can finish drop off passes created by dribble penetration.

Weaknesses:
Onuaku must work to add offensive to his game. Back to the basket moves and facing up in and around the lane would take this blue collar center’s game to the next level. Adding strength should also be on his to do list in order to handle the constant physical play in the low post.

Bottom Line:
Onuaku is a true center that is a difference maker on the defensive end of the floor both on and away from the ball. He is a strong rebounder as well. Onuaku’s defense is ahead of his but has tremendous upside. When his offense closes the gap to his defense expect his production to rapidly increase.

Anas Osama Mahmoud

Strengths:
Mahmoud is super long, athletic and skilled post that runs well. He has excellent touch and feel around the basket and is an excellent passer. Mahmoud is smart and has excellent basketball instincts. He has get shot block timing as well. He seems to be poised and doesn’t get rattled.

Weaknesses:
Mahmoud will need to work to add strength and continue to gain experience in the american game in terms of experience and continue to build his game. We would also like to see him be a more consistent producer on the glass as well.

Bottom Line:
Mahmoud brings great length, skill and intelligence to the court. He is a tough match up because he can make plays far himself or the right pass to help a teammate. He has high major size and skill with strength and experience being his biggest changes to date.

2014 Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic Rosters

KDF 2014

The rosters for the 2014 Derby Festival Basketball Classic were released on Wednesday afternoon. As always, the event is loaded with some of the nation’s top high school basketball players. This year’s game will take place at Freedom Hall on April, 18.

Three of Louisville’s six class of 2014 signee’s are on the White Team’s roster. Quentin Snider, Chinanu Onuaku and Jaylen Johnson are set to participate. Shaqquan Aaron will be playing in the Jordan Brand All Star Game which takes place on the same day. Matz Stockman and Anas Mahmoud will not be participating in the game.

Although there are just three Louisville signees in this year’s game, I’m sure there are plenty of names you recognize on both rosters. Rick Pitino and his staff spent time recruiting more than half of the players in the event at one time over the past two years.

White Team
Keita Bates Diop – Ohio State
Leron Black – Illinois
Trevon Bluiett – Xavier
Chris Chiozza – Florida
Bonzie Colson – Notre Dame
Brandone Francis – Florida
Jaylen Johnson – Louisville
Chinanu Onuaku – Louisville
Devin Robinson – Florida
Quentin Snider – Louisville

Green Team 
Jonah Bolden – UCLA
Angel Delgado – Seton Hall
Isaac Copeland – Georgetown
Max Hoetzel – Indiana
Robert Johnson – Indiana
JaQuan Lyle – Undecided
Dwayne Morgan – UNLV
Goodluck Okonoboh – UNLV
Romelo Trimble – Maryland
Dion Wiley – Maryland

Louisville Signee Quentin Snider Named 2014 Kentucky Mr. Basketball

Photo: cn|2 Sports

Photo: cn|2 Sports

Louisville signee Quentin Snider was named 2014 Kentucky Mr. Basketball on Tuesday evening at the state’s annual ceremony held in Lexington, KY. Snider’s high school career came to an end last week as the No. 1 ranked Ballard Bruins fell to the Trinity Shamrock’s in the Seventh Region Championship.

The Louisville native initially gave Rick Pitino a verbal commitment in 2011 heading into his sophomore season with Ballard. After being committed to the program for nearly two years, Snider decided to reopen his recruiting at the end of the summer.

He later gave Illinois head coach John Groce a verbal commitment and was expected to sign with the Illini. Foruantely for Louisville, it all worked out in the end. Snider had second thoughts on the eve of national signing day and ended up inking his letter of intent with the hometown school.

Snider is the first Louisville commit to win Kentucky Mr. Basketball since Elisha Justice in 2010. Previous winners include Jason Osborne (1993), Tick Rogers (1994), Dwayne Morton (1990), Tony Kimbro (1985) and Darrell Griffith (1976).

The future Cardinal had a tremendous high school career and averaged 22.3 points, 5.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals as a senior. Snider finished as Ballard’s career leader in points with 2,442 and assists with 627.

Trinity Big Man Raymond Spalding Receiving Interest From Louisville

Photo: WSTXSports.com

Photo: WSTXSports.com

It’s been well noted that the power forward position for the University of Louisville looks pretty thin going forward.

If sophomore Montrezl Harrell decides to leave early for the NBA, Akoy Agau and incoming freshman Jaylen Johnson will be the only power forwards on the roster.

Needless to say, Rick Pitino is looking to add depth at the four spot. There are a couple of recruits in the 2014 class that getting evaluated by the Louisville staff, but considering signing day was four months ago, there aren’t a ton of available guys worth a scholarship.

I think we can expect the power forward position to be a priority for Pitino’s staff in 2015.

Raymond Spalding of Louisville’s Trinity High School recently took an unofficial visit to Louisville and played in front of coach Pitino on Tuesday night in the seventh region championship. The 6-foot-9 power forward has been on Louisville’s radar for a little while now, but wasn’t expected to be a serious target.

Spalding is starting to rack up scholarship offers from some pretty big time programs; however he doesn’t hold an offer from Louisville just yet. However, it appears that Louisville at least interested.

According to 247Sports.com, Spalding has offers from Butler, Indiana, Xavier, Clemson, Boston College, Northwestern, Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky. He is rated as a four star prospect.

Spalding and the Trinity Shamrocks pulled off the upset in the Seventh Region Championship on Tuesday night knocking Louisville signee Quentin Snider’s Ballard Bruins. Rick Pitino was in attendance not only to see his future point guard, but to evaluate Spalding.

I’m assuming we’ll find out at some point during the spring if Spalding will be a serious target for Pitino’s 2015 class.