Recruiting

Prince Ali Will Take An Official Visit To Louisville On Sept. 6

Jim Rassol | Sun Sentinel

Jim Rassol | Sun Sentinel

With the month of July coming to an end, the majority of the top prospects in the 2015 class are starting to line up their five allotted official visits in the fall. Four star shooting guard Prince Ali announced on Tuesday that he’s already scheduled two official visits within the next couple of months.

The Miami native tells Evan Daniels of Scout.com that he’ll visit UCLA on Aug. 31 and Louisville on Sept. 6.

Ali was previously committed to Kevin Olley and the Connecticut Huskies, but decided to reopen his recruiting in late May. He’s since been a top target for some of the top programs in the country. The four star prospect has offers from more than 25 schools, but Michigan, UCLA, Washington and now Louisville appear to be showing the most interest.

Louisville didn’t appear to have serious interest in Ali until the staff watched him play earlier this month at the Lebron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas. Assistant coaches Kenny Johnson and Mike Balado have led the charge for Louisville as they pursue the 6-foot-4 shooting guard.

Antonio Blakeney Says Rick Pitino Is Still Showing Him That He’s A Top Priority

Photo: Orlando Sentinel

Photo: Orlando Sentinel

Five star scoring guard Antonio Blakeney has been top target for Rick Pitino and his coaching staff for well over a year now. Apparently that hasn’t changed despite picking up two commitments from the 2015 class within the past week.  In a matter of six days, Rick Pitino reeled in five star swingman Deng Adel and four star power forward Raymond Spalding. Although a handful of prospects are being pursued by the Louisville staff, Blakeney is now the top target on the board for Pitino.

Early on in the recruiting process it appeared that it was a two-team race for Blakeney as Louisville and Florida looked like the clear leaders. However, the 6-foot-4, 170-pound, shooting guard from Saraosta, FL., recently picked up scholarship offers from Kentucky and North Carolina. Kansas, Florida, Florida State, Providence, LSU, Oregon and USC are also in the mix.

Blakeney recently informed Evan Daniels of Scout.com that he’ll likely take an unofficial visit Kentucky for Big Blue Madness. The five star prospect has already taken two unofficial visits to Louisville and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t travel to the Derby City once again for one of his five allotted official visits.

Rick Pitino and Mike Balado were on hand this past weekend at the Peach Jam in Augusta, GA., along with John Calipari, Roy Williams and multiple other head coaches. The Louisville staff has some stiff competition for the five star guard, but it appears that they’re in great shape. Pitino has made Blakeney a top priority for over a year and Balado has also established a good relationship with him.

“He’s at a lot of games so he’s showing me I’m a priority,” Blakeney tells Adam Zagoria when asked about Rick Pitnio. “Whoever is showing me that I’m a priority, I’m going to take the time to look at them because the school has to want me just as bad as I want them.”

It doesn’t look like Blakeney will be making a decision anytime soon, but as it stands now, I’d say Louisville is still one of the favorites.

Deng Adel Says Louisville Was The Best Fit For Him

Photo | adidas

Photo | adidas

With it being mid-July, the recruiting circuit is in fully swing and there are tons of names to keep up with. That said, one name that Louisville fans are very familiar with is Deng Adel.

The Australian swing-man gave Louisville a verbal commitment last week after Rick Pitino and his staff made it very clear that Adel was the overall top target for the Cards in the 2015 class.

In my opinion, Adel’s commitment is going somewhat under the radar as he’s one of the highest rated recruits to ever commit to Pitino at Louisville.

Scout.com ranks Adel as the 18th best overall player in the 2015 class and rates him as a five star prospect.

More often than not, most five star prospects end up waiting it out until the spring before making their college decision. Fortunately for Louisville, Adel was ready to get it out of the way.

Because I committed early, I can ask them ‘what can I work on before I go there?’ So when I go to college, I can be an immediate impact,” Adel tells AusHoops.com.

Another factor in Adel’s commitment to Louisville was his relationship with sophomore center Mangok Mathiang, who is also from Australia.

“I was going to go if Mangok wasn’t there,” Adel says. “I liked the playing style the school, and it was just best fit. They have diehard fans and a great city. But, Mangok did a good job recruiting me. He told me everything I needed to know.”

Rick Pitino and his staff have been extremely busy this past weekend as they’re trying to piece together their 2015 class. However, despite the constant travel, Pitino traveled from The Peach Jam in Augusta, GA., to Milwaukee to see Adel in action at the NY2LA Summer Jam.

With Raymond Spalding’s commitment on Sunday,Pitino now has the starting pieces to what could be one of his top classes in recent years.

Trinity’s Ray Spalding Has Verbally Committed To Louisville

Photo | 247Sports.com

Photo | 247Sports.com

At this time last week, the Louisville basketball program didn’t yet have a commitments from the 2015 class. In a week’s time, Rick Pitino has landed verbal pledges from two of the top prospects in the country.

Five star swing-man Deng Adel informed the staff of his commitment this past Monday and earlier this afternoon, Louisville native Ray Spalding  formally committed to the University of Louisville.

“It’s a blessing and a dream come true,” Spalding tells Steve Jones of  The Courier-Journal. “For a humble kid like me coming from Louisville, to be able to say I could play at the university some day, it’s an honor.”

Spalding, a 6-foot-10 power forward of Trinity High School has been on the Louisville staff’s radar for the past year or so, but didn’t become a top target until recently. The four star prospect took an unofficial visit to the UofL campus on June, 11, and picked up a scholarship offer Rick Pitino shortly after.

Louisville was expected to be the heavy favorite once Spalding picked up and offer and sure enough it took a little over a month for him to give Coach Pitino a verbal pledge. Pitino and the rest of the staff were on hand to see Spalding each of the past two weekends.

The Louisville native has had a very solid spring/summer on the AAU circuit and is climbing in the rankings. 247Sports ranks Spalding as the ninth best power forward in the 2015 class and the 35th best player over all. He has scholarship offers from Indiana, Butler, Xavier, Boston College, Clemson, Northwestern, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

It’s still very early, but with commitments from Adel and Spalding, Louisville currently has one of the best recruiting classes in the country.

 

Add Shooting Guard Prince Ali To The List Of 2015 Recruits With An Offer From Louisville

Kelly Kline | Under Armour

Kelly Kline | Under Armour

Rick Pitino and his entire staff were extremely busy during the first open evaluation period last week. The staff traveled across the country touching base with their top targets in the 2015 class and evaluating prospect in the 2016 and 2017 classes.

Rising sophomores and juniors were initially expected to be the only ones to land scholarship offers last week, however one member of the 2015 class picked up an offer from Louisville.

Prince Ali, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Miami, FL., confirmed to Evan Daniels of Scout.com that he recently picked up an offer from Pitino.

It appears that assistants Kenny Johnson and Mike Balado have been leading the charge for Louisville.

The staff watched Ali in action last week at the Lebron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas.

Ali was previously committed to Kevin Olley and the Connecticut Huskies, but decided to reopen his recruiting in late May. He’s since been a top target for some of the top programs in the country. The four star prospect has offers from more than 25 schools, but Michigan, UCLA, Washington and now Louisville appear to be showing the most interest.

Considering he just reopened his recruiting six weeks ago, I’d imagine Ali isn’t close to a decision. I’d expect him to take some visits in the fall. I wouldn’t call him a top target, but now that he’s got an offer, he’s definitely a name to keep an eye on.

Five Star Swingman Deng Adel Has Committed To Louisville

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Rick Pitino and his coaching staff received great news on Monday evening, as the program picked up their first commitment from the 2015 class. Deng Adel, a 6-foot-7 swing man out of Victory Rock Prep in Bradenton, FL., gave Pitino a verbal pledge earlier this evening.

As we reported on Monday morning, Adel emerged as Louisville clear cut top target in recent works. Pitino and his staff were in attendance on Sunday in Chicago at the Adidas Unrivaled camp for the final day of the open contact period to see Adel in action. Fortunately their hard work paid off.

Adel is one of the highest rated recruits to commit to Louisville in the Pitino tenure. Scout.com ranks him as the 18th best player in the 2015 class. The five star prospect is originally from Sudan, but grew up in Australia. He moved to the United States last year and enrolled at Victory Rock Prep.

Prior to the 2014 spring AAU circuit, Adel wasn’t ranked in the top 100. After a sensational April and May showing, Adel catapulted into the top twenty. He chose Louisville over Florida, Minnesota, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss.

Kudos to Coach Pitino and his staff for landing their top target. Adel is a great starting piece for the 2015 class.

Top Point Guard In The 2016 Class Picks Up An Offer From Rick Pitino

Kelly Kline | Under Armour

Kelly Kline | Under Armour

During last week’s press conference, Rick Pitino stated that he and his staff would continue to pursue their top targets from the 2015 class and evaluate incoming sophomores and juniors during July’s first evaluation period.

One of the latest stars from the 2016 class to receive a scholarship offer from Coach Pitino is California point guard Derryk Thornton.

Pitino and assistant Kenny Johnson were in attendance to see Thornton last week at the Reebok Breakout Classic in Philadelphia. Apparently they loved what they saw, as he’s one of the select few from the 2016 class to pick up a scholarship offer from Louisville.

Scout.com ranks the 6-foot-2, 165-pound, point guard as the eighth best overall player in the 2016 class. He’s entering his junior season at Findlay Prep in Henderson, NV.

Thornton would be a solid start to anyone’s recruiting class, but when you’re dealing with one of the top players in the country, there is going to be plenty of competition. In Philadelphia last week, Thornton stated that Kentucky, UConn, Michigan, Florida, Miami, USC and Cal are pursuing him the hardest.

It’ll be interesting to see if Louisville picks up the pace in their pursuit for Thornton. The point guard position wasn’t expected to be a desire need in 2016, but if (big if) Terry Rozier ends up leaving early, Pitino may be needing to add some depth in the backcourt. 

Aaron Cochran Is Now Officially A Member Of Petrino’s 2015 Class

Photo | Rivals.com

Photo | Rivals.com

It took nearly a month for his commitment to become official, but Atlanta defensive end Aaron Cochran is now officially a member of Louisville’s 2015 recruiting class.

6-foot-3, 250-pound prospect gave Louisville a verbal pledge after spending the weekend on campus for the program’s junior camp.

However, the staff didn’t officially accept his commitment until this morning.

Jody Demling of Cardinal Authority was the first to report the news.

Cochran also had scholarship offers from Memphis, Old Dominion and South Alabama.

After a solid junior season, Alabama, Ole Miss and Auburn had recently expressed interest in Cochran, but hadn’t offered a scholarship just yet.

Cochran is Louisville’s ninth official commitment from the 2015 class.

Deng Adel Emerging As Pitino’s Top Target

Jason Edwards | Herald Sun

Jason Edwards | Herald Sun

As we approach mid-July the Louisville basketball program has yet to pick up a commitment from the 2015 class. At this point, it’s unclear when exactly they’ll land their first commit, but it’s starting to look like they’ve got a top target.

Rick Pitino and his staff have kept close tabs on nearly a dozen prospects from the 2015 class, but one young man in particular has received some extra attention so far this months.

Pitino was in Chicago over the weekend at the adidas Unrivaled Camp to see Austrailan sensation Deng Adel. The 6-foot-8 swingman put on a show in front of Pitino, totaling 38-points and 14-rebounds in two games.

Adel is originally from Sudan, but grew up in Australia. He moved to the United States last year and enrolled at Victory Rock Prep in Bradenton, FL. Soon after that, he became one of the top overall prospects in the 2015 class.

He is one of the faster rising prospects in the country. Prior to the start of the spring AAU circuit, the 6-foot-7 swingman wasn’t ranked in the top 100 of the Scout.com rankings. That changed in a major way when Adel jumped all the way to No. 18 in Scout’s latest rankings. He’s rated as a five star prospect.

Adel visited Louisville unofficially in mid-June and it appears that the visit went very well. Louisville, Florida and Connecticut have been thought to be the leaders for Adel, but Pitino’s staff has been putting in hard work and looks to have the slight edge.

It’s tough to predict when Adel will make a decision, but if happens anytime soon, I’d say it would be a surprise if it wasn’t Louisville.

Rick Pitino Extends Scholarship Offer To Another 7-Foot Recruit

Photo | @ShowTimeBaller1

Photo | @ShowTimeBaller1

Rick Pitino made history with his 2014 recruiting class when he signed two seven foot prospects. Anas Mahmoud & Matz Stockman, both tower at 7-foot-2 inches, which makes for the first ever front court duo that is taller than seven foot.

It appears that Rick Pitino is getting greedy with seven footers.

According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com, Louisville is one of the latest to offer Jean Marc Christ Koumadje, a 7-foot-3 prospect from Africa.

Koumadje has been somewhat of an under the radar prospect, but he’s made a name for himself this week at the Reebok Classic in Philadelphia.

Pitino and assistant coach Kenny Johnson were in attendance on Wednesday evening and they apparently liked what they saw.

Koumadje first started playing the game when he was entered into the Basketball Without Borders camp in Nigeria. This is also where former Louisville star center Gorgui Dieng got his start with basketball. He spent last season at Montverde Academy in Florida. He’ll play his final season of prep ball at Villages School in Beverly Hills, CA.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Koumadje had offers from UCLA, Washington, UMass and Pepperdine. He’s since added offers from Louisville, Connecticut, Tennessee, Florida State, Wichita State, Auburn and USC.

Koumadje appears to be somewhat of a prospect, but he’s starting to rake in the offers after demonstrating some upside in front of big time head coaches.

ESPN’s Adam Finkelstein labeled Koudmadje as the breakout big man of the Reebok Classic. “In addition to his obvious size, he runs the floor extremely well and is very bouncy and assertive despite a frame that’s very lean,” Finkelstein says. Koumadje is almost completely raw when it comes to his skill set, but there aren’t many big men with a more intriguing combination of physical tools.”

Louisville has plenty of young size at the moment, but adding another solid seven footer certainly can’t hurt.