Recruiting

Athlete Traveon Samuel Chooses Louisville Over Alabama, Clemson & Florida St. Among Others

Photo | 247 Sports

Photo | 247 Sports

Around 10 AM on Friday morning, Bobby Petrino landed a commitment from three star safety Khane Pass, who then became the highest ranked member of Louisville’s 2015 recruiting class. Green is a big time addition to the class, but his reign as the top ranked Louisville commit lasted only an hour.

Shortly after 11 AM, Petrino landed his second commitment of the day. Traveon Samuel, a highly regarded all purpose back out of Phenix City, AL., verbally pledged to Louisville while on an unofficial visit. Samuel is the 12th commitment for Louisville in the 2015 class.

This is no slight to Khane Pass or any other Louisville commitment for that matter, but Samuel is without question the most talented recruit to commit to Petrino since he’s been back at Louisville. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound, all purpose back had scholarship offers from Alabama, Clemson, Auburn, Florida State, Ohio State LSU, North Carolina, Mississippi State and South Florida, among others.

Once again, hats off to defensive line coach L.D. Scott who played a key role in landing Samuel. The Louisville program took a huge step in the right direction today.

Big Time Safety Khane Pass Becomes Petrino’s 11th Commitment In 2015

Photo | Ledger Enquirer

Photo | Ledger Enquirer

Bobby Petrino received some great news on Monday morning. Khane Pass, a 6-foot 195-pound safety from Columbus, GA., has verbally committed to the Louisville program.

Pass is the 11th commitment for Louisville in the 2015 class and is now the highest rated prospect to verbally pledge to the Cardinals.

The Georgia native is rated as a three star prospect, but is being recruited by some of the top programs in the country. Pass holds scholarship offers Mississippi State, North Carolina, Clemson, Texas A&M, N.C. State, Nebraska, Purdue.

Alabama, Auburn and Georgia were showing strong interest, but hadn’t offered a scholarship yet.

As a junior at Carver High School, Pass finished with 55 tackles, 9 pass breakups and two interceptions.

Pass’ commitment may help Louisville in more ways than one. He is the older brother of Jawon Pass, who is ranked as the top dual threat quarterback in the 2016 class. Landing a commitment from his older brother certainly can’t hurt Louisville’s chances with Jawon.

Tip of the hat to defensive line coach L.D. Scott and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham who played big roles in landing Pass.

Four Star Guard Donovan Mitchell Will Visit Louisville Next Week

Photo | 247 Sports

Photo | 247 Sports

When referring to the top targets for Rick Pitino and his staff in the 2015 class, Donovan Mitchell isn’t a name you’ve been hearing for very long. But the New York City native has had a sensational summer and the Louisville staff took notice.

Heading into the July open contact periods it appeared that the staff had identified which prospects they would heavily pursue from the 2015 class. However, Mitchell’s solid performance earned him a late scholarship offer from Pitino and he’s now one of the top targets at the guard position.

Evan Daniels of Scout.com reports that Mitchell will visit Louisville on August, 8. The 6-foot-3 combo guard is one of the fastest rising prospects in the country and would be a huge addition to Louisville’s already strong 2015 class.

Mitchell has offers from Providence, Indiana, Cincinnati, Florida, UConn and Maryland.

Villanova and Louisville appear to be the favorites at this point. Jay Wright was the first elite level coach to seriously pursue Mitchell, but Louisville’s late push has made a strong impression on the four star prospect.

Five star prospect Antonio Blakeney is still the top target for Pitino and his staff, but after him I’d say Mitchell is the next in line.

Future Cardinal Raymond Spalding Leads His AAU Team To A National Title

Photo | 247Sports.com

Photo | 247Sports.com

On Monday evening Rick Pitnio’s latest commit, Raymond Spalding, did something that no other former, current or future Cardinals have ever done.

He won a national championship in the historic Freedom Hall.

Spalding’s AAU team, “The Ville,” won the 11th grade Division I National Championship on Monday as they knocked off the Albany City Rocks from Troy, NY., 46-40.

“It’s a great feeling, you know it’s very exciting to be able to play in your hometown and win it all nationally,” Spalding said following the game.

“These guys, they really worked for it all and I mean, since the beginning, since 4th grade, we’ve always dreamed of doing this our last year of AAU ball.”

Spalding finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead The Ville. In eight games throughout the tournament, the future Cardinal and Louisville native averaged 15 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.8 blocks and 2.8 assists.

The four star prospect committed to Louisville a little over a week ago following the Nike EYBL Peach Jam tournament in Georgia.

“It’s a blessing and a dream come true,” Spalding said after committing to Louisville. “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.”

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.

Pitino’s Top Target Trims His List To Seven

Photo | Nike EYBL

Photo | Nike EYBL

If you follow Louisville basketball recruiting then you’re well aware of who Antonio Blakeney. The Florida native was one of the first prospects from the 2015 recruiting class that picked up a scholarship offer from Louisville. He’s been a top target for Pitino and staff for the past year. With two commitments now on board for Louisville, the staff has now shifted the majority of their attention to Blakeney.

On Monday he released the list of the final seven schools that he is considering, via his Twitter account. As expected, Louisville is still in the mix. Surprisingly, Blakeney is no longer considering Florida, who had been considered the favorite for quite some time. Also, North Carolina recently offered the five star guard a scholarship and was expected to be in the running.

blakeney tweet 1

Blakeney was in Louisville last week participating in the AAU Nationals at the KY Exposition Center. Rick Pitino was front and center for each and every one of Blakeney’s games along with a handful of other head coaches. Kudos to the Louisville fans who also showed up to let Blakeney know that they’re hoping to see him in a Cardinal uniform.

blakeney tweet 2

With the amount of work that Pitino and assistant Mike Balado have put in with Blakeney, I’d say Louisville is the slight favorite. However, as you know, many things can change from here on out. If Blakeney had to make a decision right now, I think Louisville would be his choice. Kentucky is definitely in the mix and we all know John Calipari is quite the recruiter. This one may come down to Louisville and Kentucky.

Petrino Lands His Tenth Commitment From The 2015 Class

Photo | Scout.com

Photo | Scout.com

Bobby Petrino picked up his tenth commitment from the 2015 class on Monday afternoon.

Tim Bonner, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound, defensive end from Demopolis, AL., informed the Cardinal coaching staff of his verbal pledge earlier today.

Bonner isn’t ranked very highly and in fact doesn’t have any stars by any of the three national recruiting outlets (Rivals, Scout and 247Sports), but don’t let that fool you.

The Alabama native has quite a few scholarship offers. Prior to his commitment, Bonner had offers from Mississippi State, Kentucky, Memphis, Southern Miss, Tulane and UAB. Ole Miss was showing interest, but hadn’t offered a scholarship yet.

Missisippi State had been thought to be the leader for quite some time, but a late push from UofL staff made quite an impression on Bonner.

Assistant L.D. Scott along with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham played a big role in his recruitment.

Report: 7-foot-4 Christ Koumadje Hopes To Visit Louisville

Photo | 247 Sports

Photo | 247 Sports

With two seven-footers brought in with the 2014 recruiting class, the center position wasn’t thought to be a top priority for Rick Pitino and his staff in 2015.

At the moment, Louisville has two commitments – small forward Deng Adel and power forward Ray Spalding. The staff has shifted a lot of their attention to five star shooting guard Antonio Blakeney.

While the center position still isn’t thought to be a top priority for 2015, there is one big man that holds an offer from Louisville and plans to take an official visit.

Adam Zagoria of SNY.TV reports that 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje is in the process of setting up visits to Louisville, UConn, UCLA, Georgia Tech and Florida State.

Koumadje was somewhat of an unknown prospect until earlier this month. He was one of the breakout performers at the Reebok Classic in Philadelphia. Rick Pitino and Kenny Johnson was in attendance at the event and offered Koumadje a scholarship shortly after.

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.

He reportedly has offers from UCLA, Washington, UMass, Pepperdine, Louisville, Connecticut, Tennessee, Florida State, Wichita State, Auburn and USC. Koumadje appears to be somewhat of a project, but he’s starting to rake in the offers after demonstrating some upside in front of big time head coaches.

Former Florida Commit Is High On Louisville

Photo | 247 Sports

Photo | 247 Sports

The majority of the commitments that Bobby Petrino has from the 2015 class came following the program’s annual junior camp in mid June.

A handful of prospects were high on Louisville, but the visit to campus was the final thing that they needed to see before making a college decision.

It’s very common for players to be committed to a school, but continue to take visits elsewhere. Jalen Julius, a 5-foot-10 170-pound, wide receiver from Winter Garden, FL., was verbally committed to Florida during his unofficial visit to Louisville in June.

On Sunday afternoon Julius reopened his recruiting and Louisville appears to be high on his new list.

Blake Alderman of Rivals.com reports that Louisville, Miami and Ohio State are the three schools that Julius is now considering. The three star wide receiver also has scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Mississippi, Tennessee, Wake Forest, among others.

Julius would be a huge addition to Petrino’s 2015 class. The program will lose a number of veteran wide receivers to graduation following the 2014 season. Julius is considered to be one of the top 75 wide receivers in the country.

Highlights: Antonio Blakeney At The AAU Nationals On Thursday Morning

Photo | 247Sports.com

Photo | 247Sports.com

Antonio Blakeney, Rick Pitino’s current top target in the 2015 class is currently participating in the AAU Nationals event here in Louisville. Pitino has been on hand at each of the five star prospect’s games over the past two days. In his first game on Thursday morning, Blakeney finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Here are some highlights from that game, courtesy of cn|2 Sports.

Ray Spalding’s Grandmother Played A Role In His Decision To Stay Home

Photo: WSTXSports.com

Photo: WSTXSports.com

There is something special about a highly regarded homegrown prospect who decides to stick around and attend the University of Louisville. Some of the best players in the history of the Louisville basketball program were from right here in the Derby City. Male High School’s Darrell Griffith led the program to their first ever national championship, while Ballard’s Dejuan Wheat was one of the best guards to ever play for Denny Crum.

In the past decade, the city of Louisville hasn’t produced as many high level prospects as it did in the 80’s and early 90’s. However, that appears to be changing. Former Ballard Bruin Quentin Snider is entering his freshman season with the program and is regarded as one of the top 30 prospects from the 2014 class.

Pitino landed another Louisville native last week as Trinity’s Raymond Spalding verbally pledged to the Cardinal program. He made his decision less than a month after picking up a scholarship offer from Louisville. The hometown school was perceived as a huge favorite for Spalding throughout his recruiting process. As it turns out, his family also had an influence on the decision to stay home.

“Growing up my mom and grandmother they always loved Louisville,” Spalding said in an interview with WLKY on Thursday. “They’ve always loved everything about it. We’re from here and nothing beats your hometown. It’s just really exciting.”

Spalding says his mother wanted what was best for him, however it was a different story with his grandmother. She was pulling for Louisville all the way.

“She was in his ear all the time saying UofL, UofL,” Spalding’s father tells WLKY. “I think they had a big influence on the choice he made. But the whole city has been recruiting him pretty much. I do think it’s a really good fit.”

Spalding is currently playing with “The Ville” in the AAU Nationals here in Louisville. His squad is undefeated in pool play and will be back in action on Saturday at 5:20 PM. With Rick Pitino in attendance, Spalding scored a total of 37 points and grabbed ten rebounds in two games on Thursday.