Recruiting

Offensive Lineman Set To Decide Between Louisville & Syracuse Tomorrow

Photo | Scout.com

Photo | Scout.com

Since the 2014 spring session ended, Bobby Petrino and his entire staff have been on the road recruiting visiting with prospects from the 2015 class. It appears that hard work is paying off.

Chandler Jones, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive guard from the Atlanta area is set to announce his college decision on Friday evening and Louisville is in the final two.

The three star prospect is also considering Syracuse.

Louisville is considered to the favorite as defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach Chris Klenakis have been in heavy pursuit in recent weeks. Jones was in attendnace at Louisville’s junior day earlier this month where picked up a scholarship offer.

He is a former high school teammate of Louisville incoming freshman Henry Famurewa at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, GA.

Jones also has scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Georgia State, Marshall, N.C. State, Middle Tennessee State and UMass.

He will announce his decision on Friday evening at 7 PM via his Twitter account. You can follow Jones on Twitter @CJ72_TSP.

7-foot-1 Anas Osama Mahmoud Officially Signs With Louisville

Photo | RunDownReports.com

Photo | RunDownReports.com

We’ve known for the past few months that Louisville will be adding six new players to the roster in 2014, however only have had officially signed until this morning.

UofL announced via a press release that 7-foot-1 center Anas Osama-Mahmoud has officially signed his national letter of intent with the program.

“Anas is an extremely versatile seven-footer,” Rick Pitino said in an official release from UofL.

“He is a very skilled athlete who is a very good scorer and passer. His only weakness is strength. We will base a consideration of redshirting him on how quickly he can gain necessary strength to be effective. We’re delighted to have Anas at the University of Louisville.”

Mahmoud is originally from Egypt, but attends West Oaks Academy in Orlando, FL. He verbally committed to Louisville on March, 3. Mahmoud chose Louisville over Minnesota, Cincinnati and Georgia Tech. According to the official release, he had 23 total division one scholarship offers.

During his final season of prep basketball, Mahmoud averaged 13.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.1 blocked shots per game. ESPN ranks him as the 98th best prospect in the 2014.

For the first time in the history of the program, Louisville will have two seven footers on the roster. Mahmoud joins 7-foot-1 Norwegian native Matz Stockman who signed with the Cards on national signing day.

Isaiah Briscoe Picks Up Louisville Offer: He Hopes To Visit Soon

Photo: | USA Today Sports

Photo: | USA Today Sports

With so many recruits coming in this year, it’s unlikely that Rick Pitino will sign a big class in 2015. Signing day for next year is a low way away, but at this point, I’d expect Louisville to add two or three signees next year.

Considering there aren’t a ton of scholarships to hand out, it’s been pretty easy so far to determine who Coach Pitino’s top targets are for the 2015 class. We’ve been keeping track of Florida combo guard Antonio Blakeny for the past few months.

Isaiah Briscoe is a name you’re probably already familiar with, but if not, you can go ahead and add him to the list of prospects to keep an eye on. The New Jersey native has been on the Louisville staff’s radar for a while now and picked up a scholarship offer from Coach Pitino on Monday afternoon.

Briscoe, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound, five star prospect had played in front of Louisville assistant Wyking Jones previously and Pitino was in attendance at Roselle Catholic High School on Monday.

Louisville is one of the many high level schools that is involved with Briscoe.  St. John’s, UConn, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Arizona and Syracuse have all reached out since the open contact period began.

“I think the workout went good, he offered while we were talking,” Briscoe told Adam Zagoria SNY.tv. “He said he was going to follow me in the Nike EYBL stop in Sacramento next weekend. The next is him seeing me in action”

A visit isn’t scheduled yet, but Briscoe’s high school coach tells Zagoria that he plans to take a trip to Louisville at some point.

Briscoe plays AAU for the New Jersey Playaz, which is one of the top clubs in the country. Former Cardinal Earl Clark previously played for the club, as well as NBA All Star Kyrie Irving.

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.