Before we get started with the in-depth position-by-position rundown, let's talk about what we're looking for in this recruiting class.
Here's some background about 2014:
Reclassifications have hit the class' depth pretty hard: Not too much depth here because a bunch of guys have reclassified to 2013. Guys like Dakari Johnson, Andrew Wiggins, and Noah Vonleh going to college a year early means there's going to be fewer high quality players outside the top 25.
At the top, it's point guards and big men : the superstars of the class are big men like Jahlil Okafor, Trey Lyles, and Cliff Alexander, along with the epic point guard duo of Tyus Jones and Emmanual Mudiay.
Wings, wings, and wings!: there's a lot of guys in the five star range that are either a shooting guard or small forward. That's good news for Louisville.
Here's what Louisville is going to be trying to accomplish in this go around:
Lock up the point guard of the future: We've already gotten this done, and have had it finished since Q Snider committed here a year and a half ago.
Find a star wing player: Another objective that's already out of the way, since we got the commit from Shaqquan Aaron two months ago. Remember, he's a 6'8" shooting guard out of Seattle with great handles, athleticism, and a smooth stroke from deep. If we're going by strictly potential, he's one of the top ten players in the class, and could end up being a star in Pitino's system.
Bring in an immediate impact 4 or 5: It's great that Louisville has gotten two of its biggest needs out of the way already, because that let's us focus on the one spot we're really gonna need to come up big during this recruiting class, and that's down in the post. There's a lot of possible superstars down in the blocks in this recruiting class. RP is gonna push for a commitment from one.
Bring the best available player for the fourth and final spot of the class: Pretty self explanatory. Position won't matter. Might be D'Angelo Russell, might be Trey Lyles, might be Jalen Lindsey, or it might be Greg Johnson. Who knows.
Now, on to the position by position breakdown...
Note: the new SBNation format doesn't let me post the charts of top players on Scout by position, so you'll have to use the link.
Also, we're going with scout rankings, because Rivals updates their rankings about twice a year, 24/7 has no idea what they're talking about and ESPN sucks.
In case you need a refresher: I take multiple things into account when I make my board. I include the player's talent, how they would fit in here (probably won't worry about this as much considering every player we recruit is gonna be really, really good), how realistic a commitment is, and the who the coaching staff wants most.
Quentin Snider, *****, Committed to Louisville
Emmanuel Mudiay, *****, #3 overall
Point guard is pretty well set for the future, with Chris Jones being the bridge to Q Snider. Quentin, as you all know, can both fill it up and dish it out. Has pretty nice range to compliment his other skills.
Emmanuel Mudiay was also listed here, even though he probably shouldn't be. He is currently a top 3 prospect, and is listing Louisville in his top ten. However, I would say it would be a pretty massive upset to land him. This is UK's guy at the point, and they're probably gonna get him, unless Scott Drew finds a way to outdo Calipari. Not much else to say here.
JaQuan Lyle, *****, #3 Point Guard, #12 Overall
D'Angelo Russell, *****, #1 Shooting Guard, #11 Overall
Isaiah Whitehead, ****, #8 Shooting Guard
Here's the most talked about recruit for the Cards in the infant stages of the 2014 clas: JaQuan Lyle. He's got four schools on his list, Illinois, Louisville, Ohio State, and Indiana. And any one of them could get him to pledge to their school. He's a crafty, smart guard that can get around you and to the bucket in a lot of different way, and is a great distributor and rebounder from the guard position (started the season with like 5 triple doubles). JaQuan is a really interesting prospect. Number one, he visited here during the UK game. Number two, he's good friends with Q and stayed with him while he made a UV to the UK football game (not sure if the visit actually happened, but that was the plan). Number three, he's really talented. And number four, he's being recruted as a shooting guard even though he likes the ball in his hands as a point. We'll see how much he wants to play the point in the end. If he does, he'll probably pop for a B1G school. If not, I think he becomes a Card.
Another talked about prospect... D'Angelo Russell. Plays his summer ball with Ellis' AAU Magic, is a top ten talent, has a knack for putting the ball in the bucket, and hails from none other than the home of the 2013 National Champions. So, he's a lock... Right? Not really. We're recruting him, but I'm pretty skeptical of this ever happening. I'm not sure we're the type of school Russell is looking for (read: NBA factory), or more specifically where his dad is looking for. That's what people are saying, anyway. I don't think this happens, to be honest (then again, I'm just some guy on the internet), but there's a long way to go, and anything can happen.
Isaiah Whitehead is a big-time guard from NYC who has a lot of interest in Louisville. He listed Louisville, Syracuse, and Kentucky as schools he would like to visit. THat's good to hear, considering that he may not be the top priority for the Cardinals. I think Syracuse is the team that's the favorite, but Louisville is in this recrutiment pretty good, as well.
Shaqquan Aaron, ****, #8 SF, #31 Overall
Jalen Lindsey, *****, #7 SF, #25 overall
Theo Pinson, *****, #6 SF, #18 overall
Daniel Hamilton, ****, #12 SF
Obviously, our top guy is Aaron, and we need to make sure we keep him happy. He's got endless potential, especially in a system like Rick Pitino's. The one thing he needs to do is put on more weight, and then, my God, this guy would be a monster.
Jalen Lindsey is up next. In my opinion, we're in really, really good here. He visited us twice during the season, for our game against Providence and Syracuse. He's definitely very interested. He's a really good athlete, and has a good jumpshot. Definitely one to watch. He's a five star recruit, so he's obviously really good. I think there's a good chance he's the fourth member of our recruiting class this year.
Theo Pinson is probably wishful thinking at this point. He's a small forward who can score in a lot of different ways. He is from North Carolina, so that, by default, is gonna make it a lot toughter to get him. The presumed two favorites are Duke and Indiana.
Daniel Hamilton is pretty much here because he visited for the UK game. Don't think much really happened. However, the biggest mention Anthony Barber got before we jumped into the thick of his recruitment was a small camption by a picture in the CJ. And honestly, had we not cut our ties with him, I think he would be suiting up for the Cards leading us this year. But NC State got a steal (pun intended). Don't expect much from here, but I'm leaving him on the board, because there's a really long way to go. We will find out much more about who Rick and Co. plan to recruit most when they go out on the trail during the evaluation period in mid-June.
Trey Lyles, *****, #1 Power Forward, #4 Overall
Kevon Looney, *****, #3 Power Forward, #7 Overall
Trey Lyles is a beast. He's our number one target, there's no doubt. We've been on him since he decommitted from IU. He's a great player. That said, we're fighting uphill. He's already got a lot of interest in UK, and lots of people say that's where he's going. I don't think that's quite the case, but it's gonna take a lot of work to get this guy wearing a Louisville jersey. Rick texted him after the championship telling him about how he could have this moment if he camet to Louisville. I think we can pull this off... but we're gonna have to make up a bit of ground.
Kevon Looney is just really good. I like his perimeter skills (shot isn't quite there yet, but he's got nice handles). I think that we may stay in here, but I don't like our chances. Heck of a player.
Khadeem Lattin, ****, #7 Center, #51 Overall
Cliff Alexander, *****, #2 Center, #5 Overall
Jahlil Okafor, *****, #1 Center, #1 Overall
Elbert Robinson, ****, #8 Center, #53 Overall
Bet you haven't heard this name yet. Khadeem Lattin is a pretty likely pickup, if you ask me. There's a lot of interest on both sides. He's at worst at the moment a great athlete and defender, who can rebound the ball well. Needs work on offense though. We've got a lot of interest in him, and he's got a lot of interest in us. I think there's a good chance that this one get's done (but remember, it's early).
Cliff Alexander is an imposing physical prescence, and that's why he's a five star and top five prospect. He's got really great ability to run the floor, rebound, and obviously, dunk. His presumed leaders are UK and Michigan State... The former is always a tough one to go against when it comes to recruiting, but Michigan State's slow down style isn't something that would suit him well, in my opinion. Don't think he's a plodder. I think we'll keep recruting him, and I believe we can become a factor. Not terribly optimistic about our ability to get the commitment, though.
Jahlil Okafor is the superstar of the 2014 class. He's from Chicago along with Alexander, and he's the number one player for good reason. He's got it all. He can score like crazy, play defense, and rebound. I think that we'll stay in, because he's that good. Duke seems to be the early favorite for Okafor, but that's all subject to change. Will be tough again, he lokes Duke A LOT, but we can become a factor here. We've got too much momentum not to have that capability.
Elbert Robinson is BIG. As in 6-11, 260 big. And keep in mind, a lot of these guys are still growing. Not toom much to say here other than that he likes the Cards a lot and that Wyking Jones is doing a good job here. I do think that it'll be tough to get him out of Texas though.
Yup, you survived to the end. Over the summer, we're gonna look to add two guys, and we'll be really selective.
So, as usual, I'll leave you with a poll. Who do you think is the top target for Louisville this year? My pick is Trey Lyles.