It's been a while since the last post on Louisville basketball recruiting, and as with every July evaluation period, there's been a lot of changes. RP has been all around the country trying to finish the class with five star studs. A programming note: this is gonna be the last recruiting rundown of the year, since we are quickly approaching football season (and let's keep it real here- nobody's really gonna care what I have to say when we have a top 10 football team that has a shot at a National Championship). Don't worry though- I'll be back with a pre visit primer to tell you who the final targets are and how they stack up.
First, what everyone was talking about last week, and that's the decommitment of of Quentin Snider. Definitely hurts, no doubt there. Personally, I believe that once you look past the fact that he's a local kid, grew up a UofL fan, has been committed for two years, etc, you'll see that this isn't quite as bad as it appears on the surface. Louisville has point man JaQuan Lyle committed, an almost (one spot off five star status on 247) consensus five star prospect, who ranks anywhere from 12th to 26th in the major rankings systems. He should be able to fill the void left by Q pretty easily. Louisville will likely have Chris Jones, Terry Rozier, and JaQuan Lyle all on the roster for 2014-15, so at least in the short term, this shouldn't be much of a problem. Long term, it appears Louisville will once again (for the fourth year in a row now) will have to go check out the market of point guards in the junior class (2015). Strategy for '14 will probably remains the same- add three big men to what we have, but I personally wouldn't rule out a spring addition. We've done well with those over the past few years.
And before anyone asks, Q coming back isn't happening- Rick Pitino and staff are finished recruiting him.
Now, to the final board of the 2014 recruiting class. There's been quite a bit of movement since last month, as you will see.
The Rundown Rankings
- Trey Lyles
- Cliff Alexander
- Jaylen Johnson
- Myles Turner
- Cinmeon Bowers
- Elbert Robinson
- Angel Delgado
- Devin Robinson
- Michael Humphrey
- Goodluck Okonoboh
Before I move on, I've got to say that this was by far the toughest board I've had to make between this year and last year. The top five especially were incredibly tough to order, because each one had certain factors that made them stand out as compared to the others. The gap between Trey Lyles and Myles Turner was pretty minimal at this point. The only real gap I'd say would be between Delgado and Devin Robinson. Just gonna put it out there, this class is going to be a pretty big success no matter who we get.
The analysis on the final board of the 2014 class, and possibly like how the 2014 class will be judged starts with Trey Lyles. As previously stated, he's deciding during the fall period, which has to be good for us, with Kentucky as our only competition (Florida is too far and Butler isn't happening). It's really tough to say where he's leaning right now. UK has been the team to beat since the beginning, but Louisville has turned things around with the national championship and the addition of JaQuan Lyle. UK may be adding James Blackmon Jr. Visits likely won't make a big difference considering he's been to both places many times. Really tough to call where this one is going to go.
Cliff Alexander plans to visit Louisville at an undetermined date, and Rick Pitino appears to be making a push, he watched him a ton during the eval period. Even if we lost Behanan and Trez, the impact would be significantly less with a commitment from the big man out of Chicago. I'd definitely watch this recruitment. The hot name lately, as you can see if you know how to operate a mouse, is Kansas, with the hireing of Jerrance Howard, who has lots of connections to the Chicago area. He also recently made a visit there. I think that if he does make it to campus, we've got a real shot to land him. We're in well here, no matter what Kentucky fans tell you.
Jaylen Johnson makes a big move up the board since last month. He's very, very interested in Louisville and made a big move during the evaluation period. He's got a lot of athleticism and potential, he's poised to make a big move up the rankings, probably in the high four star (35-55) territory. He's a fantastic rebounder, and guess what else? He's only 16. This guy has a lot of room to go and become an even better player. Again, watch this recruitment... If I were a betting man, the odds would be pretty darned good with this one...
Myles Turner recently cut his list from 25 to 8. On that list are Louisville, Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona, Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, and Duke. He has one visit date scheduled, to Kansas (reading between the lines a little bit should tell you at least a little something). Hopefully Louisville will land a visit, but Turner has talked about the possiblity of only taking three visits, which would a bit worrying (unless we're one of the three, of course). Kind of tough to say what's gonna happen, it's a pretty big crapshoot, but I would consider this: both Cliff Alexander and Myles Turner play center, and won't be going to the same school. Louisville has a chance to get one. Really need to capitalize on the championship and grab a guy like Turner- a great player who will continue to improve the reputation of the NBA and Louisville.
Cinmeon Bowers is a JUCO beast. Looking at his height, you would probably think of Chane Behanan as a comparison. He originally wanted to go to Memphis out of high school, didn't qualify, and is currently at a JUCO. Louisville is definitely going to get a visit here. He is very skilled, and has dominated a lot of JUCO competitions during the evaluation period. It will probably be a two horse race between the Cards and Tigers, and this'll go down to the wire.
Elbert Robinson weighed in at 322 pounds at the NBPA Combine, and currently is around 300. Yes, he's lost over 20 pounds in a span of about a month. As far as I'm concerned, that should answer questions about his weight and ability to lose it. RP watched Elbert a few times during the July evaluation period, and while he was a bit mercurial, he finished really well and played a strong game against Cliff Alexander. Cards will get a visit if they want one, but it will be very interesting to see when they try to schedule it for. The first visits are generally for the higher priorities (last year the first two weeks were Chris Jones, Marcus Lee, and Akoy Agau).
Angel Delgado is a newer name that has risen from Mike Balado's connections to Hispanic players. He has a nice touch around the basket and is an excellent rebounder. Delgado played for the Dominican National Team (coached by Kentucky's Orlando Antigua), his coach played for Calipari, and has been recruited hard by UK. Honestly, most people, including me, think that if UK offers, this thing is over, and I'm not one to say a guy is set on a certain school well before he commits. However, if they get Lyles, then I think Delgado is a prime option for the Cards. A funny story: the other day, his AAU coach announced his top five, which included Fordham and Seton Hall, excluding Louisville. Delgado quickly denied this on Twitter.
Devin Robinson got an offer quite literally a few hours ago. I like his a lot, he'd fit very well here. We will see if the staff wants to bring him in on a visit. I think the guy has great potential, he's 6'9 while retaining many of the skills he had as a guard (see Davis, Anthony). He's an intriguing prospect who I hope visits Louisville
Michael Humphrey is another new name added to the board during the evaluation period. He's a great athlete who can get up and down the floor, but in my opinion, we should shoot higher than project big men at this point. Obviously Rick Pitino may think differently, which is fine with me, but I kind of think Humphrey is more of a backup at this point.
Goodluck- shocked to see him this low, eh? He started off the evaluation period well in Indy, but if you were following all of the Louisville recruiting guys, you would've saw that he played awfully in Vegas. His status on the board took a pretty sizeable drop. Don't think Pitino is going to seriously pursue him much longer.
That ends this post, but what would any recruiting post be without predictions? I've tried to stay away from doing that this year considering how things can change in two seconds, but unlike me making awful predictions in the middle of April last year, I think I've got enough info to make them. Here's my best guess (for the record my final prediction of adding Anthony Barber, Moses Kingsley, and JaJuan Johnson to Anton Gill in the 2013 class was a complete whiff).
Jaylen Johnson, PF, ****- Jaylen is the safest bet to be a Cardinal of anyone on this list. We've emerged as the leader, and I would bet you that we close this deal during a visit. He made an unofficial here over the summer, and since then Jaylen has become a prime target for Pitino and Co. Definitely the most confident prediction I have.
PF2- Cinmeon Bowers, JUCO- You all wouldn't mind having another Chane Behanan type player come through here, right? That's what you get with Cinmeon Bowers, only with better handles and shooting. Louisville will be trying to fend off Memphis here, and I think they will. And just so you don't have to put it in the comments, yes, I'm thinking Trey Lyles to Kentucky.
C- Myles Turner or Cliff Alexander, *****- Just sayin', it would be boring to not put any of the five star guys in here. Anyway, these are two bigs we've got a great shot at and will likely get visits from. If we really wow them on the visit (considering guys always come out of Louisville visits high on the Cards and incredibly impressed with the Yum and facilities, I'd have to say that'd probably be the case), we are going to be in good position to get one. The big question- will Pitino go all in to get one?
Again, as always, thanks for reading, it's always fun to be able to discuss the future of Louisville basketball with a great group of fans. As always, answer the poll question, and go Cards.