Yep, it's back. After a big 2014 class, the 2015 promises to be much the same. Here's what you need to know.
- The likely combination of players will be one guard, one small forward, and one big- There's always a token transfer or whatever, so I think that this class could end up with four guys.
- Again, Louisville is going to be selective- I don't know that Louisville has been in such a good spot with so many five star guys. Louisville has a great show with many of the top guys.
- There's a good chance for a few summer commitments
And now, here's the rundown rankings. Remember this isn't a board that only takes the staff's wants into account but also, how talented the player is and how realistic of a target he is.
The Rundown Rankings:
- Deng Adel
- Antonio Blakeney
- Bryant Crawford
- Ray Smith
- Stephen Zimmerman
- Caleb Swanigan
- Brandon Ingram
- Isaiah Briscoe
- Dwayne Bacon
- Raymond Spalding
Here's why the players are ranked where they are.
Deng Adel, in my mind, has to be the top prospect at this point. He's a small forward from Australia who can do a little bit of everything, from scoring, to rebounding, to passing. He's been destroying the AAU Circuit of late and will likely be ranked anywhere from a top 20 to top 50 player. Louisville has a lot of connections to him (like Mangok Mathiang, he's Sudanese and moved to Australia), and many consider him to be a near lock to the Cards. I think this one gets done in the coming months.
Antonio Blakeney is a scoring shooting guard out of Florida. Arguably the best scorer in the entire class and a great athlete, Blakeney is likely the top prospect on Rick Pitino's board. Blakeney would be able to fill the void left by Russ Smith as a go to scorer on the perimeter. The primary competition here is Florida, but I think that we lead at this point. It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out during the summer.
Bryant Crawford is a point man from DC. As you probably guessed, he has connections to Kenny Johnson. He's very fast and also is a very good passer. What's interesting about this one is that he's visiting on June 11th, although he does not have an offer. Would he commit on visit if Pitino were to offer him? It will be worth watching to see if our first addition to the program comes in the next two weeks.
Ray Smith is a small forward from Las Vegas. Smith is one of the top targets at small forward, and is a guy that has tons of potential. He's an explosive athlete who also has a pretty decent jumpshot. He's also the kind of athlete that RP could develop into a stud defender. He will visit for the Wake Forest football game on September 27th, so we're definitely in well here. The questions for me are whether he is a guy willing to leave the west coast, and how the potential addition of Deng Adel or another small forward would affect him.
Stephen Zimmerman may be the top five big man that finally breaks the drought for Louisville. Also out of Las Vegas, Zimmerman has already said that he wants to visit Louisville. Simply put, he's a good fit for the system that RP runs at Louisville. He runs the floor well, and thrives facing up. Honestly, I think that Louisville has a shot here. Definitely someone worth watching.
Caleb Swanigan recently reclassified from the class of 2016. He is one of the guys that Kenny Johnson has been able to get us involved with. He isn't the tallest or most athletic, but he can score in the post and rebound well. As you can tell by his profile, one of the main competitors is Michigan State. We're in a good spot here.
Brandon Ingram hails from North Carolina, and you can guess what that means. Many believe that UNC and Duke are the top two teams. However, many also believe that Louisville would be the pick if he goes out of state. He's in the Anthony Davis mold as a guy who has grown a bunch over the course of about a year, while retaining a lot of his guard-like skills. He hasn't committed to either Carolina school yet, so we'll see where it goes.
Isaiah Briscoe is a top 20 point guard from NYC. Much like the others on this list, he's more of a scorer. Don't think many have a good feel for where he's favoring at the moment, but we definitely are in the thick of things. With how well Rick has recruited New York, I think this is a guy we could pull.
Dwayne Bacon has been a high priority recruit for a long time. He's a bit undersized for a small forward, but he's a very strong player that has a balanced offensive game. Not a ton of recruiting news on this guy, but we definitely have a chance in this one.
Raymond Spalding is a power forward from Trinity. He's really athletic and has a lot of potential. However, considering that he said he grew up a UofL fan, I think we can get him when we offer. I think that this recruitment depends how things go with the other targets.
Other guys to look out for: Carlton Bragg, Derrick Jones, Jalen Adams, Ivan Rabb, Doral Moore, Cheick Diallo
And lastly, some things that I didn't get to earlier in the post-
Deng Adel will visit June 16. Definitely a chance to nab a cornerstone there.
Stephen Zimmerman will officially visit Louisville on September 26th, the same weekend as Ray Smith.
Thanks for reading, and make sure you vote in the poll question!