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Basketball, Thou Hath Not Forgotten Thee

As you may or may not have noticed, CC tries not get overly involved in recruiting news mainly because we find the whole process, well, disturbingly creepy.

Every now and then we'll find ourselves getting caught up looking for insight in quotes from the next young talent who could lead the Cardinals to the promised land, and then we think about when we were 16 or 17 and the way our thought process worked. And then we're forced to also think about how when we were that age, there was no one was telling us that we could some day lead a team to the final four (except for homeless Eddie who hung out behind a pile of wood in our backyard and marveled at our form as we consistently missed free-throws), and we get scared thinking about how much more warped our minds likely would have been had that been the case.

Don't get us wrong, we fully understand the importance of recruiting, and we have no problem with healthy discussion about kids who have already signed or may sign with the mighty Cardinals, we just want to make sure no one confuses us with the whole My Space stalking, promising a starting spot to a high school freshman culture that results in anyone who averages more than six points a game in college declaring for the NBA.

We understand that when it comes down to it, you have to have players to win, which is why we were thrilled to learn on Tuesday that Pitino had landed Jeff Withey, one of the top prospects in the class of 2008. The 7-foot, 220-pound Withey, a junior at Horizons High School in San Diego, is ranked No. 66 in the junior class by the Louisville-based and is No. 55 nationally by He's projected as one of the top 10 post players in the class of 2008.

I am taller than you are.

Though he's only heading into his junior season, Withey proved as a sophomore that he can hold his own against division 1 caliber big men when he led Horizions to a regional victory over a San Joaquin Memorial team led by the highly recruited 7-foot twins Brock and Robin Lopez who are headed to Stanford. In that game Withey scored 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds despite missing almost a quarter of the game with four fouls, and blocked a shot in the final seconds to preserve the victory.

Withey is the second player from the class of 2008 to commit to Louisville, joining Martez Walker, a highly recruited 6-6 forward out of Louisiana. Additionally Louisville is rumored to be very close to getting a commit from New York (where else) Rice High School point guard Lamont "MoMo" Jones, a member of the class of 2009.

That's great and all, but there are still two spots to filled in the class of 2007 which is currently only comprised of forward George Goode, who is beginning to get lonely. Since the NIT loss (barf) RP has been saying that he's targeting shooters, which apparently factored into the signing of Goode, but for one reason or another, U of L backed away from Michigan guard Dar Tucker, who ultimately signed with Depaul where he can expect at least one guaranteed loss (we don't lose to Depaul Dar) a season, and then lost sharp-shooting Blake Hoffarber to Minnesota. It now appears the main apple of the proverbial Cardinal eye is the formerly Pitt-bound Herb Pope, a 6-8 power forward out of the steel city. The Cards are also still in the running for Papa Dia, Eric Wallace, Jeff Brooks and Jason Henry.

We got the feeling during the September practices and subsequent Canada trip that Rick Pitino was thoroughly enjoying writing (or talking, and having Kenny Klein copy his words down) the daily diaries featured on his website that chronciled (TM) the progress of his team. Turns out we were right, as the diaries have returned (in a weekly form) for the 2006-2007 regular season. The first installment was released earlier this week and in it Pitino had some highly interested things to say, particularly in regards to freshman Derrick Caracter.

Last but by no means least, Derek Caracter is probably the furthest along of everybody because of his conditioning.  He was supposed to come in at 285, but was way past that goal.  He is now at 283 with 13% body fat, it's been a struggle trying to get him under the 10% body fat.  He was suspended as we all know for three games by the NCAA . He will not play in our exhibition game unless we can get him to 10% body fat and 275 pounds.  We expect him to be 265 to 268 by the beginning of the season or he will be sitting out more games than the NCAA has mandated.   Derek is a project, he has ten years of bad habits to break on and off of the court but if he ever gets it and breaks those bad habits he will be one of the most exciting freshmen in the country, but that is a big if.

We're pretty sure that the first two lines are Pitino sarcasm, but it's harder to tell in print. Either way, it certainly appears Caracter has hit the Myles/Bender fork on Pitino highway and he doesn't have much time left to make a decision.

Lastly, if you haven't done so yet do yourself a favor and pick up this week's Sports Illustrated, then flip to the last page, kick back, and enjoy yourself as Rick Reilly absolutely destroys Bob Huggins. If you're no fan of Bob Huggins, and in turn corruption, then this is a must read.