Rakeem Buckles, a junior forward out of Miami (Fla) power Monsignor Pace, became the second player in the class of 2009 to commit to Louisville in less than a week when he pledged his allegiance this morning.
"I like this one," Scout.com national analyst Dave Telep said. "Louisville is taking a guy we have think has the potential to be a big-time prospect. The best thing they can do is take (the commitment) and watch him move along.
"He's one of those guys that you have to project him a little, but I think it's safe. Prior to this year, he was more of a prospect than a player."
Led by Florida signee Ray Shipman, Monsignor Pace has won all three of its playoff games by at least 25 points, and became the first Miami-Dade County boys' basketball team to advance to the state tournament in six consecutive seasons with its 79-54 win over Belle Glade Glades on Sunday. Buckles is averaging 15 points and eight rebounds a game for the squad, and went off for 25 and 14 in yesterday's regional final.
Louisville has long been considered the favorite to benefit from his talents, and he ultimately chose the Cards over Florida State, Miami and West Virginia.
Buckles has reportedly begun to realize his potential in his junior season. He's continuing to make the athletic plays around the basket that have always come naturally for him, but he's also developed a solid outside shot and improved both his passing and mid-range game.
Telep describes Buckles as "a long and bouncy power forward, (who) plays an attacking style game," which immediately makes me think of Earl Clark. Buckles obviously doesn't have quite the size that Clark does, but having a player on board with similar potential is certainly exciting.