Rick Pitino has said for some time now that he expects a blockbuster 2011 recruiting class for his Cardinals. Currently, the Cards are on their way towards that goal with Wayne Blackshear, Chane Behanan, and Zach Price. I realize Ryan Taylor is also listed as a commitment in 2011, but there is little chance, for a few reasons, he ends up in this class.
Right now, the Cards are ranked as the 4th best class according to Rivals, but are not done. Here are some of the names to keep an eye on in the coming weeks and months:
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Of all the remaining names on UofL’s board, this is the one they need the most. Miller is a beast, plain and simple. He’s a top 3 overall prospect by pretty much every recruiting service and is a team changer the moment he gets to campus. There are a lot of reasons why Louisville needs Miller, but the most important, at least as I see it, is for Rick Pitino to be able to shed the label of not being able to coach a “one and done” talent.
There are more than a couple reports from the recruiting trail about that argument being made against Pitino. Right now, there is not a whole lot Rick can do to dispute that. However, if he lands a stud like Quincy Miller, a lot of that talk will die down. This recruit is just as important from a perception perspective as he is on the basketball floor.
This is the hot name right now. Hood, a top 50 prospect, is a 6-7 wing from Mississippi and is being hotly pursued by Rick Pitino. The Cards are coming in late with Hood, but have put on a full court press and definitely have a shot. Hood will be visiting Louisville October 8-9, according to InsidetheVille.com.
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The primary competition they are facing looks to be Florida State and Mississippi State, two of the schools who have been on Hood the longest. Pitino and Co. recently made an in-home visit and by all accounts, very much impressed Hood and his family. I’m not sure Louisville can pull this off, mainly due to them getting in so late, but they do appear to have the most momentum. Getting Hood to visit is big, and I think shows they at least have put themselves in the discussion.
The Seattle guard just visited Louisville this past weekend and if you believe his Twitter account, absolutely loved it. He still has a “list” of schools he’s considering, but it’s all but down to the Cards and his hometown Washington Huskies. Wroten’s recruitment has been somewhat of a mystery, mainly because he doesn’t do a whole lot of interviews and has been known to randomly add and drop teams from his list, sometimes on a daily basis.
However, he is set to announce his decision on October 7th. If I had to guess, and that’s exactly what it is, I say he stays at home and goes to Washington. If you read his Twitter account, you can find many statements about how much he loves his hometown. Being the hometown hero and playing for the home school is a big pull, just ask Brian Brohm or Michael Bush.
Having said that, I do think the Cards have a shot. Wroten is very tight with Peyton Siva and Terrence Williams, was blown away on his visit, and has the utmost respect for Rick Pitino. I don’t believe those factors will be easily dismissed, even though I ultimately think he chooses the Huskies. We will know for sure in about a week.
I’m not a betting man, but a few weeks ago, you could have gotten me to bet Bello would already be committed to Louisville by now. According to some knowledgeable people, I was not the only one in the city of Louisville who thought that, including some folks in the UofL basketball offices. Going into his visit with Quincy Miller and Chane Behanan, Bello appeared to be the one who would pull the trigger either during the visit or shortly thereafter.
That didn’t happen and it now appears Deuce and Louisville are looking elsewhere. There’ a lot of speculation as to why, but let’s just say Bello and Louisville does not seem like a good fit right now. Whether it’s 100% over between UofL and Bello is a matter of opinion, but to quote my prom date, “It’s highly unlikely anything will happen.”
At the end of the day, the Cards will take as much talent as they can get. Miller and Hood are the top priorities and if the staff can land either of them, the 2011 class will be excellent. Getting one of the two is a necessity, getting both would be a luxury. As murky as the picture may seem right now, it shouldn’t take long to start getting some clarity.