By Justin Renck and Steve Rummage:
Two weeks ago we started a new weekly series that will update you on where the Cards stand with their top basketball recruiting targets for the class of 2015. We plan to release a new post every Monday and give any updates there may be. Rather than talk about every recruit out there that Louisville has just talked to or looked at, we will focus on the main guys that the Cards are going after and have a shot at landing. So you can get familiar with these names and not have to worry about 20 different players to learn about.
With AAU camps starting up, this past week brought us a good amount of updates to the notebook. We added a few players to the list, one recruit made his college decision, and one guy that looked to be a “Louisville lean” may not be at this point.
Isaiah Bricsoe – The 5-star PG attended the Lebron James Skills Academy this week but was not able to participate much due to injury. Louisville is still very much in the mix for Briscoe, but look for Arizona to step it up this month. Arizona now has commitments from PG/SG Justin Simon and SF Ray Smith and are now zeroing in on Briscoe and Allonzo Trier. The Wildcats will more than likely land one of the two but the look for the Cards to keep a close eye on Sean Miller’s move here. -Steve Rummage
Bryant Crawford – Crawford is still in the mix for Louisville right now, but there isn’t much new news on him this week, as Coach Pitino did not attend the Lebron James Skills Academy this past week in Las Vegas. It is also worth noting that the Cards recently extended an offer to Donovan Mitchell, who can play both point guard and shooting guard. So this week should give us a better idea about Crawford and if he is still in the plans for Louisville. -Justin Renck
Antonio Blakeney – Like we said before, Pitino did not make the trip to Vegas for the Lebron James camp, which was where Blakeney was playing. Combine that with all of the attention that Pitino gave to other shooting guards like Donovan Mitchell and Dwayne Bacon, and it could look like things are cooling off on Blakeney and him landing at Louisville. Also, he just picked up an offer from Kentucky. But I am not ready to give up on him just yet. Someone close to Blakeney told CSZ on Monday morning that “Louisville is still his main school.” We are told the other schools that make up his current list are Kentucky, Oregon, Florida State, Kansas, and Florida. With Peach Jam starting this week, that should really give us a better idea if Pitino is going another direction at this position, or if that is all just talk. But until something more happens, I am still saying that Louisville could get Blakeney. -Justin Renck
Allonzo Trier – It had seemed that the Cards had cooled on Trier after his recent move to Findlay Prep in Nevada, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Even though Trier’s recruitment is trending heavily toward Arizona, Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson was front and center to watch the 5-star SG all day Saturday. Trier has been on fire this AAU season, averaging a cool 30 points a game on the EBYL circuit. Look for the Cards to turn things up this month. -Steve Rummage
Donovan Mitchell- While at the Reebok Breakout Classic in Philadelphia, Coach Pitino watched the 4-star PG/SG and came away impressed. So impressed in fact that Mitchell walked away with an offer from the Cards. If the Cards want Mitchell they will have some stiff competition. The 6’3 guard already holds many offers and most believe Kansas will be next. Mitchell did say he plans on taking official visits to Louisville and IU in the coming weeks so keep an eye on this one. -Steve Rummage
Dwayne Bacon- The 6’6 5-star Bacon is listed as both a SG and SF depending on the site you look. After watching film we are going to have him in the SG section. Bacon is an extremely explosive guard that has some serious confidence. Pitino gave Bacon quite a bit of attention at the Breakout Classic this week and looks to be turning up the heat. Bacon told reporters this week that FSU, Tennessee, UNLV, USC, Clemson, SMU, and Louisville are recruiting him the hardest. After a 43 point performance on Sunday look for Bacon to move way up the Cards recruiting board this month. -Steve Rummage
Deng Adel – With every camp, Adel just keeps impressing. This week at the Adidas Unrivaled camp in Chicago, Adel continued to show off his extreme versatility. Adel was named to the camps All-Star game after averaging 13 points a game on 57% shooting and finishing in the top 5 in rebounding for the week. Louisville’s Mangok Mathiang, close friend of Adel, served as one of the coaches for the 5-star SF’s team. Coach Rick Pitino was also in the house multiple times for Adel, including Adel’s 27 point 7 rebound game Saturday night. If Coach Pitino’s prediction of possibly having a July commitment holds, look for Deng Adel to be the most likely candidate. -Steve Rummage
*UPDATE* – Deng Adel committed to the Cards on Monday evening after this notebook was released.
Ray Smith – Here is how quickly recruiting can change. In last week’s notebook, we told you that Ray Smith’s dad said that his son’s list would probably fluctuate throughout the summer and that the list was at 9 or 10 schools. Well on Sunday night, Ray Smith made his college decision, and that was a commitment to the Arizona Wildcats. He tore his ACL this past week and we wish him a speedy recovery. With Smith off the board at the small forward position, things just continue to point in the direction of Deng Adel. -Justin Renck
Derrick Jones – Not much change to the status of Derrick Jones from last week. Coach Pitino did watch him this past week, and he still plans to visit Louisville sometime in August. He also plans to visit Kentucky, Florida, Indiana, and Kansas. He has already visited UConn. -Justin Renck
Brandon Ingram- The 5-star SF from North Carolina is looked at as a heavy UNC/Duke lean but the Cards are in the mix. The Cards have been on Ingram’s trail for the past few months and Pitino checked in on Ingram a few times this week in Chicago. Ingram dropped 27 points on top 5 prospect Jaylen Brown this week and at 6’8 has all the tools to be a stud in college. Ingram picked up a UK offer this week and plans to visit Louisville and Kentucky in the month of August. -Steve Rummage
Raymond Spalding – Spalding had a very good week in Indianapolis at the Adidas Invitational. Louisville looks to be in a good spot with him right now and I believe the Cards are at the top of his list, with Indiana and Xavier rounding out his top 3. As a hometown kid (Trinity High School) who grew up a Louisville fan, Pitino and the Cards are going to be the team to beat for Spalding. The interesting thing to watch for is if Pitino is wanting to wait and see what Stephen Zimmerman does, who is visiting Louisville September 26. But if you can’t wait that long and Spalding wants to commit, I think you have to jump on that. -Justin Renck
Carlton Bragg – Pitino took a short look at Bragg this weekend in Chicago but like we said last week, there just isn’t much here. Bragg will cut his list to 5 in September and told Adam Zagoria that UK, Kansas, and Illinois would for sure make the list. The Cards very well could be one of the other two but don’t expect to see Bragg in a Louisville uniform. The Cards are looking to add one front court player and look for that to be either Stephen Zimmerman or Raymond Spalding. As for now we are not going to continue to add Bragg to the notebook on a weekly basis. We will however update his status from time to time until the Cards get their front court man or are cut from the list. -Steve Rummage
Stephen Zimmerman – The 5-star center was in Vegas this week for the Lebron James Skills Academy and drew rave reviews. Zimmerman is one of the most versatile big men in the class with his ability to guard multiple positions and would fit nicely in Pitino’s system. Zimmerman still plans to be on the Louisville campus September 26th for an official visit and it sounds like Mama Zimmerman has been talking with Pitino also. Earlier this week on her twitter account Zimmerman’s mom had this to say: “Had a great conversation with Coach Pitino last night. So knowledgeable about the game and a great recruiter. #Louisville” It’s going to take work to pull Zimmerman out of the west but it sounds like the Cards are up to the challenge. -Steve Rumamge