By Justin Renck and Steve Rummage:
A few 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 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 the July evaluation period in full swing, this past week brought us a good amount of updates to the notebook. The Cards have landed two commits so far, and spent a lot of time watching some of the top guards in the class. Enjoy this week’s notebook!
Isaiah Bricsoe – Briscoe continued to show why he is a 5-star PG this week, leading his team to the Peach Jam Championship. Briscoe really is the total package when it comes to playing the point guard position. Arizona and Louisville still look like the favorites to land Briscoe. This week Briscoe had this to say about the Cards to Adam Zagoria. “[Pitino] is a Hall of Fame coach. From what I hear, he lets his guards go. I can see that he runs a three-guard offense, lot of pick-and-rolls and things like that. I just want to go somewhere where I can play my game.” Pitino spent a lot of time watching Briscoe this week and left no doubt that the Cards are VERY interested in him. Briscoe told Steve Jones of the Courier Journal that the Cards played his style of play, so are the feelings mutual? Most are pegging Briscoe to Arizona but if Allonzo Trier were to pop for the Wildcats, keep a very close eye on Briscoe. -Steve Rummage
Bryant Crawford – Crawford continues to be one of the top guards on the radar for Pitino. It still seems like Pitino may be a little hesitant and not going all in on wanting a commitment from Crawford, but the head coach did watch him play 3 times this past week at Peach Jam. And for the most part, Crawford had some really good games, so maybe things will change now. With the attention spread out among other guards, it will be interesting to see if Pitino does end up taking Crawford or if he keeps looking for other options. We do feel like if Pitino wants him, he will get him. -Justin Renck
Antonio Blakeney – Last week at this time, a lot of people had given up on the thought of Blakeney in a Cards uniform. In our notebook, I said that from what I was hearing, I was not ready to give up quite yet, and that this past week of events would tell us a lot. If Coach Pitino showed anything, it was that Blakeney is still a top priority. He watched Blakeney play 3 times during Peach Jam. Steve Jones of the Courier Journal wrote this piece in which Blakeney was asked if UofL was still one of his top options and Blakeney said “Oh yeah, definitely. Hell yeah. Pitino and (Louisville are) definitely one of my top schools.” On top of that, a source close to Blakeney told me that Louisville is still 100% his top school and that he and Pitino talk everyday. I was also told that he does like Kentucky, but he wants to be more of the main player in college. So I am not saying 100% that Blakeney will end up at Louisville, but I do believe there is still a solid chance, and I won’t waiver on that until I am told otherwise. -Justin Renck
Allonzo Trier – Trier continued the scoring spree he has been on this summer at the Peach Jam. The 5-star SG had multiple 20 plus point games including a 42 point outburst against fellow Louisville target Isaiah Briscoe. Rick Pitino spent a bit of time on Trier this weekend and Trier looks to be firmly in the Cards sights. Trier told Adam Zagoria that Arizona and Louisville are working hard for his services. While those two schools may be at the top, they aren’t the only ones. To the surprise of no one, John Calipari and Kentucky have also come calling for Trier along with Georgetown, UCLA, Washington, UNC, and Maryland. Some believe Trier’s recruitment could come down to who pops to Arizona first, him or Isaiah Briscoe. If Briscoe were to give a pledge to Arizona, the Cards would become the favorite for Trier. Being a Seattle native, Trier heading to Louisville would continue the pipeline laid by T-Will, Siva, and Shaq Aaron. Rather Trier ends up at Louisville or not, Rick Pitino made one thing clear this weekend, the Cards aren’t giving up here just yet. -Steve Rummage
Donovan Mitchell – Since Louisville offered him on July 10, Mitchell has picked up offers from Georgetown, Villanova, and South Florida. Providence has been recruiting him for a couple years, and appeared to be the team to beat. But with bigger offers now starting to roll in, Mitchell could be looking elsewhere. He was very excited about the offers from Louisville and Indiana, and he plans to officially visit both. He has also been playing very well this summer. The more time that goes on without any other guard committing, the more that I think Mitchell will become interested in the Cards. They are in a good spot right now. -Justin Renck
Prince Ali- The former UConn commit received an offer from Louisville last week. Louisville, UCLA, Michigan, Arizona, and Indiana look to be the schools primed to land the 4-star SG. Ali continued his tremendous play this summer at the Peach Jam this week and Coach Pitino took time to watch. The Cards look to be a serious threat for Ali if they choose to move in that direction. Ali is an amazing athlete that would fit in great under the Pitino style. Keep a close eye on Ali in the coming weeks. -Steve Rummage
Dwayne Bacon – Bacon continued bringing in offers this week. The 6’6 SG is rising up the charts with his play as of late. Bacon played well at the Peach St tournament and continues to be on Louisville’s radar. -Steve Rummage
Deng Adel (Commit) – Even though Adel has already given Louisville a commitment, that didn’t stop Coach Pitino from heading up to Milwaukee to see his 5-star SF. Adel didn’t disappoint, scoring 17 points in front of his future Coach. Adel spoke with ausahoops.com this weekend on his commitment to the Cards. Adel told the guys at ausa hoops, “Because I committed early, I can ask them ‘what can I work on before I go there?’ So when I go to college, I can be an immediate impact.” Adel also had this to say about his relationship with current Card Mangok Mathiang, Adel mentioned that Mathiang had some influence over his commitment to Louisville, but he also mentioned that “at the same time, I was going to go if Mangok wasn’t there. I liked the playing style by the school, and it was just best fit. They have die hard fans and a great city.” Adel is exactly what #L1C4 is all about. -Steve Rummage
Derrick Jones – Jones played in the Under Armour event this past week in Suwanee, Georgia, and Louisville did watch him at least one time. He still could visit the Cards in August along with Kentucky, Indiana, Syracuse, and Kansas. He has already visited UConn. With the recent commitment of Deng Adel to Louisville, and Coach Pitino spending so much time focusing on other backcourt players, I don’t really see Jones ending up at Louisville. -Justin Renck
Brandon Ingram – Ingram played well this week but didn’t receive much attention from Pitino. Ingram will be hard to pull out of North Carolina and after receiving a commitment from Deng Adel, I’m not sure Louisville will put forth the effort to try. Ingram will be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. -Steve Rummage
Raymond Spalding (Commit) – The 4-star power forward from Louisville (Trinity High School) committed to Rick Pitino and the Cards on Sunday afternoon. He has had a great summer so far, and it was good for Pitino to go ahead and get this one done before too many other schools started to take notice of Spalding. Joining Deng Adel as the commits for 2015 so far, they get Rick Pitino’s class off to a great start. -Justin Renck
Stephen Zimmerman – After landing a commitment from PF Raymond Spalding, the Cards will no longer be recruiting Zimmerman. Pitino will turn all his attention to landing 2 guards to finish out the 2015 class. -Steve Rummage