Chris Mack has come in like a whirlwind, an irresistible force, and began rebuilding the brand of UofL Basketball; a brand that is as rich in tradition as any school.
He started by welcoming all players from all eras to come home. Then, he set about transforming the current roster both in physical appearance and in their style of play. Now, he’s out on the recruiting trail showing the college basketball world that UofL’s brand is not dead; that, in fact, it was merely dormant and it is ready to rise up and enjoy a new birth of relevancy on the national stage.
With his first full recruiting cycle being the 2019 class, Coach Chris Mack has blazed the trail with vigor and is building a monster class. Right now he has 3 highly talented, versatile players committed with Josh Nickelberry, Jaelyn Withers, and Samuell Williamson. Now, he looks to the weekend of September 28th and the first ever “Louisville Live” event.
That weekend, with its signature and inaugural event, could arguably be the biggest recruiting weekend in this millennium for UofL. They welcome three unbelievably talented players that, if they commit, would complete a stellar 2019 class and put to rest any claims the program is dead. These three players are 4 Star C Aidan Igiehon, 4 Star G Rocket Watts, and Louisville’s own 4 Star G David Johnson.
UofL could presumably, and in most experts minds will likely, take six total players in this class. If they can get commitments from these three über talented players next weekend, the 2019 class would be set and the future would be secure.
Watts is a talented scorer who fills it up. He ranks 32nd overall in the class per 247sports composite rankings. Watts lives up to his nickname “Rocket” as he is lightning quick. He knows how to put the ball in the hoop much like Russ Smith and Terry Rozier. Watts plays bigger than his listed size of 6’2. His unbelievable handles, quickness, and scoring ability give Mack a weapon he arguably never had at Xavier.
Igiehon, the 44th ranked player in 2019 per 247sports composite rankings, is nicknamed the Irish Hulk because he is originally from Ireland and he looks like the Hulk. There is no doubt Igiehon is physically ready to step in and contribute immediately. While still raw offensively, he has shown glimpses of what he can become. He sometimes displays a good midrange jumper and a small set of post moves. What Igiehon will be able to do right out of the gate for Mack is rebound and physically dominate anyone that guards him. He’s a dunker extraordinaire and will be able to get his points via alley oops and rebound putbacks until Mack helps him develop his game.
Johnson is a smooth 6’5 170 lbs G ranked 72nd nationally by 247sports composite rankings. He’s got all the elements to his game as well. He can shoot it with range beyond the 3-point line, he can be a primary or secondary ball handler, and he is an excellent passer. Being a Louisville kid, he has a chance to help be a key piece in resurrecting the UofL brand and strengthening the connection between the university and city. He would fit in nicely with Coach Mack. All you have to do is look at a similar player Mack had at Xavier by the name of Paul Scruggs.
If Mack were able to land just one of the guys next weekend, it will make the rest of the recruiting cycle much easier. In my personal opinion, I think he will close the deal with two of the three; those two being David Johnson and Aidan Igiehon. If that does indeed happen, as I am foreseeing, the class would immediately become one of the best recruiting classes in UofL history. It would also prove Mack is a hell of a recruiter because back in March people assumed UofL was going to be placed upon the trash heap of irrelevancy. Instead, they made a home run hire who is landing home run recruits.