Things are starting to heat up for Louisville Men’s Basketball on the recruiting trail. Earlier this month, they picked up their second commit for 2021 with PG Bobby Pettiford Jr. However, today, they added to this year’s class with the surprising commitment of 4 Star C Gabe Wiznitzer.
Wiznitzer was a member of the 2021 class, but he’s reclassifying to 2020. This season he will redshirt to get stronger and to acclimate to college. The 6’11 240 lbs PF/C chose Louisville over offers from West Virginia, TCU, LSU, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Clemson, and Iona, among others. 247sports had ranked him as the 123rd best prospect nationally and the 23rd best at his position in the 2021 class.
Wiznitzer plays for Hargrave Military Academy which has produced some notable Louisville alumni in recent years. Among that talent is Luke Hancock, Montrezl Harrell, and former Louisville assistant and current NC State head coach Kevin Keatts. He’s originally from SC.
Sam and Shawn broke down Gabe Wiznitzer’s game after watching highlights. Here are our thoughts.
Gabe Wiznitzer is a talented PF/C prospect with some good fundamentals with his back to the basket and excellent athleticism. Whether dunking, using a nice jump hook, or using various post moves, Wiznitzer knows how to score around the basket. His footwork makes him a very able defender and he shows he knows how to wall up defensively. Wiznitzer can also shoot from long range effectively. For being relatively young, he’s very strong, with potential to grow stronger. His length will be a problem for opponents to deal with defensively and offensively.
Speaking specifically about offense, I love that Wiznitzer loves to finish with dunks. He’s 6’11 with good hops, knows it, and appears to like to intimidate opponents. Therefore, he’s always looking to dunk and he likes to put a little sauce on his dunks. Another aspect to this is he doesn’t bring the ball down when catching close to the rim in the paint. He is fundamentally sound in that he keeps the ball high the entire process.
When Wiznitzer posts up with his back to the basket, he shows the ability to hit a nice jump hook with his right hand and a nice baby hook with his left. His footwork is excellent for such a big, young player. Wiznitzer exhibits a nice step through move and also exhibits a nice half whirl and half whirl counter move in which he either spins half way for an open short jumper or spins, fakes the jumper, gets the defender in the air, and then steps forward for an easy basket. His touch around the rim is excellent. He can make these moves and finish. All of these moves are bread and butter for him. I expect he will learn a nice drop step move at some point as well.
Another aspect of his game that makes him especially intriguing is his shooting from the arc. Wiznitzer has a nice shooting stroke and can bury threes off the catch. I imagine Coach Chris Mack could utilize him in a lot of pick-and-pop scenarios.
Defensively, Wiznitzer understands one fundamental concept that is a Coach Mack staple: the wall up. He knows how to wall up on defense and not foul. He understands his long arms and height will disrupt shot attempts at the rim. However, if he sees an opportunity to block a shot, he’ll take it; especially if he is helping from the weak side or coming up from behind the offensive player at the rim.
Wiznitzer has some tenacity rebounding, especially on the offensive end. His height and athleticism allows him to go up higher than most and grab boards for put backs. There aren’t many highlights of his defensive rebounding, but with the effort he puts in on the offensive glass, he definitely should be just fine rebounding on the defensive glass.
Wiznitzer is strong for his age, but I think can add even more strength under Andy Kettler. He will need to get stronger in his lower body, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Athletically, he’s got decent quickness laterally which should help when he’s asked to hedge on screens as Coach Mack likes to do defensively.
Louisville and Chris Mack got their big man. 6’11 240lbs Gabe Wiznitzer will redshirt this year for the Louisville Basketball team. Wiznitzer brings with him a unique set of skills, skills that make him an almost perfect fit for Coach Mack’s system.
For a 6’11 big, Wiznitzer is surprisingly a quick leaper; not to be confused with a quick second leaper. Once Wiznitzer decides he’s going up, he leaves his feet so quickly that the defense barely has a chance of blocking his attempt at the basket. Along with being quick on his first attempt, Wiznitzer is also a very strong finisher. Wiznitzer standing nearly 7 ft tall often finishes through contact with either right or left hand or both.
Gabe Wiznitzer is very efficient on either side of the block. The big man has a nice array of moves and a series of fakes (head and shoulder) that he can throw at defenders. Although Wiznitzer prefers to turn over his left shoulder and finish with either a righthanded hook or layup, he also has a really great and quick counter move. Gabe has some really good hands and a smooth touch around the basket.
One thing that’s often missed about analyzing big men is their feel or lack of feel for the game. Gabe has a really good feel for the game and a good basketball IQ. In the post, Gabe often keeps the ball high (negates smaller guards from swiping away at the ball) and goes back up for a layup or makes a pass out to a teammate.
Defensively, Wiznitzer is going to need some more work. He is a really good position rebounder, but struggles to grab rebounds out of his area. Gabe is almost a perfect fit for Chris Mack’s defensive pack line scheme. I say almost because Wiznitzer needs to work on his foot speed and agility once he gets on campus. On the block, Gabe is a very adequate rim protector. He usually keeps his principle of verticality and rarely fouls while contesting shots.
Similar to current center Malik Williams, Wiznitzer is a very capable 3pt shooter. Although he doesn’t take a lot of shots beyond the arc, Wiznitzer is very efficient from beyond the arc. This is a key get for Louisville looking to help replace Malik Williams next year. Wiznitzer, while not being the fastest or the most fleet footed athlete makes him the perfect candidate to be a trail 5 on the secondary break for Louisville. Basically, what I’m saying is once the opposing teams stops the initial fast break, here comes the unexpected 5 man trailing the play and is most likely open for an open 3-point attempt before the offense gets into their set. Wiznitzer is a more than capable shooter for the defense to have to pay attention to him, thus leaving them scrambling on defense and eventually leaving someone on offense open.
Gabe Wiznitzer is a prototypical C in Chris Mack’s system. He will have to become a passer out of the post because his offensive skill will inevitably lead to double teams being thrown at him. His skill and size are undeniable assets. Near 7-feet, able to move gracefully with a ton of low post moves, Wiznitzer could become a great C along the lines of David Padgett. In fact, in many ways, he reminds me of a more athletic David Padgett. With a redshirt year, he should enter 2021-2022 as a guy who will play major minutes and be a major contributor. So, enjoy this nice surprise on a hot summer afternoon Cards fans.