Louisville Men’s Basketball put together an excellent 2021 class during a tumultuous time. They signed two excellent guards, an athletic SF with high upside, and a PF with skills like a guard. However, they needed a big man, the centerpiece if you will. They were able to secure the centerpiece with the commitment of 2021 4 Star C Roosevelt Wheeler.
The 6’10 220 lbs native of Richmond, VA chose the Cards over offers from NC State, LSU, Miami, and Georgetown, among others. He’s rated as the 60th best player overall in the 2021 class and the 11th best C prospect per 247sports composite rankings. Louisville assistant coach Mike Pegues led the recruiting effort for the Cards.
Playing for John Marshall High School, Wheeler was a double-double machine last season. He averaged 15.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks per game, according to MaxPreps.
Roosevelt Wheeler Highlights and Breakdowns:
Wheeler is exactly what you imagine when you think of a prototype center in Chris Mack’s system. A legit 6’10, with a long wingspan and plenty of strength, Wheeler is a player physically ready to play division 1 basketball. While he’s developing his offensive game, Wheeler is able to use his size and strength to dominate on the block and in the paint.
Offensively, there are flashes in his highlights. He shows a nice hook shot over his left shoulder. Since he’s right hand dominant, it makes sense. Wheeler also shows an understanding of how to seal defenders and create passing lanes for easy baskets and dunks. He can spin to his left or right, towards the paint or baseline, when attacking with his back to the basket. He primarily finishes with his right hand, but shows he can finish with his left as well. His size doesn’t take away from his athleticism. He can get up and dunk it and does so quite often. He’s working on developing a jumper. Wheeler shows some comfort in facing up and making moves to get to the basket, but that’s an area he’s developing. Right now, he’s most effective with his back to the basket and 5 feet and in. His toughness and ability to finish through heavy contact will mean many and-1 opportunities. Here’s the really good news…he shot free throws at a 91 percent clip last season.
Wheeler is an excellent rebounder, especially on the defensive end. What makes him an excellent rebounder is that he understands the importance of blocking out. As soon as any shot goes up on the defensive end, Wheeler isn’t watching the ball traveling to the rim. Instead, he immediately finds his man to block him out. If he can’t find his man, he finds any member of the opposing team in his vicinity and blocks them out. This is something Chris Mack preaches and it’s something he will love about Wheeler. When it comes to offensive rebounding, Wheeler uses his size to come over top to steal rebounds and is just able to hustle to the basketball. Offensive rebounding is mostly about hustle and muscle and Wheeler understands that.
Defensively, he’s able to move his feet well and guard guys away from the basket, but is most adept at playing around the basket as a shot disruptor and blocker. Wheeler will need to learn to be smart about when to actually block shots. Mack prefers his centers to stay in front, wall up, force a bad/contested shot, and then rebound. I think Wheeler will be more than capable of this. The only thing I’m not sure of is how well he can hedge ball screens. From what I’ve seen of his lateral quickness, I think it should be no problem once he gains the experience and understanding of how Mack wants it done.
Louisville and Chris Mack landed what is potentially their defensive anchor of the future. The 6’11 Roosevelt Wheeler chose to commit to Louisville today over a host of different schools. The Atlanta native, who moved to Richmond, Virginia a few years ago, had offers from ACC schools like: Wake Forest, NC State and Miami. He also held offers from Georgetown, LSU, VCU and Hampton University.
As a junior, Wheeler averaged 16ppg, 12rpg, and an amazing 4bpg. The 4* Wheeler, is ranked as the 41st overall player and 7th best center by rivals and 60th overall player in the class and the 2nd best player in the state by 247sports composite.
Louisville is getting an elite rim protector and a major defensive presence in the paint. When he isn’t swatting shots away, he’s altering shots or discouraging offensive players from entering the paint all together. Wheeler’s athleticism and wingspan combined with his timing, leaping ability, and his quick 2nd and 3rd jumps help make him a great shot blocker. Wheeler is strong around the paint and has very strong hands. Wheeler has the look and game similar to a younger Dwight Howard.
Roosevelt Wheeler is a true low post player. He is athletic and strong around the basket. Wheeler is a guy who knows who he is, so you won’t see him trying to be the next Porziņģis or KD. There is a lot to say about players that know their strengths, where their bread is buttered, and that play to those strengths and Roosevelt Wheeler is that player.
The soon to be John Marshall alum is a raw offensive player, and he has a ton of upside. With Wheeler there is no need to run any specific plays for him to score. He can get you a few garbage buckets around the rim with his presence and activity on the glass. He is also a very good rim runner in transition and could benefit greatly playing with guards like Ellis and Pettiford jr.
Coach Mike Pegues will definitely love working, shaping, tutoring, and molding such a coachable, athletic big man like Wheeler. To become the player that Louisville needs him to be, Wheeler needs to work on a few go-to post moves and counters to those moves. The ability to pass out of the post will also be a skill that Coach Pegues will be working on to better Wheeler’s offensive game.
Roosevelt Wheeler makes the 5th commitment in the 2021 class. He joins already signed Bobby Pettiford Jr, El Ellis, Mike James, and Eric Van Der Heijden. As stated above, he becomes the centerpiece (pun intended). With Malik Williams departing after this season, Louisville needed to add depth at the C position. They not only added depth, but quality with Wheeler. He’s a hard worker on the floor, constantly battling inside on offense and defense. His defensive ability will likely help him get early minutes. Wheeler is constantly working on his offensive game, trying to become a complete player and an absolute terror on both ends.
Coach Mack and staff are proving those people that didn’t think he could recruit at the ACC level, much less have such early success, wrong. This class is going to be one of the top ACC classes this year. More importantly, it fills every current and potential need Louisville may have for next year and the years to come. They now have a back court and front court that is ACC-caliber.
With Wheeler’s commitment, the Cards 2021 class is now ranked 10th nationally and 2nd in the ACC per 247sports. What an excellent job by Coach Mack and staff to reel in a top 10 class with so much potential.