On Friday coaches boarded planes and began traveling to different parts of the country recruiting talent for the 2015 and 2016 classes as the spring open evaluation period is this weekend. In a press conference early in the week coach Pitino said that they wanted to find 3 guys for the 2015 class who were versatile players and could play multiple positions. Coach Pitino and staff spent Friday and Saturday morning in Dallas at an Adidas event and will spend Saturday night in Sacramento, California at the Nike EYBL event.
Here are some of the guys that Coach Pitino and his staff will be watching this weekend.
-Bragg has improved steadily and he has all the physical tools to become a top-five prospect. He is extremely talented and plays with a high motor, and separates himself from his peers. Athletically, he is bouncy with a long frame, and he uses those physical gifts to dominate opponents. His offensive skills have improved, and he has become an even more difficult matchup for opposing forwards. He’s productive and full of potential.
-Simon is one of the top emerging guards in the country right now. At 6’4, he is a versatile defender who doesn’t have any one specific position on the court but in high school usually played one of the wing spots. Offensively, Simon does a little bit of everything, he can handle it well, can attack the basket, come off the screen, catch and score.
-Jeter is a productive and hardworking forward. He is force down low and he understands how to use his body inside on the blocks and is not afraid to mix it up. He runs the floor very well in transition which is great in a Pitino system, can finish and has a understanding of rebounding on both ends.
-Trier is a physical, scoring guard, he can drain deep jump shots off the bounce, attacks the rim with a vengeance, and does a good job of getting his teammates involved as well. This kid is rising fast among the ranks.
-Smith is a talented and versatile wing who can do just about everything. He can handle the ball in the open court, knock in shots and his overall athleticism is impressive. He has a reputation as a guy who tends to play in spurts, but is a high-IQ player.
-Blakeney is a true shooting guard who scores at all three levels (at the rim, from mid-range and from 3-point range. He is described as a player with a take-no-prisoners scoring mentality. The Cardinals have been in on him for a while and I would guess he may just end up in Louisville.
-Briscoe has an unorthodox attacking style and a unique ability to make tough shots that make him virtually unguardable at times. He creates scoring opportunities on demand for both himself and his teammates.
-Rabb is a long, very athletic forward with an outstanding motor. He rebounds in and out of his area, blocks shots on or away from the ball and finishes above the rim with an quick explosive bounce. He is described as a player who’s skill has developed at a rapid pace. Crazy upside.
-Zimmerman is extremely skilled and his IQ for the game is impressive. He is one big and talented lefty. And talk about versatile big men he can score at the rim, drop long jump shots, or take his man off-the-dribble. He is probably the most skilled and productive big in the Class of 2015.
-Deng is a under the radar kid from Australia who played at Victory Rock Prep School in Florida this past season and is playing for the Florida Elite AAU team this summer. At 6-7 he is described as a player that has the size of a forward and the skills of a guard. He does have a 33-inch vertical leap and 6-foot-10 wingspan. He excels in transition, attacks the basket with either hand, finishes aggressively above the rim, and has a jump shot that keeps defenders honest. Scouts say that his jumper might actually be his trademark. He’s got a really nice mid-range game, strokes the 3-ball with ease, and he’s been compared to the most is Kevin Durant. I would mind seeing this guy in a Cardinal uniform and if you take the time to do some research on this kid you’ll see he’s got the kind of character that fits the mold.
(Under Armour/Kelly Kline)
-Diallo has been described as a player with a high motor who plays with the energy, effort and competes on a consistent basis. He influences the game with his defense as a physical presence, shot-blocker and rebounder in the paint. He runs the floor to finish a play, contest a shot or grab a loose ball. On offense he finishes well down low.
-Giddens has been described as an eraser inside. He is big, long and athletic. Scouts say he’s a player that needs to continue to hone his offensive skills. His defense and rebounding are what is getting him noticed right now. With a rare combination of fluidity and athleticism on a tall, skinny frame, Giddens is a major prospect.
-Spalding is a Louisville kid who plays for Trinity. He is a true face up 4 that can not only play around the rim and use his size and length, but also put the ball on the floor and show a nice mid range game both off the dribble and off a screen. His stock has been on the rise. Would be great to keep this kid in Louisville.
-Owens is a tough, competitive, physical and versatile powerful forward. He is a tremendous rebounder on both ends of the floor. He has excellent knack and quickness to the ball. He blocks shots in and out of his area as well. He can face and knock down the 15 footer in addition to having the ability drive to the basket. He committed to UFC but then backed out.
-Crawford is a high-level point guard who wants to make his teammates better by handing out assists. His desire to share the basketball is what makes him stand out from the rest. He has change of speed on his drives and explosiveness at the rim, and can knock down the three.
-Dorsey is extremely assertive on both ends of the floor, looking to make plays offensively and also shows high energy on defense. He is described as a guy who plays the right way, distributing the ball and running his team in a way that would translate to a college setting.
-Reaves is a player who shows off his skills by maneuvering through traffic with sound ball-handling and finishing with a soft jump shot. He is described as a player that does all of the little things right and has great court awareness.
-Robinson is described as a sturdy and efficient PG who makes quick friends with the big men on his teams thanks to his ability to feed the post. With all of the big guys on the Louisville roster now would be a good time to have a guy like Robinson.
-Tyus is described as a good ball-handler and decision-maker, showing an ability to get into the teeth of the defense and use his size to both score and pass over smaller defenders. He is a player who is comfortable asserting himself vocally and showing leadership skills.
There’s a really good chance that there are a few future Cardinals in this group. I thought I’d compile a list of these guys so that you can reference it when you hear their names.
There is a lot of big time talent on this list and they are being pursued by a lot of major college programs. It will help that Louisville’s new recruiting ace Kenny Johnson will be out this weekend recruiting for the Cardinals. This was a home run hire for Coach Pitino and there is no doubt it will have an immediate impact starting this weekend.