Jackpot! Cardinals Land Big Time Recruits

A few weeks ago, the Kansas Jayhawks turned the heat up on some premier prospects and compiled an amazing week's worth of recruits. This weekend, the Louisville Cardinals hosted a big time camp on their campus and it was Rick Pitino's turn to make it happen.

Heading into the summer of 2005, the Louisville Cardinals pegged 5-foot-11 guard Andre McGee as their top guard target in the class. As far as power forwards were concerned, Amir Johnson topped the Cardinals' list. Well, mission accomplished. Louisville had them both committed by the time they closed camp this weekend.

On Sunday, Rick Pitino and the boys capped an amazing run. First, former Kansas transfer David Padgett (No. 4 in 2003), a 6-11 big man, picked the Cardinals over UCLA and UNC late Saturday night.

By early Sunday afternoon, McGee (No. 35, TheInsiders.com) had made it clear that he was ready to give his pledge to Pitino as well. Later in the day, the 6-9 Johnson who is ranked No. 12 in America, also made it known that he wanted to play his college ball in Louisville.

By the time Johnson, told Pitino he was coming, the coach already knew it was a special weekend. His response, according to Johnson after the young man committed: "He said, ‘You made me a very happy man.'"

If you count a commitment from Lamar Roberson, a 6-7 forward who is prepping next season and could wind up on campus in the fall of 2005, then the Cardinals already have four in the hopper for 2005 before the crazy July summer schedule begins.

It's not out of the question that, counting Padgett, the Cardinals might have landed three McDonald's All-Americans in one weekend. Are you serious? That's recruiting at its highest level.

When assistant coach Reggie Theus came to Louisville from Los Angeles last year, the foundation for the recruitment of these West Coaster's was laid. The former NBA star actually played high school basketball against McGee's father. Theus certainly made his bones as a college coach this weekend.

When you land a collection of talent akin to the boys the Cardinals landed in the last 48 hours and as Theus did Sunday afternoon, there's bound to be some smiling going on.

"[Coach Theus] kept on smiling," Johnson said. "I was kind of cool, but he kept on smiling."

Big grins aside, Louisville made a recruiting statement this weekend by adding a premier guard and two big men capable of helping the Cardinals advance deep into the NCAA Tournament in the coming years.

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