The Cardinals need a major talent infusion next season, and Pitino has devoted considerable effort the past year assembling a four-man recruiting class that will help the Cardinals again challenge for the Big East title.
With the early November signing period starting on Wednesday, InsideTheVille.com, with an assist from Scout.com National Recruiting Director Evan Daniels, answers the major questions about the Cardinals 2011 recruiting haul.
Unless something unexpected happens, Louisville is expecting signatures from Wayne Blackshear, Chane Behanan, Zach Price and Angel Nunez during the early November signing period, which begins Wednesday. Blackshear, Price and Nunez have all told InsideTheVille.com that they'll sign with the Cardinals on Wednesday, and sources have confirmed that Behanan plans to do the same.
Evan Daniels says: "It is my understanding that all four are planning to sign early."
Where does Louisville's recruiting class stack up in the Big East? Nationally?
Louisville and St. John's have the two best early signing classes in the Big East. For my money, the Cardinals have the better class because of the star power Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan bring to the table. When you factor Zach Price, and Wake Forest transfer Tony Woods into the equation Louisville is looking at a recruiting class that rates anywhere from #2 to #6 nationally. Scout.com ranks Louisville's recruiting class No. 2 in the Big East behind St. John's and No. 6 nationally.
Who is the best prospect in Louisville's 2011 recruiting class?
Chane Behanan had a better summer, but Wayne Blackshear is the best prospect in Louisville's recruiting class. Blackshear will make an immediate impact on the wing for the Cardinals, providing scoring, defense, and toughness. Behanan, an undersized power forward, figures to be one of the top players in the Big East for several years, but Blackshear has the ability to leave UofL early for the NBA.
Evan Daniels says: "Wayne Blackshear is the guy that stands out. He's going to be given the ball right away on the perimeter and Louisville is going to look for him to score. He's what they're missing because Louisville doesn't have a great perimeter scorer."
What impact would Wake Forest transfer Tony Woods have on Louisville's incoming class?
6-foot-11 Tony Woods, who is expected to enroll at Louisville this January, could make a big impact for the Cardinals next season. Woods, a former Top 50 prospect from Georgia, must sit out the first semester next season, but will be able to adjust to Rick Pitino's program and learn UofL's system. Woods played two seasons for Wake Forest and brings high-level experience to the table. He also provides insurance for Pitino if Terrence Jennings decides to leave after his junior season to play pro basketball.
Evan Daniels says: "Tony Woods brings yet another talented frontcourt player to the equation. They've already got Chane Behanan, Zach Price and Angel Nunez in their 2011 class, and you throw Tony Woods in that group with what they already have on campus and you're likely looking at the best frontcourt in the Big East. Having Tony Woods will help Zach Price develop because he won't be thrown into the mix right away."
Will Louisville sign any more players this year?
Yes, but probably not until the spring signing period. Rick Pitino is looking for a major talent infusion for his program and he's not expected to cease his 2011 recruiting efforts in the fall. The Cardinals are still on the prowl for a point guard, and may also be in the market for another wing prospect. Bobby Parks, a 6-foot-5 wing from Memphis, is one name to remember. DeAndre Daniels, another talented wing prospect, is also on the market.
Evan Daniels says: "They will sign another player this year but I don't think they will in the fall. I think it's clear that point guard is a position Louisville is looking to fill a void."