Cardinal Authority publisher Jody Demling sat down with the four Scout.com national recruiting analysts - Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington - recently and asked them five questions about the University of Louisville basketball program in regards to hoops recruiting.
Here's the Q&A with the analysts as the first of three five-day evaluation periods begins on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Cardinal Authority: Who is the best freshman in the current freshman class at Louisville?
Evan Daniels: "Donovan is physically ready to compete at that level. He's a great fit for how Louisville plays both offensively and defensively. That dude is so dialed in on the defensive end and with the way Rick Pitino likes to press and likes his guards to get after it, I have a feeling he's going to get a lot of playing time early on and be effective."
Brian Snow: "I would say Donovan Mitchell is the best player coming in. He just brings a versatility and a toughness coming in with him. So you get a guy, who I don't think he's a true point guard but he can handle the ball. You can put him in that position, especially the way Louisville runs the offense. He should be perfect with what Rick Pitino likes to do. So, I not only think he's the most talented guy but he's also the best fit and he's a guy who is going to be around for a while. He has a huge upside.
Josh Gershon: "Donovan Mitchell simple because of his versatility, his strength and his athleticism are really strong for a freshman, especially a freshman guard. I love the fact that he's a late bloomer. He does so many good things for at the guard position. He's so tough to guard and is such a good passer and will be able to defend the 1 and the 2 at the next level. He's a tough, competitive, athletic kid and his shot just keeps improving over time."
Rob Harrington: "I like the class as a whole, but I think Donovan has a great chance to hit the ground running. He's physically and mentally ready. He's already going to physically be stronger than most college seniors. He hasn't been a coddled kid all along he ha sa bit of a chip on his shoulder. He's kind of like, 'I have to get my own' and that will pay off."
Cardinal Authority: V.J. King was the first commitment in the Class of 2016. How does King fit with the Cardinals?
Evan Daniels: "He gives Louisville a different look on the wing. They have a strong, tough, physical athlete who can make shots in Mitchell and they have Deng Adel, who is long and athletic and has a lot of potential, and then they add a guy who can really score the basketball a number of ways and has a really strong mid-range game. He gives them another look, another type of player who can play on the wing for them."
Brian Snow: "V.J. is super talented, walks in the gym and looks the part, you know he's a big-time player. But always the one knock on him has been going hard all the time. He's going to have to work hard to play and that's where coach Pitino has made his money before. As long as V.J. buys in he will be fine because of his physical talent. It will be interesting to me to see how mentally he adjusts."
Josh Gershon: "He's a guy who can play both the 2 and the 3 at the next level. He has good size and athleticism and is a guy who is a threat to hit jumpers and is a really good rebounder. He's such a versatile wing. You can't have enough guys like him at the college level. Because of his versatility, he will be able to get on the floor early."
Rob Harrington: "I love him as a compliment. When I have seen him play well, he has primarily been a really good jump shooter. I don't think he will be as good of a slasher as say a Donovan Mitchell, but I think he'll give them outside shooting and on top of that he has great size and will be good on the defensive end. He's something they really needed."
Cardinal Authority: Who could be No. 2 in the Class of 2016 for the Cardinals?
Evan Daniels: "They're in the mix with a lot of guys but don't look at any of them and right off the bat say they are getting them. They are really in on some good guys but still have work to do."
Brian Snow: "I would have said Alterique Gilbert (who committed to UConn last weekend) but at this point for Louisville I think they are clearly looking for a point guard who can run the team."
Josh Gershon: "They are looking and in on some good guards but with the way they play it doesn't have to be a one or a two, but maybe a combo guard."
Rob Harrington: "With King already (committed), I think they need someone who is a little more creative on the ball. It could be McGusty or Fuultz there."
Cardinal Authority: Is there some recruit out there who fits that mold of a Louisville-style guy?
Evan Daniels: "I think ('17) D.J. Harvey would be a Pitino-style player and they obviously have some connections there with him. I think he really fits with what they like to do."
Brian Snow: "Hamidou Diallo ('17) kind of fits what I am looking for if you say Louisville style player. He's long, he's athletic, he plays hard and he's really talented. He has everything that Rick Pitino seems to target and he can make some shots, which is clearly what he is on right now - shooting."
Josh Gershon: "Markelle Fultz is so talented that I can't imagine a whole lot of systems in college basketball he wouldn't fit into. At 6-foot-4, he can play the 1 and the 2 and is such a good passer. He's just a baby physically still but he would certainly fit in there."
Rob Harrington: "I would love (Kam) McGusty for them. We are seeing him play very well right now and I don't like him having to play with the ball in his hands all the time. I like him in transition and I think like him in the style they play. He's also a kid that hasn't had a ton of hype all of his career, doesn't have that profile, but is playing so well now."
Cardinal Authority: The focus for the Louisville staff has been shooters. Can there be such a thing as too much shooting when you are putting together a roster?
Evan Daniels: "I think there's a real lack of good shooting out there now a days and it's something that you really need to put a premium on as a coach. I don't think you can get too much."
Brian Snow: "You can never have too many shooters, it's just a matter of if they can do anything else. You just can't lock yourself into too many one-dimensional guys, the shooters have to be versatile because if they are not making shots they are worthless."
Josh Gershon: "You see coaches have one or two years when they don't have enough shooters and they get scared a little, so they go in the other direction and want only shooters. I think it's really important to have a good balance. The more shooters you have the more likely you are to not have a lot of good defenders. There's not a ton of guys at the college level who can shoot and defend because if you can do both, you are probably going to get drafted early on."
Rob Harrington: "They could get out of balance by looking too much but that's why I like the King pickup so much is because they won't sacrifice in any other areas with him. He's so good at shooting, they'll get what they want there, but he's going to be fine. There's a potential downside to (too much shooting) but the way they are recruiting now it doesn't seem to look like there will be for them."