The University of Louisville basketball staff was out in full force last week during the first of three evaluation periods this month.
U of L head coach Rick Pitino and assistants Mike Balado, Kenny Johnson and David Padgett attended as many as seven events and evaluated some 40 prospects during the first week of the month.
The Class of 2017 for the Cardinals is expected to be four players.
And while the class had started to take shape in recent weeks with a few visits, there were some major changes during the first week of evaluations. Check out the big board on the premium forum for all the prospects the staff is still recruiting.
But here's a look at how the Louisville staff is trending with its 2017 top targets heading into the evaluations. This list does not include every recruit on the board for the U of L staff, just a few trending up or down for the Cardinals.
I'd say Makai Ashton-Langford is for sure the top guard target and maybe the top target overall for the Cardinals. There's also some speculation on the recruiting scene that U of L is the favorite now to land the guard who led Mass Rivals to the adidas Gauntlet title. U of L, Connecticut and Providence are still the three schools he said are recruiting him the hardest. He said an official visit date is still being worked on, but sounds like he might be one of the first visitors in August.
After a visit last month, Louisville is looking like to be in prime shape for Fort Wayne, Ind., big man Malik Williams. And nothing that happened last week changes my mind at all. The staff was at EVERY game of Williams' and he was really the only prospect they were after in two events in Philadelphia. Pitino started his week with Williams. Expect that attention to continue this week.
Well, here's the first new name and Alex O'Connell shot right up the board. He wants to end his recruitment in mid-August and is working on making an official visit to Louisville not long after the July evaluation periods are complete. He's a hot name on the recruiting trail but is very intrigued by the offer from Pitino and staff. I'd say he could be the first commitment.
The Louisville staff spent a lot of time with Brandon Randolph at the Nike Peach Jam last week. Randolph doesn't say much about his recruitment but confirmed that Louisville is one of his top choices. The Westtown, Pa., star made a good impression on Pitino last week and I would expect the same attention being paid to him moving forward.
Lindell Wigginton made a huge impression on the U of L staff last week and Pitino was the only head coach present at his games on the first day of the adidas event. Wigginton took notice of that and is expected to also visit sometime in August or early September. He's clearly the No. 2 point guard - behind Ashton-Langford - on the Cardinals' board.
Yeah, I know he's a new name but can't put more than five in the 'up' category so am sticking Lance Thomas right here because I think he's right in the mix for one of the spots. The staff loved his game and will watch him the next two weeks and I would imagine turn the heat up.
Matt Coleman was higher than we thought on the board heading into July and sticks in there as the No. 3 point guard in the class. He was really good last week at Peach Invitational and will play this week at USA Basketball.
An Indianapolis Southport guard, Paul Scruggs made a visit to Louisville's campus last month and was solid last week at the Under Armour camp. He's a physical guard with a ton of upside and the Cardinals' are still in the mix. Xavier leads for Scruggs.
Darius Perry is a solid guard and still in the mix. He wants to make an official visit and the staff will see him a lot this coming week. I still like the chances for the Cardinals' to land Perry, but others are ahead of him on the board for now.
Not going to move Nick Weatherspoon down, even though I don't think the Cardinals will get him in the end. But he still does want to make an official visit and is saying Mississippi State isn't a lock. We shall see.
While coach Pitino and his staff have major connections and he was pretty good last week, I just think there might not be enough room in the class in the end for Mayan Kiir.
A week after thinking he was going to commit - which he might have wanted too - I'd say Luka Garza had the biggest fall of the week. He didn't play well in front of coach Pitino at Peach Jam,
It was another drop for a guy we had moving up prior to July as D.J. Harvey also didn't play well at Peach Jam,
Wasn't sure where to put Quade Green before the Peach Jam, but now I know to take him off the board. He's not a guy Louisville is getting and they won't be spending a ton of time on him.
Unfortunately, Ballard guard David Sloan wasn't great last week at the adidas event and I'm taking him off the list.