Louisville has been front and center at every game this summer of Fort Wayne, Ind., center Malik Williams; Cards are tracking him in Georgia

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. - The University of Louisville basketball staff has made Fort Wayne, Ind., center Malik Williams a priority this month. The Cardinals are tracking Williams at the Under Armour Association Finals this week in the Atlanta area.

Fort Wayne, Ind., Snider High School center Malik Williams says he tries not to look at all of the college coaches watching his games with Team Legit on the AAU circuit during the July evaluation periods.

But it's hard for the 6-foot-11 center not to notice the University of Louisville staff.

"Yeah, they've been there a lot," Williams said with a smile.

Williams has played in 14 games during the first seven days of the month - last week in Philadelphia at the Elevate Hoops event and this week at the Under Armour Association - and the U of L staff has been there for every game.

U of L head coach Rick Pitino started the month watching Williams and has seen five of his games, while Mike Balado and David Padgett have also been there. The Cardinals had all three at both games on Thursday.

"Yeah, they keep in contact a lot and have been to a lot of games," Williams said. "They're always talking to me.

"Coach (Kenny) Johnson and I have a great relationship. We talk all the time and coach Pitino is a good guy. We talk a lot too."

Team Legit went 9-2 last week in Philadelphia, winning the silver bracket of the first event, and is 2-1 this week. Williams had a combined 64 points and 27 rebounds in two games on Thursday, noting he was "playing more aggressive like I need too be."

Williams' team is not sponsored by any shoe company and in fact is a group of guys he's been loyal too.

"Most of us have been playing since the fifth grade," he said. "It's fun with these guys. It was important for me to play with all these guys.

"Going into my freshman year, I went to change and did and it just didn't feel the same. So I came back and I really like these guys a lot."

And the college coaches like Williams.

Ranked as the No. 30 player in the Class of 2017, Williams is looking at Louisville, Indiana, Michigan State, Iowa, Georgetown, Xavier, Purdue and UCLA. He made an unofficial visit to Louisville last month and was at Michigan State at the end of June.

On his unofficial visit last month, Williams said he was able to watch Pitino put his current big men through an individual workout and said it really opened his eyes to how the school could develop him in the future.

"That was the first time I had seen that and it just looked really good," Williams said. "It was nice and that showed me how hard they work to develop all of their players."

Williams said Louisville's pitch to him has been the need the Cardinals' have for a big man with his versatility.

"They said they will develope me the way I need to be developed and because of my versatility can use me in a lot of ways," he said.

Williams had originally wanted to make a decision on his birthday - Aug. 26 - and then said he wanted to narrow his list on that special day. But now he's not sure of what the process will be moving forward.

"It's really just making sure that I am comfortable with the place," he said. "I will probably make five visits. I want to get to as many places as I can to get to see the campus. But I'm not sure what I will do or when."

But one thing that is for sure is when he makes a decision, his mother will be heavily involved.

“She’ll be a big factor in the decision,” he said. “She’s been there since day one. She comes with me on all the visits.

“She loves Louisville. They were always her team growing up, but that won’t make the decision any easier or anything.”


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