The University of Louisville basketball staff was out in full force last week during the three evaluation periods of the summer.
U of L head coach Rick Pitino spent more time on the road this summer than of any time we can recall, while assistants Mike Balado, Kenny Johnson and David Padgett barely had a day off in July.
The Cardinals' staff worked all but the six days they were made to take off because of the self-imposed sanctions and they appear to be in good shape for several prospects in the current recruiting cycle.
The Class of 2017 for the Cardinals is expected to be four players.
Some of the names have changed on this list, while there are some who have stayed near - or at - the top all summer. The official visits will begin next week with two of the top prospects.
Here's a look at how the Louisville staff is trending with its 2017 top targets coming out of the evaluation periods. 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.
Fort Wayne, Ind., big man Malik Williams started the summer on top of this list and ends it at the very top after the staff attended each and every one of his 27 games this summer. Rick Pitino made it known that Williams was the priority when he went off the normal path of the summer to start the first evaluation period in Philadelphia just to see Williams and then ended it in Orlando with Williams as the only target in the AAU Super Showcase - yet Pitino watched every game. Williams is elite and different than any other big man player Pitino has recruited. He would be a major addition and sounds like U of L is one of the schools in good shape.
Alex O'Connell was a new name after week one of evaluations and he's stayed near the top of the list for the Cardinals' staff and will make his official visit on Monday to U of L. O'Connell has already made a bunch of unofficial visits but am told he could make five official visits over the next few weeks before making a decision. Cards are in great shape.
Marietta, Ga., point guard Darius Perry emerged from a large group of point guards the staff evaluated as one of the top targets along with Makai Ashton-Langford. The only reason Perry is here and not Ashton-Langford is because Perry is getting one of the first official visits. He'll be in town next Tuesday and start his visit on Wednesday. Sounds like it's Louisville or Georgia.
Makai Ashton-Langford was the top player on this board for a bit this summer and is still one of the top prospects, but we moved him down a bit because the staff is bringing Darius Perry into visit first. Ashton-Langford had a very good summer - his team finished 21-0 and won the two major adidas events - and would be a huge addition to the roster.
We are keeping Lance Thomas in this spot because the staff has been high on him. He's a bigger guy but different than Williams. In fact, the Cardinals could use both. Not sure they can get both but Thomas has U of L in his final four.
Brandon Randolph narrowed his list to a top 12, so his recruitment could take a while. If Louisville doesn't land O'Connell, the full-court press will be on Randolph and really they're in good shape with both right now. Expect him to visit in early September.
Sounds like Matt Coleman is down the list behind Perry, Ashton-Langford and Lindell Wigginton.
D.J. Harvey wants to make an official visit to Louisville but right now that's not been confirmed. Harvey didn't have a great summer but finished up with an impressive showing at the Nike Skills Academy.
While he had some really good games, Mayan Kiir obviously didn't do enough to impress Rick Pitino. They could have him if they wanted but there are others much higher on the board.