Monster hoops recruiting weekend on tap

At least ten of the nation's top basketball prospects will be in town this weekend either to participate in Rick Pitino's Individual Instruction Camp or on official visits. Which players will be in town? What's likely to result? Are more commitments forthcoming?

This could turn out to be a potentially monster week for Rick Pitino and the University of Louisville on the recruiting trail.

With two prospects having already verbally committed from the class of 2005 in 7'0 Clarence Holloway from Chicago, Illinois and 6'8 Lamar Roberson from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Pitino and company will welcome several of the nation's top prospects to town June 11-13.

Prospects including Holloway, 6'10 Brayden Bell of Salt Lake City, Utah, 6'7 Davon Jefferson of Lynwood, California, 6'7 Jeremiah Bryant of Chicago, 7'0 Jonathan Huffman, 6'7 Martez Walker (2008), 6'10 Amir Johnson of Los Angeles, 5'10 Andre McGee of Moreno Valley, California, 6'5 Terrence Williams of Seattle, Washington, 6'6 Marcus Johnson of Los Angeles and 6'8 Kevin Durant (2006) of Fort Washington, MD will be in town this weekend on official campus visits or to participate in Pitino's Individual Instruction camp at the Student Activities Center.

Count them up. That's no less than eight of the nation's Top 100 prospects in the class of 2005 expected to either participate in U of L's instructional basketball camp or make an official visit at the same time! Having this many of the nation's top players on campus at once is unprecedented in U of L hoops history and must be considered one of the most impressive recruiting feats of the year.

So what's likely to happen as a result of having this many talented prospects on campus at the same time? Will certain prospects feel enough healthy pressure to make an early decision and verbally commit to Louisville?

The answer to those questions are anyone's guess. However, we're fairly certain one of the more important results will be a verbal committment from point guard Andre McGee. McGee has already visited Arizona State and Washington this spring and has indicated that he'll make his decision following his visit to Louisville. And this one seems a no-brainer as McGee has consistently listed the Cardinals as his favorite for the past month.

Another prospect to keep an eye on is Marcus Johnson. An athletic small forward, Johnson lists Louisville, along with Syracuse, as his top two schools. Johnson told ITV at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions last weekend that he's strongly thinking about making an early decision and that his mother, who will accompany him on his visit, favors Louisville.

How will combo forward Lamar Roberson's recent committment, who plays a similar position, effect Johnson? That's probably one of the more important questions we're looking for an answer.


Super-prospect Amir Johnson
Another intriguiging name on the list is Johnson's teammate at Westchester High School, Amir Johnson (no relation). Johnson, who recently stated he wanted to get away from California to attend college, appears to favor Louisville, Syracuse and North Carolina. He's considered one of the top 20-30 prospects nationally and there's some indication that the Cardinals might be in the drivers seat for the talented shot blocker from Southern California.

Would Johnson be ready to pull the trigger and commit to the Cardinals this early? Again, another important question we'll soon find an answer.

And what about super-athetlic wing prospects Jefferson and Williams? Certainly two of the most talented wings on the west coast, Jefferson is likely to get a strong look in camp, while Williams, who lists Louisville, Kansas, Indiana, and Georgia Tech as his favorites, might feel some pressure to act quickly and pull the trigger this weekend if he wants to play at Louisville.

Bell, a center who prefers facing the basket, could be impacted by the decision of 6'11 David Padgett, a transfer from the University of Kansas who essentially plays the same position as the Salt Lake City product. If Padgett selects Louisville over UCLA this week, Louisville's pursuit of Bell could cease.

And you can't wrap this conversation up without mentioning elite rising junior Kevin Durant. Without question one of the most talented forward prospects in the loaded 2006 class nationally, Durant is supremely skilled and athletic. Clearly Louisville will be a major factor for Durant's services when the time comes and having him at camp seemingly gives the Cardinals an edge in the grand scheme of things.

Nevertheless, the fact that Louisville will have so many of the nation's top players on campus this weekend is a testament to the strength of the Cardinals currently on the recruiting trail. And if a verbal commitment or two or three comes as a result, the Cardinals will once again be in the hunt for one of the top recruiting classes in the nation once again.

CAMP PARTICIPANTS AND OFFICIAL VISITORS

  • 7'0 Clarence Holloway (Louisville commit) (No. 88)
  • 7'0 Jonathan Huffman, Birmingham, AL
  • 6'10 Brayden Bell, Salt Lake City, UT (No. 59)
  • 6'10 Amir Johnson, Los Angeles (No. 12)
  • 6'7 Davon Jefferson, Lynwood, CA (No. 41)
  • 6'7 Jeremiah Bryant, Chicago
  • 6'7 Martez Walker (2008), Birmingham, AL
  • 5'10 Andre McGee, Moreno Valley, CA (No. 35)
  • 6'6 Marcus Johnson, Los Angeles (No. 58)
  • 6'5 Terrence Williams, Seattle, WA (No. 22)
  • 6'8 Kevin Durant (2006), Fort Washington, MD

    Note: All prospects are members of the class of 2005 unless noted and rankings are from TheInsiders.com.


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