Next?

<b>COMMENTARY</b> Five prospects have already committed to Rick Pitino for 2005. So why the laundry of list of players scheduled for official visits in the upcoming weeks?

As a starting point, we'll begin by posing this question.

Will 6'11 Jonathan Huffman be a Cardinal when he leaves Louisville to return to Birmingham later this weekend?

While the prediction game can get tricky, we'll try to use a poker analogy for illustrative purposes.

While we're not ready to move all of our chips into the pot just yet with Huffman, it wouldn't take much on the flop for us to do so. In other words, the odds that Huffman commits to Louisville this weekend during his official visit are pretty high.

The situation at U of L seemingly makes a lot of sense for Huffman. With Brian Johnson, Tello Palacios and David Padgett already on campus, Huffman would step into an ideal situation next season. With those three established in the frontcourt, Huffman wouldn't be rushed into action but his combination of size and skills would almost certainly find an important role for him on what figures to be a national title contending team.

A Huffman commit would seemingly give Pitino six incoming freshmen next season; Clarence Holloway, Lamar Roberson, Andre McGee, Amir Johnson and Terrence Williams, plus Kansas transfer David Padgett.

Seemingly, the key word. In recruiting, things quite often are not always as they appear. You never know what might happen around the corner, so if recruiting high school basketball players is the life-blood of your profession, you're probably wise to cover all of your bases just in case.

And if Huffman commits, as appears extremely probable, it likely won't signal an end to the Cardinals recruiting efforts for next season.

With 6'5 Marcus Johnson, a small forward from Los Angeles, scheduled to make an official visit September 10, 6'8 Chad Millard, a sharp-shooting forward, scheduled to visit on September 24, and Bronx shooting guard Ricky Torres clamoring to visit as well, Pitino will seemingly have his choice of perimeter players to round out his recruiting class.

While Pitino has met most of his needs already, the class still lacks a knock-down outside shooter. Millard is quite capable of filling that role, as is the 6'4 Torres. And while Johnson might not measure up to Millard and Torres in the shooting department, he brings world-class athleticism to the mix, which can never be discounted in these matters.

But you won't get a prediction out of us on this last matter. It certainly wouldn't surprise us if Millard and/or Torres end up at U of L. It also wouldn't be shocking if Johnson pulled the trigger during his official visit. Though we're not sure how likely that is to happen.

Clearly, Pitino can't take all three. It probably will come down to who steps up to the plate and is ready to join the fold. No matter what happens, though, the Cardinals hand will have just about everyone else sitting at the table beaten before the November signing period arrives.


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