Marcus Johnson in firm command of his recruitment

6'5 Marcus Johnson will officially visit the University of Louisville this weekend and appears in firm command of his recruitment as he's currently the top recruiting target of three Big East power-houses.

Marcus Johnson or Bryan Harvey. Bryan Harvey or Marcus Johnson. That seems to be the question for the University of Louisville and it will be Johnson, an athletic wing player who had an excellent summer, with the opportunity to act first.

The 6'5 Johnson, from Los Angeles Westchester, will get first shot at taking the University of Louisville's final scholarship in the class of 2005, at least for the moment, this weekend when he makes an official visit to U of L.

With arguably the nation's finest haul of recruits already lined up, Cardinal coach Rick Pitino has turned his attention to rounding out a class that already includes 6'9 Amir Johnson, 5'11 Andre McGee, 6'5 Terrence Williams, 7'0 Clarence Holloway, 6'11 Jonathan Huffman and 6'7 Lamar Roberson, with an explosive wing scorer.

Both Johnson and the 6'5 Harvey fit that mold and the ball is clearly in Johnson's court. You can bet Pitino, a master motivator and excellent pitch man, would like nothing better than to wrap up Johnson over the weekend before he takes planned visits to Connecticut and Syracuse later this fall. And that could be hardest part.

While Pitino appears to have a strong bargaining chip to use as leverage with Johnson, as Harvey, who has Louisville near the top of his list, is scheduled to make an official visit to U of L in two weeks, that probably won't be the case.

You see, Johnson, according to sources familiar with both Syracuse and Connecticut, also is the top recruiting target for both the Orange and Huskies. So Johnson appears to be in firm command of his recruitment. If he's not ready to make a decision this weekend while in Louisville, Johnson clearly has two other prime-time options, and Syracuse has been the presumed favorite all along.

And if Johnson doesn't pull the trigger on his visit this weekend, Louisville will likely have to make a decision whether or not they want to ride it out and wait on a decision from the talented forward or move on and turn the heat up on Harvey.

And there's no easy answer to that question. If Johnson doesn't commit to Louisville while in town, a lot will depend on the vibe he gives the U of L coaches. If Pitino and company don't feel relatively certain they've got a chance with Johnson, you'd expect they'd turn to Harvey at once.

But what happens if neither Johnson or Harvey decide Louisville is in their cards?

You'd have to figure 6'4 sharp-shooter Ricky Torres would get the first call if that were to happen. And though sources close to Torres say he has yet to hear from Pitino directly, the Bronx, NY native currently lists Louisville in his top three along with Pittsburgh and St. John's and has made it clear he'd like to make an official visit to U of L if given the opportunity.

So Pitino still has lots of options to round out an already impressive recruiting class. The problem for Louisville, though, is that its number one recruiting target, Marcus Johnson, also has lots of options remaining on the table.


Cardinal Authority Top Stories