Pitino to eye 6'9 sleeper prospect

Last week, Louisville assistant Marvin Menzies traveled north to Connecticut on a recruiting trip and came away impressed with a sleeper prospect from South Kent Prep. This week, Rick Pitino will make the same trip to see the 6'9, 240 pound prospect for himself. Who is this mystery man that has caught Louisville's attention?

Even with 6'8 forward George Goode already in the fold, it appears the Louisville Cardinals are still looking to land another Class of 2007 frontcourt prospect.

Last week, Louisville assistant Marvin Menzies traveled north to South Kent Prep in Connecticut to check on an athletic 6'9, 240 pound sleeper named Papa Dia. Dia, a native of Senegal, is rated a three-star prospect by Scout.com.

"I would characterize Louisville's interest as very high," South Kent coach Raphael Chillious said. "Coach Menzies came up last week and really liked what he saw from Papa and called and told Coach Pitino that he needed to get up here to see him play."

That's exactly what Pitino is scheduled to do this week.

"Coach Pitino is supposed to come up here on Wednesday," Chillious said. "Coach Menzies said that they'd like to have him, but that Coach Pitino would have to come up, watch him and make the final decision."

Until recently, Dia was being recruited mostly by mid-major-type programs like Manhattan, New Mexico State, LaSalle and Rhode Island. Now, Louisville, Oklahoma, Clemson, Ohio State, Maryland, West Virginia and Seton Hall are showing interest.

"He's looking for a wide-open system," Chillious said. "He's a versatile kid. He can put it on the floor and go to the hole. He's long and athletic and he creates matchup problems defensively for opposing teams because he can play the three and the four. He's more a four on the defensive end. He's very active around the basket and blocks a lot of shots."

According to Chillious, Dia is wide open in his recruiting process and is looking to set up some official visits. At present, Dia has none scheduled.

"I would suspect he'd visit Louisville if they asked him to come down," Chillious said. "There's really no time frame for him to make a decision. He'll probably just decide when he finds a place where he feels comfortable."

Since coming to the United States about two years ago, Dia has overcome the language barrier and is doing well in the classroom.

"He's on track to qualify academically," Chillious said. "His primary language is French and he didn't speak very good English when he got here. But his English has really improved and now he really speaks the language (fluently)."

Dia is also a teammate of Christian Morris, a 6'9, 270 pound junior forward/center. Chillious said Louisville has shown considerable interest in Morris, who holds scholarship offers from Miami, Rutgers, Seton Hall and St. John's.


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