Pitino checks out nation's No. 1 junior

Louisville coach Rick Pitino hit the recruiting trail Tuesday night to see the nation's top-ranked junior, 6-9, 220 pound Greg Monroe. The Louisiana standout had a big game with Pitino looking on, but couldn't help his team avoid a playoff loss.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino traveled to Lake Charles, Louisiana Tuesday night to watch the nation's top-ranked junior, 6-9, 220 pound power forward Greg Monroe.

Monroe, one of the Cardinals top prospects in the junior class, is a skilled and athletic big man. Unfortunately, Pitino's presence didn't bring Monroe's team any luck, as the U of L coach saw Monroe and his No. 1-ranked Helen Cox team fall in the regional playoffs last night 58-54 to Washington-Marion. The loss snapped Cox's 18-game winning streak and ended their state championship hopes.

With Pitino and a host of other recruiters looking on last night, Monroe pitched in 22 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots. He also had four steals. Monroe's effort, though, wasn't enough to help his team avoid the upset.

"It was one of those games when nothing goes your way," Monroe told the Times-Picayune. "We came out a little flat after halftime. They took the lead and it went down hill after that. We made a couple of mistakes late, and that really was it."

On the recruiting front, Monroe, who can't sign a national letter of intent until November, is expected to narrow his list over the summer before making his decision next fall. Besides Louisville, Duke, LSU, Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky and UConn are involved.

"My favorite team always was Duke," Monroe told the Times-Picayune last week. "They were the team I kind of idolized as a kid. I was a little star-struck when I met Coach K. I've always wanted to play for him. I still do."

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