Garcia, ranked No. 19 in the Scout.com Top 100, averaged a modest 12 points per game as a junior, but burst out in the Indiana state finals with 25 points, while leading his team to a championship. Pitino was in the Hoosier Dome that and witnessed the show the angular 195-pound Garcia put on.
"Rick was at our state final game with his assistant Marvin (Menzies) and I know Louisville is very interested in Angel," said Robert Miles, athletic director at East Chicago Central High School. "Angel will be going down to Louisville this weekend for a visit.
"Angel broke out in the state finals. He had goose-eggs the game before but really came on in the championship game. I think it was just a matter of him becoming more comfortable with his teammates."
Louisville has stiff competition for Garcia. Indiana currently sits in the driver's seat in Garcia's recruitment, but Louisville, and old rival Memphis, are clearly in the car.
"I would say that Louisville would be in Angel's top 3," Miles said. "I would say Indiana is number one on his list right now and there's a tie for number two between Memphis and Louisville."
Louisville, though, has a grand opportunity to make an impression with Garcia visiting the U of L campus this weekend. Miles said he wasn't aware of any other visits scheduled for Garcia, so the Cardinals have a chance to put their best foot forward and leave their mark in the next few days.
It's a gamble for any coach to recruit that talented and skilled Garcia. Academics are a definite concern and there's no guarantee Garcia will ever qualify to play in college. Still, Garcia's combination of size and skills makes him worth the gamble for coaches like Pitino, Kelvin Sampson and John Calipari.
"He has his work cut out for him (academically)," Miles said. "I think the language barrier is the biggest thing that he has to overcome. But he's very skilled on the basketball court."