Pitino offers 2009 Memphis star

Louisville has had a long and storied history in basketball with Memphis. But the Cardinals have rarely, if ever, recruited and landed a bona-fide Memphis-born hoops star. Rick Pitino, apparently, is trying to change that.

Louisville has had a long and storied history in basketball with Memphis. But the Cardinals have rarely, if ever, recruited and landed a bona-fide Memphis-born hoops star. Rick Pitino, apparently, is trying to change that.

The Louisville coach recently extended an offer to 6-foot-4 Leslie McDonald, a four-star guard from Briarcrest Christian in Memphis, TN.

"Recruiting really is going well," said McDonald, a talented member of the Class of 2009. "Memphis, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Louisville and Alabama are some of the schools that are really recruiting me hard. I don't have any favorites right now but I'll have a list before the end of my junior season."

McDonald said he was excited to learn about Louisville's offer and liked the way Pitino's Cardinals play the game.

"Louisville offered a scholarship about a week ago," McDonald said. "My dad spoke with Rick Pitino and his son (assistant Richard Pitino) and told me that they offered. I was excited. Louisville, I like the team and their style of play. Now I'll be watching them closer and looking hard at how they play."

A versatile athlete, the 190-pound McDonald is looking for a program that likes to push the pace up and down the court.

"I love schools that play fast and get up and down the court," McDonald said. "Some schools tell me they're recruiting me as a point, others as a shooting guard. It doesn't really matter to me. My shooting and understanding of the game are my strengths and I'm working to improve my ball handling and slashing ability."

Last week, McDonald participated in the USA Developmental Festival in Colorado Spring, CO and came away with a Gold Medal.

Statistically, McDonald was impressive and clearly proved he was one of the top underclassmen in the event. Of particular note, McDonald averaged 12.8 points and 3.6 assists per game and ranked first in camp in assist-to-turnover ratio (18 assists/4 turnovers).

"It was great," McDonald said. "It felt good to be able to play against the top players in the nation and come out on top. It felt great to win the championship."

McDonald said he learned a lot from the experience.

"I played real good running the point and distributing the ball. My main focus was just to learn and have fun. I learned how to take over when the game is on the line and a thing or two about defense. It was a really good experience and we also got to experience the international rules."


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