Though there won't be a Nike All-America or ABCD All-America Camps to kick off the month, there will still be plenty going on in Akron, OH at the LeBron James Skills Academy – the revamped Nike All-America camp – and in Philadelphia, PA at the Reebok U camp – the reworked ABCD Camp.
Louisville enters the all-important evaluation period holding a pair of impressive commitments from 6-8 PF/C Samardo Samuels, a Top 10 prospect, and 6-4 G/F Melquan Bolding, one of the Top 100 prospects nationally.
The Cardinals top priority in the Class of 2007, of course, is 6-5 SG Tyreke Evans, who made a strong case at the USA Basketball Developmental Festival for top player in the class honors. Louisville appears in great shape with Evans, a close friend of Samuels. Evans, though, isn't expected to participate in Akron or Philadelphia, instead opting for a few weeks playing overseas.
from Eloy Vargas during his
unofficial visit this week?
While it appears Louisville will have to play the waiting game for Evans, the Cardinals might put the full court press on guys like 6-10 Eloy Vargas (Vargas is visiting the U of L campus today); 6-9 Greg Monroe, the No. 1 prospect nationally; 6-10 Angel Garcia (Indiana, Memphis, Louisville and Florida comprise Garcia's final four); 6-3 Willie Warren; 6-8 Olek Czyz (Czyz made an unofficial visit to Louisville earlier this month); 6-7 Chris Singleton; and 6-6 Darrius Miller (Louisville appears in excellent shape with the Kentucky Mr. Basketball frontrunner) in July.
Another big storyline heading into the evaluation period centers around rapidly rising big man Eloy Vargas.
Vargas moved up the recruiting charts last month with an outstanding performance at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in Chapel Hill, NC, and further enhanced his national reputation last week at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Virginia.
It's been bantered around recruiting circles that Pittsburgh and Louisville are the leading contenders for the multi-talented Vargas. Vargas made an unofficial visit to Pittsburgh earlier this week and left uncommitted. He's expected to arrive in Louisville Thursday afternoon for an unofficial visit. Can Rick Pitino work his magic and reel in this highly important recruit?
Here are a couple of more storylines heading into the July evaluation period:
Louisville is fortunate to have Samuels and Bolding in the fold. The big question now is simple: Who will the Cardinals target to round out the Class of 2008?
Besides Evans, of course, it appears Pitino hopes to land at least one more inside player to go along with the 240-pound Samuels as well as a talented small forward prospect. Either Vargas or Monroe would fill the bill and both have skills that would compliment what the highly-rated Samuels brings to the table. On the wing, the sharp-shooting Garcia and Miller, who bursts with potential, appear the top two targets.
JUNIORS TO WATCH
work Kenny Boynton
hard in July.
Though Rick Pitino and staff hope to close out the Class of 2008 this summer, the Cardinals will also continue to lay the groundwork and evaluate the nation's top underclassmen.
Reportedly, Louisville has made a slew of recent scholarship offers to several Class of 2009 standouts. Kenny Boynton, a five-star combo guard from Florida and teammate of Eloy Vargas, appears to be one of Rick Pitino's top targets. He boasts an offer from the Cardinals and can score at will.
Louisville also has extended offers to Deshawn Painter, a talented 6-9 forward from Virginia; Leslie McDonald, a 6-4 guard from Memphis and one of the top underclassmen at the USA Basketball Developmental Festival; five-star guard Xavier Henry of Oklahoma City, OK; and 6-6 forward Shawn Williams of Duncanville, TX.