Kuric, a three-star prospect from Memorial HS, averaged 22 points and six rebounds as junior. Kuric made a national name for himself with his play over the summer, attracting interest from college coaches like Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski, John Beilein and Rick Majerus.
"He's a 6 foot 5 guard that can shoot the ball real well off of screens, he can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot," said Mike Thomas, Kuric's AAU coach. "But what makes him really unique and have high potential is his athleticism. He can really get up. He has a major vertical jump. And he's really improved on that a lot even since July. So I can see him being an explosive type two-guard at the next level."
In recent weeks, Kuric had narrowed his option down to two schools – Louisville and Southern Illinois, eliminating Michigan and St. Louis from consideration. A meeting with Pitino Sunday on the Louisville campus sealed the deal for the Cards.
"I was there for my sister's soccer game and met with Coach Pitino afterwards," Kuric said. "It went well. We sat down for close to an hour and a half and just talked a little bit about everything. He told me that he wanted me there. So I went ahead and committed."
Kuric said it was a surreal experience talking with Pitino in his office and committing on the spot. "The first time I did it it was kind of intimidating because I didn't know what to expect – it's Coach Pitino," Kuric said. "But I was real comfortable with him today."
The hard part for Kuric? Calling SIU coach Chris Lowery to tell him he had picked the Cardinals over the Salukis.
"It was real tough," Kuric said. "My relationship with Coach Lowery is unbelievable –we have such a good relationship. It was real hard for me to tell him that I was going to Louisville.
"It came down to Coach Pitino and his coaching ability and what I think he can do for me after college as far as the NBA," added Kuric. "It's a big relief just finally making the decision and kind of letting it go and getting it over with and now I can focus on my high school season."
Pitino told Kuric his role will be to stretch defenses with his ability to shoot the ball. That shouldn't be a problem for a guy who made 141 of 210 field goals attempts as a junior. Kuric also shot 82 percent from the free throw line.
"It pretty much just came down to being a shooter for the team," Kuric said.
Kuric is the fourth prospect from the Class of 2008 to give Pitino a verbal commitment. He joins Samardo Samuels, the No. 2-rated prospect in the nation, Jennings and Melquan Bolding. The Cardinals still hope to land 6'7 Jared Swopshire and 6'4 Tyreke Evans, Scout.com's No. 4-ranked prospect nationally. Swopshire is scheduled to make an official visit to U of L next weekend.
"It's going to be a good class," Kuric said. "From what I hear about Samardo and Terrence Jennings we'll have a good class coming in."