Pitino announced his three man fall signing class of Samardo Samuels, Terrence Jennings and Jared Swopshire Thursday – a class that rates among the Top 5 nationally. And while Pitino is excited about those three players, the Louisville coach made clear the class isn't finished yet.
"I think we're going to have five people that will play at the University of Louisville next year as freshmen," Pitino said. "We know of four right now and there's probably one more.
signee Samardo Samuels.
Pitino will lose three frontcourt contributors to graduation after this season – C David Padgett, PF Juan Palacios and C Terrance Farley. Pitino also says there's a strong possibility that PF Earl Clark, SF Terrence Williams and C Derrick Caracter could declare early for the pros. That's why Pitino was so excited Thursday to announce the signing of Samuels, an imposing 6'8 power forward, Jennings, an athletic 6'10 center and Swopshire, a lanky 6'7 small forward.
"With three of these guys you have your frontcourt of the future and they are all very different," Pitino said. "Samardo Samuels is a very long 6'8 ½ athlete who has improved tremendously over the past year and a half. He's improved leap and bounds. His passion for the game is unparalled and he's really a very hungry player. And he's very physical. He can be overpowering in the low-post. He's so strong and physically dominating in the low-post. The sky is limit to how good Samardo can become.
"The flip-side is Terrence Jennings who is a lot different. He's long, a great athlete, shot-blocker, dunker, runner and he has a nice touch. So they are going to complement each other very well because they are so different. A lot of people compare him to Amare Stoudemire which is quiet a compliment. And I see what they mean with his ability to run the floor and play above the rim.
"Jared Swopshire is more of a wing player. He is very skilled. What he needs is a very strong weight training program. He needs to get stronger. But as far as his skills are concerned with his mid-range jump shot, his passing, his running – he does it all. He reminds me a lot of some of the things that Francisco Garcia would do."
Pitino said all three players were strong in their commitments to Louisville and have a burning desire to play for the Cardinals.
"All three guys have outstanding talent, are terrific young men and we're very excited to have them in our program," Pitino said. "You can watch these guys for 10 minutes and come away with a great feeling."
Scotty Hopson watch
Scout.com's Evan Daniels reported earlier this week that five-star small forward Scotty Hopson (Hopkinsville (KY) University Heights) was wavering on his commitment to Mississippi State and might not sign with the Bulldogs during early period.
Thursday, Pitino was asked about his policy in situations with players who have committed to other schools.
"My only rule is if a player verbally commits to another school we don't recruit them," Pitino said. "There was a player that allegedly de-committed from a school yesterday. Until I hear it from his mouth I won't do anything. But when someone de-commits and makes it public then he's like any other recruit."