"It was fantastic. He really enjoyed his visit," said Mark Lieberman, Buckles' high school coach. "It was great for him to see the atmosphere at a college basketball game. He saw the place filled to the rafters for a 2 o'clock game against a good opponent, not a great opponent. He really enjoyed the atmosphere of the game and he had a lot of fun."
Lieberman accompanied Buckles on his unofficial visit to Louisville last weekend. The pair arrived in Louisville on Friday and saw the inner workings of Rick Pitino's basketball program before heading back to balmy Miami, Florida Sunday afternoon.
"We got in on Friday and were able to watch them practice and he got to spend time with the players the night before the game," Lieberman said. "Saturday he got to see the walk through and actually got to see them play. And he got to hang out with the players after the game Saturday night."
The highlight of Buckles' visit might have been a face-to-face, sit down meeting with Pitino before the 6'9 junior left town Sunday morning.
"Sunday he got to go on campus, talk with Coach Pitino and have lunch at the YUM Center," Lieberman said. "Coach just outlined where (Rakeem) would fit into the program and where he would be in his class."
Though Lieberman said Pitino didn't pressure Buckles to make an early decision, he did admit the coach and recruit discussed the possibility.
"(Pitino) didn't want to put too much pressure on him," said Lieberman. "He wanted him to go home and speak to his parents. Rakeem thinks the world of Coach Pitino and really respects him. So Rakeem just wanted to go home and talk it over with his folks. We'll see where he'll go in the next week or so."
Might Buckles' be ready to make an early college decision in the next two weeks?
"It could happen," Lieberman said. "I'm not saying that it's definitely going to happen but it is something that could happen. Can I see him making a (commitment)? Yes. Is that the program? Yes. Is it definitely going to happen? I can't say. I want him to make sure he's comfortable making a commitment. We'll see but I think it could happen."
Lieberman said that Louisville and Florida State are the top two schools on Buckles' list and that the Cardinals are definitely in the driver's seat to land an early commitment.