Though it shouldn't come as much of a surprise, 6'8 Miami power forward Rakeem Buckles verbally committed to Louisville Monday morning. Buckles visited Louisville earlier in the season and has consistently listed the Cardinals as his favorite.
2009 commitments for Louisville.
"I really like the coaches and I felt it was a good situation," Buckles said. "They have great facilities – it was really nice up there. I decided to get my decision out of the way early. I'm really excited because they showed they really wanted me there."
Buckles, who averages 15 points and 8 rebounds for Miami power-house, Pace Monsignor, is an athletic prospect loaded with upside potential. He'll rank among Scout.com's Top 50 when spring rankings are released in a few weeks.
"Rakeem Buckles is on the cusp of going from prospect to player," Scout.com national recruiting analyst Dave Telep said. "I think his physical attributes like his athleticism and his explosion set him apart from his peers. Now it's about tightening up his basketball skills."
Buckles scored 25 points and hauled in 14 rebounds over the weekend to lead his team, ranked fifth in the Class 4A rankings, back to the state semifinals for the second straight time. Buckles also blocked four shots in the region final victory.
"He's improved what he can do from the perimeter," said Lieberman. "He now can face up, knock down the three, drive and pass it from that position."
"I made a lot of progress in my game this season. I've gotten a lot better," Buckles said. "I worked hard (last) summer to get a lot better. I've been to the state tournament the past three years and I'm working to get another ring."
Pitino's move during the off-season to bring in his son, Richard, is paying major recruiting dividends for Louisville. Richard Pitino, the lead recruiter for both Marra and Buckles, is already making his mark felt at UofL.
"We have a real good relationship. I liked him a lot," Buckles said of Richard Pitino.