Louisville makes big move for 7-foot center

Rick Pitino wants to add another big man to his 2009 recruiting class. After a strong showing at the Kentucky HoopFest, the Cardinals sent Bawa Muniru, a fast-rising 7-foot center from Madison, Ala., an offer. Will Louisville be a factor in Muniru's recruitment? InsideTheVille.com has the scoop.

With point guard Peyton Siva, shooting guard Mike Marra and power forward Rakeem Buckles in the fold, Rick Pitino hopes to round out his 2009 recruiting haul with a wing forward and another big man. It appears that the Cardinals are turning up the heat on Bawa Muniru.

"Louisville is a great opportunity, plus you can't beat playing for a guy like Rick Pitino," Muniru told InsideTheVille.com. "He's one of the big time coaches you could play for. So it's a great offer."

As a junior, Muniru averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks per game. Muniru has played well this summer, including a strong showing at last week's Kentucky HoopFest.

"I've had two great tournaments this summer and I'm getting noticed by all the coaches," Muniru said. "Right now I feel like I'm coming out of my shell. Things are going pretty good for me right now."

Louisville kept a watchful eye on Muniru while he was in town playing at the HoopFest. Shortly after that tournament, the Cardinals sent an offer Muniru's way. Oklahoma State, LSU, USC, Tulane and Tulsa have also offered.

"He's a big, strong, athletic kid. He's about 6-11, 265 and he can really run and jump. Offensively he's got a little way to go but he blocks a lot of shots and can change a game with his rebounding and shot-blocking. Defensively, he's a major D-1 kid," said Alabama AAU coach Mark Komara, who coached former UofL center Marvin Stone in high school and helped Louisville get involved in Muniru's recruitment. "I can see coach (Pitino) working with him and he could be tremendous for him. I told him the other day he really needs to take a look at playing for Coach Pitino. Potential-wise he could be unbelievable."

While in Louisville playing in the Kentucky HoopFest, Muniru made a trip to the Louisville campus.

"We didn't go (see) the basketball facilities but we went to the (campus), met the athletic director and hung out just to see what was going on over there," said Muniru.

Though Muniru didn't get a chance to meet Pitino, who was out of town recruiting, he's looking forward to hearing from the UofL coach soon.

"I didn't get a chance to meet Rick Pitino either," said Muniru. "I haven't talked to him yet but he's talked with my coach and says that I would fit in pretty good. His son (Richard) called me last week and he told me Rick Pitino will be calling me. It sounds like they're very interested in me."

Muniru plans to make a few official visits this fall and says he'll sign during the November signing period.

"I don't have a list of favorites but I do have a list of big schools that I would like to go," Muniru said. "I'm going to take some visits this fall but I don't know how many I will take. I hope it wouldn't take all five to make my decision. But that's what I'm waiting for."

Will he visit Louisville?

"Oh definitely I will visit Louisville," said Muniru. "No question."

Muniru's said he's looking for the ‘right fit.'

"I'm looking for a school where I will fit in, where I will have some playing time and a style of play where a big man is a factor," Muniru said. "I don't want to go somewhere I will sit for a year or two before I get a chance to play and show what I can do."

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