Today marks the end of the July evaluation period and Rick Pitino and staff must return to campus to make some tough decisions about how they plan to finish off an already strong 2009 recruiting haul.
Remember, Pitino and the Cardinals already have three pretty good commitments in hand. Here's how it breaks down now. Super-slick Seattle point guard Peyton Siva (No. 5 PG; No. 39 overall) is on board. So is rapidly developing forward Rakeem Buckles (No. 11 PF; No. 28 overall) from Miami. Add sharp-shooting guard Mike Marra, considered one of the top three-point marksmen nationally, and it's easy to see that Pitino has a very strong nucleus to complete his recruiting class around.
"Louisville's recruiting class to this points meets their needs," said Scout.com analyst Evan Daniels. "They needed a point guard and a versatile forward and got Peyton Siva and Rakeem Buckles. So they're getting guys that fit and are pieces to the puzzle."
Now, Pitino wants to complete the puzzle he's been constructing. Who will Louisville add to round out one of the nation's best '09 recruiting hauls?
Here's what we know. With a top-flight point guard (Siva), versatile power forward (Buckles) and an accurate perimeter marksman (Marra) on board, Pitino apparently wants to add an athletic slasher and another big man to round out the class.
Once top wing prospects on Louisville's recruiting board, the Cardinals no longer appear to be courting either Noel Johnson or Christian Watford. Regardless of the reasons behind the decisions to move away from those two prospects, it's become clear that the Cardinals top two remaining wing targets are Aaron Dotson and Durand Scott.
Louisville tracked Dotson, a fast rising 6-foot-4 guard/forward from Seattle, hard during the month of July. The Cardinals were obviously impressed with the four-star prospect's play during the evaluation period, evident by the scholarship offer Pitino sent Dotson's way last weekend.
A friend and former AAU teammate of Peyton Siva's, Dotson currently lists Louisville in his top three along with Miami and LSU. Dotson told InsideTheVille.com this week that he plans to make an official visit to Louisville in early September. The Cardinals appear very strong in Dotson's recruitment.
Scott, a highly talented 6-5 guard from New York, attends the same high school (Rice) as current Louisville junior guard Edgar Sosa. Rated the No. 7 SG prospect nationally, Scott is one of the most talented perimeter players in the class. Scott says he'll get serious about his recruitment very soon and the Cardinals face very tough competition to land his services.
"I don't have a set list," Scott told Scout.com this week in Orlando at the Super Showcase. "I'm just trying to help the team win games. When I get back I'll think about that. I don't want to shut anyone out, everyone has an equal shot."
While Dotson and Scott give Louisville two highly talented wing options going forward, the pickings are more slim in the big-man department. Clearly, there's no can't-miss prospect on Louisville's 2009 board like Samardo Samuels. So Pitino and staff will have to make some educated projections going forward.
Bawa Muniru, a 7-foot-0 center from Huntsville, is one option. The Cardinals evaluated Muniru, a raw but intriguing prospect, throughout the month of July. There appears to be an (informal) offer from the Cardinals on the table for Muniru, who says he plans to visit Louisville this fall.
Andrew Fitzgerald is another prospect on Louisville's radar. The 6-foot-8 center from Owings Mills, MD. is considered a deluxe rebounder. Though he doesn't yet have an offer from the Cardinals, Fitzgerald, rated the No. 101 prospect nationally by Scout.com, is planning a possible visit to UofL next month.
"(UofL) want(s) me to come for a visit sometime in August. I'm planning to make an official visit there (possibly) next month," Fitzgerald recently said.
So there you have it; Five prospects for two possible remaining slots. Will it be Dotson or Scott on the perimeter? Fitzgerald, Muniru or Robinson inside?
Stay logged to InsideTheVille.com, the No. 1 source for Louisville basketball recruiting information on the web, for the scoop.