Van Treese fits Louisville's system

Last week, Louisville assistant Richard Pitino took a recruiting trip to Indianapolis to see Top 50 junior forward Justin Martin. On that trip, Pitino found what could be one of the final piece of the Cardinals 2009 recruiting class.

That piece, of course, is Stephan Van Treese, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Lawrence North H.S.

"I'm really excited to commit to a big program like (Louisville). It's a big deal," Van Treese said. "(Louisville) first offered me as a sophomore. Then tonight Coach Pitino and his son flew in for open gym and re-offered me when we talked afterwards. I thought about it and talked with my parents and I called Coach Pitino and told him I want to play for him."

So here's how Van Treese's commitment to Louisville went down: Richard Pitino was in Indianapolis last week to check on talented 6-foot-6 junior forward Justin Martin. While watching Martin play during open gym, Van Treese caught Pitino's eye. Tuesday afternoon, Rick Pitino and his son flew back to Indianapolis to watch Van Treese in action. After Van Treese finished up, Louisville offered a scholarship. It didn't take him long to make a decision.

"My dad called Coach Pitino (Monday) night to see if they had any interest because Richard Pitino came in early to look at Justin Martin," Van Treese said. "(Richard) told me tonight that he told his dad that they really need to get me after seeing me play in open gym (last week). So they flew in and offered me. They were really trying to get a big man."

Martin, of course, is one of the nation's top juniors. He recently made an unofficial visit to Louisville and has the Cardinals on his short list.

"I told Justin about my decision to play for Louisville and he seemed really excited," Van Treese said. "He didn't say anything about committing to Louisville but he was asking if I wanted to play together in college. We've always gotten along and he's playing real well right now."

So how does Van Treese fit into Louisville's plans? The Cardinals have two talented freshmen on the roster this season in Samardo Samuels and Terrence Jennings. They'll add Top 50 forward Rakeem Buckles to the mix next season. Van Treese will provide the Cardinals depth and versatility in the frontcourt.

"Coach Pitino told me he liked my size, how I run the floor and my wing-span," said Van Treese. "I think he sees me as a 4/5 or a 3/4. He says I'll fit in real well in his system. They run motion and I've been running motion forever. Plus it's close to home and it's a good situation for my family to come see me play."

Van Treese said that Notre Dame and Michigan State were showing interest but hadn't offered scholarships. Indiana, Kansas and UCLA were also showing varying degrees of interest. Van Treese said he'll probably visit Louisville soon before signing with the Cardinals in November.

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