"Talking with Jeremy, what separated (Louisville) from the other schools was that he really enjoyed the conversation that he had with Coach Rick Pitino," said Ken Roy, Jeremy Tyler's high school coach. "Coach Pitino will get him exactly where he needs to be with (the) way he does his player development and the facilities they have will take his game to another level."
Tyler, who averaged 18 points, 14 rebounds and 8 blocks per game as a sophomore, narrowed his list UCLA, USC, Texas and San Diego State before committing to the Cardinals. While Pitino closed the deal, Louisville assistant Walter McCarty laid the groundwork for this high profile commitment.
second-highest rated high
school recruit to commit
to Rick Pitino at Louisville.
"Coach McCarty recruited the young man very hard since day one and has developed a good relationship with (Jeremy)," said Roy. "Just dealing with those coaches (Jeremy) really liked those guys and that's just where he wanted to be."
Louisville has been flying high of late. The Cardinals fell just one game shy of the Final Four last season and enter the 2008-09 season as a consensus Top 5-10 pick. On the recruiting trail, Louisville has also been hot. They'll welcome the nation's top prospect to campus this fall – Samardo Samuels – and expect to sign a class loaded with solid four-year prospects next month. Tyler gives Pitino insurance should Samuels bolt early for the NBA.
"He sees that Louisville now has their program among the elite programs," Roy said. "(Jeremy) knows how many pro's Pitino has already coached and one day he feels he wants to be an NBA player. He felt like Louisville will be the best fit for him."
A versatile big man, Tyler has a diverse skill set for a player his size. Roy said Pitino envisions Tyler playing facing the basket and with his back to rim in the low-post.
"Coach Pitino can play him out on the wing or put him in the post," Roy said. "Jeremy does everything well. Some kids shoot well, or rebound well or run well, but (Coach Pitino) said Jeremy is a young man that does all that well. Jeremy is going to be very versatile in his offense."
The future star of an on-going documentary about his life – think ‘Hoop Dreams' for a new millennium – Tyler has been knocked by scouts for his on-court attitude and not bringing intensity to the court at all times. Roy said his player sometimes lets his frustrations get the better of him on the court.
"Sometimes with Jeremy that has to do with his maturity level," Roy explained. "I'm telling everyone this kid's maturity level is growing every year. Sometimes he'll allow a referee's bad call to get to him. He's got to develop the attitude to get through that and continue to play. I don't think that's ever going to be an issue in the [future]."
Tyler is one of the highest ranked prospects to commit to Louisville under Pitino. Samuels was the highest-rated at No. 2; Sebastian Telfair No. 9; Amir Johnson No. 13; and David Padgett No. 4. Telfair and Johnson entered the NBA Draft out of high school and never played at Louisville. Padgett originally signed with Kansas before transferring to UofL.