Louisville inks Top 20 recruiting class

While Louisville won't sign a ‘great' class during the early signing period, Rick Pitino's Cardinals are expected to sign a recruiting class that will rank among Scout.com's Top 20. Scout.com's Evan Daniels helps break down Louisville's four-man recruiting class.

Top 20 class
When all the LOI faxes arrive at Louisville on Wednesday, the Cardinals expect to add four players for next season: Miami (FL) Pace PF Rakeem Buckles, Seattle (WA) Franklin PG Peyton Siva, Northfield (MA) Mount Hermon SG Mike Marra, and Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence North PF/C Stephen Van Treese.

Rakeem Buckles

"It's a solid class," Daniels said. "It's not a great one but it's a solid one. This is a class where they went out and got who they needed to get and filled some holes. The class is going to end up in the Top 20, but it won't be higher than 15."

While Louisville's class will find its way into the Scout.com Top 20, Pitino's latest talent haul won't rank higher than fourth in the Big East. Daniels says that Villanova, UConn and Marquette all will sign higher ranked classes than the Cards.

"Villanova is going to end up having the top class with three guys ranked in the Top 30," Daniels said. "Connecticut and Marquette – they've got three Top 100 guys - will both be above Louisville too. Then Georgetown, Louisville and Pittsburgh are all right there together. Those six schools will all make our Top 25."

Class meets needs
While Pitino's 2009 class might not classify as a ‘great' one, it does meet some key needs for the Cardinals. Pitino went out looking for a top-flight point guard and power forward and got them. He also wanted an elite shooter with size and someone to provide depth in the frontcourt. He got them too.

"I don't think it is one of the best classes Rick Pitino will sign but I think it's definitely going to fill some needs and holes," Daniels said. "They wanted to go out and get a shooter with some size and they did that with Mike Marra. They needed a point guard and getting Peyton Siva was a big deal, especially in a class where there wasn't a lot of good point guards available. And they close it out with two quality big men in Rakeem Buckles and Stephen Van Treese. It definitely fills some needs."

Future Stars?
While there aren't any Samardo Samuels' or Earl Clark's in this class, Daniels believes Louisville has signed two prospects who could become ‘marquee players' for the Cardinals.

"I think both Rakeem Buckles and Peyton Siva are capable of developing into marquee guys," Daniels said. "Siva with his athleticism and ability to shoot the three is the future point guard at Louisville. He's a guy that they really wanted to get. It's going to depend on Rakeem Buckles how he develops. He's got a chance to be a very good power forward in that league."

Buckles is rated the No. 48 prospect nationally and the No. 17 power forward in his class; Siva is rated the No. 54 prospect in the nation - No. 7 point guard. Both are four-star prospects.

Mystery Man
Who is Mike Marra? He's Louisville's "mystery man" from New England. While Marra might be a ‘mystery' to most, his ability to shoot the basketball isn't in doubt.

Mike Marra

"I think one of the reasons he's been so-called forgotten is because he didn't play on a well-known travel team and he hasn't been seen by a lot of guys," Daniels said. "He brings good size to the two-guard spot and he has the ability to shoot. He's got a very quick release and deep range on his shot."

Marra is rated a three-star prospect.

"He's also a pretty good athlete," Daniels said. "He's not a guy that will put it on the floor, though. That's probably his biggest weakness and he'll need to work on that before he arrives in Louisville. But there's no doubt he can shoot the ball."

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