Louisville high on Joseph's list

Rick Pitino has hit the recruiting trail hard this week. Tuesday, Pitino was in Indy to see a handful of Louisville's top recruiting targets. Wednesday, the Louisville coach flew to Las Vegas to check in on elite 2010 PG prospect Cory Joseph.

How serious is Pitino about Cory Joseph, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound junior point guard from Las Vegas (NV) Findlay Prep? If Pitino's pursuit of Joseph this season is any indication, including Wednesday's excursion west to Vegas, the Cardinals are pretty serious about adding the athletic guard to their roster in 2010-11.

With no games on the schedule after Monday's 76-58 win over Georgetown, Pitino decided to use his time to take a couple of recruiting trips this week. Tuesday, the Louisville coach was in Indianapolis to watch Lawrence North defeat rival Pike HS. That game featured several Louisville commits – Stephan Van Treese, Justin Martin, Michael Chandler and Ryan Taylor – plus key 2011 prospect Marques Teague. Wednesday, Pitino flew to Las Vegas to watch Joseph practice.

Joseph, a top 2010 recruiting target for Louisville, has already made an unofficial visit this season to check out the Cardinals. Considering his all-around abilities in the backcourt, he'd be a big-time addition to a recruiting class that already includes three Top 100 prospects, including Top 10 center Jeremy Tyler. Joseph is rated the No. 72 prospect in the nation by Scout.com and the 15th best point guard.

"Louisville is obviously up there on his list," said Findlay coach Michael Peck. "They've done a great job in terms of being relentless in their pursuit of him and let him know how interested they are. I think they're up their high, definitely.

"My guess is that Louisville sees him as a point guard. Everybody on the (Louisville) staff has seen him and yesterday was Coach Pitino's fourth time seeing Cory. So my guess is that he sees some of what we see in him in terms of being a true (point guard)."

Joseph plays on a loaded Findlay Prep squad that is 29-0 this season and ranked No. 5 in the nation in the MaxPreps.com high school poll. Joseph teams with McDonald's All-American guard Avery Bradley, and had 10 points, 12 rebounds and four assists last week in a win over Dallas (TX) God's Academy. Despite playing on a loaded team that distributes the wealth, Joseph has put up some impressive numbers this season, including:

* Joseph has shot better than 50 percent from the floor, including 51 percent on three's (51 of 100).

* Joseph is second on the team with 186 rebounds (6.4 per game).

* Joseph leads the team with 148 assists (5.1 per game).

* Joseph has a spectacular 5.1 to 1.5 assist to turnover ratio.

* Joseph is second on the team with 61 steals (2.1 per game).

"He's been invaluable to our squad this year," Peck said. "We expect a lot from our point position and he brings so much to the table. He's got incredible feel for the game. He's got a high basketball IQ. And he's got an unbelievable skill set to go along with that – and he can score, rebound and plays defense."

"He's pretty much a complete package as a player," added Peck.

Besides Louisville, Minnesota, Ohio State, Texas A&M, UCLA, Texas Tech and Florida are also involved in with Joseph. Joseph's brother, Devoe, plays for the Golden Gophers.

"Corey and I sat down for a few minutes yesterday for the first time to discuss any kind of recruiting," Peck said. "He hasn't said a whole lot this year about recruiting. He keeps his focus on the season and school. But he gets a ton of mail and several (coaches) have been up to see him. I think that interest is going to continue to grow through the spring and summer."

Don't expect a college decision from Joseph in the near future.

"I don't think he's in any rush," Peck said. "He's going to have his AAU coach and his mom and dad along with us as the people he leans on in terms of getting their opinion and analyzing the situation. Over the summer he wants to narrow down where he'd like to take his officials in the fall."

Peck says Joseph wants to find a good fit where he can contribute as a freshman.

"I think he wants to go somewhere he can make some sort of contribution right away," Peck said. "Corey is smart enough to know that going in somewhere and starting and getting 30 minutes a game probably isn't realistic. But he wants to know that he's going to get some good quality experience his first year."

"We tell all of our guys to go to system or a program," Peck added. "I guess the easiest analogy is if you're an uptempo player then don't go to a school that grinds it out using a half court offense. We always stress that and having a good feel for the players and staff."

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