Big recruiting weekend for Louisville

It's a big recruiting weekend for Louisville basketball head coach Rick Pitino. The Cardinals will have several of the nation's top 2011 prospects, in addition to one key 2010 recruiting target, on campus visiting this weekend.

Perhaps no other program in the nation will assemble a more impressive group of high school basketball prospects this weekend than Louisville.

Rick Pitino's Cardinals will host key 2010 prospect Rod Odom, plus several of the nation's top juniors, including Chicago stars Mike Shaw and Wayne Blackshear, Ohio power forward Zach Price and underrated Illinois guard Macari Brooks. That's three of's Top 40 2011 prospects.

Rod Odom
Rod Odom

Let's start with Odom, the No. 25-ranked small forward in the country. The versatile 6'8, 190-pound Odom is a key recruit for Pitino, who is trying to salvage his 2010 recruiting class after losing Jeremy Tyler early to the pros and Fab Melo to Syracuse.

Odom has been making the Big East rounds recently, visiting West Virginia and Uconn. Boston College, Arizona and Harvard are also still in the mix. Odom has strong interest in the Cardinals, who offered a scholarship last month.

"I'm looking forward to it because I've actually never seen the campus and I've never gotten to meet Coach (Rick) Pitino in person," Odom said. "I've heard a lot of good things so I'm really interested to see their school."

While Odom is a top 2010 prospect, Louisville will do the bulk of their work in the Class of 2011 this weekend.

Blackshear, rated the No. 12 prospect in his class, could represent the future for the Cardinals at the shooting guard position and ultimately team with Top 5 point guard Marquis Teague to form a dynamic backcourt duo. Blackshear visited Louisville in June and wants to make a return trip to take a closer look at the Cardinals.

He'll be joined by a pair of AAU teammates, 6'8 forward Mike Shaw and 6'2 shooting guard Macari Brooks. Shaw, rated the No. 40 prospect in the nation, also visited Louisville back in June with Blackshear. There's talk of a package deal with Blackshear and Louisville also appears one of Shaw's favorites, along with Illinois and Texas.

Brooks, a three-star prospect, has been overshadowed by his high rated teammates but projects as a big-time guard. DePaul and Northern Illinois have already made scholarship offers and Florida State and Arizona State are also recruiting him.

Zach Price will also make a return visit to Louisville. The 6'9 power forward, rated No. 38 nationally in the 2011 Class, visited UofL in June and will make the trip this weekend with several members of his immediate family. Price is an athletic shot blocker also being recruited hard by Ohio State, Michigan State, Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

"I would describe my interest in Louisville as being pretty high up there because they're showing a lot of interest and dedication during the recruitment process," said Price. "But it's still the same as everybody. I'm keeping my options open."

2011 Indianapolis standouts Ryan Taylor and Michael Chandler also could be on campus this weekend for a visit. Both players are already committed to the Cardinals and Taylor told this week that he and Chandler,'s 13th-rated prospect, may come to town for a visit this weekend. Taylor is also rated in the Top 100.

One prospect who will not be visiting this weekend is Marquis Teague, Louisville's top target in 2011. Teague, who visited Kentucky last week, told "that I don't have any visit(s) this weekend." Louisville recently hired Teague's high school assistant coach, Shabaka Lands, for a position on Pitino's staff.

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