Pitino tracks recruits in Indy

The July evaluation period tipped-off Tuesday at the adidas Invitational. Louisville coach Rick Pitino was in attendance in Indianapolis and had his eye on a host of talented prospects. InsideTheVille.com has the scoop.

The July evaluation period began Tuesday and Louisville coach Rick Pitino and assistants Steve Masiello and Tim Fuller were in Indianapolis for the start of the adidas Invitational.

Fuller, who recently replaced Walter McCarty on Pitino's staff, was on hand for an early morning game that featured Quincy Miller, the top-ranked power forward in the Class of 2011, and Deuce Bello, who recently got an offer from Louisville.

Bello was sensational, slashing to the basket for easy buckets to keep his team in contention against the New England Playaz. Bello, who finished with 21 points, also hit a pair of three's, showing off an improved perimeter game. According to those close to the 6'5 forward, Bello has been working on his game each day from 7 am – 12:30 pm with a trainer. That work appears to have paid off.

Rick Pitino, Steve Masiello and Tim Fuller were in Indianapolis tracking talent on Tuesday.
Miller had a slow start to the tournament, scoring just five points while facing double teams. But he blocked a few shots and grabbed several rebounds, then flashed his ability when he took a defensive rebound coast to coast for a layup. Miller told InsideTheVille.com after the contest that he's 'feeling' Louisville again, and talked up Fuller as one of the reasons why he's interested in the Cardinals.

"Louisville is in great shape with Quincy Miller," said Scout.com analyst Evan Daniels. "Tim Fuller has developed a strong relationship with Miller and has Louisville in the thick of things."

Pitino arrived on the scene mid-morning with Masiello and Fuller for 2012 stud Shabazz Muhammad's opening game. Muhammad, the No. 1 ranked small forward in the 2012 class, put on an impressive offensive show, scoring 30 points. The 6'5 forward scored it a variety of ways, including several three-pointers. A smooth left-handed scorer, Muhammad has an outstanding outside stroke and also got on the boards to help his team. Muhammad drew an impressive assortment of coaches to watch him play, including Roy Williams, Bill Self, Billy Donovan, Coach K, Ben Howland and Sean Miller.

"I really like Louisville," Muhammad said. "I watched them last year and I like the way they play. They're going to be there for me. I really like them."

Pitino then caught Ryan Taylor's game. Taylor had a solid outing in the afternoon, throwing down an alley oop, and draining a three-pointer from the top. Taylor was active in a sizable loss for his squad. Before Taylor's contest finished, Pitino was on the move again.

His destination, the main court to watch Chane Behanan of the Ohio Basketball Club. Pitino made sure his entire staff was on hand to watch the 6'7 forward who recently was named MVP of the NBA Top 100 Camp. With Pitino, Masiello and Fuller on hand, Behanan scored 15 points in a narrow loss against the Franchise All-Stars. After the contest, Behanan told InsideTheVille.com that Louisville and West Virginia continue to be his leaders.

"Louisville's got a battle on their hands with West Virginia for Behanan," Daniels said.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was courtside to watch Behanan play also. Interestingly, Huggins sat next to Pitino and the two shared pleasantries during the game.

File this name for future reference: Malik Price-Martin. Martin, a 2013 forward for the Florida Rams, is going to be an elite player. Martin, a 6'8 forward, played for Mark Lieberman, Louisville's new director of basketball operations, at Miami (FL) Monsignor Pace.

Another name to file away: Jermaine Sanders. Steve Masiello took a brief look at the 6'5 forward from New Heights. Sanders plays at New York's Rice H.S., the same high school as Edgar Sosa.

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