Basketball Recruiting Roundup
In this week's Basketball Recruiting Roundup, we continue our 10-part series breaking down the nation's Top 10 hoop recruiting classes.
In the previous weeks, we tackled No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Duke, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Oklahoma State and No. 5 Washington. Now it's time to move on to No. 6:
If there's one thing Louisville coach Rick Pitino knows how to do, it's recruit.
Sure, he's a fantastic coach (at the college level, at least) who knows his X's and O's and always has his team prepared to play. But where Pitino really shines is on the recruiting trail.
That was proven yet again this past fall, when Pitino landed a seven-person recruiting class that is deeper than any in the country. In fact, Louisville signed more Top 100 recruits — six — than any other program in the nation.
That Super Six consists of: Westchester (Calif.) center Amir Johnson, Rainier Beach (Wash.) shooting guard Terrence Williams, Canyon Springs (Calif.) point guard Andre McGee, Dominguez (Calif.) shooting guard Bryan Harvey, Harlan (Ill.) center Clarence Holloway and Brewster Academy (N.H.) small forward Chad Millard.
Add in Central Park Christian (Ala.) forward/center Jonathan Huffman — a solid recruit, though not in the Top 100 — and the Cardinals have amassed an impressive collection of talent.
So why don't they rank higher on our list? The reason is that despite the depth of this class, there isn't a sure-fire superstar among the seven. Several of the signees could become stars for the Cards, but all of the schools above Louisville in our rankings landed Top 10-level talents. And that counts for something extra.
The guy in this recruiting class with the best chance of becoming a star for Louisville is Johnson, a 6-foot-11, 215-pound center who is rated the No. 20 recruit in the Class of 2005 by SchoolSports.com. He has the talent and athleticism to really thrive in Pitino's system and could quickly develop into one of the best big men in college basketball.
Williams, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound wing, is rated the No. 25 recruit in the country. He comes from a perennially successful high school program and is another amazing athlete who should love playing for Pitino. And in addition to his freakish athleticism, he also already has a sculpted body ready for the next level.
McGee, a 6-foot, 185-pound point guard, is rated the No. 46 recruit in the nation. His stock has slipped in the past year, but he's a lightning-quick playmaker who'll flourish in an up-tempo system. He's got a streaky but deadly outside shot and has the quickness to break down defenders and create havoc in the lane. Once he learns to balance his scoring and passing and improve his shot selection, he could be lethal.
Harvey, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound swingman, is rated the No. 77 recruit in the country. He needs to improve his shot selection, but when given time to set his feet, he's a fantastic spot-up 3-point shooter. He's also an above-average athlete who can create his own shot and get to the basket.
Holloway, a 7-foot-1, 270-pound monster in the middle, is rated the No. 78 recruit in the Class of 2005. He's an interesting prospect in that he's a true 7-footer with good low-post offensive skills, but he's not a great athlete and doesn't really fit the mold of a prototypical Pitino player. However, he should be given ample opportunity to develop, and Pitino has compared him to Nazr Mohammed, whom he coached at Kentucky.
The final Top 100 recruit is Millard, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound small forward who is rated the No. 88 recruit in the country. He's a good shooter, a solid athlete and is multi-skilled for a player his size.
Finally, Huffman is a 7-foot, 215-pound forward/center with a sweet outside shot. Though he's a finesse big man who needs to add some weight to play in college, his size and shooting skills could make him a difficult matchup for opposing big men.
Overall, Pitino has found a deep group of talented, athletic recruits who will thrive in his style of basketball. Add in last year's solid recruiting class and the arrival of transfer center David Padgett from Kansas and the future is looking awfully bright for Louisville.
Check back next week for our breakdown of the No. 7 recruiting class from Georgia.