While Devonta Pollard slowly draws out his recruitment, Montrezl Harrell — the former Virginia Tech commit who was recently released from his letter of intent — has become the nation’s hottest recruit.
And according to Joe Davis of Scoutsfocus.com, Harrell now has a top four: Louisville, Florida, Cincinnati and Alabama. Billy Donovan will be coaching Harrell from June 5th to the 12th at the Olympic Qualifiers, which probably won’t hurt his chances to land the 6-foot-8 forward, but most believe the Cardinals to be the favorite. Why? Because Rick Pitino hired Harrell’s high school coach, Kevin Keatts, of Hargrave Military Academy.
The problem was that Louisville didn’t have a scholarship available for Harrell. Key word: didn’t. Because they apparently do now.
Originally, my intention for this post was to speculate about how Pitino freed up that scholarship. To research some theories, I started perusing some of the Louisville sites when I stumbled upon an epic thread from Card Chronicle, speculating on where the scholarship could be coming from. Here are just a few of the best comments:
Should we live like there’s no toMarra? That won’t be VanTreese-y… I’d hit Rak bottom.
Rozier being ineligible would be Terryble.
Stop freaking out. Just wait and Siva.
keeping everybody on board would be impRussive.
But Ware are the scholarships coming from?
Hopefully, not from Blackshear. That would Wayne on our parade.
Better not be Gorgui. I don’t give a Dieng how bad we need them.
Tough decisions, but that’s the Price of excellence.
Luke for the coming announcement.
I’m Behanan to think that you’re serious. I think we’re out of players.
Is there no Justice anymore!? How can you say we’re out of players.
I meant current players! You wanna Swop punches?
No life is all Goode.
In all seriousness, figuring out how Pitino freed up a scholarship requires a mathematics degree and two years worth of studying the NCAA’s rules manual.
Also, here’s a mixtape of Harrell from his final high school season:
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)