With Devonta Pollard officially committing to Alabama over the weekend, we can now all but close the book on the Class of 2012 as the last member of the top 100 has finally picked a school.
Montrezl Harrell, the former Virginia Tech commit, is headed to Louisville. Harrell got out of his letter of intent to the Blacksburg, VA, school when head coach Seth Greenberg was fired back in April. A 6-foot-8 power forward, Harrell is big and strong and athletic, doing a lot of damage around the basket. He should play a lot of quality minutes for Rick Pitino’s club backing up Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng. (His addition also means that the Cardinals will now have the most difficult front court in the country to pronounce.)
With Peyton Siva, Russ Smith, a finally healthy Wayne Blackshear, George Mason transfer Luke Hancock and freshman Terry Rozier joining those three, Louisville has a legitimate argument at being the nation’s No. 1 team when the preseason polls are released.
But that’s not where the discussion seems to be placed following Harrell’s commitment.
Instead, it centers around Louisville’s scholarship situation.
You see, Harrell becomes the Cards 14th scholarship player, and as anyone that follows college hoops can tell you, you are only allowed to give out 13 scholarships. So where did the available scholarship come from? That, we don’t know and may never find out. Did Pitino find out that Rozier won’t get eligible? Will Stephen Van Treese, whose family can afford to play for a year of college, become a walk-on? Will Raheem Buckles take a medical redshirt? Is Russ Smith actually JR and Chris Smith’s long lost brother?
What we do know is that Pitino has perfected the art of roster manipulation. Prior to last season, he got Chris Smith, Kyle Kuric and Elisha Justice to pay their own way for school. He ran off George Goode prior to last season. He did the same with Jared Swopshire this season.
You may not be a fan of the way Pitino is running the program, but you have to admit: it’s working.