Having already received verbal commitments from guard Donovan Mitchell and forwards Deng Adel and Raymond Spalding, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has one of the best recruiting hauls in the Class of 2015. On Thursday night the Cardinals’ class got even better, as five-star guard Antonio Blakeney announced via Twitter that he has committed to the ACC school.
Rivals currently ranks Blakeney as the 13th-best prospect in the Class of 2015, and his explosive offensive game is an attribute that stuck out in his game throughout the spring and summer. Blakeney’s decision to commit to Louisville comes a few days after his official visit to the school last weekend.
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Blakeney averaged just over 25 points and five rebounds per game as a junior at Oak Ridge HS in Orlando, Florida, and he played his summer basketball for the Each 1 Teach 1 program. During Nike EYBL play Blakeney averaged 19.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
Adding Blakeney to the backcourt rotation gives Louisville another explosive piece in 2015-16. He, Mitchell and Adel will join a group that will most likely include holdovers such as Terry Rozier, Anton Gill and current freshmen Quentin Snider and Shaqquan Aaron. The Cardinals, who will make their debut in the ACC this season, lose Chris Jones and Wayne Blackshear at the conclusion of the 2014-15 campaign.
The six schools Louisville beat out for Blakeney’s pledge were Florida State, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, Oregon and USC.
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)