Louisville is coming off of a season where they won the Big East tournament and made a run all the way to the Final Four. They are heading into a season where they will be a consensus top three team when the official preseason polls are released.
In other words, there probably aren’t three programs that will have a better 2012 calender year.
Which is why this weekend is so important for the future of the Cardinal program: Louisville will have enough talent visiting their campus to reach the 2015 Final Four.
It starts with a pair of Virginia Tech defectors. Montrezl Harrell, a top 100 big man in the class of 2012 and a former Tech signee, will be visiting Louisville (who many believe is his favorite) along with Dorian Finney-Smith, a transfer that left Tech when Seth Greenberg was fired. Finney-Smith would have to sit out a year before becoming eligible.
Also on campus will be a pair of top 30 prospects from the class of 2013. JaJuan Johnson is a shooting guard from Memphis that has seen his stock skyrocket after the spring evaluation period, which was aided by the fact that he has grown two inches to 6-foot-5 since last summer. Johnson is the nephew of Louis Williams of the 76ers. Jordan Mickey, an athletic comb0-forward and a five-star recruit, may be the most highly-regarded prospect that will be in Louisville this weekend.
Joining them will be 6-foot-7 wings Kates Beita-Diop and Malek Harris, both members of the class of 2014 from Illinois.
The saying “strike while the iron is hot” is fitting in the recruiting world. When your program is on the upswing, it is important to not only get talented recruits onto your campus, but to convince them to come to your school. That’s the best way to prevent your program from being on a downswing.
Pitino is halfway there this weekend.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.