Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Louisville’s tremendous 2015 recruiting haul, UConn’s weekend visitors and North Carolina looks to make a strong first impression with a five-star center.
Louisville’s loaded 2015 class gets better
Rick Pitino already had a great start to his 2015 class with Deng Adel, Raymond Spalding and Donovan Mitchell, but it was icing on the cake on Thursday night when Florida native and five-star shooting guard Antonio Blakeney committed to the Cardinals.
Adel, Spalding and Mitchell are all top 50 players with athleticism and upside, but Blakeney might have the best upside of the group as a 6-foot-3 shooting guard who can play above the rim or behind the three-point line.
Two things stand out about this Louisville 2015 class. For one, all four members of this recruiting haul had strong months of July during the live evaluation period. Adel had a lot of momentum playing on the adidas circuit, Spalding enjoyed a boost in many national rankings with some strong performances with The Ville and Donovan Mitchell was perhaps July’s biggest stock booster with his play at the Reebok Breakout Camp and with The City. The newest addition, Blakeney, also enjoyed some strong outings this July and he proved he was a five-star prospect in the running for best shooting guard in the country.
Another thing to like about Louisville’s 2015 class? These guys all fit well together and play to each other’s strengths and the system Pitino likes to run. All four of these guys can get up-and-down the floor, handle and pass, and the guards — along with the wings — can play above the rim.
Louisville fans should be thrilled with the 2015 class and its gives Pitino and his staff a jump on recruiting younger classes of players as well.
Defending champs have some visitors
There’s an interesting weekend on-tap for the defending champion UConn Huskies as they host four-star small forward Chris Clarke and Texas native and big man Djery Baptiste.
While Clarke is a priority wing who had a strong July with Boo Williams as a do-it-all wing, Baptiste is an interesting visitor for the Huskies because head coach Kevin Ollie is pursuing five-star center Diamond Stone and local four-star big man Steve Enoch. Both Stone and Enoch are better prospects than Baptiste, but the three-star big man does present massive size at 6-foot-11 to go along with strong ability as an interior defender.
It will be worth monitoring how UConn proceeds with both situations because on the wing they’re also recruiting Georgia native Malik Beasley and Philadelphia native Derrick Jones.
Do they take a commitment from Baptiste if he wants to come and hope Enoch or Stone will still be interested? Or do they hold out and potentially miss on their post-player pursuits? Time will tell, but this is an interesting weekend in Storrs.
North Carolina gets a big five-star visitor
When it comes to official visits usually you want to be the first school in the picture so you can make a strong first impression and hopefully end the recruitment. While North Carolina likely won’t garner a commitment from five-star Haitian big man Skal Labissiere during his official visit this weekend, the Tar Heels can still make a strong opening statement for the 6-foot-11 center.
Labissiere is down to six schools — Baylor, Georgetown, Kentucky, Memphis, North Carolina and Tennessee — and the Tar Heels are hoping to set themselves apart from that pack this weekend.