The Louisville Cardinals pick up what should be their last commit for the 2014 class Monday from Egyptian big man Anas Osama Mahmoud. With star players like Russ Smith and Luke Hancock, probably Montrezl Harrell as well, playing their last year with the Cards the incoming 2014 class is very important if Louisville wants to make a splash in their first year in the ACC.
Players like Wayne Blackshear, Terry Rozier, Chris Jones and Mangkok Mathiang will be the new leaders. Hopefully guard Kevin Ware will be healed and ready to go as well and make an impact. There will be talent, but Rick Pitino will also have to use some of the incoming freshman to keep things rolling.
I guess I should also mention Anton Gill, who I expect to get some quality minutes his sophomore season.
But let’s look at Pitino’s incoming class and see what Louisville has to look forward to.
Players who can make an immediate impact:
Shaqquan Aaron, 6’8″ shooting guard from Rainer Beach High School in Seattle, Washington. Aaron has length and athletic ability that will make him a special player in Pitino’s system. He can score from the outside and inside. Aaron can also pass the ball really well, especially in transition, similar to a Terrence Williams.
I would expect Aaron to see a lot of playing time as a freshman, probably take Hancock’s minutes. With his length and quickness he will be something to reckon with in Louisville’s pressure defense.
Chinanu Onuaku, 6’10″ center from Riverdale Baptist School in Maryland. What does Louisville need the most this year? Big men. Onuaku will likely backup Mathiang, if Mathiang starts that is. Onuaku has strength and has great blocking ability.
He does a lot of little things that Pitino like in his big men.
Quentin Snider, 6’2″ point guard from Ballard High School in Louisville, KY.. I could see Pitino playing him right away, I can also see him waiting a bit if he doesn’t pick up the defense right away. Snider is a scoring point guard, which is something Louisville hasn’t completely had in a while.
Snider will be Chris Jones’ backup, if Rozier move to Russ’ spot in the lineup that is. Snider has the speed to keep up with Jones and Rozier, he also has a high basketball IQ.
The rest of the players in the 2014 class are just as talented, but I would be a little surprised to see the get immediate playing time.
Jaylen Johnson, 6’9″ power forward from Ypsilanti, Michigan. Has great length and runs the floor very well for his size. Might need to gain some weight to do what Pitino will need him to do at the four spot.
He will have to beat Agua out for minutes, will be up to Pitino to whom he wants to keep in rotation. Johnson will have to prove himself quickly to get minutes.
Matz Stockman, 7’2″ from the Canary Islands. He is long and has a great quickness for his size. Only concern is his strength and he has likely never played in a fast pace defense like Louisville’s, can he keep up with the quickness that Mathiang has already developed.
Anas Osama Mahmoud, 7-2 from Egypt. Not much is known about Mahmoud other then the little bit of highlight tape and what his coach at West Oaks High, Shaun Wisemen, says about him.
“He’s very skilled,”Wismen said. “He can score in a couple of ways, with his back to the basket, he can jump and shoot, he can beat people off the dribble. He has a really high IQ and sees the floor. He can pass the ball. On the defensive end of things, he can guard four different positions. He can guard post players, he can guard perimeter guys. He can block shots. He’s very multi-dimensional and versatile.”
There is no doubt the Cardinals will have depth. Pitino will have a team full of athleticism and length, which I am sure he is super excited over the possibilities. Say what you want about Rick’s style of recruiting, it works. And it appears as though he will have a dynamic that he has never really had in a class, lots of big men.
He could potentially play two 7-footers. He probably wont, but he could and no one would blame him.
Watch out ACC, the Louisville Cardinals are coming.
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