September May Be Chris Mack’s Biggest Month Yet


Typically when a new coach is hired, one of the first jobs they are tasked with handling is selling the coaching staff and program itself to recruits. That’s been the case with Louisville Head Coach Chris Mack.

With a majority of the team returning from the 2017-2018 season, there was not much ground to make up for newly appointed men’s basketball coach Chris Mack. The main focus of the 2018 recruiting class was to bring in graduate transfers who could come in and contribute right away and provide veteran leadership for a team that is mostly made up of underclassman.

In turn, the staff began to focus their attention to future recruiting classes, specifically the 2019 class and even dipping into the 2020 class.

Currently, 6’4″ guard Josh Nickelberry became one of Chris Mack’s first true commitments in not only the 2019 class but of his coaching tenure at UofL.

Of course Mack is not going to stop with just Nickelberry. The staff is pushing hard for another 2019 guard, Rocket Watts out of Detroit. It appears to be a race between Florida State and Louisville at the moment, but as expected with recruiting, anything can happen.

Rocket Watts released his first round of official visits last week, and Louisville was fortunate to make the cut. Like many other recruits, Watts will visit Floyd Street during the month of September.

Another potential prospect that has gained some steam is hometown Trinity star David Johnson. Johnson is a four star guard who was recently committed to the Cardinals around this time last year, but decided to reopen his recruitment amidst the FBI investigation. Recently however, Johnson had narrowed his list of schools to three; Louisville, Xavier, and Georgia. I would say Louisville is the favorite to land Johnson with it being his hometown and having another former Trinity star and formal Cardinal, Ray Spalding, play for the Cards.

To compliment a back court it is important to have someone at the wing spot giving a team a third skilled ball handler who can put pressure on a defense. Coach Mack and staff have targeted 6’8″ forward Jaelyn Withers to fill this role. He would be an excellent compliment to a potential back court of Nickelberry and Watts. A forward with a 6’8″ frame floating around the perimeter can take an enormous amount of pressure off of the guards.

Withers announced his final five last week which included Louisville, Florida, Arizona, Texas, and Texas A&M. He also went on to set up an official visit to the Cards in September, the same weekend as close friend Josh Nickelberry.

Finally, the staff has been zeroing in on five star center Aidan Igiehon. Igiehon is a 6’10” center from Ireland who moved to the states to play his high school basketball in New York. If he were to commit, it would be the first center of that caliber to join since Samardo Samuels in 2009.

Three of the five prospects listed above have set official visits in the month of September, marking it as the most important month for the new staff so far. While Igiehon has not set an official visit yet, he did take an unofficial visit towards the end of June, in addition current UofL commit Josh Nickelberry has been recruiting Igiehon heavily. Johnson meanwhile, has not scheduled an official visit but it is more than likely due to the fact that he was committed to the program at one point, again Louisville is the favorite.

It is great to see a staff that is willing to put in the work on the recruiting trail, something that was missing from the prior regime’s tenure here until former assistant Kenny Johnson was hired.

Next. Talking Chris Mack with a Former Xavier Star. dark

All in all, the cardinals are in good hands with not only Chris Mack, but the work of assistants Luke Murray and Mike Pegues is really impressive given the task they have been handed and the amount of time they have gotten after it on the recruiting trail.