After landing the nation’s no. 1 graduate transfer, Chris Mack now has one remaining scholarship to use for the class of 2020 for Louisville basketball. Where does he turn next?
A large group of Louisville basketball fans were ready to push the panic button on Sunday evening after officially being eliminated from the final list of schools being considered by Bowling Green transfer Justin Turner; a player we thought could be the best fit for the Cards.
Over the last week, it felt like deja vu from last fall when it came to recruiting, this time with graduate transfers and transfers that moved on in their recruitment without including Louisville on their list.
Guys like Kevin Marfo, Tyrese Martin, Brandon Johnson, and Justin Turner all received some level of interest from Mack and the Cards after their transfer announcement but felt other programs were better fits. Whether or not the interest was ever really there for a few of those players, it brought up the question of why couldn’t Mack land anyone even with a ton of playing time available on a team that could be really good?
While it seemed like things were really starting to shift for Louisville’s recruiting, Chris Mack came through with a major commitment just hours after Turner’s announcement, from easily the nation’s top graduate transfer in Carlik Jones.
Jones gives Louisville the proven scorer that they needed for the 2020-21 roster and will fit nicely with returning sophomore David Johnson as well as Jay Scrubb and Sam Williamson. Here’s what I wrote about Jones fit with Louisville last week,
If Louisville wants to add a do-it-all type of guy, Jones feels like the perfect fit. He was the primary ball-handler in his three years at Radford, but he also led the Highlanders in points and assists last season and was the third-leading rebounder.
Now with the need for a scorer filled by Jones, Chris Mack, and his staff will now need to identify how they’ll use their final scholarship for the 2020-21 season (Shoutout to Dalton Pence for reminding us that Louisville had only two available slots next season due to the scholarship penalty).
Chris Mack spoke with local media on Tuesday via teleconference and was asked about how the team would use their final spot. He made it clear that the need is in the frontcourt as they look to give available minutes to a player who can give Malik Williams more opportunity to play at the four spot.
That means that next season we’ll see more lineups that feature a traditional center playing alongside of Williams, rather than in relief of like he did with Enoch last season.
Louisville does have Aidan Igiehon, who without question will be a great fit next to Williams as he develops, but considering the freshman big man barely played last season and won’t likely have a full offseason that means that adding an experienced center is crucial to aide in his development.
Chris Mack and staff will have plenty of time to add their final player, but that didn’t stop us from finding three guys who could be great fits at Louisville. While the transfer portal doesn’t have a ton of options at the center position, we think we found three players who could be difference-makers should they chose the Cards.