Louisville basketball: Chris Mack adds new wing to the board for 2021

Chris Mack extended a new scholarship offer on Monday evening to a top 100 wing.

Even with the recruiting limitations that have come about from COVID-19, Chris Mack and the Louisville basketball staff have stayed busy with recruiting the class of 2021.

The Cards have stayed busy over the last two weeks extending over a half a dozen offers between the class of 2021 and 2022, as Mack continues to put his stamp on the program he took over two years ago.

The offers have ranged from five-star players to rising sleepers, and even unranked, local recruits who could be hidden gems. Mack finds himself in a very interesting place in the recruiting scene as he navigates his program through the recent NCAA Notice of Allegations and uncertain future. There is no telling what could come of the recruiting violations mentioned in the long-awaited N.O.A., but it’s clear that the Cardinals’ short-term and long-term recruiting efforts will be impacted.

Mack extended his third offer in offer in three days in the class of 2021, this one to top 100 four-star wing, Michael James. The Orlando, FL product is ranked as the 82nd best player in the class according to 247 Sports, and the 19th best small forward. Louisville is the latest to get involved in a recruitment that has picked up a ton of momentum over the last month. James has landed four new offers from high-major programs, including multiple ACC programs, bringing his offer total up to nearly a dozen.

The uptick in his recruitment comes on the heels of his breakout junior season where he averaged 18.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game playing for Oak Ridge High School. James emerged as a steady scorer, doing so on 53 percent shooting from the field and nearly 42 percent from behind the line while continuing to dominate games on the defensive side of the floor.

James is a versatile two-way forward, who is just as deadly when attacking the paint off the bounce as he is when pulling up from deep. Unlike we’ve seen with most of the Louisville basketball recruits thus far in the Chris Mack era, James is a big-bodied wing at 6’6, 200 pounds who already has a physique made to withstand the college game.

While his game is still a bit raw as you might expect, you can see the potential that the rising senior has as a scorer at the next level. Utilizing his size, James is capable of playing with a ton of physicality, outmuscling his opponents as he gets to the rim and using it to finish in traffic under the basket. He’s got great finishing ability and is only getting better and better as a spot-up and pull-up shooter.

James now joins the likes of five-star forward Aminu Mohamed and Harrison Ingram, who included the Cards in his group 10 finalists, as top targets at the wing position. Louisville will lose graduate-transfer Charles Minlend Jr. at the end of 2020 to graduation and could also see rising star Sam Williamson enter the 2021 NBA Draft, leaving two major holes open on the roster. In my opinion, there is not a bigger target on the board than Mohamed, but both Ingram and James could easily be apart of a 2021 class that features four-star Bryce Hopkins.

You can catch more highlights of James here as well as get peek at what would easily be the best hairstyle of any Chris Mack recruit. I also challenge you to find a better dunk than what’s at the :04 mark.