Chris Mack extended a new offer for Louisville basketball.
One might say that things on the recruiting trail have been going quite well for Chris Mack and the Louisville basketball staff lately, following a trio of commitments in the month of June.
At the time of Bryce Hopkins commitment back in November 2019, there obviously was no signs of a worldwide pandemic halting basketball recruiting and all other sports-related activities for nearly a quarter of the year, but that work done by Luke Murray and the Cardinal staff allowed for the momentum we’ve seen over the last three weeks.
With three commitments in the fold, Hopkins, Bobby Pettiford Jr., and El Ellis, one spot remains available in the class of 2021 (for now) and Louisville basketball still has a few needs left on the board. One of those needs is at the wing position, where Chris Mack has recently extended a new scholarship offer.
Louisville already has a ton of names on the recruiting big board on the wing, but that didn’t stop them from officially offering Alex Fudge. The four-star forward ranks as the 49th best player nationally and the 10th best small forward according to 247 Sports composite rankings, which makes him one of the best available players at any position on the board for the Cards.
Fudge holds 22 total offers, most of which come from the power seven conferences with notable program Maryland, Florida, LSU, USC, Alabama, Georgia Tech, and Iowa State all involved. Coming off of a breakout season playing for Robert E. Lee high school, Fudge saw his stock climb as he jumped from outside the top 175 into the top 50 and even as high as 36 overall by Rivals.com.
While Louisville is by no means early to the party for Fudge, it doesn’t mean they won’t have a serious shot at landing one of the most improved players in the country who could be in store for a massive senior season. Speaking with Hoopseen.com, Fudge talked about what will matter in his recruitment process and ultimate decision, highlighting two major areas. Academics & relationships. He said:
“Relationships,. I just want to make sure the schools that I actually choose, that me and that coach have a tight relationship and a close bond. I don’t want to go to a school where me and this coach talked here and there. I want to be able to open up and come to them at any time. The relationship is going to be a big part.”
If you read into each commitment Louisville’s received in 2021, and really in each class Coach Mack has put together, you’ll notice a trend. Players love the staff. Of course, basketball and player development is always a part of why a recruit chooses Louisville, but more times than not you’ll have quotes that highlight the staff’s ability to build a trusting relationship.
El Ellis told Evan Daniels: “I built a good relationship with coach [Chris] Mack and coach Dino [Gaudio] and I believe in them and I believe they have a really good plan for my future and my goals and that’s going pro after I’m done with school.
Bobby Pottiford Jr. told Jody Demling: “The relationship is great (with the staff). “They hit me up a lot and we have a good connection, and not just about basketball. I liked that.”
So what does Fudge bring to the table as a player?
There’s a lot to like about Fudge, starting with his size. Listed officially at 6’6 (I’ve seen him at 6’7 and even 6’8 on other sites) he’s a long wing who’s built a lot like Samuell Williamson with arms that go on for forever, possessing the size you look for at the small forward position. Those long arms combined with a high level of athleticism allow Fudge to finish some nasty dunks as well as make impressive blocks around the rim defensively.
Seriously dude throws DOWN.
While still growing into his body, Fudge shows so much potential as a two-way player who is more than capable of guarding multiple positions including both smaller guards and bigger forwards. Fudge’s offensive game blossomed in 2019-20 as he showed the ability to create for himself as a scorer at all three levels but primarily thriving in the mid-range game. Shooting nearly 60 percent from the field as a junior, Fudge showed the ability to get what he wanted, when he wanted, with the large majority of his points coming off a variety of dunks. While his three-point numbers weren’t there, he does have a fairly quick release and is more than able to get his shots up over defenders thanks to his size.
Thanks to his long stride and developing ball-handling abilities, Fudge is able to get around defenders nearly at ease with the ball in his hands and once he’s at the rack it’s just a matter of who gets caught on a poster.
He also thrives as a rebounder, which is something that Mack has had a lot of at the wing position over the last two seasons thanks to Jordan Nwora and Dwayne Sutton.
Offensively, Fudge is still a work in progress but has the potential to have the same level of rise to five-star status as we saw with Williamson back in 2019. He’s a smooth player with a lot of skill that has the potential to be lethal as a scorer.
Defensively is where Fudge has the highest-ceiling and the potential to become elite thanks to his length. As mentioned, he projects to be able to guard multiple positions, potentially two through five, thanks to that 7’0 wingspan and also is a deadly shot-blocker both around the rim and beyond the arc.
Out of all the players I’ve watched this offseason while covering recruiting for the Cards, Fudge is my second favorite player just behind Bobby Pettiford Jr. As he continues to get more comfortable with his body and size, Fudge is going to develop into a special player who could be a one-and-done type recruit.
Louisville’s ability to build relationships quickly should allow them to get into a good spot with Fudge, especially considering multiple outlets have noted that he doesn’t intend to make any quick decisions.