Louisville basketball signees having impact seasons

Head coach Chris Mack of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Head coach Chris Mack of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Chris Mack and the Louisville basketball coaching staff secured five signees for their 2021 recruiting class back in November. All of them are off and running in their final seasons of high school/junior college basketball before they reach Louisville.

With the potential losses of players like David Johnson, Carlik Jones, and Malik Williams after this season, a multitude of these prospects might be in prime position for a large amount of minutes as freshmen.

The results have been awesome this season for all of the newly inked Cardinals with massive improvements and efficient play all around.

How are the 2021 signees performing this season?

F Michael James – Oak Ridge, Florida

247 Sports Ranking83 overall, No. 18 small forward

Size profile: 6’6″ 195-pounds

2020-21 stats: 9 GP: 20.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.7 APG, .8 SPG, 1.0 BPG

James is shooting 55 percent from the field this season and has improved on point and rebound production. He is a big, strong athlete with a college-ready frame. When he gets to Louisville, he should be one of the first guys to contribute. He’s shooting 47 percent from three this year as well. The Florida-based senior is ready for the next level.

G Bobby Pettiford – South Granville, North Carolina

247 Sports rankingNo. 91 overall, No. 13 point guard

Size profile: 6’1″ 175-pounds

2020-21 stats: 9 GP: 20 PPG, 6.0 APG, 4.3 RPG, 2.6 SPG, .3 BPG

He’s improved his three-point shooting percentage 10 points to 40 percent this season. That was one of the weak points of Pettiford’s game as a junior. He has clearly made that area a strength as a senior. Pettiford is a great athlete for his size that will bring a lot of energy to the point guard position right away.

G El Ellis – Tallahassee Community College, Florida

247 Sports rankingNo. 2 overall JUCO player, No. 1 combo guard

Size profile: 6’3″ 170-pounds

2020-21 stats: 5 GP: 16.6 PPG, 4.2 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.2 SPG

Ellis is a speedy guard with plenty of offensive flare. He is a solid three-point shooter and offers a ton of crafty play at the cup to avoid and find contact when necessary. When he penetrates the defense, he has all of the tools to finish or dish to a teammate.

F Eric van der Heijden – Millbrook, North Carolina

247 Sports ranking88-rating, No. 34 power forward

Size profile: 6’9″ 205-pounds

2020-21 stats: 22.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 3.6 BPG, 1.8 SPG

Van der Heijden is filling up the stat sheet as a senior. He has nearly doubled his scoring and rebounding while almost tripling his block numbers from a year ago. He is a playmaking forward who has the ability to dish the ball at a unique level for a forward. The senior seems to have taken his game to a whole new level this season.


This was a developmental take by Mack and the staff. But, so far, it seems to be paying off in big ways. Van der Heijden looks to have added some bulk and has clearly translated his senior year into more dominant play.

F Roosevelt Wheeler – John Marshall, Virginia

247 Sports rankingNo. 78 overall, No. 11 center

Size profile: 6’10” 220-pounds

2020-21 stats: Will reportedly miss the entirety of his senior season with injury.

Wheeler is a true big man that is not playing his senior year due to injury. He averaged a double-double and over four blocks per game as a junior. Louisville is desperately missing a center to play behind Malik Williams right now. A healthy Wheeler could compete for time as a true freshman.

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