Karter Knox and Wins Are Key For Kenny Payne's Survival at Louisville

Louisville and Kenny Payne have been struggling on the recruiting trail as of late

Louisville v Texas
Louisville v Texas / Porter Binks/GettyImages
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Louisville and Kenny Payne have been struggling to say the least in the past 2 seasons, but on top of needing to win games Payne has been struggling to get recruits for 2024.

Payne brought in some key players for the 2023 recruiting class with 5 freshman commits and 3 transfer commits. However, the top 2 players of this class ended up not playing for Louisville or barely playing at all in 2023-24. Top 30 player Dennis Evans likely will not continue his basketball career because of his injury issues, and Trentyn Flowers left Louisville to play more professional ball outside of college.

As of right now Louisville has one freshman commitment from point guard Tj Robinson, who ranks as a 3-star prospect, and 216th nationally. That is not a great start to the 94th ranked recruiting class in the country according to On3.

Louisville and Payne seem to be banking on 5-star prospect Karter Knox, who seems to be picking between Kentucky and Louisville at the moment. Knox looks like he is slightly leaning towards Kentucky at the moment, On3 gives Kentucky a 42.8% chance to land Knox, while they give Louisville a 37.4% chance to land Knox.

Payne seems to have all of his effort into Knox, as he recruited his brother Kevin Knox back when he was at Kentucky, but having his younger brother also go to Kentucky could very likely happen.

If Payne lands a top 20 player nationally that would certainly boost Louisville recruiting for 2024. Especially if Payne fills out the rest of the holes in the roster for 2024 with a couple transfers. Payne has said in a post game presser this season that he will be looking to hit the transfer portal harder this offseason, and with the way college basketball is heading that could very well be a good avenue for Payne.

Payne has also offered 5-star Bryson Tucker, but it seems like he will be deciding between Kansas and Michigan State, as On3 just gives Louisville a less than 1% chance at landing him.

Payne also offered 3-star power forward Sekou Konneh and looks to be in the lead for him, however, he is not ranked nationally and would be not be a huge factor at all when looking at Louisville's 2024-25 roster.

Louisville has to win a decent amount of games for Payne to even be considered to stay at Louisville going into the next offseason. But, if Payne can will the Cardinals to enough wins for him to stay, he has to get the recruiting back on track.

Karter Knox looks to be the piece that could jumpstart some serious movement in recruiting for Louisville, and for Payne's sake Louisville needs his commitment over the blue team down the road.

If Knox signs then it could jumpstart some more commitments in the 2025 class, and some big transfer commits in the offseason. But, before any of that happens Louisville has to win enough games for Payne to stay in 2024.

Kenny has his hands full at the moment, but Karter Knox and some key wins in February and March could change the storylines in Louisville this offseason.