Rick Pitino brings in his highest rated recruiting class in nearly five years

By on February 6, 2017

By Dalton Ray–

Expected to be one of coach Rick Pitino’s highest recruiting class since 2013, the 2017 men’s basketball class currently holds four members. Louisville graduates two seniors, Mangok Mathiang and Tony Hicks, but have a handful of players on NBA draft boards. With three of the four members in ESPN’s Top 100, the Cards’ class ranks eighth in the nation.

Malik Williams, foward

Playing across the river, Williams is the highest rated recruit for U of L. Indiana’s fourth-ranked, Williams is the prototypical new-age stretch-four. At 6-foot-11, he possesses the tools that will help Louisville spread the floor. With mid-range shooting ability, Williams can bring defenders away from the basket. Williams has above-average handles for a big man but won’t dazzle anyone.

On the defensive side, Williams is a good rim protector because of his height and wingspan. While his timing is good, Williams, 215 lbs., needs to add weight before he can spend extended time in the paint. Williams has an extremely high ceiling and fans can expect him to be a Ray Spalding-type player with a better offensive game.

Darius Perry, guard

Perry is the classic Pitino point guard: a quick, aggressive player that has a high motor and attacking mindset. The No. 12 point guard by ESPN, Perry has tight and controlled ball handle. At 6-foot-2, Perry is crafty near the rim and gets to the basket often. Perry keeps defenders honest by being able to hit the pull-up jump shot. Another aspect of Perry’s defensive ability also stands out.

Perry will likely enter U of L as a one diminsional player because of his lack of consistency from three. Perry’s decision making must also improve when he decides to drive the lane. All-in-all, Pitino has another aggressive, defensive point to lead his team in the future.

Jordan Nwora, forward

Nwora is an elite shooter and at 6-foot-8, 220 lbs., he is a game changer. The fourth-ranked player out of New York, Nwora is a knock-down shooter that gives U of L a legit 3-point threat. Nwora forces defenders to stay near him because of his ability to hit anywhere inside the arc.

While Nwora is a top-notch shooter, his game must develop without the ball. Not the most athletically gifted player, Nwora has heavy feet and will be challenged by Pitino’s conditioning program. Shot selection is another area of improvement as he will no longer be the best player on the court. With a defensive minded coach in Pitino, Nwora may face an up-hill battle to see playing time behind veteran front court players that.

Lance Thomas, forward

Thomas is the most raw player in the class but holds all the tools to be a high level power forward in the ACC. At 6-foot-10, the best part of Thomas’ game is his shot blocking. The second Georgia native in the class, Thomas will likely spend next season developing his game. While he may not contribute much in his first season, Thomas will be another mobile, lanky rim protector roaming in U of L’s front court.

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-2018) that is technically award winning.Email: dray@louisvillecardinal.com

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