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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Recruiting in the Bluegrass State


-Jenny looks at recruiting

-Mercedes Russell confirms Louisville camp attendance.

(Jenny O'Bryan flies the airplane for us today and files this
report on recruiting. She's our ace here at CARDINAL COUPLE 
in this area and we know you'll enjoy her writings
today and increase your knowledge as well.) 

Last week in the comment section of my article someone asked about Coach Walz recruiting and had he “abandoned in–state recruiting”?  I cannot speak to the recruiting of the class of 2010 or 2011, really.  We all know 2011 brought us Sarah Hammond from Rockcastle H.S. (KY).  Kentucky Miss Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year 2012 is Sydney Moss, from Boone County, KY.  She was pursued and offered a scholarship by Louisville, but chose Florida as the place she will spend her college career.

As has been stated before, following recruiting in women’s basketball is difficult, at best.  NCAA rules prevent University and college coaches from discussing recruits until they have signed their Letter of Intent (also called National Letter of Intent).  So, information that is out there comes from the recruit herself.  If not directly from her, then from her coach (either high school coach or AAU coach). Information can also be gathered from scouting services that get their information from the recruit herself or from coaches involved with the recruit. 

This is where the Internet, and more specifically social media, has transformed the recruiting world.  A recruit can tweet, facebook (insert any social media here), which coaches are pursuing them or expressing interest in their game.  It also provides an outlet for scouting services to talk about recruits as they are watching them in real time, as well as reporting information that recruits are giving them.  All of this is to say that information is readily available, as long as the recruits and/or coaches are talking. 

In the most recent past few weeks I have seen a lot of scouting services “tweeting” about the big AAU tournaments going on.  This past April coaches and scouts alike were spread out all over the country for an NCAA certified viewing period taking in big tournaments across the country.  Virginia, the DC /Maryland areas, and North Carolina tournaments specifically had scouts talking about kids from a “local” AAU program, Kentucky Premier.  Fast-forward a couple weeks later to Memorial Day weekend, and again, many tournaments, specifically one in Mason, Ohio, I found myself reading tweets and follow up articles about tournaments featuring kids from Kentucky Premier.  Finally, this past weekend, there was a big Skills Camp in Atlanta.  Bingo, you guessed it.  I again saw tweets about some Kentucky Premier players.  Not only was I hearing about “local” kids talents, but also about schools showing interest or offering scholarships.  

I decided to try and cull together some information about what I have been reading about upcoming talent in the state of Kentucky, and see if Louisville is involved in the recruiting of that talent. 

I also decided to go a step further and contact the Director of Kentucky Premier, Coach David Tapley, to confirm and verify information I was seeing tweeted by recruits, scouts and AAU coaches.  I spent some time talking to Coach Tapley. Not only did he confirm information I was seeing and reading myself, he also shared additional information about in-state kids that have some level of interest from Coach Walz and the University that I had not yet heard or read about. 

I want to caution readers that there are many levels of interest that a coach can show a recruit. Expressing interest does not guarantee the recruit will be extended a scholarship.  Perhaps the Coach is intrigued and wants to watch and see how the recruit develops. Please keep this in mind as I outline the in-state talent Louisville is said to have some level of involvement with. 

Coaches can start to show interest in a recruit by contacting high school or AAU Coaches.  NCAA rules prohibit a coach from initiating contact with a recruit until late in her junior year.  A recruit can initiate the contact, but not the Coach.  University Coaches have to go through high school coaches and AAU coaches when expressing interest in younger recruits. Hence my conversation with Coach Tapley to verify what I was reading, and I was fortunate enough to find out about some names that I had not heard yet heard about. 


Makayla Epps- 5-11 PG from Marion County High School. Makayla has made a verbal commitment to U of L and is eligible to sign her LOI in the early signing period in November. 

China Dow- Christian Academy of Louisville.  China is a guard and recently was written up on ESPN Hoopgurlz and given high praise.   Louisville has shown initial interest in her and is said to be watching her development. Schools said to have interest in her are Texas A&M, MTSU, Miama (FL), Kentucky and Xavier. 

Rebecca Greenwell- 6-1 Guard from Owensboro Catholic.  Becca’s name should be familiar to Cardinal faithful as she is being heavily recruited by Louisville.  Many other top tier programs are vying for her services include Notre Dame, Kentucky, Duke, Tennessee and North Carolina, just to name a few. 


Yacine Diop- 5-10 combo guard from Darfur, Senegal who has recently moved to Kentucky, and was most recently enrolled at Oak Hill Academy. This young woman is said to have incredible athleticism and speed and is already getting a lot of interest from school such as Kentucky, South Carolina, Dayton, Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.  Louisville is said to be heavily interested in this recruit.  (Any information on this recruit was new to me, as I had not seen her name mentioned before, though I am assured I will see it plenty more in the future). There is some speculation that she may be at the Elite Camp on June 28.  She is also said to have been one of several recent recruits who was on campus the weekend of the softball Regionals several weekends ago.

Ivy Brown-6-2 Forward at Larue County High School. Louisville is said to be watching her progress. She has interest from many schools including St. John’s, WKU, EKU, Miama (FL), Virginia Tech, among others.

Maci Morris- 5-11 guard out of Bell County.   Louisville recently offered Maci a scholarship.  She was among the group of recruits who was also on campus during the Softball regionals.  She is also said to likely be in attendance at the skills camp on 6/28. Maci is said to be getting interest from other big programs such as UCONN, Notre Dame, Stanford, to name a few.  She is absolutely a name to watch in the next few years. 

Morgan Turner- 6-2 guard/wing out of Meade County.  Louisville has some level of involvement with Morgan.  Morgan was invited to several games by Louisville last year and will also be at the skills camp on 6/28.   As an aside, I went to college with Morgan’s mom (a former basketball player herself.  It is certainly in her genes, to that I can attest.)  Morgan is being shown interest by some big time programs as well -- Stanford, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Dayton Iowa State, Kentucky and Virginia Tech. 

Morgan Rich-5-11 PG out of Allen County. Morgan was also said to be one of the recruits recently on campus.  She too is getting interest from big programs such as Notre Dame, Stanford, Virgina Tech, Xavier and  Louisville. 

Ashanti Thomas- 6-3 out of Lexington also is being shown some level of interest by Louisville. Other programs include Kentucky, Virginia Tech, MTSU, Indiana, WKU. 

Future Talent

Two very young players that are already making noise and yet to hit high school but are being noticed by high profile schools, Louisville included, is 2016 6-2 Forward out of Elizabethtown Erin Boley.  Erin is said to already be garnering interest from not only Louisville but also the likes of Notre Dame and Stanford.  2017 5-4 point guard Haeli Howard out of Marion County is also making noise.  While she is very young and still a year away from high school, she is said to ranked 9th in the country in the class of 2017 by Bret McCormick at All Stars Girls Report. These two are very, very young talent and Cardinal fans should watch as this future talent develops over the next few years. 

Certainly not all of the recruits mentioned above will be offered scholarships by the University of Louisville.  Some may not fit into the Louisville system.  Others may offer a skill set that is not of the greatest need the year they graduate.  I am sure there are many scenarios about how and why Louisville may, or may not be, the right fit for some of the aforementioned talent.  I do think it is safe to say that Coach Walz most definitely has his pulse on the talent within the State though.  This is just talent from one Club Coach within the State who was kind enough to verify information I had on some of his kids, but also give me additional information on kids I had yet to hear about. 

In closing, regardless of where any of the aforementioned young players end up going to college, it looks like the State of Kentucky has a ripe crop of talent that basketball enthusiast should enjoy watching develop over the next few years.  And who knows, maybe a few of them will be suiting up as a Louisville Cardinal in the near future.  Keep your eyes peeled, Cardinal Fans.  Also, show up to the Elite Skills clinic on 6/28 and you may get to see some of this young talent.

(I want to thank Coach Tapley for his time and information.   I also hear it is his birthday today, so I want to give him a birthday shout out for his time this past week.) 

(It is also worth mentioning Andrijana “Andi” Cvitkovic a 2013 6-3 forward out of Culver, IN, by way of Croatia. While Andi lives in northern Indiana she plays AAU ball with Kentucky Premier and was very recently offered a scholarship by Louisville.  Andi is currently in Croatia training this summer for the Croatian national team.  Andi is also said to have been on campus several weekends ago with a few other recruits.  Stanford, Texas A&M, Michigan, Ohio State Indiana are just a few vying for her services. She is said to have over 64 offers to Division 1 programs. )

Recruiting is an area where the future of programs meshes with the needs, wants and desires of high school  students. An area where academics and athletics combine with fervent fans and coaches' cultivation. An art and a science. A fascinating feature in the overall structure of women's college basketball and an area that is continually changing and never boring. Thanks for reading my "take" on it today.



Mercedes Russell has confirmed she'll be in Louisville for Jeff Walz's basketball camp on June 28th. Link below: 

Mercedes to roll into "Ville"

If there's ever been a reason to stand
up and yell "YES!"...this would be one...


( Outstanding articles, Jenny! And, a big thank you to Coach Tapley for sharing his knowledge. You can catch Jenny's columns here at CARDINAL COUPLE on Wednesday and throughout the entire year. )


  1. Great article today Jenny and great news about Mercedes! If you live in Louisville or close, you should try to attend the 28th and watch.

    Curtis Franklin

  2. How would you rate Louisville chances on getting Russell?

    Husky Proud

    1. Very good! Why not come out the 28th and show her just how much Cardinal fans want her?

  3. Is the 2012 class complete

    1. We have no idea. We're expecting Monny to play, which would give Louisville 14 on scholarship. Since coaches can't comment on specific players, we don't now if there will be a late addition or not.


    2. I think it's safe to assume there will be no more additions to the recruiting class of 2012. There are no highly ranked uncommitted recruits left in the HS class of 2012, whereas there are several highly ranked uncommitted recruits in addition to the verbal commits (Epps and Goodin-Rogers) in the class of 2013. Walz would be crazy to fill up any more scholarship slots with members of the class of 2012.
      --PDX Phil
      PS: Great work, Jenny - keep it up!

    3. Hey Phil-
      Thanks! I have to agree with you about not adding another to the 2012 roster. I hope we are done.

      That being said, I sit behind the women's bench during the season AND Walz now knows who I am, I will NOT be calling him crazy should he add another. LOL

  4. Great article Jenny - I am well aware of the work it takes for something 1/2 as complete as what you have researched and written. See you and hopefully many others on the 28th at the University of Louisville campus at Cardinal Arena.
    Sandy W.

  5. Great article! Look forward to seeing these young players. To the person that asked if the 2012 class is complete.....I am pretty sure due to NCAA rules regarding players who transfer, Monny will have to sit out a year.

  6. Since my article last week, I do have it on good authority that Monny will be on campus this Fall and that yes, she will have to sit out a year.

  7. I remember a player for the men's in the late90's transferring from. A naia school n not sitting out have the rules changed r is that a different level

  8. Thanks for update!


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