Stockrisers ’19-’20 Team Recruiting Class rankings are finally here. With holiday season looming, from now till Christmas day we will release two teams a day leading up to the final school, #25.
Now we begin with Stockrisers top-ranked 2019-20 recruiting class, the Louisville Cardinals.
It’s safe to say, when a coach takes a first year job, you never expect to get done what Chris Mack has done his first 7 months on the job. Besides his excellent recruiting job, he’s won two signature games including at home against top-10 Michigan State.
Now the recruiting part.
In May, Chris Mack picked up a big-time commitment from North Carolina guard Josh Nickelberry. The Cards were picked over schools such as UNC, Duke, among others. It’s safe to say he’s the guy besides Mack that helped build the foundation of this class. “I’ve been on Aidan [Igiehon] since top-100 camp,” Nickelberry said. He’s referring to Aidan Igiehon who committed in early-October. Also, top-100 camp took place just one week after Nickelberry committed, so his job as a recruiter began just shortly after he committed.
Months later Nickelberry currently leads North Carolina in scoring with 32PPG, and has inserted himself into top-15 scoring ALL-TIME in the state of North Carolina. He’s definitely not where he should be in rankings but should definitely be in Stockrisers top-30 when they come out in the next few weeks.
Next up, you got Jaelyn Withers. The former North Meck forward is considered an “underrated” snag that was made by Chris Mack. Withers had Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Texas A&M as the others in his final-five. He had preliminary plans to make his visits but once he stepped foot on UofL’s campus he immediately fell in love. As Stockrisers reported, Jaelyn verbally committed while on campus and had Stockrisers break the news for him.
Since then Withers made a move from North Meck to Cleveland Heights where his season has just gotten underway. He’s only played in two games and has been limited due to a minor ankle injury. It’s been evident that his defensive game has been huge, has had multiple blocks in the first two games this season. When healthy Withers is dominant on the defensive end, on offensive his ability to run the floor is unique and will mesh well in Chris Mack’s system. We will have his stats after every game (just like every recruit in this class)
The next guy, the hometown hero, David Johnson. The local kid who attends Trinity HS in Louisville was formerly committed to UofL, when Rick Pitino was let go and the scandals were going on, Johnson decommitted. Right when Chris Mack was hired, Mack reasserted himself and the Cards back atop Johnson’s recruitment. With help from Josh Nickelberry and an excellent effort on behalf of the staff, Johnson decided days before Louisville Live that he’d be staying home.
On the hardwood this season, Johnson has proved why he’s such a “do-it-all” type of guard. His most recent two stat lines are as followed: 14pts, 10asts, 6rebs, 6stls — 16pts, 7rebs, 7asts, and 3stls. He’s been so active on both ends and it’s helped Trinity maintain an undefeated record early into the season.
Next up, Samuell Williamson. Undoubtedly one of the biggest bloomers in the entire 2019 class. It was said that Kansas was a lock for him the entire time and even on decision day many thought that, but the forward from Rockwall High in Texas said otherwise.
So far this season Williamson has notched right double-doubles in nine games including a 37-point performance against Jalen Green who’s one of the top prospects in the class of 2020. One fan said “He’s quickly become a potential one and done player.” If that is indeed the case, it’s crazy how fast Williamson has grown. He’s even recently gotten comparisons to Jayson Tatum. Keep an eye out for Williamson as many expect him to become a five-star real soon.
The fifth commitment was one Louisville fans waited on for a really (a few hours later) really long time. The second week of October, Aidan Igiehon told me, and the others in attendance, that he was committing to UofL. Just hours prior to his commitment Stockrisers and 247Sports reported that Chris Mack met with Igiehon just hours before his decision.
This was a great recruiting effort by Luke Murray, who lead the way for the recruitment of the 6-10 forward originally from Dublin, Ireland. By the way, Chris Mack even went to Ireland to visit with Igiehon’s family, wow.
As for his season on the hardwood, it’s consisted of five double-doubles in five games, including his most recent game which he had 35pts and 19rebs, but also made five three’s, he’s looked really good this season.
Finally, one of the most slept on players in the entire country, Quinn Slazinski. His recruitment had its ups and its downs. When I first started working with Slazinski he had interest from the UNC’s and the Michigan State’s and some major schools. It quieted down for a little bit, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise.
Chris Mack was recruiting Slazinski at Xavier with former assistant and current XU head coach Travis Steele. August 20th, Mack hosted Slazinski and his family for an unofficial visit. One month later, he was committed to UofL. The only major competition in his recruitment towards the end was actually Xavier and Wake Forest. He had plans to visit both schools but obviously canceled when he committed to a UofL.
As for my coverage of these six men, it’s been months covering them. Chris Mack has a great squad of incoming freshmen on his hands.