Rick Pitino is having a great year on the recruiting trail, winning one battle after another. His latest prize is Antonio Blakeney, a five-star 6-foot-4, 180-pound shooting guard from Oak Ridge, Florida.
Blakeney may be the crown jewel in a 2015 recruiting class that is currently considered the best in the country, joining three four-star performers in point guard Donovan Mitchell, small forward Deng Adel and power forward Raymond Spalding — all considered immediate contributors.
Blakeney, who averaged more than 24 points as a sophomore, tweeted his commitment Thursday night: “Man it feels so good. All the hard work has paid off. I will be attending the university of Louisville for college Coach P, I’m coming.”
He recently told the New Orleans Times-Picayune: “I think my scoring ability translates to the next level, but I know I have to work on getting stronger,” Blakeney said. “I know I’m also going to have to play good defense to stay on the floor. Every coach tells you you’ve got to play defense wherever you play.”
Here’s what others are saying:
Courier-Journal: “The University of Louisville basketball team’s strong 2015 recruiting class added arguably its brightest jewel yet – five-star shooting guard Antonio Blakeney, one of the most dynamic scorers in the country and one of the most highly regarded players Rick Pitino has landed for the Cards.”
Lexington Herald-Leader: “I love his ability to score,” Scout.com national analyst Evan Daniels said. “Honestly, he’s one of the top scorers in this class. He knows how to create space with his dribble. He’s turned in to a tremendous athlete. He’s very good in transition. He can get to the mid range and make shots. And he’s getting better. He’s clearly a hard worker, because he’s made tremendous strides in his game over the past year.”
CBS Sports: “He stays in attack mode throughout the game, but is a good decision-maker when it comes to getting to the rim or pulling up and knocking down a jumper.n Once he gets going on the offensive end, Blakeney is difficult to stop.”
The Sporting News: “Louisville coach Rick Pitino has the makings of perhaps his most dynamic Cardinals backcourt with Thursday night’s announcement that Antonio Blakeney was joining Donovan Mitchell in committing to U of L … Blakeney was rated No. 19 in the Sporting News 2015 recruiting class.”
What’s refreshing is that none of the members of UofL’s 2015 recruiting class has needed the drama of a press conference.