Three outstanding high school products have each signed a national letter-of-intent to continue their basketball playing careers at the University of Louisville, placing this Cardinal signing class among the nation’s top recruiting classes.
The list of highly-touted signees includes Deng Adel, a 6-7, 190-pound forward from Melbourne, Australia who attends Victory Rock Prep in Bradenton, Fla.; Donovan Mitchell, a 6-3, 210-pound guard from Greenwich, Conn. who attends Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.; and Raymond Spalding, a 6-10, 210-pound forward from Trinity High School in Louisville. All three are ranked among the nation’s top 50 prospects.
“I think this will prove out to be one of the best recruiting classes we have had since I’ve been here,” said Pitino, “and we will probably add one more.”
Adel averaged 22 points and eight rebounds last season in helping Victory Rock Prep to a 24-8 record.
“Deng is one of the premier wing players we have recruited in quite some time,” said Pitino. “He is a top 25 high school player who has great passing skills, a terrific jump shot, is an outstanding athlete and is very good at both ends of the floor.”
Adel is ranked No. 18 nationally by Scout.com, 32nd by 247Sports.com, 50th by Rivals.com and is No. 30 in the ESPN 100. He was born in Sudan, Africa and moved to Australia as a child, following a similar path as current UofL center Mangok Mathiang. Adel also played soccer and ran track while in Australia, where he moved to from Africa in 2004 before coming to the United States last year.
Adel considered offers from Connecticut, Florida, Mississippi and Virginia Tech before choosing to sign with the Cardinals.
Mitchell averaged 11.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season in helping Brewster Academy to an impressive 33-2 record, the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council AAA Championship and the National Prep Championship. No other program has ever won both titles, which Brewter also accomplished in 2010. Brewster is off to a 3-0 start this season.
“From the first 10 minutes I watched Donovan play, I said ‘I want this young man on our team,'” said Pitino. ” “He has a Peyton Siva type personality and Peyton Siva type character. He’s a human highlight every time down the court and really does it all. He’s a bulldog defender, great passer, scores and jumps well and is just a special basketball player who we are so excited to have on our team.”
Mitchell is ranked No. 21 nationally by Scout.com, 29th by 247Sports.com, 31st by Rivals.com and is No. 38 in the ESPN 100. He participated in the Elite 24 game on Aug. 23 at Pier 2 of the Brooklyn Bridge Park and video of a dunk of his from that event flooded social media channels.
Mitchell chose to attend Louisville after narrowing his list of collegiate opportunities to also include Villanova, Florida State, Providence and Boston College.
Spalding averaged 13.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocked shots last season in helping Trinity post a 31-6 record and reach the semifinals of the Kentucky state championship.
“Ray is a diamond in the rough,” said Pitino. “He has improved as much in the last two years as any player I have witnessed at the high school level. He is long, runs great, passes, shoots, and has an incredible college career ahead of him. We’ve very excited to have such a special local basketball player on our team. He’s also one of the nicest and most polite young people we have recruited.”
A first-team all-state selection as a junior, Spalding is ranked No. 38 nationally by 247Sports.com, 39th by Rivals.com, 40th by Scout.com and is No. 52 in the ESPN 100. His AAU team “The Ville” beat the Albany (N.Y.) City Rocks to win the 11th grade AAU National Championship played in Louisville. Spalding was the MVP of the title game after totaling 15 points, eight rebounds, five blocked shots and two steals.
Spalding chose to attend Louisville after also considering Indiana, Xavier, Clemson and Vanderbilt.