Keeping this year’s Louisville basketball team focused on its season in the wake of an FBI scandal that resulted in Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino and athletics director Tom Jurich being placed on administrative leave is a lot to ask of interim head coach David Padgett.
Attempting to sell recruits on a program that doesn’t have a permanent coach, athletics director or school president and will likely face NCAA sanctions in the coming seasons is even more difficult.
Yet, according to a report by Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Padgett is already out on the recruiting trail, trying to win back the commitment of 4-star guard Courtney Ramey. Ramey was one of two 2018 recruits and one of three total prospects who decommitted from the Cardinals after the FBI investigation was released.
Ramey’s father confirmed to Greer that Padgett is currently visiting Ramey in St. Louis. Padgett led Louisville’s recruitment of Ramey while serving as one of Pitino’s assistants.
The other Class of 2018 recruit who dropped his pledge to the Cardinals, 5-star guard Anfernee Simons, could reportedly also be won back by Padgett. Simons told ESPN’s Jeff Borzello that it was the firing of Pitino, not the allegations brought forth in the FBI findings, that caused him to revoke his commitment.
“I was going to take my time and see what happened with Coach P,” Simons said. “If he didn’t get fired and nothing happened, I was going to stay with it.”
While Padgett has not reached out to Simons since he decommitted, Simons’ mother, Tameka, told Greer that the family would “be open” to hearing Padgett’s pitch.
While Simons and Ramey may not have ruled out Louisville, Padgett will have his work cut out to actually land them. Padgett is currently the only coach on Louisville’s staff, so he has no assistants to help with the recruiting process.
Plus, both Ramey and Simons have received additional attention since they re-opened their recruitments. Ramey has received visits from coaches at Marquette, Missouri, Ohio State and Purdue, according to Greer. Simons has heard from nearly 30 schools and has been visited by coaches from Florida, Florida State and South Carolina.
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