Kentucky's top-rated hoops player headed to hometown Cardinals

broberts@herald-leader.comJuly 20, 2014 


Trinity forward Raymond Spalding, center, called it a "blessing" when he received a scholarship offer from U of L.


The top-rated high school basketball player in the state of Kentucky is staying home for his college career.

Louisville Trinity standout Ray Spalding announced his commitment Sunday to the Louisville Cardinals, the school that he grew up cheering for.

U of L Coach Rick Pitino offered Spalding a scholarship last month. Since then, the Cards had been considered the heavy favorite in his recruitment, which also included early offers from Indiana and Xavier, among others. ranks him as the No. 66 overall prospect in the class of 2015, and he's the only Top 100 recruit from Kentucky in the rising senior class. Spalding has put in some strong performances on the summer circuit, and analyst Evan Daniels said the recruiting service would be moving him up with the next batch of rankings.

"I think they're getting a guy with a lot of upside," Daniels said.

"At 6-foot-10, he has some unbelievable tools. He's very mobile, gets up and down the floor with ease. A terrific set of hands with really nice touch. And he has really good form on his jump shot and is improving in that area as well."

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Daniels added that Spalding's length and mobility make him a disruptive defensive player, as well. He said the new U of L commitment is still in the process of learning how to consistently play hard with all of the tools he possesses.

"Once all of that comes together, you have a pretty special talent," Daniels said.

Spalding suffered a broken leg following his freshman year and didn't play significant minutes during his sophomore season with the Shamrocks.

As a junior, Spalding averaged 13.4 points and 10.3 rebounds and helped lead Trinity to a 7th Region championship. The Rocks made it to the Sweet Sixteen semifinals, where they lost to Scott County.

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Members of UK's coaching staff attended some of Spalding's postseason games, but he never received a scholarship offer from the Wildcats. It probably wouldn't have mattered for Spalding, a lifelong Louisville fan who called it "a blessing" when he received an offer from the hometown school.

He joins small forward Deng Adel as the second member of U of L's recruiting class of 2015. ranks Adel as the No. 18 overall prospect in the country, making him one of Pitino's top-ranked commitments during his tenure with the Cardinals.

Louisville is also in good position with several highly touted backcourt players in the class of 2015, including Antonio Blakeney, Isaiah Briscoe, Donovan Mitchell and Allonzo Trier.

"I don't think they're going to miss on all of those guys," Daniels said. "So this is shaping up to be one of Rick Pitino's best recruiting classes."

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog:

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