Rick Pitino wasn't kidding when he said he wanted to expand Louisville's recruiting base. The Cardinals signed four players for the 2009 incoming freshman class on Wednesday, all of them coming far from Freedom Hall.
Point guard Peyton Siva from Seattle, Wash., and forward Rakeem Buckles from Miami, Fla., highlight the class, which was ranked among the top 20 in the nation by most recruiting services. Siva and Buckles will be joined by guard Mike Marra of Smithfield, R.I., and Stephan Van Treese from Indianapolis on the Louisville roster next fall.
Pitino said he's counting on Siva to take over as the team's point guard in two years when Edgar Sosa graduates. Siva averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists as a junior last year at Franklin High.
"He's an explosive offensive talent, very fast, very athletic, and he shoots the ball well," Pitino said. With Andre (McGee) leaving after this year and Edgar the next, he will be needed by our basketball team."
Pitino called Marra the best high school shooter he's seen in 30 years, and that group includes former Kentucky standout Travis Ford and former Louisville star Taquan Dean.
"Not only does he have great range, but he gets it off quickly," Pitino said.
Hansbrough out of practice
North Carolina Coach Roy Williams said reigning National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough is "extremely doubtful" for Saturday's season opener against Pennsylvania.
In a statement from the school Wednesday, Williams said the team will keep Hans brough out of practice a little longer as he recovers from a stress reaction in his right shin. Hansbrough hasn't practiced for two weeks with the injury, which can be a precursor to a stress fracture. Kentucky is up next for the Heels on Tuesday.
"It's extremely doubtful that he would play against Pennsylvania, and I emphasize extremely doubtful," Williams said. "We will continue to evaluate him and have more information when it becomes available."
SEC recruiting highlights
Stone Mountain, Ga., native Kenny Hall has signed a national letter of intent to play for Tennessee. The 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward committed to the Volunteers last year and is entering his senior season at Redan High School in metro Atlanta. He's expected to enroll at Tennessee next summer and begin play next fall. Hall, who averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game last season, is rated by Scout.com as a four-star prospect, the No. 9 power forward in the country and the No. 29 overall prospect nationally in the class of 2009.
Vanderbilt: Guard John Jenkins, a Tennessee Class AA Mr. Basketball, has signed a letter of intent to play for Vanderbilt starting in 2009. The 6-foot-4 Jenkins of Gallatin plays at Station Camp High, and he averaged 30.9 points per game as a junior. He has been ranked the eighth-best shooting guard by Rivals.com and ESPN.com.
Two Lexington Christian senior guards signed official letters of intent Wednesday. Courtney Clifton signed with Western Kentucky, and Anna Martin signed to play for DePaul.
Stephanie Salyers, a 6-foot-1 center from Southwestern High School in Somerset, signed with Morehead State.