UK Basketball Recruiting

Mack off to ‘incredible’ recruiting start at U of L with another top commitment

Already off to a hot start in his first full recruiting cycle as Louisville’s head coach, Chris Mack just pulled in his biggest prospect yet.

The Cardinals landed a commitment from four-star post player Aidan Igiehon, who entered the summer as a five-star player and is still considered the No. 44 overall recruit in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

Igiehon — a 6-foot-10 center from Ireland, now playing for a high school in New York — chose the Cards over fellow finalists Oregon, St. John’s and Kentucky, though he was not among the Wildcats’ top remaining targets in the 2019 class.

Igiehon made the announcement on Twitter on Friday afternoon.

Mack made Igiehon a major priority all summer long, and it paid off with a commitment.

The U of L head coach traveled to Ireland to meet with Igiehon’s mother last month, and he hosted him for an official visit to Louisville in late September.

Igiehon is the highest-rated player yet in a U of L recruiting class that is now ranked No. 2 nationally, behind only Southern Cal.

“With Aidan, it starts with his physical makeup. He’s strong. He’s chiseled. He’s mobile and athletic. He moves very well for a guy his size,” 247Sports national analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “I think the next step for him is adding the production element. He has all the tools to be a really good post player, and now it’s kind of waiting for him to bring it night in and night out. If he gets to that point, he’s going to be a tremendous basketball player.”

Igiehon averaged 9.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game playing alongside five-star recruits Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis on the Under Armour circuit this year.

Louisville now has six commitments for the class of 2019, and Igiehon is the fifth player from that group that is ranked in the top 100 nationally, according to the 247Sports composite.

Along with Igiehon, the Cards have early commitments from Texas small forward Samuell Williamson (No. 45 nationally), Louisville Trinity guard David Johnson (No. 72), Cleveland power forward Jaelyn Withers (No. 86), North Carolina shooting guard Josh Nickelberry (No. 95) and Huntington (W.Va.) Prep forward Quinn Slazinski, the No. 206 overall player in the class. Some of those players are ranked even higher in the in-house 247Sports rankings.

“I think you have to commend Chris Mack with the job that he’s done with this recruiting class,” Daniels said. “They set out to fill needs at each position. They got three top-50 to 60-level recruits, a couple other four stars. They had some disadvantages from a recruiting standpoint in dealing with stuff from over the past year. So the job that group has done from a recruiting standpoint is incredible. And adding Aidan is a big part of that.”

Mack obviously had to navigate through the fallout of Rick Pitino’s ouster and the federal investigation into college basketball that consumed Louisville’s program over the past year, but the Cardinals’ new coach got off to a quick start on the recruiting trail once he was hired in late March.

Louisville extended several scholarship offers in Mack’s first few days on the job. The Cardinals also attempted to recruit some five-star players — Ashton Hagans, Matthew Hurt and Keion Brooks, among others — but the future of the U of L program is likely to be based around the type of prospects that are making up Mack’s first class: talented players who should have an immediate impact but will also stay multiple years.

That’s been a winning formula for recent national champs such as Villanova and North Carolina, and the building blocks are already coming together for Louisville.

“I think that’s what they were going to have to do, and that’s what they committed to doing,” Daniels said. “They were just able to accumulate some really good pieces. And, look, Louisville has never been a one-and-done factory, and it’s probably not going to be that. That’s not how they’re going to recruit. Would they like to sprinkle in a player of that caliber every now and then? Certainly. They’re going to take some swings.

“The truth is, the one-and-done model hasn’t been what’s had success lately. It’s been the get old, stay old model. And I think that’s the model that Louisville is going to have to recruit. And that’s what they did with this class.”