BOZICH | Spalding a solid fit at Louisville? Three votes Yes - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Spalding a solid fit at Louisville? Three votes Yes

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Raymond Spalding of Trinity has impressed coaches at the AAU Nationals in Louisville. Raymond Spalding of Trinity has impressed coaches at the AAU Nationals in Louisville.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Rick Pitino can't talk about the commitment that his University of Louisville basketball program received from Raymond Spalding last weekend.

At least not on the record, until Spalding signs a letter of intent with U of L in November.

But other coaches attending the AAU National Championships at the North Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center were not unwilling or even reluctant to discuss Spalding, a 6-foot-10 center from Trinity High School. They understand why Pitino was eager to take an early commitment.

"He's a pro," one Division I coach said.

That's a lot to expect from a kid who has not played his senior year in high school and is not ranked among the Top 50 players nationally in the high school Class of 2015 by any national recruiting service.

"I watched him a lot last year and I wasn't sure," the coach said. "But he's made a huge improvement in one year.

"What really makes him special is that he can impact the game on both ends of the floor. Defensively he protects the rim and rebounds. On the offensive end he can things done, too. He can shoot the ball. He's made as much improvement in one year as any player that I can remember."

That was vote number one. Vote number two came from another coach who has watched Spalding play for several seasons, including last winter at Trinity when Spalding averaged 13.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. Spalding is ranked No. 66 nationally by, 69 by and 82nd by 247.

"He's good and he's getting better," the coach said. "I love his approach to the game. He's a team guy who really gets involved on both ends. He doesn't play with any sense of entitlement. He just plays like he wants to win. Not all kids with his ability show that."

How will he fit in a Louisville frontcourt that will be filled with more experienced players?

"I think that will be good for him because he'll have a chance to learn and develop from some of those guys," the coach said. "The same way Gorgui (Dieng) worked with Mangok (Mathiang), Mangok can work with Raymond. I think playing for coach Pitino is a perfect spot for him."

That was vote number two. Vote number three came from another coach – and this guy played college basketball for Pitino.

In fact, before I had an opportunity to ask about Spalding, this coach asked me if I had watched Spalding perform during a late morning game. I saw part, but not all of his solid performance.

This is what I missed – four Spalding dunks and a three-point field goal as he scored 19 points for The Ville AAU team.

"He dominated the game," the coach said. "At both ends. He's talented."

Can Spalding play for Rick Pitino?

"Oh yeah," the coach said. "Of course, coach Pitino's not as tough on those guys as he was when I played."

Of course.

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