Five impressive high school, prep and junior college products have each signed a national letter-of-intent to continue their basketball playing careers at the University of Louisville, ranking this Cardinal group among the nation’s top recruiting classes.
The list of stellar signees includes Akoy Agau, a 6-8, 235-pound center from Omaha (Neb.) Central High School; Anton Gill, a 6-4, 180-pound guard from Raleigh, N.C., who is currently at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va.; Chris Jones, a 5-10, 175-pound guard from Memphis, Tenn., who is currently at Northwest Florida State College; Terry Rozier, a 6-1, 170-pound guard from Cleveland, Ohio who is also currently at Hargrave Military Academy. David Levitch, a 6-3, 160-pound guard from North Oldham High School in Goshen, will also join the Cardinal roster next year as a preferred walk-on.
“This entire class shoots the ball,” said UofL head coach Rick Pitino. “That was a priority with us. Every one of them shoots it well and that is a much needed attribute for our team.”
Agau (name pronounced uh-KOY uh-GOW; like cow with a “G”) has helped Omaha Central win three straight state titles, averaging 11.6 points and 6.8 rebounds and blocked 92 shots as a junior last season. He produced a triple-double in the state title game against Omaha South last season with 16 points, 14 rebounds and 13 blocked shots.
“As soon as I saw Akoy, I immediately wanted to see him in a Louisville uniform,” said Pitino. “He’s a triple-threat guy — he scores, passes and handles it very well. He has a very high basketball IQ. He’s won three straight high school championships and that’s the type of player we look for: someone who is conditioned to win. We’re very excited to have him.”
Originally from Sudan, Africa, Agau moved to Cairo, Egypt as a child before coming to the United States in 2002. After starting on three Central state championship teams, he is bidding to become the first Class A player in Nebraska history to start for four state title teams. As a freshman, he totaled 18 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocked shots in the state championship game over Norfolk.
A two-time all-state selection, Agau is ranked No. 84 nationally in the ESPN 100, 86th by Rivals.com, and is 18th nationally among centers by Scout.com.
Agau, who speaks three languages (Dinka, Arabic and English), had narrowed his collegiate choices to Georgetown, Baylor, Memphis, West Virginia and Nebraska before signing with the Cardinals.
Gill averaged 18.1 points and 6.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior last season in leading Ravencroft High School to at 31-4 record and the Class 3A North Carolina state championship. He is playing his final prep year at Hargrave Military Academy, where he teams in the backcourt with fellow UofL signee Terry Rozier.
“Anton is a very gifted athlete who we’ve known for quite some time,” said Pitino. “He shoots it and runs the floor extremely well. He’s a left-hander who is good off the bounce and scores. We’re thrilled to have him as a Cardinal.”
Gill has averaged 19.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds at Hargrave through nine games this season (7-2 record). He scored a season-high 30 points in Hargrave’s loss to Spartanburg Methodist Community College last Sunday.
Gill helped Ravencroft to a combined 78-14 record in three seasons at Ravencroft, where he was on pace to become the school’s all-time leading scorer before transferring. He had 14 points, six rebounds and two assists in the Ravens’ state title victory over Greensboro Day last season.
A first-team AP All-State selection as a junior, Gill is ranked No. 29 nationally in the Scout.com Top 100, 40th in the ESPN 100, 48th nationally by Rivals Top 150, and is sixth among shooting guards by Scout.com. As a junior, he scored 28 points in a head-to-head matchup with NC State guard Rodney Purvis, but his Ravencroft team fell to Purvis and Upper Room Christian Academy.
Gill committed to the Cardinals early in his junior year before also considering North Carolina State, Charlotte and Wake Forest.
Jones averaged 18.0 points, 4.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game as a freshman last season at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Fla. He earned first team 2012 NCJAA All-America honors after leading Northwest Florida to a 32-2 record and a national runner-up finish.
“I feel Chris is the best point guard (prospect) in the nation,” said Pitino. “He’s as explosive a point guard at both ends of the floor as I’ve ever recruited. He’s a prolific scorer, tougher than nails, and is a big-time winner. I’m not sure what phase of his game is the best because he’s a great passer, a great rebounder at 5-10, big-time steal guy, big-time scorer and wants to win as much as any player I’ve ever recruited. We needed to have a great one replace Peyton Siva and we have it in Chris Jones.”
The top junior college player in the nation, Jones has averaged 28.3 points this season in leading Northwest Florida to a 4-0 record and the No. 2 ranking in the NJCAA national poll. He scored a career-high 38 points against Atlanta Metro last Saturday, connecting on 15-of-22 field goals while collecting six steals. He is the reigning NJCAA Region 8 player of the week after averaging 33 points, eight rebounds, four assists and 5.5 steals in a pair of games.
A top 50 prospect as a senior at Melrose High School, Jones originally signed with Tennessee in the same class as current Cardinal Kevin Ware before opting for the junior college route. He was rated as the nation’s 10th-best point guard in high school by ESPN, Rivals and Scout, and the No. 39 prospect overall by Rivals.
He averaged 20.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game as a junior in leading Memphis (Tenn.) Melrose to the Tennessee Class AAA state title and a No. 15 finish in the ESPN Rise Fab 50 national rankings. He earned first-team all-state honors and was the state tournament MVP after scoring 35 points in the championship game. He transferred for his senior year to Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy, where he averaged 22.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.8 steals.
Jones also considered Memphis, Kansas, Baylor, Florida State and Oklahoma State before his commitment to the Cardinals.
Rozier originally signed with the Cardinals last November, but is spending the 2012-13 season at Hargrave Military Academy. Through a 7-2 start for Hargrave, Rozier has averaged 24.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 3.9 steals. He has averaged 36.7 points over the last three games, including pouring in a season-high 50 points in a loss to Louisburg College — the No. 4 ranked junior college — on Monday while adding 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals in the game. Eight Hargrave players will sign with NCAA Division I institutions.
“Terry is someone we were counting on for this year, but needed a year in prep school,” said Pitino. “He’s an explosive scorer and athlete who plays two positions. He’s a very good on-the-ball defender. We thought he was one of the best guards in the nation last year and is having an outstanding season at Hargrave.”
Rozier averaged 25.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.7 steals as a senior in leading Shaker Heights to a 21-3 record, the Erie League Championship and a berth in the regionals for the first time since 2002. He scored a season-high 40 points vs. John Jay and totaled 37 points, seven rebounds and four steals as Shaker Heights beat Garfield Heights in the district title game.
An-All Lake Erie League selection for three years, Rozier was rated 74th overall in the 2012 ESPNU Top 100 players, No. 80 by Rivals in the class of 2012, and 68th by Scout.com. He averaged 18.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a junior as Shaker Heights won nine of its last 13 games en route to a 14-8 record.
He had 10 points and three steals for his USA Midwest team in a 99-93 victory over Canada in the championship game of the 2011 Nike Global Challenge, which featured the top high school and under 19 players from top international teams. He is the cousin of current U of L sophomore center Zach Price.
Rozier had also considered attending Cincinnati, Illinois, West Virginia and Cleveland State before initially signing with the Cardinals.
Levitch, who will join the Cardinals as a preferred walk-on and non-scholarship player, averaged 18.8 points, 4.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds as a junior in leading North Oldham High School in Goshen, Ky. to a 19-11 record. He connected on 42.3 percent of his three-point goals (66-of-156) last season.
“David shoots the ball well,” said Pitino. “As he gains more strength, like (current walk-on guard) Tim Henderson, he will be a great addition to Cardinal Basketball.”
An All-Eighth Region selection last season, Levitch has already scored over 1,000 career points at North Oldham and will be the lone starter returning from a year ago. He was seventh in the state in free throw percentage last season, connecting on 81.7 percent from the line (151-of-185). He scored a career-high 37 points against Spencer County last season.
Levitch averaged 13.0 points and 3.2 assists as a sophomore when he scored a single-game high of 28 points on two occasions. He has been a standout performer on his AAU squad The Ville 2013, which won the adidas Super 64 tournament in Las Vegas in 2009 and has won the Kentucky state championship on four occasions.
Levitch was receiving attention from Stetson and Bellarmine among others before choosing to walk on with the Cardinals.
Although already enrolled and practicing at Louisville, Mathiang is sitting out this season and essentially will be a member of this class with four years of eligibility remaining. Mathiang averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots last season for IMG’s postgraduate team, which posted a 28-2 record in 2011-12.
“We could not have signed a high school player this year as good as Mangok,” said Pitino. “He gets a year of practice under his belt with us before joining this class on the court next season.”
Born in Sudan, Africa, Mathiang lived in Melbourne, Australia for many years before moving to the United States to play a season of high school basketball at Carbondale (Ill.) Brehm Prep School in 2010-11. He has been on the UofL campus since Aug. 20. (name is pronounced MANG-go like the fruit, with a silent “K” MATH-ee-ang).