Skip to main content

Looking Back at Louisville Men's, Women's Basketball's 2017 Recruiting Classes

Taking a look back at the Cardinals' signing class in 2017, and how they panned out at Louisville.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 2017 recruiting classes between the Louisville men's and women's basketball programs both had a ton of potential. The men signed the No. 7 class in the nation according to 247Sports, while the women signed the No. 4 class. Both classes ended up having hits, misses, and a little bit in between.

So how well did then-men's head coach Rick Pitino and women's head coach Jeff Walz do out on the recruiting trail in 2017? Below is every scholarship signee from the class in alphabetical order, their career stats at Louisville, coupled with a brief summary on their tenure with their respective program:

Men's Basketball

Brian Bowen

Position: Small Forward
UofL Career Stats: None

I don't really need to get too terribly deep into this one, Louisville fans are already well aware as to what happened here. Bowen was the very last five-star recruit in the cycle to commit, doing so in early June. However, just three months later, the FBI and SDNY announced the Adidas college basketball corruption scandal, with Bowen and Louisville referenced in the report. Bowen was immediately suspended and eventually dismissed without ever playing for the Cardinals. The investigation by the NCAA regarding his recruitment is still ongoing, but *should* get resolved later this year.

Jordan Nwora

Position: Small Forward
UofL Career Stats: 1,294 points, 561 rebounds, 95 assists, 44.5% field goal percentage, 39.4% three-point percentage (93 games, 59 starts)

Despite being ranked behind three other players in Louisville's class, Nwora wound up being the best player to sign with the Cardinals in the cycle. He was a solid bench player as a freshman, putting up 5.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 12.0 minutes per game. Nwora then exploded in his sophomore season and first year under Chris Mack, averaging 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game to become the most improved scorer in the ACC and third in the nation. He bypassed the NBA to return for his junior year, where he continued to shine as a scorer and shooter. Averaging 18.0 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 44.0 percent from the field and 40.2 percent on threes, he became Louisville's first All-American since Russ Smith after being named a consensus Third-Team selection, while also becoming their most recent 1,000-point scorer. He declared for the NBA after that season, and was selected in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Darius Perry

Position: Point Guard
UofL Career Stats: 482 points, 136 rebounds, 183 assists, 39.8% field goal percentage, 36.4% three-point percentage (100 games, 40 starts)

On numerous occasions, Perry displayed the potential he had, but suffered from inconsistency and, eventually, a lack of true scheme fit. He was one of the go-to reserve guards off the bench in his freshman year, averaging 3.9 points and 1.5 assists. He took a bit of a jump in Chris Mack's first year, putting up 5.4 points and 1.5 assists while also shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 37.5 on threes. He was expected to take another big leap as a junior, but would regress as a scorer as 5.2 points and 39.1 percent shooting. He did improve his three-point shooting and assist numbers at 39.9 percent and 2.5 per game, respectively, but would end up transferring to UCF. It was clear his style of play was better suited for Rick Pitino's full-court press style than Mack's pack-line.

Lance Thomas

Position: Power Forward
UofL Career Stats: 26 points, 15 rebounds, 0 assists, 64.3% field goal percentage, 28.6% three-point percentage (12 games, 0 starts)

Thomas was the lowest-rated recruit to sign with the Cardinals during the cycle, and never really saw much action in his one and only year with the program. He had 10 points and seven boards against Bryant, but that was his only highlight that season, as he only put up 2.2 points and 1.3 boards as a freshman. He would end up transferring to Memphis, and spent three seasons there before transferring to South Alabama as a graduate transfer.

Malik Williams

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Position: Power Forward/Center
UofL Career Stats: 876 points, 677 rebounds, 52 assists, 44.4% field goal percentage, 31.1% three-point percentage (122 games, 62 starts)

What a career arc by Williams. The second-highest rated recruit in the class and borderline five star, Williams concluded his UofL career as the program's only three-time captain, but also one of the most polarizing amongst the fan base due to his final year. His freshman year saw him average 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, but he would double his production as a sophomore with 7.7 and 6.1, a year in which he was a pseudo-starter. He was relegated back to the bench as a junior, but was just as effective, averaging 8.5 points and 6.1 rebounds to finish as the runner-up for ACC Sixth Man of the Year. Due to an injury suffered at the tail end of his junior year, and another right before the start of his senior season, he would only play three games that year, and took advantage of the extra year of eligibility to return for a final year. He put up career-highs with 9.5 points and 8.0 rebounds, but made headlines off the court. He was suspended not once, but twice, and also made damning comments about then-head coach Chris Mack after their loss to Notre Dame.

Women's Basketball

Lindsey Duvall

Position: Point Guard
UofL Career Stats: 128 points, 44 rebounds, 11 assists, 40.0% field goal percentage, 35.0% three-point percentage (49 games, 0 starts)

Duvall had promise after winning the 2017 Miss Kentucky Basketball, but after a knee injury forced her to miss her entire freshman year at Louisville she could never really get going again. She only averaged 6.4 minutes per game over the next two years, eventually transferring to Northern Kentucky where she has been ever since.

Dana Evans

Position: Point Guard
UofL Career Stats: 1,715 points, 327 rebounds, 521 assists, 41.4% field goal percentage, 37.7% three-point percentage (135 games, 65 starts)

Evans is without a doubt the best player, man or woman, to sign with the Cardinals during this cycle, and left the Louisville women's basketball program as one of the their top players in school history. She was a go-to reserve as a freshman, putting up respectable numbers at 5.1 points and 3.4 assists per game. She doubled her production as a sophomore and greatly improved her shooting, putting up 10.4 points per game with 38.5 percent three-point shooting and 4.0 assists to win ACC Sixth Player of the Year. As a junior, she vaulted herself into the national conversation, winning ACC Player of the Year after averaging 18.0 points, 4.2 assists and a career-best 43.1 percent on threes. In her final year, she repeated as ACC Player of the Year and became only Louisville's third First-Team All-American thanks to a season where she put up 20.1 points and 3.9 assists. Her three-point shooting dipped a bit at 35.3 percent, but countered with a career-best 43.0 percent from the field. She was taken by the Dallas Wings with the 13th overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft.

Loretta Kakala

Position: Center
UofL Career Stats: 12 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 37.5% field goal percentage, 0.0% three-point percentage (4 games, 0 starts)

Kakala had an extremely brief tenure at Louisville, playing just four games before redshirting, and then transferring to the University of the Pacific, which was just 15 miles from her hometown of Manteca, Calif. She joined halfway through her redshirt freshman year, and played one additional season before being kicked off the team for "disciplinary reasons" and transferring to Delta College.

(Photo of Dana Evans: Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports)

You can follow Louisville Report for future coverage by liking us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

Facebook - @LouisvilleReport
Twitter - @UofLReport
Instagram - @louisville_report

You can also follow Deputy Editor Matthew McGavic at @Matt_McGavic on Twitter