(Photo of Imani Lester, Jeff Walz via University of Louisville Athletics)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville women's basketball program head into the 2020-21 season with a loaded roster. Between talents like Hailey Van Lith, Olivia Cochran, Kianna Smith, and a plethora of other contributors, the Cardinals are shaping up to have yet another special season.
Unlike last season, where Louisville had just one upperclassmen on the roster, they head into this upcoming season with six. The wealth of experience will undoubtedly help the Cardinals, but head coach Jeff Walz will have to hit the recruiting trail hard in order to replace them beyond 2020-21.
Fortunately, that is exactly what he has done. Following a commitment from Baltimore (Mary.) St. Francis small forward Jalyn Brown to end the month of July, Louisville now sports five verbal pledges in the Class of 2022.
They have also landed commitments from Reynoldsburg (Oh.) H.S. forward Alexia Mobley, Windermere (Fla.) Lake Highland Prep forward Nyla Harris, Raleigh (N.C.) North Raleigh Christian Academy post Imani Lester, and Wichita (Kan.) Wichita Heights guard Zyanna Walker. All five of Louisville's commits are in the espnW 100.
Mobley was the first to pull the trigger, doing so all the way back in December of 2019. She was a great start to the class, as the 6-2 wing is the No. 31 overall player in the country by espnW. She is dominant in the paint, logging 17.9 points and 20.7 rebounds per game during her sophomore campaign.
Walz had to wait a while for commit No. 2, as Harris did not give her verbal pledge until February of this year. She was very much worth the wait, as she is Louisville's highest ranked recruit in the class, with the 6-2 forward coming in at No. 28 in the nation. Averaging 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season, she was named the Florida Player of the Year by MaxPreps.
A few months later, Lester followed suit in June. The 6-3 post and No. 50 ranked player int he nation put up unreal numbers during her junior year. She averaged 16.7 points, 12.6 rebounds, 4.4 blocks, 4.3 assists, and 2.7 steals per game, leading North Raleigh to a berth in NCIASS championship game.
Commitment No. 4 came much sooner than commitment No. 2, with Walker committing in mid-July. The 5-8 point guard, who is ranked as the No. 30 prospect in the country, had to miss her entire junior season with a torn ACL and meniscus.
Finally, we have Brown, who decided on Louisville just a few days ago on July 30. Ranked as the No. 83 player in the nation by espnW, the 6-foot wing put up 18 points per game during her junior campaign.
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