Louisville basketball has taken a serious blow from an ESPN report corroborating parts of a salacious book filled with allegations against the program, but that didn’t keep the Cardinals from landing a Class of 2016 prospect.
Frankie Hughes, a three-star guard from Garfield Heights, Ohio, announced his intentions to attend Louisville at a school ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. The 6-foot-4 scorer chose Louisville over scholarship offers from Miami, Texas A&M, Wichita State and Wisconsin, his school coach Sonny Johnson said, and his commitment gives the Cards their second pledge in the 2016 class.
Hughes said his decision-making process was not impacted by the NCAA and U of L internal investigations into a book alleging that a former Louisville staffer paid escorts thousands of dollars to dance for and have sex with players and recruits.
“I just told (coach Rick Pitino) that I had his back with everything that’s going on,” Hughes said. “I committed to Louisville because of Coach Pitino and I supported the program. I don’t think anybody can speculate on what’s going to happen (with the investigations).”
Five-star wing VJ King pledged to play for Louisville this spring, giving the Cards a 6-6 utility man who rebounds well, plays solid defense and scores inside and out. Hughes, a lanky off-guard, is known for his outside shooting prowess.
He averaged 17 points a game last season for Garfield Heights High, the alma mater of current Louisville guard Trey Lewis.
“It’s always great to have a shooter on your team, but I’m not only a shooter,” Hughes said. “I can put it on the ground. I’m a leader. I can pick guys up when they’re down. I have a great sense of humor.”
Hughes is a late-arriving prospect on Louisville’s radar. Pitino evaluated him in early October and later offered him a scholarship. Hughes, who had only visited St. Joseph’s and canceled a planned trip to Minnesota, came to U of L’s campus two weekends ago.
When he returned home, he knew “it was a done deal.”
“The passion – they don’t take what’s on the front of their jerseys for granted,” Hughes said. “Everybody wants to win.”
With Hughes now in the mix, Louisville will shift all of its attention to signing a true point guard to the 2016 class. The Cards are still pursuing five-star De’Aaron Fox and four-star Andrew Jones.
It will be interesting to see how the Fox and Jones recruiting processes play out amid concerns that the investigations could hurt the Cards’ recruiting. For his part, Hughes said he wasn’t concerned about future sanctions – if the NCAA finds proof to back up the book’s allegations – or about Pitino’s future at the school.
“God put me in this position for a reason,” Hughes said. “I let God direct my path.”
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