If you haven’t been paying attention, you’re at least missing a great show.
Missouri is visiting with St. Louis blue-chipper Courtney Ramey for an in-home visit on Tuesday, a day after getting a visit from old friend Shaka Smart and Texas. And guess who is coming in to visit tomorrow?
For those who don’t remember or know the full Ramey story, he committed to Rick Pitino and Louisville a year ago last February before backing off after Louisville got swept up in the FBI probe and Pitino lost his job.
The program, the city, and the prestige of playing for Louisville with a Hall of Fame coach was always the attraction for the Rameys. And everything in Louisville is the same now, except for possible NCAA sanctions and a new coach in Chris Mack. While Mack doesn’t quite have the stature of Pitino at this point in time, his reputation for pinpoint recruiting and player development is pronounced.
The twist in this comes from this:
Louisville re-enters the mix for former pledge Courtney Ramey after Chris Mack said last week the Cards weren't recruiting him. Louisville's entire staff is headed to meet with Ramey on Wednesday: https://t.co/FZR2EFXbMu— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_cj) April 16, 2018
Mack stated on the record they weren’t recruiting Ramey. Now they are.
There was some concern on Monday that Louisville re-recruiting Ramey after Mack publicly mentioned him by name was a violation of NCAA rules, but a Louisville spokesman said schools are allowed to publicly confirm if they are or are not recruiting a prospect.
This is what Mack specifically said last Monday about Ramey: “Coach Pitino had Anfernee Simons and Courtney Ramey coming to Louisville. We’re not recruiting those guys, so I can use their names. They were coming here, and they were going to help on the perimeter. So what an opportunity for a fifth-year transfer to come in and play in the backcourt, which is where they identified the help needed.”
The NCAA declined to comment. Section 126.96.36.199 in its Division I bylaws lays out the rules related to a situation like this.
”Before the signing of a prospective student-athlete to a National Letter of Intent or an institution’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid or before the institution receives his or her financial deposit in response to its offer of admission, a member institution may comment publicly only to the extent of confirming its recruitment of the prospective student-athlete,” the rule states.
So after all this, was the Rameys’ effort to include Missouri in Courtney’s recruitment a play? After a phone conversation in February, Cuonzo Martin went all in, and the momentum for Ramey coming to Mizzou seemed all too real. The Tigers head coach stalked Ramey like prey, showing up at every turn.
There were rumors of an unofficial visit or a pending commitment ... and then things got quiet.
Things got so quiet that Ramey released a fairly hilarious top 10 which included teams who weren’t recruiting him like (at the time) Louisville, Oregon, and Ohio State. Illinois soon dropped out by taking an elite JUCO point guard. South Carolina subsequently took another combo guard in T.J. Moss.
At this point, any fan base confident in landing the four-star guard is fooling themselves, including Louisville. Oklahoma State has been in for a long time and secured an official visit, but they shouldn’t feel confident. Texas has been in since before Courtney committed to Louisville, and they shouldn’t feel confident.
Missouri is still in the game, but I think you can sense a breaking point coming for the Tigers. They want to get Courtney back on campus for a visit. If that happens soon, they’ll still be in it and for a while longer. If Ramey continues to drag his feet on setting up a visit or a commitment date, I think Missouri moves on to plan B.
What is plan B? Well, that’s another issue.
Losing Ramey is a little easier to take with Mark Smith in the fold. But Missouri still needs another guard for next season. If Ramey isn’t it, you better hope Martin and staff have a longer recruiting board of names than what we know of.