Montrezl Harrell’s commitment bolsters already-strong Louisville frontcourt

Jeff Eisenberg

Opposing teams won't enjoy seeing Louisville's frontcourt next season. Neither will national play-by-play announcers.

With the addition of former Virginia Tech signee Montrezl Harrell on Monday morning, Louisville's frontcourt becomes deeper, stronger and even more difficult to pronounce. Harrell, an athletic 6-foot-8 power forward rated No. 82 in his class by Rivals.com, will likely come off the bench as a freshman behind returning starters Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan.

Louisville instantly became the favorite to land Harrell when he sought his release from his letter of intent at Virginia Tech last month after the Hokies fired coach Seth Greenberg. One of Rick Pitino's assistant coaches is Kevin Keatts, who coached at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia for eight years and recruited Harrell to go there before accepting a job at Louisville last spring.

"A lot of things sold him," current Hargrave Military Academy coach A.W. Hamilton told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Monday. "He really enjoyed meeting the guys and the facilities are probably the best in the country.

"He has an unbelievable relationship with (assistant) coach Keatts and the more time he spent around coach Pitino, it felt like home for him."

The addition of Harrell gives Louisville a hard-working pogo stick of a power forward who should excel on defense and rebounding early in his college career while his raw skill set catches up to his athleticism. Harrell also creates a scholarship logjam for Louisville, which now has one too many scholarship players even after encouraging senior Jared Swopshire to transfer for his final collegiate season.

Last season, Pitino solved a similar problem when Chris Smith, Kyle Kuric and Elisha Justice each agreed to pay their own way for school. Expect a similar solution to emerge in the next few months.

Harrell adds enough to Louisville's abundance of quality depth next season that the Cardinals are willing to get creative to accommodate him.