Louisville Basketball Coach Rick Pitino Offers Coveted 2013 Center Joel Embiid

Jon HancockSenior Analyst ISeptember 10, 2012

Picture from Scout.com
Picture from Scout.com

Joel Embiid received a visit from Rick Pitino on Sunday. The 6'11” center impressed Pitino so much that he offered him a scholarship, according to Dave Telep of ESPN.com.

He also received an offer from Kansas on Sunday. Coach Bill Self is supposed to visit Embiid later this week.

Embiid is senior at The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla. He is rated the 14th-best center by Scout.com and the 100th-best player in the 2013 class by CBSSports.com.

The 4-star recruit is originally from Cameroon and has only lived in America for a couple of years. After a great summer playing for the Florida Elite, Embiid has become a very highly recruited prospect.

Some of the schools showing interest are Louisville, Texas, Florida, DePaul, Marquette, Kansas, SMU, Cincinnati, Virginia, Wake Forest, George Washington, Vanderbilt and Houston.

A lot of scouts think Florida has the best chance with Embiid because of how close he lives now from the school.

“Joel just moved to Gainesville in mid-August,” The Rock School's coach, Justin Harden, said. “His move to The Rock School had nothing to do with his recruitment by Florida. His home is thousands of miles away in Cameroon, so a school's proximity to Florida (or Gainesville for that matter) is not that important.”

Rick Pitino has started to recruit several big men from Africa after watching Gorgui Dieng, a native of Senegal, develop into one of the best centers in college basketball. Pitino recently picked up Mangok Mathaing, a native of Sudan, for his 2012 class.

Louisville is also recruiting Nigerian center Moses Kingsley for the 2013 class.

“I think Joel is interested in Louisville and possibly playing for Coach Pitino,” Harden said. “At this point he is fielding a ton of calls from the top schools and programs around the country, so it is hard to say if he will take a visit there for sure.”

Embiid played last season at Montverde Academy under legendary coach Kevin Boyle. He transferred to The Rock School for his senior season.

Coach Harden said of his new center, “Joel is a solid mixture of skill and toughness at the big forward/center position. He has good post skills—posting, shooting, passing, shot blocking/changing—and above-average mid-range skills—can put it on the deck, shot fakes, shot-making ability. He has a legit opportunity to be an NBA player one day. With productive weight training and strength development, and a steady dedication to skill development and learning the game, he could be an all-conference player, player of the year and possibly an NBA player.”

Embiid has no visits planned, but he hopes to make some in October.

Jon Hancock is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.