LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) -- On the biggest sports day of the year in Kentucky, University of Louisville fans had something to cheer for other than the Kentucky Derby.
Shortly after Mage streaked across the finish line Saturday night to claim an upset victory in the Derby, U of L basketball coach Kenny Payne scored a big win of his own when coveted USC transfer Tre White announced his commitment to the Cardinals on various social channels.
It's difficult to overestimate the importance of White's decision. The 6-foot-7, 210-pound wing is an impact player and one who will draw widespread attention to Payne's program as he continues his rebuild toward a huge bounceback from last year's disastrous 4-28 debacle.
White, who made an official visit to Louisville a weekend ago, averaged 9.0 points and 5.1 rebounds in 29 starts and an average of 27 minutes per game for 22-11 USC last season while earning Pac-12 All-Freshman team honors. He shot 47.4 percent from the field.
Originally from Dallas, White played high school basketball at Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif. He was a consensus four-star prospect by all four major recruiting services and was ranked as the No. 31 recruit by ESPN. As a senior he averaged 18.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
White's addition gives the Cardinals three solid players at the position, with returning second-leading scorer Mike James and a trio of highly-rated recruits in five-star Trentyn Flowers and four star Kaleb Glenn and Curtis williams Jr. All are capable of also playing the two spot in the backcourt.
The Athletic describes White as being physical as a driver and versatile in how he can be used across the two-through-four positions with his size and athleticism. The Athletic added that NBA scouts believe he has a legitimate shot to become a real prospect as soon as next season.
As a senior White had offers from LSU, Oklahoma State, TCU and USC among others. This time he also attracted interest from Kentucky, Alabama, Arizona, Ohio State, Texas and Texas A&M.
UofL's four-man high school recruiting class of Glenn, Williams, Flowers and five-star center Dennis Evans is rated the No 6 class in the country by 247Sports. Besides White, Payne also added Illinois guard Skyy Clark, Miami forward Danilo Jovanovich and JUCO guard Koron Davis as transfers. In addition to James, UofL's only returning scholarship players are forwards JJ Traynor and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, guard Hercy Miller and center Emmanuel Okoafor. Eight Cardinals from the 2023 team entered the portal.
In an assessment of White coming out of high school, 247Sports analyst Jerry Meyer wrote that White is a "powerfully built small forward. An explosive leaper off two feet, has athleticism and versatility. Prefers to score off the dribble and can finish in traffic. Has a reliable pull-up jumper. Handles the ball well and can be a playmaker with his passing. Can rebound in traffic and will chase down a rebound. Defensively, can adequately defend any position."