Kenny Payne lands 3rd high-profile commitment; Trentyn Flowers picks Louisville basketball

·5 min read

Kenny Payne's recruiting hot streak continues.

Trentyn Flowers, a top-10 wing in the Class of 2024, committed Friday to the Louisville men's basketball team and announced he'll be reclassifying to become a member of the Cardinals' 2023 haul. Flowers, who plays at Combine Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina, chose U of L over four schools that earned NCAA Tournament berths — Alabama, Arkansas, Creighton and Kansas — and 2022 runner-up North Carolina.

What sold him on Louisville, then? Flowers told The Athletic earlier this month he wants to make "an immediate impact" on a program; and the 6-foot-9 wing's relationship with assistant coach Nolan Smith, his primary recruiter, goes back to Smith's time as the director of basketball operations and player development at Duke.

"Ever since I visited, I always just wanted to go there," Flowers told 247Sports after committing Friday. "Coach KP, Coach Nolan, Coach Josh (Jamieson) all did a great job recruiting me, and their goals aligned with mine."

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Flowers is Payne's third high-profile commitment in less than a week as the head coach tries to revamp U of L's roster heading into Year 2 at the helm of his alma mater. The Cardinals on Sunday landed 7-footer Dennis Evans, a consensus top-10 center in the Class of 2023 who, until late February, was locked into playing at Minnesota. And on Thursday, former Illinois guard Skyy Clark announced he'll be joining the team through the NCAA transfer portal.

Before Flowers' commitment, Louisville's 2023 recruiting class was ranked No. 12 in the nation by 247Sports. After his pledge — and taking transfers into account — it jumped to fifth.

"You're getting a winner," Flowers told 247Sports when asked what Louisville fans can expect from him. "I'm going to put forth my best effort every day."

For Payne and his staff, who missed out on several marquee prospects during the 2023 cycle, Flowers' commitment must have been especially gratifying considering the work they put in to land his pledge.

Flowers visited the 502 for Louisville Live in the fall and again in February to attend U of L's loss to Florida State at the Yum! Center. The night before that game, Payne and his staff sat courtside at the William Exum Center in Frankfort to watch Flowers and Combine Academy play against Camden High School (NJ) and Kentucky signees DJ Wagner and Aaron Bradshaw. The day after the Cardinals' loss, Smith traveled to Charlotte for another one of Flowers' games.

"It's about basketball, but, at the end of the day, it's about being an even better person," Flowers told 247Sports. "That's a principle that me and my family stand on. ... That's how they run it (at Louisville), and we wouldn't want it any other way."

Where does Trentyn Flowers stand in national recruiting rankings?

Dec 7, 2022; Lincolnton, NC, USA; Forward Trentyn Flowers goes up for the shot at Combine Academy. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 7, 2022; Lincolnton, NC, USA; Forward Trentyn Flowers goes up for the shot at Combine Academy. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

247Sports: Four stars (No. 6 small forward; No. 28 overall)

On3: Four stars (No. 7 small forward; No. 35 overall)

Rivals: Four stars (No. 9 small forward; No. 23 overall)*

*In the Class of 2024

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How has Louisville basketball commit Trentyn Flowers played in high school?

Dec 7, 2022; Lincolnton, NC, USA; Forward Trentyn Flowers goes back on defense at Combine Academy. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 7, 2022; Lincolnton, NC, USA; Forward Trentyn Flowers goes back on defense at Combine Academy. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Flowers' prep career, according to On3.com, spans four high schools and four states: Jackson County in Hoschton, Georgia; Hunting Prep (W.Va.); Sierra Canyon in the Los Angeles area; and Combine Academy.

His coach as a freshman, Jackson County's Bryan Parker, told the Athens Banner-Herald in 2022 that Flowers is a "super-coachable guy with a high IQ as far as basketball goes" who "will live in (the gym) if you let him."

"You have to pull him out of the gym most of the time," Parker said.

Speaking with On3.com, Flowers described himself as a wing who shows "flashes of handles to attack closeouts and operate in pick-and-roll situations." His touch and athleticism, he said, "creates headaches for people."

Through 26 games as a junior at Combine Academy, Flowers per MaxPreps.com averaged 16 points on 44% shooting to go along with six rebounds and 1.2 assists per contest. He knocked down 51% of his 2-point attempts but only 27 of his 99 shots from 3-point range.

Combined Academy finished its season with a 37-5 record and a victory against Winston-Salem Christian in the Phenom HoopState Championship title game. Flowers' line from the final game of his high school career: 15 points on 70% shooting, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

Flowers played in Nike's EYBL circuit last summer and, according to Sports Illustrated averaged 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists a game. His Combine Academy coach, Mike Wright, told SI.com in September he thinks Flowers "is the best offensive player in the Class of 2024."

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"There is nothing he can’t do on the offensive side of the ball while maintaining efficiency," Wright said. "When it comes to his defense, he doesn’t back down from the challenge. He plays with a high motor and rebounds the ball very well. His frame will continue to fill out, and that’s when everything will come together."

Louisville basketball commit Trentyn Flowers' highlights

Reach Louisville men's basketball reporter Brooks Holton at bholton@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @brooksHolton.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville basketball recruiting: Trentyn Flowers picks Kenny Payne