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Basketball Recruiting News

Five-star center Isaiah Stewart verbally commits to WASHINGTON

Isaiah Stewart, a consensus five-star, top-six prospect in the class of 2019, has verbally committed to play basketball at Washington. He announced his decision on ESPN during halftime of a Hoophall Classic game. The news comes after weeks of speculation, including a crystal ball report that heavily favored the Huskies. Here’s a video of the announcement:

In his interview with 247 sports, Stewart said Washington coach Mike Hopkins was a big factor in his decision.

“At first, I wasn’t leaning towards them, but the more Coach Hopkins and I continued to talk, he’s a guy like me and different and works hard. He wants to start his own legacy and that’s what I want to do,” Stewart said. “He’s a coach I trust to push me harder and help me accomplish my goals.”

But his commitment doesn’t stop there. Like most recruits, Stewart plans on helping his new school continue to bring in elite talent.

I’m going after Jaden McDaniels now,” Stewart said. “We’re trying to build something out there… If we get him, man, game-changer.”

Jaden McDaniels, if you’ll remember, is the No. 5 overall player in the Rivals rankings, and another top target for the Wildcats. He’s already been offered a scholarship and taken an official visit, but the Washington native hasn’t yet committed. National analyst Corey Evans believes UK and Washington are the two most likely landing spots for McDanielsThat’d be a huge miss for Kentucky at this point.

Throughout the recruitment process, Stewart took official visits to Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State and Syracuse before ultimately picking the Huskies. Over the last week or so, KSR sources have thought Washington would most likely be Stewart’s final destination, and today’s news finally confirms that. KSR’s Jack Pilgrim will have plenty of additional information in his “Monday Insider Notes” post tomorrow afternoon.

After missing out on Vernon Carey (who is committed to Duke) and now Isaiah Stewart, John Calipari and the Cats are back in the market for a big man.


@MaggieDavisKSR


Two top-25 UK targets will play on TV tomorrow

Assuming you aren’t completely burned out by all of the sports happening this weekend, you can look ahead to a couple potential future Cats tomorrow.

At 11AM, 6’11” power forward Jaden McDaniels will suit up on ESPNU. McDaniels is the 5th ranked prospect by 247 Sports, and based on his highlights, he earned that spot more with finesse than power.

Sure looks like a fine alternative to James Wiseman to me.

Later in the day at 5PM, 5-star small forward Keion Brooks will squad up with his La Lumiere team, also on ESPNU. Indiana is considered the heavy favorite to land Brooks, but he has taken an official visit to UK and has yet to remove them from his list, so anything is possible. And I definitely wouldn’t mind having him.

@JayWinkKSR


Tyrese Maxey is on the Recruiting Trail

The No. 8 overall prospect in ESPN’s 2019 recruiting rankings and current Kentucky Wildcat commit, Tyrese Maxey, has been leading the recruiting trail for his new team despite missing out on James Wiseman in November.

Maxey, the second-highest rated shooting guard in his class, was pushing hard to land a commitment from Wiseman but didn’t get discouraged when the nation’s top recruit chose the Memphis Tigers instead.

“It’s like that sometimes,” said Maxey, who plays for South Garland High School out of Texas. “At the end of the day he [Wiseman] had to do what was right for him and I respect that. He’s still my man.”

Maxey headlines a Kentucky recruiting class currently ranked fifth overall by ESPN, joined by Khalil Whitney (No. 10) and Kentucky native Dontaie Allen (No. 91). But Maxey, following in his future head coaches footsteps, isn’t satisfied just yet.

According to an interview with USA Today, Maxey is still recruiting Keion Brooks (No. 34) and Isaiah Stewart (No. 5) – both teammates out of La Lumiere School in Indiana – along Jaden McDaniels (No. 6) out of Federal Way in Washington and Matthew Hurt (No. 7) out of John Marshall High School in Minnesota.

“I need those guys with me,” Maxey said. “I gave it my best shot with James and that’s all I can do. I pretty much knew that he was gonna go there, but I had to go hard at him anyway. Now I’m gonna focus on these guys and try and build a great team for the BBN fans next season.”

Stewart is expected to announce his decision on ESPN on Sunday with most projections pointing towards him selecting Washington. Brooks’ announcement could be made public sometime soon, as well.

As for McDaniels and Hurt, we are still hoping Maxey’s pitches can be enough to convince one (or both) of them to wear the blue and white next season in Lexington.

Even if his efforts prove to be all for nothing, Maxey buying into Kentucky 100 percent should be the most important takeaway from all of this. He’s clearly extremely committed to Kentucky and wants to build something special for what will likely be his only season as a Wildcat. If he can bring along a couple of five-star recruits with him, I’m all for it.


Five-star Kentucky target Isaiah Stewart will announce his decision on Sunday

USA Basketball

One of the big names in the class of 2019 is set to make his final decision this weekend.

Five-star power forward Isaiah Stewart out of La Porte, IN will make his announcement on Sunday evening at halftime of the Oak Hill vs. IMG game (7:30 p.m. ET) on ESPN.

The final five? Duke, Michigan State, Washington, Syracuse, and Kentucky.

ESPN’s Paul Biancardi was the first to report the news:

Stewart himself also confirmed the news, adding the caption “The Time Has Come” on Twitter.

As far as the timing of the announcement goes, I have been told that ESPN has been pushing both Stewart and Kentucky target Keion Brooks to commit this weekend during the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts. Both prospects have said publicly that their decisions were right around the corner, with Brooks actually expected to come before Stewart, and I’m under the assumption that both were very receptive to the idea of announcing on the big stage. Stewart officially made the jump, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we hear of Brooks doing the same.

Though the elite big man’s final five includes Kentucky, it appears the decision will come down to Washington, Duke, and Michigan State, with the Huskies being the runaway favorite to land him at this point.

Evan Daniels of 247 Sports, one of the absolute best in the recruiting business, logged a Crystal Ball pick for Washington yesterday morning. He has hit on 97 percent of predictions in 2019 (87/90) and 95 percent all-time (159/168).

Adam Rowe, John Watson, and Chad Lykins, three Duke insiders, also made predictions for Washington within the span of just a few hours yesterday afternoon.

247 Sports’ Brian Snow, who has a 93 percent all-time (96 percent in 2019) prediction grade, picked Washington back in October and hasn’t backed away from that since.

The Huskies have also received four of Stewart’s last analyst predictions on Rivals.com, including one from Eric Bossi.

To say there’s significant momentum for Washington right now would be an understatement. I would be shocked if he ended up anywhere other than Seattle next season.

I also may add that there have been rumors spreading that if Stewart announces for Washington (as expected), that five-star forward Jaden McDaniels would opt for Kentucky soon after. As great as that sounds for the Wildcats, I’m told there is no truth to those rumors and McDaniels would actually be open to teaming up with the elite power forward prospect under Mike Hopkins at Washington. To take it a step further, I’m under the firm belief McDaniels wants to finish up his senior year before making a final decision.

Regardless, it looks like Stewart will be teaming up with Quade Green in purple and gold next season.


Judge denies eligibility bid for Zion Harmon

Jon Lopez | Nike EYBL

The epic saga of Kentucky high school basketball star Zion Harmon continues.

After a last-ditch effort to play for Marshall County this season, a judge has denied a preliminary injunction that would have made him eligible to participate immediately.

Following his transfer from Adair County to Marshall County that initially sparked his ineligibility, Judge Thomas Russell of U.S. District Court in Paducah, issued a final ruling on Friday that did not favor the 5-foot-10 point guard originally out of Bethesda, Maryland. In his ruling (via Jason Frakes of the Courier-Journal), Russell said it was a “close call” and declared the requested preliminary injunction “not warranted in this matter.”

After transferring to his fourth school in four years KHSAA ruled Harmon ineligble until March 5, the one-year anniversary of his final game as a varsity athlete at Adair County. The ruling, originally made on Oct. 16, was because it was determined Harmon was transferring for basketball reasons, not academic or anything of the sort.

If Marshall County can make a run to the Boys Sweet 16 (March 6-10) at Rupp Arena, Harmon will be eligible to participate for the first time this season.

The No. 1 point guard in the class of 2021 started his career at Antioch (Tennessee) Lighthouse Christian in seventh grade, won a state title at Bowling Green in eighth grade, moved to Adair County as a freshman, and is now attempting to suit up for Marshall County for the rest of his high school career.