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Sleep Outfitters’ Thursday Recruiting Roundup


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 By far the biggest recruiting news today is 5-star WR Jermaine Eskridge’s big announcement, which he claims will be big for both him and the BBN. The Tampa, Florida native is considered the 2nd best wide receiver in the 2018 class, and while it’s a long, long time until Signing Day 2018, just getting his commitment will be a huge momentum boost for the program.

Why is Eskridge apparently willing to take a chance on the BBN? Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow, and the entire football staff I’m sure have a lot to do with it, but he also likes the scenery around campus:

This is that moment you remember he’s a sophomore in high school.

UPDATE: We’re hearing it may happen sooner than tomorrow morning, so sit tight and get those dice ready…

 Also announcing tomorrow: 3-star ILB Erroll Thompson. He’s down to Mississippi State, Alabama, Michigan, Kentucky, and Louisville, and although the Bulldogs are considered the favorite, it’s still nice to see the Cats in that type of company. We’ll find out for sure tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. ET.

 Also on Yahtzee Watch this weekend: 2017 4-star RB Mohamed Ibrahim from Olney, Maryland, the 18th best running back in the his class. He’ll be on campus for an official visit starting tomorrow. Double Yahtzee to start the weekend off right?

 Meanwhile, Jeff Borzello polled 50 college coaches on their top players in the 2016 class, and the results are not surprising. Harry Giles ran away with the ballot, with 115 points, including 29 of 50 first-place votes. The next closest? Jayson Tatum with 50 points and 5 first-place votes. Here’s what one coach had to say about Giles:

“Harry Giles embraces the idea of being the nation’s top player, and plays with the passion of a guy who’s got a point to prove.”

It’s comforting to hear Giles will play his senior season outside of North Carolina at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, but it’ll take more than that for UK to pry him from Coach K’s claws. A good showing from the BBN at the Marshall County Hoop Fest in December for Oak Hill’s games couldn’t hurt.

Other UK targets in the top ten: 3. Josh Jackson; 5. Malik Monk; 6. De’Aaron Fox; 7. Dennis Smith, Jr.; 8. Miles Bridges; T9. Markelle Fultz.

[ESPN Insider]

 Yesterday, Calipari called the 2016 recruiting class one of the best he’s ever seen. Jerry Meyer agreed, calling the 2016 “unbelievable,” comparing it to the 2004 class (Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay, etc.) and the 2007 class (Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, James Harden, etc.):

“I’ve never had this experience in ranking guys,” Meyer said. “I would see a prospect in the 2016 class for the first time and I would think to myself, ‘That’s a top-75 player.’ Then I would look to slot him in the rankings and he would end up at No. 130. It’s almost like there are twice as many good players in this class as in others.”

If UK can land even a few of the top guys, the talent boost will be incredible.

[247 Sports]

 Markelle Fultz has a new mixtape. I think you’ll like it:

BBN at Buckingham Palace’s Thursday Morning Wakeup

BBN at Buckingham Palace’s Thursday Morning Wakeup


Top of the morning to you! Oh, wait, that’s Irish. Well, a very proper good morning to you! Shoutout to Jacie, who is repping the Cats all the way in merry old England at Buckingham Palace. Don’t even try to get those guards to smile, Jacie. They won’t do it!

Grab a spot of tea and let’s go over the day’s agenda, shall we?

Yahtzee Watch rolls on

Last night, three-star defensive tackle Kobe Smith committed to Kentucky, becoming the program’s fifth commit this week. With momentum continuing to build, we’re hearing the fun’s not over yet. Some names to keep an eye on in the coming days:

  • 2018 5-star WR Jermaine Eskridge
  • 2017 4-star RB Mohamed Ibrahim, Olney, MD

That’s right, five-star. Eskridge may only be a sophomore in high school, but he’s considered the second best wide receiver in the 2018 class and his top five are Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, and Kentucky. The tweet leaves suggest Eskridge is very, VERY interested in the Yahtzee storm this week:

2017 commit Mac Jones feels confident he’ll be a part of it:

The scoreboard’s makeover continues

Yesterday, UK shared a picture of the back of the scoreboards being painted blue. A look at the live cam of the inside of the stadium shows they’ve removed the shabby and faded black and white “KENTUCKY WILDCATS” sign above the video boards as well:

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 2.30.32 PM

El Toro goes for the win in the Kentucky Open

Our pal Kent Bulle and his caddie Aaron Flener had a monster day in the Kentucky Open yesterday, birdieing seven of ten holes. The round got called for rain, but he just started finishing holes 16, 17, and 18. If he pars all three, he’ll lead by two hearing into the last round, which will start around 1 p.m. ET. If he wins, he’s buying Aaron, Drew, and everyone who comes up to him and yells “BTI sucks” steaks at Tony’s. Vamanos El Toro!

John Calipari’s ProCamps begin

Karl Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson, and the Harrison Twins will all be in town this weekend to help out with the Calipari ProCamps, which start today at the Joe Craft Center. Devin’s been in town since the end of the Summer League, and I swear, he must be riding that Phunkee Duck scooter everywhere because I’ve seen a million tweets and videos about it.

On Saturday, Cal and Karl will hold a media opportunity. Maybe someone can ask him where I can buy a Karlito bobblehead and also this shirt:

TV Rec of the Week

I finished “Catastrophe” on Amazon Prime the other day and definitely recommend it if you like romantic comedies with a heavy dose of snark. We’re officially in the TV lull before the fall premieres, and with “True Detective 2″ putting me to sleep, it was refreshing to watch a show that’s original and doesn’t try too hard. I know a lot of you still have faith in “True Detective 2,” but Vince Vaughn’s terrible monologues and zig-zagging storyline have moved it to the bottom of my queue. It was so bad we turned it off the other night to watch “Island Hunters” on HGTV. Also, I’ve found myself actually looking forward to “Ballers.” It’s not going to win any awards and The Rock is impossible to take seriously, but it’s easy fluffy entertainment. Charles’ storyline is my favorite.

KSR is at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Paducah

And I bet people are already there drinking beer. God bless ’em.

Calipari offered a 2017 five-star forward last night

Coach Cal is busy trying to piece together a potentially historic 2016 recruiting class, but he hasn’t forgotten to stay in touch with the 2017 guys in the process. Last night he extended a scholarship offer to Jarred Vanderbilt, a top-five player in the class.

Vanderbilt is the 10th high school junior to receive an offer from Kentucky. He tweeted the news last night shortly after hearing from Calipari:

At 6-foot-8, 200 pounds, Vanderbilt is ESPN’s No. 1 power forward and the No. 2 small forward in the Rivals and Top247 rankings.

Check him out at the NBA’s Top 100 Camp…


Harry Giles is leaving the state of North Carolina

Kentucky’s chances of landing the No. 1 player in America got a little help today when Harry Giles announced he will leave North Carolina for his senior season of basketball. Giles is transferring to Oak Hill in Virginia to finish out his high school career.

The move doesn’t change the fact that Giles is born and bred North Carolina and has family around the state, but it does get him a little farther away from those home state schools, and their fans, competing with Kentucky for his services.

Giles announced the news this afternoon with a lengthy message on Twitter:

In case you missed it, Jeff Goodman called Giles the second best prospect he’s seen in the last decade, behind Anthony Davis.

Calipari thinks the 2016 recruiting class could be one of his best ever


John Calipari was a guest on Seth Greenberg’s podcast that was released today and after listening to it, the man definitely had his swagger back. Greenberg, Andy Katz, and Cal tackled a number of topics, including Jamal Murray, this year’s team, rule changes, and NBA rumors, but his most exciting remarks came when he talked about the 2016 recruiting class.

This year’s recruiting class that we’re in the middle of right now, could be one of our best ever. The kids that I’m seeing that we’re involved with that I feel really good about, this could be our best class ever, and that’s a pretty scary statement coming from who we’ve been able to recruit over the last 25 years.”

Everyone’s been talking about how loaded the 2016 class is, and hearing Cal’s confidence about UK’s chances with the guys he likes makes me feel a whole lot better.

Also swag-inducing: Cal’s comments about Jamal Murray.

“To do what he did at age 18 against Team USA, basically keep his team in it and win,” Cal said. “I think he’ll come in and be able to score for us. You watch that game, gotta put the ball in his hands. We knew he was good. There were things that we learned about him. …I’m excited about it.”

“Looking at this incoming class, this could be a crazy one for us. The class that we have the team that we have, I’m excited about it,” Cal said. “I think we have at least five guys, maybe six that will have an opportunity to put their name in next year’s draft.”

Another interesting nugget: Cal’s comments about retirement and the possibility of his son walking on at UK.

“First of all, my wife has already told me if he decides to come, ‘you’re not leaving,’ so that would mean I’m here five more years. If I’m here five more years, why not stay ’til 70, why not sign a new contract and I’ll be 70 when I leave. Seems like everyone coaches until 70, I was thinking 60, but maybe I’ll coach until 72, maybe 73,” Cal said. “If he comes and he wants to walk on, to be able to spend four years with my son and the ups and downs of this? The only thing is he likes to talk back, you can’t do that when you’re playing for me.”

Hmm. Listen to the entire podcast below. Cal’s segment starts around the 4:30 mark.

Sleep Outfitters’ Tuesday Recruiting Roundup


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 In case you missed it earlier today, 2017 3-star ATH Russ Yeast committed to Kentucky, another huge get from the staff. Russ is, of course, the son of Craig Yeast, and friends with QB Mac Jones, who committed to UK yesterday. Mac is hyped about Russ’ commitment, tweeting that fans should get used to hearing “Jones to Yeast,” along with this picture:

Works for me.

 Three players to keep an eye on, all 2017 running backs: Mike Warren; Mohamed Ibrahim, who will visit Kentucky on Friday; and Kurt Taylor. I’m not an emoji expert, but this tweet from Ibrahim after Mac Jones’ commitment yesterday seems pretty promising:

We’re hearing one of those players may commit THIS AFTERNOON, so stay tuned…

 Harry Giles calls John Calipari a “great dude”

Giles broke down the five schools on his list (Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Kansas) recently to, and called John Calipari a “great dude”:

 “Coach Cal, great dude, man. I have a great relationship with him. I’ve known him since my freshman year. He developed a lot of players at Memphis and Kentucky, so I can relate to that. Kentucky’s a great place, a great program, so you can never go wrong going there.”

It’s never wise to put too much stock into these types of comments, but based on how Giles waxes on about Duke, calling Coach K and his program “legendary” and saying how “you can never go wrong staying at home,” I think it’s safe to say the Blue Devils are still his leader.


 Jeff Goodman calls Giles the best player in the past twelve years besides Anthony Davis

How important is Giles? Jeff Goodman says he’s the best player in the past dozen years besides Anthony Davis:

“I’ll take Giles over every top-ranked player in the past dozen years — except for Anthony Davis. Giles has the entire package. He has size, athleticism, speed, power, skill and also all of the intangibles.”

Ugh. Please don’t go to Duke.

[ESPN Insider]

 Dennis Smith, Jr. says he was “shocked” by UK’s offer

Calipari watched Smith A LOT last weekend, and if Kobi Simmons doesn’t commit soon, Smith may beat him to it. In his latest blog for USA Today’s High School Sports site, the top point guard admitted he was “shocked” when John Calipari offered him a scholarship:

The latest offer was from Kentucky and, I’ll be honest, it was surprising. I was shocked by it because Coach Cal had watched me a couple of times before then; he watched me with my man John Wall in Atlanta at adidas and had another coach watch me at Myrtle Beach and the offer came.

I was definitely excited to get the offer for sure. It doesn’t matter that they’re just offering me now; they’re a team I’m considering as much as anyone.

Coach Cal mostly talks with me and my dad on three-way and we’re building our relationship pretty fast. It’s been cool.

Smith is down to six schools: Kentucky, Duke, Louisville, NC State, Wake Forest, and North Carolina. He says there’s still a “great chance” of a package deal with him, Jayson Tatum, and Harry Giles, which means all three would be Dukies, and no one wants that.


 Speaking of Simmons and Smith…

247 Sports’ Jerry Meyer flipped his Crystal Ball pick for Simmons from Kentucky to Ohio State Sunday night. Read into that what you will.

Jerry Meyer would be “shocked” if Markelle Fultz doesn’t end up at Kentucky

It’s clear that John Calipari has changed his recruiting strategy. Cal is handing out more offers than ever before in the 2016 and 2017 classes, including three this past weekend (De’Aaron Fox, Edrice Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel). 2016 guard Markelle Fultz got his offer from Kentucky earlier this month and has quickly become the favorite in his recruitment, with recruiting guru Jerry Meyer going as far to say he would be “shocked” if Fultz didn’t commit to the Cats.

“I feel pretty strong,” Meyer told the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts. “From what I hear and what I know, I would kind of be shocked if he doesn’t end up at Kentucky.”

At 6’4″ 170 lbs., Fultz exploded onto the scene during the July evaluation period, and although he’s already considered the third best shooting guard and seventh overall prospect in a stacked 2016 class by 247 Sports, that ranking could go even higher.

Fultz also has a YouTube series about his recruitment entitled “This is My Life.” Here’s the latest episode if you’ve got 38 minutes to spare:


UK Fans of the Day in Tokyo Want Monday Afternoon Notes



Say hello to these Cats fans in front of the Amida Buddha in Kōtoku-in temple. Now read these afternoon notes…

— This morning the Lexington Center Corp board voted unanimously to approve $15 million in technology upgrades to Rupp Arena. The first of those upgrades will be the new ribbon boards around the second tier, which will be installed in time for the upcoming season. The new center-hung scoreboard and arena-wide WiFi won’t be in until the 2016-17 season, according to the Herald-Leader. That means we’ll get one more run with Big Bertha hanging over midcourt.

— Evan Daniels of Malone’s and fame chatted with Harry Giles following Giles’ busy run through July basketball and Kentucky was among the topics of discussion. Giles told Daniels, “Coach Calipari, he has a new staff, but I’m cool with all of them too, just like I was with the other ones. He’s a great dude. He wants the best for you. He has that one goal for you to help you be the best player you can be. He’s trying to get you there.”

The No. 1 player in Scout’s 2016 rankings, Giles plans to visit his top schools in September and make his decision before beginning his senior season of high school basketball. He insists Jayson Tatum’s commitment to Duke will not keep him from making the best decision for himself.

Read the entire interview here.

— Get the dice ready for another Yahtzee Wednesday night. UK is in very good position to land Kobe Smith, the three-star defensive tackle out of Georgia. He is also considering Miami and N.C. State, a school he committed to in May before decommitting while on Kentucky’s campus earlier this month.

— Check out this aerial look at the New CWS:

Can’t. Wait.

Vote for UK’s Kendra Harrison to win the Bowerman Trophy. Harrison is the first Bowerman finalist in UK Track & Field history. She has two NCAA individual championships and 15 All-American selections. She’s also the third-fastest collegian ever in the 100M and 400M hurdles. Vote here.

“These contracts, there’s signatures all over them.” The highlight of last night’s True Detective. Don’t all contracts have signatures on them? Good episode though. It’s all finally coming together.

— My good friend and future Masters champion Kent Bulle tees off in the Kentucky Open tomorrow morning with former KSR writer Aaron Flener on the bag. I will be the third member of the team, serving as the hype man from outside the ropes. We expect a strong three days at Keene Trace in Lexington and an afterparty with the trophy Thursday night. Vamanos El Toro!

— Former UK football star Terry Samuels, now an Allstate agent in Louisville, will donate 200 backpacks full of school supplies to kids in the community. Samuels singlehandedly purchased the backpacks and essential school supplies to fill them. He said if it weren’t for people stepping up to provide for him when he was a child, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

The giveaway will be held at Samuels’ agency, 6501 Shepherdsville Road, Suite 119, this Saturday from August 1 from 9:00 am -1:00 pm. For more information or to offer donations in contribution of this event, you can contact Samuel or his staff at 502-805-1525.

Kobi Simmons named his top six schools last night

While you and I were watching True Detective last night, Kobi Simmons was busy announcing his top six schools. The five-star combo guard is now down to Kentucky, Arizona, Georgia, Xavier, North Carolina and Ohio State, he announced on Instagram:

My Top 6 😼! Blessed 🙏🏼

A photo posted by Kobi Simmons (@kobi_simmons2) on

Following the new list’s release, Jerry Meyer at 247 changed his pick from UK to Ohio State. UK has long been the presumed favorite, so it’s interesting to see Meyer’s Sunday night flip. Throw that in with Calipari spending a lot more time around Dennis Smith Jr. and maybe Simmons isn’t the lock we once believed.

Former UVA commit, Sacha Killeya-Jones, is one to keep a close eye on.

Top 2016 Targets are on ESPNU

Former UVA commit, Sacha Killeya-Jones, is one to keep a close eye on.

Former UVA commit, Sacha Killeya-Jones, is one to keep a close eye on.

It’s the last weekend of July.  That means the Summer AAU circuit will soon be over to make way for football season.  Before we kick it into football mode, spend your Sunday evening by watching Cal’s 2016 recruits at the Adidas Uprising Summer Championship in Las Vegas (formerly the Super 64).

The 4:00 pm game features Dennis Smith (#4 ESPN100, #1 PG) and Edrice Adebayo (#8 ESPN100, #2 PF), who received a coveted Kentucky scholarship offer yesterday.  You can also catch the best high school prospect in the state, Taylor County’s Quintin Goodin.

At 6:00 pm Wenyen Gabriel (#84 ESPN100, #20 PF) and Sacha Killeya-Jones (#57 ESPN100, #12 PF) will take the court.  Like Adebayo, Gabriel picked up an offer from Calipari this weekend.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “But Nick, I don’t know these kids.  Why should I care?  It’s not like I’m watching Jamal Murray for Team Canada.”  Because if you watch the 6:00 pm game you’ll get a chance to see who will likely be UK’s first commitment in the 2016 class.  On the radio last week, Matt dropped a little nugget that Sacha Killeya-Jones (no relation) will likely be the first to commit to Kentucky.  The 247 Crystal Ball doesn’t disagree, giving Kentucky a 56% to 44% advantage over UNC.

You can watch the skilled stretch-4 do work below, or you could just flip the channel to ESPNU at 6:00.  Or you could do both, we won’t tell.

Austin Nichols Picks Virginia

A visit to Charlottesville was all it took for Austin Nichols to decide he would be taking his talents to play for the Cavaliers. Earlier this month news broke that Nichols was granted his unconditional release from Memphis after threatening to sue because they were blocking a transfer to UVA. With the ability to transer anywhere Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Auburn, Notre Dame and anyone with an open spot began their pursuit of the 6’9 forward.

It was all for naught as he scheduled his visit to Virginia this weekend and then broke the news to radio station ESPN 929 that’s where he will be playing. Nichols averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season and will have two years of eligibility remaining, starting in 2016-17.

On to the next one.

Five-star power forward Edrice Adebayo receives UK offer

Five-star power forward Edrice Adebayo receives UK offer


Today, class of 2016 five-star power forward Edrice Adebayo from Pinetown, N.C. officially received a scholarship offer from John Calipari and Kentucky. The 6’9″, 232 pound 18-year old is ranked 14th nationally in his class according to the 247 power rankings.

He plays AAU for Team Loaded in North Carolina, and has only been playing basketball since 2010. He plays alongside none other than fellow class of 2016 star and UK recruit, Dennis Smith Jr..

Now this would be a nasty duo to watch play in Rupp. Go get ’em, Cal.


Cal’s watching Gary Trent Jr. right now


After watching point guard Dennis Smith in Vegas yesterday, John Calipari and staff have moved over to Kansas City to see Gary Trent Jr. play in the KC Hardwood Classic.

The 2017 shooting guard picked up an offer from Kentucky last week. At 6’5″ 190 lbs., the son of former NBA player Gary Trent is considered the best shooting guard and the eighth overall prospect in the 2017 class.

Here’s why:

According to recruiting writer Scott Burgess, Trent is putting on a show for Cal:

Three major recruiting events are still going on in Vegas, so I’m sure Cal and Robes will head back to Sin City before the weekend’s out.

Calipari watching Dennis Smith Jr. again

You’ll have a hard time finding anyone who believes Dennis Smith Jr. will act on his recent scholarship offer to the University of Kentucky, but John Calipari is going to keep watching him anyway, thinking UK still has a shot at the nation’s No. 1 point guard.

Cal is watching Smith right now out in Las Vegas for the second time in under 24 hours. He and Kenny Payne saw Smith’s opening round game last night.

Kobi Simmons is believed to be Cal’s top target at the point guard spot, but he’s been putting in a lot of time around Smith since extending an offer earlier this month.

Is the strategy shifting toward Smith? Or is this a way to push Simmons to make a decision?

Either way, Smith’s name is getting brighter on Cal’s radar.

Sleep Outfitters’ Thursday Recruiting Roundup


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Here’s what’s happening in the recruiting world today…



  Keion Wakefield considered UK before picking Louisville today.

According to Steve Jones over at the Courier-Journal, Wakefield closely considered the University of Kentucky, that is, until he saw all of Mark Stoops’ wide receiver commits. That logjam was one of the factors that made Louisville the final choice today.

Wakefield is the younger brother of Keron Wakefield, a walk-on cornerback at UK last season. Keron is still a student at UK, but was seen wearing a UofL hat after baby brother’s announcement earlier today.

  Tate Leavitt ranked No. 8 overall in’s new JUCO rankings.

UK’s new offensive lineman is ranked fourth at his position and eighth overall in the class.

Kayaune Ross, another Kentucky commit, is the ninth-ranked JUCO wide receiver and the No. 58 player nationally.

  Brad Calipari is trying to make his own name.

Over at Bleacher Report, there’s a lengthy piece about Brad Calipari and how he is working hard to get out from underneath his dad’s shadow. Brad has his eyes set on playing college basketball, but only if it’s earned, not handed to him. He also hopes to play overseas one day.

The younger Calipari will be a senior at MacDuffie School in Granby, Massachusetts next year. He is playing for the Kentucky Travelers on the EYBL circuit this summer, when he’s not playing pickup with current and former Wildcats in the Joe Craft Center.

Give it a read here.

  John Calipari is in Las Vegas.

He posed for a picture with Ray Allen and Allen’s awesome shirt this morning.

Last night, he and Kenny Payne watched several of his top targets in Las Vegas, where there are four AAU events this week. Among the many players he saw: Kobi Simmons, Malik Monk, Dennis Smith Jr., Thon Maker and Edrice Adebayo.

  Class of 2017’s Mohamed Bamba finds UK appealing.

Bamba is a long, athletic big man in the 2017 class, which explains why Kentucky has his attention. He’s seen the success of Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and other great UK bigs, and thinks he could be next.

“What’s appealing is the guys who went to Kentucky that are sort of like me,” Bamba told ZagsBlog. “The stretch four, a 6-11 shot-blocker. What’s appealing is how those guys can have a really effective year and go right to the league.”

Bamba is the second-ranked power forward in the 2017 class, the sixth-ranked player overall.


Now go buy a mattress.