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Basketball Recruiting News
The 2016 High School recruiting class is one of the best in the last 10 years. At the top of the class are five guys of tremendous talent and three of those (Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson) would potentially be the top three picks in next year’s NBA Draft if they were eligible. All three are playing for Team USA in the Under-19 World Championships and all three are starting because of their tremendous talent. The Cats are recruiting all three and would love any to end up in Lexington, including Jayson Tatum. His explosiveness is unbelievable and he has had a tremendous week dunking on everyone…well except until today’s finals. Tatum went to the basket against Croatia and…well he ended up on the receiving end of the block of the year.
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Today, we’re starting a new feature on KSR with some help from our friends at Sleep Outfitters. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we’ll bring you the latest recruiting news for both basketball and football. Let’s start with the oblong ball…
Obviously, the biggest recruiting news this week centers around 4-star inside linebacker Kash Daniel, who will announce his decision on July 4th like a great American. The announcement is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Paintsville High School, and the three hats on the table will be Kentucky, South Carolina, and Louisville. (If you’ve seen the picture of the hats, it’s pretty clear the Louisville gas station hat has no chance.)
All signs continue to point in Kentucky’s direction to the point that if Kash picks South Carolina or Louisville, it will be the biggest troll move in UK football recruiting history. I have it on good account that WON’T happen and the Cats are in great shape.
Craig Yeast’s son goes by the name of Russ and looks ready to follow in his dad’s footsteps at Kentucky. The 2017 athlete/wide receiver has offers from Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville, Maryland, and Iowa to go along with interest from Notre Dame, Tennessee, Michigan, and Florida State. Earlier this week, he told CatsPause he enjoyed his visits to UK and Notre Dame the most, going as far to say he’s come very close to committing to the Cats.
“Every visit I take to Kentucky is an opportunity for me to see if that’s a place for me to see if I would like to play. I have been there a few times and I have came very close to committing but I realized that it is not time for that so I am going to back off of that.”
If the Cats keep trending upward, it’s only a matter of time until he’s on board.
Alkins picked up an offer from Kentucky in May, and the Cats’ interest in the 6’5″ shooting guard has ramped up considerably in the past few months. ZagsBlog is reporting that Kentucky will watch Alkins and his AAU team over the next three weeks in events in Georgia, Long Island, and Vegas. This dunk he threw down ten days ago should tell you why the Cats are so interested:
Simmons participated in the Steph Curry Select Camp this week and talked to Evan Daniels about his game and recruitment. I can’t embed the video here, but he mentioned Kentucky A LOT. Kentucky was the first school he mentioned when Evan asked which head coaches had visited him, the visits he’s taken, the visits he still wants to take, and the schools who have prioritized him recently.
Kentucky has been the favorite for Kobi for a while now, and although he hasn’t given a time frame for his decision, he says he’s thinking more and more about it every day.
Kentucky may not be considered the favorite for the number one player in 2016, but I had to include him because he’s tearing it up in the U19 World Championships in Greece this week. Yesterday, Giles scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in USA’s 93-45 win over Argentina, his second straight double-double of the tournament. In USA’s four wins, he’s averaged a team-high 14.5 points and 9.2 rebounds, looking every bit the best player in his class. For that reason, he remains one of Cal’s top priorities.
While most analysts think Giles will stay in-state and go to either UNC, Duke, or Wake Forest, Kentucky could sell him on immediate playing time assuming Skal Labissiere (and/or Marcus Lee) heads to the 2016 Draft.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 01st, 2015 @ 3:15pm
So much for all that research I did this morning. Sources tell KSR that Greek 7-footer Georgios Papagiannis is NOT an option for Kentucky in the 2015 class, which is kind of a bummer. Kid had a lot of nickname potential.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 01st, 2015 @ 1:00pm
Yesterday, we found out that Greek 7-footer Georgios Papagiannis is still considering playing basketball in the States this upcoming season and Kentucky is on his short list. Papagiannis told Draft Express at the U19 World Championships in Crete that UK is one of three schools he’s interested in, along with NC State and St. John’s. He told Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn that Oregon is also in the mix.
With a decision expected VERY SOON, here are six things you need to know about the player we will now refer to Big Papa…
He got off to a strong start in the U19 World Championships
Papagiannis is averaging 11 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 4.7 blocks over three games in the U19 World Championships, and got off to a hot start against Korea, scoring 16 points, bringing down 16 rebounds, and blocking five shots. He was a perfect 8/8 from the floor and is averaging 68% shooting for the tournament.
Against Serbia, he threw down this impressive dunk:
His dad wants him to go to the States
Although Papagiannis insists he’s still torn over staying in Greece for another year or coming to the States for college basketball, his father wants him to head overseas. Papagiannis actually spent his junior year of high school at Westtown School in Pennsylvania, and his dad told Luke Winn that he wants his son to continue to play with guys his age to showcase his potential instead of being buried among grown men in the Euro pro leagues.
Eligibility won’t be a concern
Last summer, Papagiannis played with the Greek club team Panathinaikos, but he signed an amateur deal that will allow him to retain his eligibility in case he wants to play college basketball in the States. Sorry, NCAA, this is not Enes 2.0.
Do we need to worry about Slice?
St. John’s has been in the running for Papagiannis for a while now and could really use him now that big man Chris Obekpa transferred. And we know our man Slice could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves. Will this be the first recruit we could lose to our former assistant?
Another battle with Oregon
Papagiannis is rooming with Oregon signee Tyler Dorsey at the U19s, and Dorsey is doing his best to persuade the big man to come back to Eugene with him. Interestingly, Winn reports that when the Oregon basketball staff visited Papagiannis in Athens a few months back, they realized Dorsey had some Greek blood in him and rushed to get him on the Greek National Team. In fact, Dorsey only got clearance from FIBA the day before the tournament started. And now he’s rooming with Papagiannis and whispering Nike sweet nothings in his ear. If that’s not blatant recruiting, I don’t know what is. Even Calipari is tipping his hat to Dana Altman a little bit there.
His birthday is Friday
Papagiannis says he wants to make a decision about his future very soon, possibly by the time the U19 World Championship ends on July 5. Friday, July 3rd is his birthday…that sounds like the perfect day to announce to me.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 30th, 2015 @ 4:30pm
A while back, I told you about Greek big man Georgios Papagiannis. The 7’1″ 235 lbs. center is currently playing in the U19 World Championships in Crete, Greece, where he’s talking to reporters about his plan for the future. Kentucky contacted Papagiannis several months ago to see if he’s interested in attending college in the States, and this afternoon, he told Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony that college is still an option and Kentucky, NC State, and St. John’s are on his list.
Back in April, Papagiannis said he would decide in June whether or not to keep playing basketball in Greece (he signed an amateur deal last summer) or play college basketball in the States. If he does come to the States, he’d be in the 2015 class. Is there still a chance Cal could add another player to this year’s roster? It wouldn’t hurt to have another big guy in the middle until Wynyard comes in December.
I’m skeptical, but let’s watch him work anyways.
That’s Isaiah Briscoe at Bluegrass Airport with KSR fan Michael Kirk, who was nice enough to send us the picture. In case that’s not creepy enough for you, another fan snapped this pic of Briscoe on the plane:
— Max Saidman (@maxsaidman) June 24, 2015
Briscoe’s high school coach Dave Boff told ZagsBlog that he spoke with Briscoe this morning and Briscoe said he’s looking forward to playing with Jamal Murray. Ulis, Briscoe, Murray, Poythress, and Skal? After The Loss, I didn’t think I’d say it again, but hum ditty ditty!
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 25th, 2015 @ 2:20pm
Yesterday, Jamal Murray gave the BBN the best news we’ve heard in months when he announced he’s coming to Kentucky. Murray signed with the Cats this morning and the UK staff celebrated by sending out a press release.
“Jamal is one of the best guards in the country,” John Calipari said. “He showed that in practice at the Nike Hoop Summit and in the game. I had so many people call me to tell me how unbelievable he was. You’re talking about a 6-5 playmaker that can score and can guard multiple positions. He can make an impact from anywhere on the floor. I can’t wait to start coaching him.”
Read the complete release after the jump. If you haven’t heard it yet, here’s Jamal’s interview this morning on KSR:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 25th, 2015 @ 11:02am
Jamal Murray just wrapped up an appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio and broke some major news. When Matt asked him which players he knew on UK’s roster, Murray said Tai Wynyard may join the team in December.
“I know Skal from playing in the Hoop Summit together. Tai, he’ll be coming in December I think. But I’ve also played against Briscoe a lot at the Hoop Summit and Peach Jam, so I kind of have a feeling of what his game is like.”
There have been rumblings that Wynyard may reclassify to 2015, but this is the most concrete statement we’ve heard so far. Come on down and join the party, woodchopper!
UPDATE: Here’s the audio in case you missed it…
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 24th, 2015 @ 8:45pm
…and all is right in the world.
(In the interest of full disclosure, ESPN still has UK #2 behind Duke and Rivals UK #3 behind Duke and Arizona after the announcement, but whatever. That’s why we love you, 247 Sports!)
Sing it with me…
O Canada! Right now you are so grand!
Because of you our #1 recruiting ranking stands.
With glowing hearts we see our stock rise!
Big Blue Nation full of glee!
Jamal Murray, O Canada,
For us you’ll play at three.
With players first and full of glee!
O Canada, For us you’ll play at three;
O Canada, For us you’ll play at three!
Once again, it’s going to be a very fun basketball season for Big Blue Nation, especially with Jamal Murray adding his name to the mix. Murray is projected to be one of the best guards in America and he’ll fit right in with Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe, Mychal Mulder and Dominique Hawkins in Coach Cal’s backcourt.
If you’re new around here and don’t really know Murray or what he’ll bring to the table, allow me to give you a brief rundown of your newest Wildcat. He is very, very good.
6’5”, 180 lbs.
Toronto, ON (Athlete Institute Basketball Academy)
Top247: No. 10 overall, No. 1 SG
247 Sports Composite: No.30 overall, No. 7 SG
Rivals: No. 15 overall (2016)
Scout: No. 12 overall, No. 2 PG
(Some of those rankings haven’t been updated.)
Watch him BLOW UP in the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit:
And then watch his mixtape:
What they’re saying:
Jamal Murray is a 6-4 skilled combo guard. Can play on or off the ball. Very good shooter, but talented passer too. Huge pick up for UK.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) June 24, 2015
Kentucky is going to be one awfully tough team to come from behind against. Cats won't have many TOs w Ulis/Briscoe/Murray. #BBN
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 24, 2015
If Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray co-exist on the perimeter together, you might not find a better backcourt in the country.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 24, 2015
Jamal Murray is the newest member of your 2015-16 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team. The five-star guard from Canada announced his commitment to the program this evening, ending a long and mysterious recruitment while finalizing John Calipari’s top-ranked recruiting class.
The addition of Murray instantly gives UK one of the best backcourts in the nation next season. He provides a great outside shot and versatility offensively, which is why he is highly regarded as a first-round draft pick one year from now.
Celebrate this one, BBN!
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 24th, 2015 @ 5:40pm
It’s finally here: Jamal Murray’s college announcement. After two-and-a-half crazy months, the most mysterious recruit in recent history will announce whether he’s headed to Oregon or Kentucky. The announcement is taking place on Canadian sports channel TSN and you can watch it below at 6 p.m. ET:
6:20 PM (Tyler): IT’S KENTUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!
6:10 PM (Tyler): Michael Visenberg, our new BFF, just posted this pic of Jamal Murray, his dad, and a person in what may or may not be an Oregon jacket:
Jamal and Roger Murray, having a discussion before his college announcement. pic.twitter.com/2lJM2UVaoZ
— Michael Visenberg (@NBADraftMikeyV) June 24, 2015
Visenberg wrote me and said he doesn’t think it’s an Oregon jacket, but still.
6:07 PM (Drew): Man, it sure is quiet around here. Did this kid tell ANYONE where he plans to commit?
5:53 PM (Drew): The announcement will be at 6:15. If you need to hit the restroom, now’s your time. We’ve got about 20 more minutes.
5:46 PM (Drew): We’re 15 minutes away and the decision is still a mystery. I’m picking Oregon because the recruiting gods hate Kentucky in this class.
5:39 PM (Tyler): Alright, everyone install AdBlock? Let’s go! Jamal Murray is wearing a giant cape:
We’re now two hours away from Jamal Murray’s highly anticipated announcement and the five-star guard has done an outstanding job of keeping his decision a secret. Word usually leaks by now in these cases, but Murray has somehow managed to keep things in house without a leak to the media.
On this morning’s KSR, Scout.com’s Evan Daniels told our listeners, “I think pretty much everybody is in the dark.”
Daniels once believed it would be Kentucky, but now he’s not so sure it will be UK in the end. The tweet last week from an Oregon player has many thinking it will now be Oregon, although anything is possible when it comes to Murray.
We will soon find out where he will play his college basketball next season, but for now, we continue to wait.