Coach Cal was available for questions today before his team takes off for Atlanta and →
Basketball Recruiting News
Congrats to Karl Towns, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles and Tyler Ulis, who were all selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic next month. Lyles and Towns will play on the East team, while Booker and Ulis will play for the West team. Here are the complete rosters:
Grayson Allen, SG, 6-4, Providence Christian School (Riverview, Fla.), Signed with Duke
Joel Berry, PG, 6-1, Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.), Signed with North Carolina
James Blackmon, Jr., SG, 6-3, Marion H.S. (Marion, Ind.), Signed with Indiana
Justin Jackson, WG, 6-7, Homeschool Christian Youth (Spring, Texas), Signed with North Carolina
Tyus Jones, PG, 6-1, Apple Valley Senior H.S.. (Apple Valley, Minn.), Signed with Duke
Trey Lyles, PF, 6-9, Arsenal Technical H.S. (Indianapolis, Ind.), Signed with Kentucky
Jahlil Okafor, C, 6-11, Whitney Young Magnet H.S. (Chicago), Signed with Duke
Kelly Oubre, WF, 6-7, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), Signed with Kansas
LJ Peak, SG, 6-4, Gaffney Senior H.S. (Gaffney, S.C.), Signed with Georgetown
Karl Towns, C, 6-11, St. Joseph H.S. (Metuchen, N.J.), Signed with Kentucky
Reid Travis, PF, 6-7, De La Salle H.S. (Minneapolis, Minn.), Signed with Stanford
Rashad Vaughn, SG, 6-5, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), Signed with UNLV
Isaiah Whitehead, SG, 6-4, Abraham Lincoln H.S. (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Signed with Seton Hall
Shaqquan Aaron, WG, 6-7, Rainier Beach H.S. (Seattle), Signed with Louisville
Cliff Alexander, C, 6-9, Currie Metropolitan H.S. (Chicago), Signed with Kansas
Devin Booker, SG, 6-5, Moss Point H.S. (Moss Point, Miss.), Signed with Kentucky
Kameron Chatman, WG, 6-7, Columbia Christian School (Portland, Ore.), Signed with Michigan
Daniel Hamilton, WG, 6-7, St. John Bosco H.S. (Bellflower, Calif.), Signed with Connecticut
Stanley Johnson, WG, 6-6, Mater Dei H.S. (Santa Ana, Calif.), Signed with Arizona
Chris McCullough, PF, 6-9, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) , Signed with Syracuse
Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, 6-4, Prime Prep (Dallas), Signed with SMU
Theo Pinson, WG, 6-6, Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.), Signed with North Carolina
D’Angelo Russell, SG, 6-4, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), Signed with Ohio State
Myles Turner, C, 7-0, Trinity H.S. (Euless, Texas), Undecided
Tyler Ulis, PG, 5-9, Marian Catholic H.S. (Chicago Heights), Signed with Kentucky
Justise Winslow, WF, 6-6, St.John’s School (Houston), Signed with Duke
All four were also named McDonald’s All-Americans last month.
John Calipari has now had 23 players selected for the Jordan Brand Classic game since coming to UK. The Jordan Brand Classic will be played April 18 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Judging from Twitter, people didn’t react too well to yesterday’s blowout loss at Florida. While the fans understandably reacted emotionally, 2014 Kentucky signee, Devin Booker, had a different tone after yesterday afternoon’s game and wanted to make sure Kentucky fans knew who his allegiances were truly with.
Y’all know who I’m with. UK for life 💙
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) March 8, 2014
Tyler Ulis wears awesome shoes and Coach Cal waves to the crowd in the 2014 commit’s newest highlight reel. There’s also some great basketball played on this mixtape (SPOILER!); step-back jumpers, deeeep threes and flawless passes.
Short people rule! #EatItDrew
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©1:00 pm
Believe it or not, we have some more news from the Dan Patrick Show to share. Rick Pitino came on Patrick’s show this morning and when Patrick asked him if any player he’s recruited told him they planned to be a one-and-done in college, Pitino said yes: 2014 UK signee Trey Lyles.
“A young man Trey Lyles, who came down to Kentucky and us, said to me he wanted to stay in college one year and how did I feel about that. I said, ‘Well, you shouldn’t make that decision. I certainly couldn’t make that decision. You should let the pros make that decision.’ I said, ‘Going into it you don’t want to be disappointed and certainly have a great freshman year and let the pros tell you if you’re ready.’ “
(And it’s just a coincidence that Pitino brought this up after all the drama surrounding Calipari and one-and-dones this week? Please.)
Trey’s father (and renowned Canadian R&B legend) T. Lyles disputes Pitino’s claim, telling the Indy Star’s Kyle Neddenriep that his son never said he’s going into college with the intent of only staying one season, but that if the situation was right and Trey was ready, it would be something they would discuss:
“What was said at the time was, ‘If it’s the right time for him to go and if he’s mentally prepared as well as ready talent-wise, it’s something that would be looked at and talked about as a family,’ ” Tom Lyles said. “Trey isn’t going to college thinking he’s a one-and-done player. It’s accurate to say the NBA was talked about, but it’s not accurate to say Trey told him he’s going to be one-and-done.”
Actually, T. Lyles said that Louisville assistant Kevin Keatts pitched Lyles as Pitino’s “first one-and-done player,” and said that if he came to Louisville, he could dispel the notion that Pitino can’t recruit one-and-done players. He added that the Lyles’ family’s prerogative is to make sure Trey is ready for the NBA if and when it happens, with no time frame.
T.Lyles disputing Rick Pitino? I think this calls for some “Beautiful Day”…
- 2015 star Luke Kennard finished his stellar high school career for Franklin (OH) High Saturday in a 69-52 loss to Thurgood Marshall in the Ohio state basketball playoffs. His 31 points weren’t enough for the win, but they were enough for him to finish his Junior season averaging 40 points per game. Many believe Kennard could be a Cat. Check out his highlights from his last game, courtesy of Devan Scarberry.
- Devin Booker scored 42 of his team’s 56 points Friday night, but it still wasn’t enough to get the win. Booker’s Moss Point couldn’t contain McComb, but Booker can hang his hat on a 1,021 points Senior season to cap off a 2,518-point career.
- Trey Lyles wrapped us his regular season with 21 points in a 62-46 win over Indiana powerhouse Ben Davis. Lyles finished the regular season averaging 25.1 points per game and close to 14 rebounds per game. Lyles’s Arsenal Tech will face Indianapolis North Lawrence (Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr.’s old school) in the first round of the playoffs this week.
Kentucky’s next 7-foot stud wouldn’t be where he is today without his Dad. Karl Sr. was a stud at Monmouth before turning to coaching. His job since 1995 has been the head coach of Piscataway Tech, but it’s time to put down that job for a more important one- being a Dad. Karl Sr. told MyCentralJersey.com, “I’ve enjoyed being around the kids and teaching the game, and the fun we had as a group. It’s sad, but at the same time I’m happy because I gave 19 great years to that school.”
Karl Sr. has been his coach off the court and in the local parks since Jr. could pick up a basketball. ”Center of Attention” was a documentary that followed the basketball family around during his Junior season. You can watch it and read what I saw, but to make a long story short: the Big Blue Nation is adding a quality new family.
UK got it’s 2015 class off to a fast start on Wednesday by receiving a commitment from 5-star guard Charles Matthews. Matthews is one of the 3 guards in the 2015 class that most feel the Wildcats have a great chance of landing, alongside Ohio’s Luke Kennard and Mississippi’s Malik Newman, the top ranked player in the class.
The dunk above came in Calloway County’s (MS) playoff win over West Point last night in a game where Newman dropped a powerful 39 points and improved his teams record to 28-1 on the season. Newman is the consensus #1 overall player in the 2015 class and his 247 Crystal Ball projection is 100% Kentucky, a projection that is strongly in favor of him being the next great guard to commit himself to the Blue and White. The 6’3 PG is averaging 29.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game in his junior year and is also considering Kansas, Mississippi State, NC State, and Ole Miss.
Also, as far as the dunk at the end of the video goes. Reminder to all his future opponents, don’t jump.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:00 pm
Let’s take a break from the postmortem and look towards the future. Remember Charles Matthews, the 5-star shooting guard who become Kentucky’s first 2015 commitment earlier this week? I spoke with Jerry Meyer, 247Sports’ Director of Basketball Scouting, to get his thoughts on Matthews, and what his commitment means for the rest of UK’s 2015 class. To the Q&A!
What’s your take on Matthews?
Matthews is an exceptional athlete as a wing finisher. Capable of playing the two or the three, Matthews loves to attack in transition and along the baseline. More of a slasher than shooter at this point, Matthews has room to improve as a ball handler/passer. Defensively, he has the tools to be a force.
I see him most suited as a three in the system, playing a role similar to James Young. Matthews will improve as a shooter. He will also be a dangerous rebounder as a three man.
I don’t think it hurts at all. Anyone, including Kennard, is considering Kentucky because they want to practice against and play with great players. That is the recruiting sales pitch. If anything, getting the expected commitment from Matthews, helps with Kennard.
Kentucky is in a great position with its top 2015 targets. If there is a weakness, it is with the big men. If a post player separates himself this spring, I could see Kentucky going after him.
Nothing new on Gill-Caesar that I’m aware of but I’ve expected him to reclassify to 2014 and still do expect that. My prediction, however, is that he ends up at Michigan State.
Thanks to Jerry for sharing his thoughts. You can follow him on Twitter @JerryMeyer247.
Myles Turner is the last 2014 player left with a Kentucky offer; however, the Cats’ chances aren’t looking very good. Today, Turner announced he will take officials to Kansas and Duke next month, and his father told Adam Zagoria that they may take an unofficial visit to Kentucky as well: “Not officially, would like to try to get there on an unofficial if possible.”
The fact that Turner isn’t willing to use an official visit on the Cats suggests they’re not a serious contender, especially since it looks like Dakari Johnson may return for a sophomore season. Combined with Karl Towns and Marcus Lee down low and that’s a pretty crowded lane. Kansas seems to be the favorite for his services, but only if Joel Embiid goes pro.
A lot of you have been asking how Charles Matthews’ commitment affects Kentucky’s chances with Luke Kennard, another 2015 shooting guard. Kennard’s dad Mark says told Larry Vaught that it won’t impact his son’s decision at all, and CBS Sports’ Jeff Borzello says the two can play together, but it’s something to keep an eye on moving forward:
What it means for Kentucky’s class: John Calipari is in hot pursuit of a long list of guards in the 2015 class. Malik Newman is the top guard in the country, and he remains the top target for Kentucky. One player this could impact is Luke Kennard, one of the better shooters in the junior class and a priority of the Wildcats. Kennard and Matthews can play together, but that will be interesting to keep an eye on. Moreover, wing Montaque Gill-Caesar has been rumored to be very high on Kentucky – and a prime candidate to reclassify to 2014. With Matthews in the fold, he likely drops on the Wildcats’ list of 2015 targets. Could Gill-Caesar reclassify? It likely depends on what happens with Kentucky’s current crop of guards: Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison and James Young. Calipari didn’t land the nation’s best recruiting class in 2014, but he’s off to a terrific start in 2015.
How does Borzello think Matthews will fit in at Kentucky? Click on over to find out:
Chicago (Ill.) St. Rita 5-star junior guard Charles Matthews says he didn’t always dream of playing for Kentucky.
His dream school growing up was actually North Carolina. But he did dream of playing for John Calipari.
“My dream school was North Carolina but I always liked Coach Cal,” Matthews told CatsPause.com following his commitment to the Wildcats Wednesday. “If I wasn’t going to North Carolina, I wanted to play for Coach Cal.”
Matthews is also well aware of Calipari’s history of and success with Chicago guys including Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis.
“He’s done a lot for Chicago so I hope I can be the next one.”
The 6-foot-6 guard is ranked as the No. 12 overall prospect and top shooting guard in the country according to the 247Sports Composite.
For Matthews’ in-depth breakdown of his UK commitment, visit CatsPause.com.
2015 shooting guard Charles Matthews just picked Kentucky in front of friends and family at St. Rita’s, becoming Kentucky’s first 2015 commitment and John Calipari’s 24th five-star commitment overall. After his announcement, he took some questions from the media, which I have transcribed as well as that awful stream would let me.
Matthews said he chose Kentucky because he felt comfortable with the coaching staff and wanted to get his recruitment over with so he could focus on his high school team: ”I had a good gut feeling. Now I can focus on my game and helping my team win.” Matthews added that he and Calipari did not discuss commitment when Cal visited him earlier in the week: ”He was just here showing support. Commitment wasn’t even part of the talk.”
As you probably know by now, Matthews played on the same AAU team (Meanstreets) as current UK signee Tyler Ulis. Other Meanstreets alum include Anthony Davis and Derrick Rose. Matthews said that he talked to Ulis before committing: “Yeah, I spoke to Tyler. That’s my man. Looking forward to continuing that,” Matthews said, adding that playing with Ulis again will “be a lot of fun.”
What does Matthews like about Kentucky? “I like the dribble drive offense, a lot of spacing, which I thrive in. That will fit me a lot.” Matthews said that he will NOT reclassify to the 2014 class, the possibility of which was the Matt Jones surprise. He added that he hopes Kentucky’s 2015 class will be as strong as Cal’s other classes, and that’s he’s ready to help pull some more players in: ”I’m going to try to lure in some other top players from my class, and hopefully we can get it done.”
From there, the morning prayer came over the intercom, pretty much ending the press conference. While everyone tried to figure out whether or not to continue, Matthews’ mom leaned over and whispered “Wildcats!” in her son’s ear, drawing a big smile from the newest Kentucky commit.
Young Boy A Wildcat! Let's go!!! #BBN
— Charles Matthews (@CMATT_4) February 26, 2014
Matthews sent his first tweet as a Wildcat minutes ago, and Devin Booker sent along his well wishes:
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) February 26, 2014
Welcome Matthews to the family @CMATT_4.
The Cats reeled in their first commitment in the 2015 class this morning when 5-star shooting guard Charles Matthews announced he would be attending the University of Kentucky in front of his friends and family at St. Rita’s High School in Chicago. Let’s get to know the newest member of La Familia…
Chicago, Illinois (St. Rita)
6’6″ 172 lbs.
247Sports Composite: No. 12 overall, No. 1 shooting guard
Rivals: No. 11 overall
Scout: No. 15 overall, No. 4 shooting guard
ESPN: No. 12 overall, No. 4 shooting guard
Picked Kentucky over…
Illinois, Kansas, Michigan State, and Marquette
Although hampered slightly by an ankle injury in his junior season, Matthews is still an impressive slasher that could flourish in the dribble drive offense. Here’s what the big guys have to say about his game:
ESPN: “Matthews is a long and lean athletic wing that can get to the rim and finish on the break. In the halfcourt he is an excellent slasher from especially along the baseline where he finishes with great touch and body control and uses his length to complete plays over smaller defenders. Mathews has an excellent first step and does a great job coming off curl screens and moving without the ball. His catch and attack moves into the lane really exposes the defense and creates help situations. He is a very capable on ball defender and has a pretty good defensive feel especially in help and recover situations. Matthews also displayed the ability to be a decent perimeter shot blocker.”
Rivals’ Eric Bossi: “An explosive guard, he’s particularly good working along either baseline. Gets out in transition and is an above the rim finisher when he wants. Doesn’t fully trust his jumper just yet and will be a load with more confidence in that and his handle. Very alert passer and potential to be a big time defender.”
Scout: “His game starts with his jump shot. Matthews has a very smooth release and an excellent follow through, and he doesn’t need much space to get a clean look. He loves to dribble into his shot and is very comfortable both from behind the three-point line and medium-range. Matthews is a fine dribbler who drives to the bucket on occasion as well, but he isn’t truly an explosive athlete. That said, additional strength should help.”
Matthews played on the same AAU team (Meanstreets) as his friend and UK signee Tyler Ulis. Even more, Orlando Antigua played for Matthews’ high school coach, Gary DeCesare.
Welcome to the fam, Charles.
Five-star 2015 shooting guard Charles Matthews will announce his college decision at 9:30 a.m. ET at St. Rita’s High in Chicago. Check out the live stream below to watch, and keep up with the latest updates via my running diary.
9:39 a.m.: MATTHEWS PICKS KENTUCKY
9:35 a.m.: This stream sucks…Matthews is coming to the podium now.
9:34 a.m.: Matthews is in the gym…
9:32 a.m.: No hats on the table:
9:29 a.m.: If you are having problems with the stream, click here to watch it on HighSchoolCubeNews.com
9:22 a.m.: Is Matthews reclassifying?? “Expect the unexpected”???? 8 minutes….
9:14 a.m.: Hmmmm…interesting tweet from Matt:
I talked earlier this year on radio about the potential of a "Matt Jones surprise" in recruiting….we will find out today if it's happening
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 26, 2014
9:10 a.m.: Matthews’ 247Sports Crystal Ball sits at 100%, and his high school coach Gary DeCesare spoke to Chris Fisher last night. How would DeCesare, who also coached UK assistant Orlando Antigua while he was in high school, describe Matthews?
“He can play the point, he can play the wing, he can bring the ball down and he’s a student of the game who wants to get better every game,” DeCesare said. “When one of your best players is your hardest worker, it helps.”
9:05 a.m.: Hello, good morning. It’s early here in the KSR Nashville Compound, but I’m up with a giant cup of English Breakfast tea to prepare you for Charles Matthews’ big announcement. Keep refreshing this thread to check out for updates.
UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua is in Cleveland watching Villa Angela-St. Joseph 2015 5-star forward Carlton Bragg Tuesday night.
It is the sixth time the UK staff has watched Bragg since September. John Calipari tendered a scholarship offer to Bragg after watching him in January.
Bragg is rated as the No. 9 overall prospect in the 2015 class according to the 247Sports Composite.
With Calipari in Chicago to see UK’s first potential 2015 commit Charles Matthews Monday and Antigua in Cleveland Tuesday, you have to start to wonder whether Kentucky is done recruiting in 2014 and has shifted its focus to 2015.
For more recruiting coverage, check out CatsPause.com
Follow Chris Fisher on Twitter @ChrisFisher247