During his appearance on ESPN’s Mike & Mike this morning, John Calipari clarified his previous →
Basketball Recruiting News
By Drew Franklin on ©June 24th, 2016 @ 11:48am
Coach Cal’s top point guard target, Trae Young, is in North Carolina this week for Chris Paul’s CP3 basketball camp. Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Brad Calipari are also there as camp counselors, and Young has been spending some quality time with the UK guards during their down time.
Young recently announced he will stick around Oklahoma for his senior year of high school, when Calipari had hoped he would move away from OU and into prep school. But having Young in camp this week with the Kentucky backcourt is a pretty strong advantage in recruiting, if only for a couple of days.
Yay for free recruiting!
UK special assistant Joel Justus is representing the program in Spain during the FIBA U17 World Championship, which begins tomorrow.
Immanuel Quickley, a five-star guard in the 2018 class, said Calipari told him he would make the trip as well, but for now it is Justus roaming around Zaragoza until the basketball tournament begins. Cal will be at the draft tomorrow, obviously, but I guess he could fly to Spain after that, if what Quickley said is true.
Justus will have eyes on several UK targets who are suited up for the USA in the tournament while he is there. Among the notable participants: Quickley, Kevin Knox, Wendell Carter, Javonte Smart and Gary Trent Jr.
Justus asked, in Spanish, who wants to be next?
🇪🇸 – Quién quiere ser el siguiente
— Joel Justus (@UKCoachJustus) June 22, 2016
By Drew Franklin on ©June 21st, 2016 @ 6:00pm
If what this five-star point guard is saying is true, John Calipari plans to travel across the pond to Spain to watch some of the top recruits in the 2017 and 2018 classes, the same recruits he could watch right here in the good ol’ USA.
Immanuel Quickley, the second-ranked point guard in 2018, told Adam Zagoria that Calipari plans to watch him and other recruits play in the FIBA U17 World Championship in Spain. This could be a misinterpretation of how Calipari plans to watch those games, but Quickley said Cal “would come to Spain” to watch him play in the tournament, which begins Thursday and runs through July 3.
2018 PG @IQ_GodSon says John Calipari told him he would come to Spain to watch him play in the FIBA U17s.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) June 21, 2016
That U17 roster includes several UK targets, including Quickley, Kevin Knox, Wendell Carter, Javonte Smart and Gary Trent Jr.
It would be a huge impression on those young men if Cal were to show up, but is this really happening? It seems pretty hard to believe, but it is Cal we’re talking about here.
#WheelsUp to Zaragoza after the draft?
The 6-foot point guard, who recently made the first cut for the USA Basketball U18 team, is planning visits to both Kentucky and Duke.
Although Duke and Kentucky have yet to offer Green, that could change very quickly. Green told reporters in Colorado that he spoke to Calipari on Tuesday.
“They make pros, of course,” Green told Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “And they have good student-athletes. When they leave for the NBA, they come back and get their degree. They get the best out of you there.”
According to his high school coach, Green is planning his visit to Duke (June 21-22) and Kentucky (June 29-30)
Green has offers from Syracuse, Miami, Xavier and Temple. Green says he would like to commit in September.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 17th, 2016 @ 10:00am
Believe it or not, we’re already talking about the 2019 recruiting class. According to Evan Daniels, 2019 forward Joey Baker is taking an unofficial visit to Kentucky this weekend. The 6’7″ Baker just finished up his freshman year at Trinity Christian School in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and already holds offers from Western Carolina, Clemson, Charlotte, and Hofstra. At Trinity Christian, Baker played alongside NC State incoming freshman Dennis Smith, one of the top players in the 2016 class.
It feels weird to be sharing highlights of a 15-year-old, but here goes:
Enjoy yourself this weekend, Joey.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 16th, 2016 @ 7:30pm
Trae Young is one of several elite 2017 recruits in Colorado Springs this week to compete for a spot on the Team USA U18 Squad, and judging by the quotes coming out of the media opportunities, it sure sounds like Kentucky’s his leader. The Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts interviewed Young, who said John Calipari is making sure he knows he’s his priority at point guard in the 2017 class.
“I hear from Coach Cal all the time,” he said. “Me and Coach Cal, Coach (Kenny) Payne, the whole coaching staff, we talk quite a bit, and they’ve definitely made me a priority in my class. I really like Kentucky.”
Young recently decided to stay in his hometown of Norman, Oklahoma for his senior year of high school, but maintained that won’t have any impact on his college decision, even though Lon Kruger and the University of Oklahoma program are also vying for his services. Young actually visited Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas before going to Colorado Springs, and says he plans to cut his list to five after the Peach Jam next month. The odds Kentucky will make the cut? Very, very good.
“It’s looking good for Kentucky,” he said with a smile.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 16th, 2016 @ 3:00pm
USA Basketball made their first round of cuts today for the U18 National squad, and eight UK targets made the list.
The entire list released today is here:
— Andrew Slater (@ASlater247) June 16, 2016
UK is currently in pursuit of Mohamed Bamba, Hamidou Diallo, Quade Green, John Petty, Lonnie Walker, P.J. Washington, Kris Wilkes, and Trae Young.
Among those cut from the team were Javin Delaurier, David Nickelberry, Mitchell Robinson, D.J. Harvey, Jordan Tucker, Chaundee Brown, and Brian Bowen.
USA Basketball will eventually cut this list to 12 prospects before competing in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile from July 18-23.
By Drew Franklin on ©June 16th, 2016 @ 10:30am
Jay Bilas called in basketball recruiting relief in the form of ESPN’s Paul Biancardi yesterday during Bilas’ day filling in on the show. Biancardi had lots to say about Calipari’s latest crop of talent, including a complete breakdown of three of the six signees:
“The one I believe that is going to help and impact the most is De’Aaron Fox, the point guard. With the loss of Tyler Ulis, Fox is going to be handed the basketball and I think he is going to deliver in a big time way because he is 6’3; he has all the athleticism you would need, laterally and vertically; and Jay, he has tremendous straight-line speed. He’s not John Wall-type speed, but he’s close. And I haven’t seen that speed on the open floor since Wall at Kentucky.”
“I think he brings the most impact and the ball is going to be in his hands from Day 1.”
“He’s clearly the best perimeter defender coming into college next year.”
“Malik Monk will pick up a lot of the scoring that was left behind by Murray. Monk has outstanding three-point range and he’s not afraid to launch it up there. He also has a beautiful pull-up game. He scores buckets — that’s what he does. I wouldn’t be surprised if Malik Monk was the leading scorer next year at Kentucky.”
“His DNA is to put the ball in the basket at all times.”
“A guy that I really love is Bam Adebayo. He’s 6-9, 240 — he’s really a power forward that is going to play center. When you watch this guy at the end of the night, Jay, you will see a double-double in the box score with points and rebounds. You don’t even have to run a play for the guy and he can get 10 points in a game from offensive rebounds. He runs the floor in transition. He’ll take a little jumpshot every now and again. Great footwork inside. Not noted as a guy who can score, but we see him putting the ball in the basket at about eight or 10 points per game. But without question, there will be nights that Bam Adebayo has more rebounds than points.”
As for the class as a whole, Biancardi considers it to be one of the top three in Calipari’s tenure based on what they’ve done in high school.
“There’s not a position or a skill that’s not covered in this class,” he said. “This class has everything you could possibly want in a class.”
You can hear all of Biancardi’s comments in the first hour of yesterday’s podcast.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 15th, 2016 @ 6:00pm
As Drew told you earlier, the contact period for the 2018 recruiting class began at midnight, so John Calipari got straight to work dialing up his top prospects. Who got the call from Cal today? According to USA Today’s Jason Jones, Kentucky reached out to 2018 point guard Coby White.
White, a Wilson, North Carolina native, currently has offers from Wake Forest, Clemson, and others, but big schools are taking notice, including North Carolina and Duke, both of which also reached out today. At 6’3″, 195 lbs., White was recently ranked the fourth best point guard and the 21st overall player in the 2018 class by ESPN.
Let’s watch him work:
By Drew Franklin on ©June 15th, 2016 @ 12:00pm
As of midnight this morning, the contact period for college basketball coaches to reach out to prospects in the 2018 class began. The rising juniors in high school basketball have likely picked up several new iPhone alerts since the clock struck 12, and since he is the game’s best recruiter, John Calipari’s phone was likely active as well.
We here at KSR have no idea who Coach Cal dialed up once the contact period opened, but here are five targets we predict he has reached out to over the last 12 hours:
Power Forward | 6-10 | 200 lbs.
Phoenix, AZ | Sierra Canyon
★★★★★ (2018 Class)
|ESPN||No. 1 | 1 PF||Top247||No. 1 | 1 PF|
|Rivals||No. 1 | 1 PF||Scout||No. 1 | 1 PF|
Marvin Bagley is the No. 1 prospect in the 2018 recruiting class and the first to receive a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky, over one year ago. Bagley recently trimmed his list to ten schools and included the Wildcats in the bunch.
Shooting Guard | 6-3 | 160 lbs.
New Albany, IN | New Albany Senior
★★★★★ (2018 Class)
|ESPN||No. 2 | 1 SG||Top247||No. 2 | 1 SG|
|Rivals||No. 14 | 2 SG||Scout||No. 3 | 1 SG|
Romeo Langford is the local star that John Calipari needs to reel in. Three of the four major outlets consider him to be the best shooting guard in the class, and he lists Kentucky among his scholarship offers. Louisville is recruiting him the hardest, he says, and he recently told 247Sports he would like to hear more from the Cats.
Small Forward | 6-8 | 195 lbs.
Norristown, PA | Westtown School
★★★★★ (2018 Class)
|ESPN||No. 5 | 1 SF||Top247||No. 5 | 1 SF|
|Rivals||No. 7 | 1 SF||Scout||No. 6 | 2 SF|
Another one of the four juniors with a confirmed offer from UK, Cameron Reddish is a unanimous five-star player and the top small forward in the class. A teammate of class of 2017 star and UK target Mohammed Bamba, Reddish picked up his offer from Calipari in late April of this year.
Power Forward | 6-9 | 204 lbs.
Los Angeles, CA | Windward School
★★★★★ (2018 Class)
|ESPN||No. 51 | 14 PF||Top247||No. 15 | 5 PF|
|Rivals||No. 70 | —||Scout||No. 20 | 9 PF|
One of the hottest names around UK basketball recruiting right now is Shareef O’Neal, simply because of his recent comments that his father, Shaquille O’Neal, is pushing him to consider Kentucky. Calipari would be crazy to not give him a look, considering it would bring Shaq (and Kobe Bryant) close to the program.
Point Guard | 6-4 | 185 lbs.
Baton Rouge, LA | Scotlandville Magnet
★★★★★ (2018 Class)
|ESPN||No. 7 | 1 PG||Top247||No. 11 | 3 PG|
|Rivals||No. 3 | 1 PG||Scout||No. 16 | 3 PG|
Though he doesn’t have an offer, Javonte Smart is on Kentucky’s radar as the potential point guard of the future. Smart is ranked as the top PG in the class by ESPN and Rivals, and he names UK as a school that has shown heavy interest.
Once again John Calipari has assembled a monster roster to take on all comers in the 2016-2017 season. However when that season comes to an end Kentucky could face a unique situation as the roster turns over almost completely. Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Wenyen Gabriel and Bam Adebayo will almost certainly be bound for the NBA draft. Derek Willis, Mychal Mulder, EJ Floreal and Dominique Hawkins will all be graduating. That leaves only Sacha Killeya-Jones, Isaac Humphries, and Tai Wynyard as potential returners and even they aren’t guaranteed to come back.
Coach Cal is going to need to bring in a monster class, just as he did in 2014, and may need to turn to some in state studs to fill it out. As Matt Jones has said several times on the radio show players around the state need to use this summer to “get good” and they could find themselves living out the dream in the blue and white. Which players have a chance based off last season? Here are five guys who could be the next Hawkins/Willis:
As a junior Hollingsworth racked up the accolades with an output of 21 points and 5.4 rebounds per game en route to a state championship and MVP honors at the Sweet 16. He’s a versatile point guard that could develop into a four-year backup player much like Jarrod Polson and Dominique Hawkins. When you look at the list of in-state guys that could pick up a Kentucky offer at the season’s end then Hollingsworth tops the list.
Christian County didn’t lose a game to a school from Kentucky during last year’s regular season in-part to the big time play of rising junior Jaylen Sebree. Sebree is a 6’6 small forward drawing some interest from programs like Xavier, Indiana, and VCU. He’s already taken an unofficial visit to Kentucky. With his size and athleticism, he’s a player that could climb the national rankings with a big showing this summer.
David Sloan is currently the top rated player in the state of Kentucky according to 247sports and is built much like our own Dominique Hawkins. I’d rank him more likely to pick up the Kentucky offer if it weren’t so likely that he ends up at Louisville. He grew up in Louisville, the Cards offered him already last year, and he just transferred to Ballard. However, that didn’t stop Kentucky from stealing Derek Willis.
The only player on this list to have not appeared in the state tournament, it’s Franklin-Simpson’s Tavin Lovan. Lovan is a 6’4 shooting guard with offers from WKU and EKU along with interest from the Kevin Stallings era Vanderbilt. He put up monster numbers last season with 26.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Plus we could hashtag #GetSomeLovan everytime he drills a three.
How do you hit the trifecta? Throw in the favorites, some contenders, and then pick a long shot. For me that long shot is Dylan James. James is a 6’4 small forward and one of the best scorers in the state. As a junior at Mercer County, James shot over 40% from beyond the arc and gave eventual champ Dunbar (and Taveion Hollingsworth) all they wanted in the state tournament. Now he’s transferring back to the mountains at Sheldon Clarkh with a shot to become a member of the 3000 point club. He’s not the most athletic player but could be a Patrick Sparks for a new generation.
Who do you hope to see in the blue and white one day?
By Kelsey Mattingly on ©June 12th, 2016 @ 9:30pm
2017 Kentucky basketball recruit Nick Richards is continuing to keep his options open, according to an article posted by Chris Cirillo on SNY.
The 6’11” big man from The Patrick School in New Jersey is ranked No. 8 on the ESPN Top 100 recruits for the 2017 Class. Offers coming in include Kentucky, Syracuse, UConn, Kansas, Villanova and Oklahoma. Coach Calipari has visited Richards twice this year at his school where other UK greats like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Dakari Johnson were plucked.
A native of Jamaica, Richards said he is treating every school the same. “Each school has the opportunity to get me right now,” he said.
His stat sheet is nothing short of impressive, posting 12 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, two assist and two steals in Jamaica’s 82-52 win over the Chinese 18U National Team at Baruch College yesterday.
While Richards has made it clear his options are open for the moment, we can keep our faith in Swaggy Cal to work his magic during his unofficial visit over the summer and later during the school year on an official visit.
With what is likely to be a roster overhaul on the horizon, the 2017 recruiting class is crucial to Kentucky’s success over the next several years. With that in mind, KSR will introduce you to John Calipari’s top targets in the 2017 class over the course of the summer. Here’s who we’ve profiled so far:
Next up: Kentucky’s primary target at point guard in the 2017 class, Trae Young.
Point Guard | 6-1 | 170 lbs.
Norman, OK | Norman North
|ESPN||No. 21 | 2 PG||Top247||No. 19 | 2 PG|
|Rivals||No. 13||Scout||No. 26 | 5 PG|
The other contenders
Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, Stanford, Texas, Texas Tech, Washington, Virginia, and Washington.
Most believe it’s down to Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, and Oklahoma.
Young first popped up on our radar back in April 2015, when Calipari watched him, his EYBL teammate Michael Porter, and future Cat Malik Monk play in a tournament in Virginia. At the time, Young was a four-star point guard known primarily as a shooter, but over time, his game has become more well-rounded, causing his stock to rise. Now considered a five-star Top 25 player, Young has his pick of the elite programs in the country.
A Norman, Oklahoma native, Young got an offer from Kentucky in August 2015. He’s been Calipari’s top priority at the point guard position in the 2017 class, and, in turn, Kentucky is considered his favorite. In the past month, two potential roadblocks have come in the way of what was considered an easy recruitment:
- Micheal Porter’s father being hired by Washington: Young and Porter play alongside each other on Mokan Elite (Willie Cauley-Stein’s old EYBL team) and have long discussed being a package deal at the next level. Kentucky’s chances of landing the duo took a big hit when Porter’s father was hired by Lorenzo Romar at Washington. Romar is a close friend — Michael’s godfather, in fact — and the Huskies are the far and away favorite to land the superb small forward. A few weeks ago, Porter cut his list to Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington, and Young says as of now, the package deal is still on; however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this deal, like so many package deals, go the way of the dodo.
- Staying in Norman for his senior year: Yesterday, Young announced he will stay in his hometown for his senior year of high school. Calipari and other high profile coaches urged Young to go to prep school for a year at Montverde Academy in Florida or Findlay Prep in Nevada, but Young chose to stay at his current high school, Norman North. That’s bad news for Kentucky in one aspect: Norman is also home to the University of Oklahoma, which is also vying for Young’s services. Kentucky may still be the leader, but Lon Kruger will have Young in his backyard for another year, and, coming off a successful season, will certainly use that to his advantage.
As you’ll read later on, I think Kentucky’s still in a good position.
- 04/12/2015: Calipari watches Young in EYBL event in Virginia
- 08/09/2015: Kentucky offers Young
- 09/30/2015: Calipari visits Young
- 10/16/2015: Young visits Kentucky for Big Blue Madness
- 03/24/2016: Calipari visits Young
- 04/16/2016: Calipari visits Young
- 04/23/2016: Calipari watches Young at the Indianapolis EYBL event
- Excellent shooter, especially from 3-point range
- High basketball IQ
- Good ball handler
- Ability to break down defenses
- Quick release
- Does not have elite speed
- Needs to increase strength
- Needs to improve on-the-ball defense
Here’s how Blue Star Media’s Christopher Lawlor broke down Young’s performance at last week’s Pangos All-American Camp, which include DeAndre Ayton, Hamidou Diallo, top-rated PG Trevon Duval, PJ Washington, Gary Trent, and other elite 2017 players:
Trae Young, 6-2, Norman, Okla.: He was one of the most talked about players last weekend and lived up to the pre-camp chatter. He’s crafty with the ball and will drive and kick at will. He has a quick, smooth release especially with a defender draping him. He’s not big enough to be a wing guard but can stretch the defense from 3-point range. Top-20 player who will play in the McDonald’s All American Game.
Sounds good to me.
Social Media Profile
Young’s Twitter (@TheTraeYoung) and Instagram (TraeYoung) are like those of most hoopers his age — lots of basketball pictures, highlights, and commentary. Quick research shows his favorite emoji is 💯:
"I got a pure soul, I don't do the hate" 💯
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) May 21, 2016
This Series may go to 7💯
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) June 3, 2016
"Woman Lie, Men Lie, Numbers don't Lie" 💯
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) June 1, 2016
Just gotta stay the course, and stay focused💯
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) June 1, 2016
What is not 💯? The fact that ESPN moved Trae down a spot to #21 overall in their latest 2017 rankings. Trae retweeted about twenty tweets complaining about the ranking, but it’s okay, because he’s got:
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) June 8, 2016
His Instagram is mostly pics of him with his girlfriend, famous NBA players at camps, etc., but I did spot this gem of him and Julius Randle from a few years back:
A photo posted by Trae_Young (@traeyoung) on
And to make you feel really old, here’s what Trae looked like almost three and a half years ago in his first Instagram post:
A photo posted by Trae_Young (@traeyoung) on
Want to feel even older? Here’s another Instagram post from around that time:
A photo posted by Trae_Young (@traeyoung) on
Likelihood to commit: Likely
Despite the package deal with Michael Porter and his plans to stay in Lon Kruger’s backyard for his senior year, I remain confident Kentucky will land Young. Calipari made it clear very early on that Young is his priority at point guard in the 2017 class, and although he recently handed out an offer to Tremont Waters, I think that’s still the case. Here’s why, in Young’s own words.
“They’ve made me a priority since day one,” Young told ZagsBlog at the EYBL event in Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend. “They’ve come down to my school twice already this year. I’m definitely going to take an official visit there. As for playing for Coach Cal, he’s had a lot of very good point guards, [Eric] Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, the list goes on and on. He says he sees me coming in and being able to start right away, and be the lead guard from Day 1. I haven’t looked at all of the official visits I’m going to take, but Kentucky will definitely be one.”
…On Saturday, he told 247 Sports’ Jerry Meyer more of the same at the Pangos Top 100 Camp.
“Kentucky has definitely made me a priority, Coach Cal and them,” Young said. “Coach (Lon) Kruger at OU, Washington, Kansas, Texas – those schools are the ones that stand out.”
Young also told Meyer that going to a school “where I can be put in the best position to make it to the highest level” is paramount in his decision, along with a good relationship with the coaching staff.
Trae, I think I know just the place.
By Drew Franklin on ©June 09th, 2016 @ 12:00pm
An interesting stat from Eric Bossi at Rivals.com regarding Cal’s dominance over the one-and-done era. Bossi dug through history and determined Calipari is responsible for 22.2 percent of drafted freshmen since the NBA introduced the new age requirement in 2005. It’s not a surprise that Cal is the King of One-and-Done, but that’s a pretty amazing stat to back it up.
From Bossi’s story on one-and-dones:
MOST ONE-AND-DONE PLAYERS PRODUCED: Kentucky
Under John Calipari, Kentucky has produced an astounding 16 one-and-done players. If you include Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose, who played for Calipari while he was still at Memphis, he has coached 22.2 percent of the players to be drafted as one-and-dones.
Along with Rose, who was a league MVP, Calipari coached arguably the three best young big men in the game in Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Karl-Anthony Towns plus All-Star point guard John Wall, a former Rivals.com No. 1 overall player.
Since the 2006 high school class, Duke has produced six and Kansas five one-and-done players. [Rivals.com]
Bossi named Kevin Durant the best of the one-and-done players, and listed Marquis Teague and Daniel Orton as players that didn’t meet expectations.
Sean Scherer of 247Sports recently chatted with Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaquille O’Neal, about his recruitment, and the four-star power forward said his dad is pushing him toward becoming a Wildcat.
“My dad actually wants me to lean towards Kentucky,” O’Neal told Sean Scherer. “He has a good friendship with the coach there. I know a lot about that school because a lot of kids dream about going there. I like their style of play.”
The younger O’Neal is currently ranked No. 25 and as the No. 10 power forward in the Top247 for the 2018 class. He’s probably not a player Calipari and Kentucky would usually pursue, but when your dad is Shaq, you’re on everyone’s radar.
How cool would it be if he becomes a Cat?