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Basketball Recruiting News

Trae Young’s father calls out local media in Oklahoma, says son can’t play at OU

Trae Young (left) and Quade Green (right) compete against each other at Nike Peach Jam | HoopSeen.com

Trae Young at Nike Peach Jam | HoopSeen.com

Though UK’s 2017 Recruiting Class is already loaded with five 5-star guys, they’re looking to close it out with a few more talented prospects left on the board.

One of the final remaining elite recruits on UK’s radar? 5-star guard Trae Young out of Oklahoma.

Most believe the final list for Young is Kansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, but a recent tweet seems to indicate otherwise.

According to Young’s father, Oklahoma is likely not an option for his son…

The tweet has since been deleted.

The article in question criticized Young’s high school team, saying they weren’t capable of competing for the state title if things continue the way they are now. Here are just a few quotes from the story:

So, it’s unclear if the Timberwolves are going back to the state tourney. However, it’s abundantly clear they won’t sniff it if they make their home anywhere near the same time zone and zip code they found themselves in against the Pioneers late Friday night.

A state tourney team? It seems like it should be. It still has state’s most dangerous player and a supporting cast that’s plenty strong enough to get there. But not like this. Never again like this. There’s an old basketball cliche: play hard, play smart, play together. Maybe the T-Wolves could start there.

You can read the full story here.

Most recruiting experts believe Kansas is the favorite for Young right now, especially with Quade Green signing on the dotted line with Kentucky. This news likely leaves just the Wildcats and the Jayhawks for his services.

The question has to be asked… What in the world would Ray Young think of Jerry Tipton if Trae went to Kentucky?


Mohamed Bamba visits American Pharoah on official visit to UK

Mohamed Bamba visits American Pharoah on official visit to UK

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On official visits at most schools, most recruits spend time looking at facilities, mingling with the coaching staff and possible future teammates, and watching practice. They get pampered and told how valuable they’d be to each team, why they’d be the “perfect fit,” etc.

But Kentucky is not like “most schools.”

What does 5-star center Mohamed Bamba do on his official visit to Kentucky?

He visits the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, of course.

Bamba was in attendance against Kentucky’s big victory last night against South Carolina, where he sat right behind the UK bench to take it all in.

247 Sports’ Chris Fisher caught a few snapshots of Bamba’s Instagram feed throughout his time on campus.

Come on down, big fella.


Mohamed Bamba currently on campus for official visit

mo-bamba

American Airlines Flight 5520 delivered Mohamed Bamba to Lexington last night around 11:43 pm to begin his official visit to the University of Kentucky. Yes, it is weird that I know that — but don’t act like you’re not excited to have the five-star big man on campus, too.

Back to what I was saying, Bamba is taking his official visit to Kentucky this weekend with a lot of outside noise–namely his friends Quade Green and Hamidou Diallo–steering him toward a UK commitment. Just last week, 247 Sports’ Jerry Meyer switched his prediction for Bamba from Duke to Kentucky due to those relationships, and Kentucky pursuing him with “more fervor.”

Bamba’s current trip to Lexington is his second this basketball season; he took an unofficial visit to Big Blue Madness back in October.

It sure would be nice to see him go ahead and pull the trigger on a commitment and blow off that visit to Duke next month.

Get in here, Mo.

Mohamed Bamba
Power Forward/Center| 6-11 | 210 lbs.
New York, NY | Westtown
AAU: PSA Cardinals
★★★★★
ESPN No. 4 | 2 C Top247 No. 3 | 2 PF
Rivals No. 4 Scout No. 2 | 2 C

Coach Cal’s Relationship with the No. 1 Player in 2018

Ozark Sports Zone

Ozark Sports Zone

The nation’s No. 1 player in the Class of 2018 put on a show in front of a nationally-televised audience yesterday at the Hoophall Classic.  Against the undefeated No. 1 team in America, La Lumiere, Marvin Bagley had 21 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks, handing La Lumiere their first defeat of the season.

This shot never stood a chance.

This break away dunk is pretty impressive…

…but I prefer the contested And 1.

After the game, Bagley spoke to Adam Zagoria about the current state of his recruitment.  Bagley is focusing primarily on six schools: Duke, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State and Kentucky.

Tony Barbee and John Calipari were in the stands for yesterday’s game.  He isn’t too worried about his recruitment right now, but Cal remains in touch.

“Coach Cal texts me every now and then and a lot of other coaches do, too, so it’s a lot of fun process. But I’m still working hard and I’m just doing whatever I can to get this team wins and we got one tonight.”

[ZagsBlog]


Quade Green: “I tell Mo [Bamba] every day, BBN”

bamba-quade

Nick Richards is currently playing in the Hoophall Classic on ESPNU, but last night, Quade Green was named MVP of the tournament following his 30-point, 10-assist performance. Jeff Goodman interviewed Green during a timeout, and the future UK point guard said he’s doing everything he can to bring his friend and EYBL teammate Mohamed Bamba with him to Lexington.

I tell Mo every day, BBN, BBN. I don’t say nothing to him but BBN. I laugh at him. He just laughs at everything, that’s all our conversations have been.”

(If that’s true, those conversations sound just thrilling.)

Green said basically the same thing in an interview with Adam Zagoria yesterday, recalling a time recently when he walked into Bamba’s practice, said BBN, smirked, then walked out. On some level, it must be working because Bamba included Kentucky in his final four (UK, Duke, Michigan, Texas) and will take his official visit to Lexington this weekend.

By the way, Calipari’s also at the Hoophall Classic to check in on Richards and Green:

@Nate_Rubinstein

@Nate_Rubinstein

No rest for the weary.


Nick Richards is about to play on ESPNU

Nick Richards is about to play on ESPNU

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Looking for something to do this morning? Turn on ESPNU in about 30 minutes, because future Cat Nick Richards is about to play in the Hoophall Classic. Richards’ St. Patrick’s will take on Duke signee Wendell Carter’s Pace Academy at 11 a.m., a showdown of two of the premiere big men in the 2017 class. At 3 p.m., you can watch the best player in the 2019 class, RJ Barrett, and at 5 p.m., the top player in the 2018 class, Marvin Bagley. John Calipari watched both Bagley and Barrett play on Thursday night in Springfield Missouri.

If you really want to spend today scouting, here’s the full Hoophall Classic schedule:

  • 11:00 a.m. — The Patrick School (NJ, No. 12 2017 Nick Richards) vs. Pace Academy (GA, No. 3 2017 Wendell Carter)
  • 1:00 p.m. — Oak Hill Academy (VA, No. 19 2017 Billy Preston) vs. Nathan Hale (WA, No. 2 2017 Michael Porter Jr.)
  • 3:00 p.m. — Montverde Academy (FL, No. 1 2019 R.J. Barrett) vs. Bishop Montgomery (CA, No. 51 2017 Ethan Thompson)
  • 5:00 p.m. — La Lumiere (IN, No. 13 2017 Brian Bowen) vs. Sierra Canyon (CA, No. 1 2018 Marvin Bagley)
  • 7:00 p.m. — Central vs. Hillhouse (CT)

Yesterday, Richards was one of four future Kentucky players named to the McDonald’s All-American Game. His highlights will show you why:

 


MLK Day’s Top 10: UK Cheerleading wins again, gearing up for Mississippi State, and PACKERS WIN!

MLK Day’s Top 10: UK Cheerleading wins again, gearing up for Mississippi State, and PACKERS WIN!

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Good morning, friends, and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Whether you’re at work/school or at home, we’ll get you through the day, which is chock full of UK sports news. Shoutout to the UK Cheerleading squad, who brought home their 22nd national championship yesterday, an unprecedented feat. Here’s part of their routine:

The UK Dance Squad also turned in an impressive performance, finishing second in the Hip Hop competition and fourth in the Pom competition. Well done, ladies.

Now, on to the rest of today’s agenda…

1. We’ll look forward to Mississippi State

Starkville is the armpit of America, so thankfully, Matt didn’t require one of us to go, but we’ll do our best to prepare you for Kentucky’s game throughout the day. Here’s a glimpse at what Ben Howland’s squad has done so far this season:

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 7.23.51 AM

Given the horrid state of SEC Basketball, it’s hard to tell how impressive Mississippi State’s 3-1 league record really is, but regardless, the Cats can’t afford to look past tomorrow’s showdown at The Hump.

2. John Calipari will be on the SEC Teleconference

Cal will discuss tomorrow’s matchup and take a few questions on this morning’s SEC Teleconference, so check the site mid-morning for highlights.

3. Joel Justus will preview Mississippi State at 2:45 p.m.

Because Calipari’s doing the SEC call, assistant coach Joel Justus will preview Kentucky’s road trip at 2:45 p.m., along with a few players. We’ll have a live stream on the site and a recap shortly after.

4. Four future Cats were named to the McDonald’s All-American Game

If you missed the news last night, Quade Green, Nick Richards, P.J. Washington, and Jarred Vanderbilt were chosen for the McDonald’s All-American Game, which will be played March 29 at the United Center in Chicago. In a telling stat, 29 Kentucky players have been chosen for the all-star game in the Calipari Era, the most by far of any program. In fact, this screenshot tells you all you need to know:

Coincidentally, all four of Kentucky’s commits will play on the same team as Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox, which is good because, you know, peer pressure. Speaking of…

5. Bamba will take an official visit to UK this weekend

Mohamed Bamba is the biggest remaining target in the 2017 class and this weekend, he’ll take his official visit to Lexington. The 7-footer already visited for Big Blue Madness and has taken official visits to Michigan and Texas. Quade Green and Hamidou Diallo have been relentless in their pursuit of Bamba, so hopefully having him on campus this weekend can further Kentucky’s case. His 247 Sports Crystal Ball is a 50/50 split between Duke and Kentucky, but on Thursday, Jerry Meyer flipped his pick from the Blue Devils to the Cats, which is a very good sign.

6. Calipari visited Immanuel Quickley yesterday

Because the man is incapable of sitting still, Calipari was on the recruiting trail yesterday, visiting 2018 star Immanuel Quickley. Quickley is currently the only point guard in the 2018 class with a scholarship offer from Kentucky, and visited UK for Big Blue Madness back in October. He’s also got offers from Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, and Virginia.

7. Drake wore a Zion Williamson jersey over the weekend

Zion Williamson is considered one of the best players in the 2018 class and still doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky, but he does have the endorsement of one of UK’s most famous fans, Drake. Drake was pictured wearing Williamson’s jersey this weekend:

@mikewillmadeit @troubledte6

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Don’t put your middle fingers up like that, kids. It’s not nice.

8. So, landing Lynn Bowden was huge

In case you missed it between all the basketball, Mark Stoops landed a huge recruit on Saturday in four-star athlete Lynn Bowden. Bowden chose the Cats over Penn State and West Virginia, and has been described as the most electric playmaker since Randall Cobb. Keeping Bowden on board will be paramount over the next couple of weeks, and cross your fingers that Ohio State doesn’t come calling.

Am officially 100% committed to the University of Kentucky #BBN stand up

A photo posted by HUNCHO 😎 (@h.huncho_) on

9. How about those Green Bay Packers?

Speaking of Randall Cobb, how about last night’s Packers/Cowboys game?? Green Bay advanced to the NFC Championship in thrilling fashion thanks to a last second 51-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. It was awesome:

Bud Dupree and the Steelers advanced to the AFC Championship game as well. The Packers take on the Falcons in Atlanta next Sunday. Anyone want to swing through Nashville and pick me up on the way to the game?

10. Today’s the last day to #NBAVOTE

Do you want your favorite former Cats to be NBA All Stars? Then you best get to voting because the polls close today. Here’s how:

  • Go to NBA.com/vote and select your favorite players (you can vote once per day)
  • Vote through the NBA app (once per day)
  • Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. You can vote for up to ten players per day using this method.
  • Do the same thing on Facebook
  • You can even just Google search “NBA Vote All-Star” and it will pull up a special ballot.

Radio in an hour…


2017 McDonald’s All-American rosters announced

2017 McDonald’s All-American rosters announced

all-american-games-logo

The 2017 McDonald’s All-American selection show just aired on ESPNU, and a total of 4 future Cats were included. Quade Green, Nick Richards, PJ Washington, and Jarred Vanderbilt were all selected. All four future Cats will play for the East squad. Not to mention the Cats’ chance to add Mo Bamba who is also on the East team. Take a look at their lineup below.

FullSizeRender

And here’s a look at the West roster.

FullSizeRender

This was before the announcement tonight, so Kentucky’s number is actually 20 now. Even so, WOW. That is an incredible statistic. What Coach Cal has done for UK recruiting in his time in Lexington is really unbelievable.

Schools with more than one participant include Kentucky with 4, Duke with 2, and UCLA with 2.

On the current roster, the Cats have five former McDonald’s All-Americans in Isaiah Briscoe, Bam Adebayo, Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, and Sacha Killeya-Jones. Not going to say that all of the guys for UK will be as good as these guys next year, but I’m not not saying it. This season hasn’t even finished yet and I’m already getting pumped for next year. #KentuckyBasketballProblems

Here’s the announcement from the Kentucky Men’s Basketball Instagram account. You’ll notice no mention of Jarred Vanderbilt because he hasn’t sent in signed papers to UK yet. But, no worries there, UK has four future guys in the game.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Photo: ZagsBlog

Future Cat Quade Green wins MVP at Hoophall Classic

Photo: ZagsBlog

Photo: ZagsBlog

Many top level prospects in the class of 2017 took part in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Hoophall Classic, including Kentucky commit Quade Green. Green had a huge game for Neumann Goretti, going for 30 points and 10 assists in a 72-69 victory over Greensboro Day School in North Carolina. The Hoophall Classic gives out an MVP award for every game, and Green took home the award following his performance, which included this nifty little crossover.

And here’s one of his 10 assists on the oop. I’m going to go ahead and say that pass will work real nicely to Mo Bamba next year. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of Mo Bamba, there was no shortage of quotes from Green on helping to recruit Bamba to Lexington. Bamba has now officially cut his list down to four (UK, Duke, Michigan, and Texas). According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog, Green is always making sure Kentucky is on the mind of Mo Bamba.

I walked right into their practice and said ‘BBN.’ I just gave him a smirk and just left

Bamba told Zagoria that Green has been relentless in his recruiting, even “following him around campus”. And can you blame Green? Take every chance you can to get another solid player on the team. Green had this to say about Bamba’s abilities.

He brings the length for the big men and the pick-and-rolls he got length so the guard can bounce out. I can get back and guard my man and he’s a shot-deflector and he changes shots.

Along with one other guy, Mo Bamba has been the prospect that I’ve wanted the Cats to secure since this class started getting national attention. I think he has huge upside, and who would turn down a consensus top-5 player in the class?

As for the guys who are already currently committed to John Calipari, Green alluded that they all keep in touch often and are using Hamidou Diallo to gauge how Lexington will be when they all arrive.

Oh, everybody using Hami as a spy. Me, Jarred [Vanderbilt], Nick [Richards], P.J. [Washington], we all in group chats and we all asking Hami, ‘What’s this, what’s that?

Green went on to say that Diallo has said he loves UK so far, which is a great sign for people who want him to skip out on the draft this summer.

Either way, gotta love the feeling that the future class is already seeming to gel as a cohesive group. And as for you, Mo Bamba, come on down.

One other thing to keep an eye out for is the McDonald’s All-American rosters being announced later tonight. We’ll have them up on KSR whenever they become available.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Mohamed Bamba Will Visit Kentucky Next Weekend

adidas

adidas

The top-ranked player left on John Calipari’s big board, third-ranked power forward Mohamed Bamba, will visit Kentucky next weekend.

Bamba told reporters following tonight’s game on ESPN that he’s down to Duke, Kentucky, Michigan & Texas.  Babe beat DeAndre Ayton’s Hillcrest Prep, finishing with 9 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks, and this And 1.

This dunk wasn’t too bad either.

I don’t know why this guy thought he could get a shot off.

After the game, Bamba admitted Hamidou Diallo and Quade Green have been “relentless,” trying to recruit him to Kentucky.  Their efforts will be rewarded next weekend, but Bamba will not announce his decision until late March or early April.


This block by Zion Williamson is really incredible

This block by Zion Williamson is really incredible

zion-block

Zion Williamson is not a human being. I refuse to believe he walks this Earth like the rest of us. He defies everything I know about physics and gravity and all that other scientific stuff I slept through in middle school. He is an absolute freak.

If you haven’t heard of him by now, Williamson is the most fascinating player in the Class of 2018, and in my opinion, the most fascinating, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring YouTube basketball star ever. Punch his name in YouTube and then say goodbye to the next hour of your life because you can’t turn away from his highlights.

I came across his newest highlight, an unreal block on a fastbreak, today on Twitter and I can’t wrap my head around it. Watch how high he gets up and then explain to me how someone can do that:

That goal can’t be regulation size.


VIDEO: Watch Quade Green and PJ Washington show out in front of Calipari

VIDEO: Watch Quade Green and PJ Washington show out in front of Calipari

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This week, John Calipari visited two of his 2017 signees, power forward PJ Washington and point guard Quade Green.  Last night, Calipari brought Ellen and his in-laws to see Washington play in the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Missouri. Washington — who warmed up in a UK shirt — finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and seven assists. Check out his highlights here:

On Wednesday, Calipari watched Quade Green put up 23 points and 13 assists on 9-15 shooting in Neumann-Goretti’s win over Roman Catholic in Philly:

The future is bright.


Friday’s Top 10: Calipari & Ellen go recruiting, latest on Lynn Bowden & Alex Poythress scores 35

Friday’s Top 10: Calipari & Ellen go recruiting, latest on Lynn Bowden & Alex Poythress scores 35

image1

Greetings, everyone, and happy Friday the 13th. If you believe in such things, I advise avoiding black cats, ladders, and opening umbrellas inside. According to the ever reliable internet, 17 million people suffer from “friggatriskaidekaphobics,” aka fear of Friday the 13th, which is an actual thing, I swear. If you’re one of them, we’re here for you. Just check out how happy our fans of the day look. They’re reppin’ the Cats atop a glacier in the New Zealand Southern Alps. Not bad, guys. Hope you enjoyed the helicopter tour.

Here’s what’s on today’s agenda…

1. John Calipari will preview Auburn

Fresh off the recruiting trail (more on that in a minute), John Calipari will meet with reporters at the Joe Craft Center this afternoon to preview tomorrow’s game vs. Auburn. Check the site around 2 p.m. for a live stream of his and select players’ comments, and shortly after for a full recap.

2. Yesterday, Calipari went recruiting

Cal went to the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Missouri to check in on UK signee PJ Washington and the top players in both the 2018 and 2019 classes, forward Marvin Bagley and wing RJ Barrett. The visit wrapped up a busy week of recruiting for Cal, who checked in on future UK point guard Quade Green on Wednesday, along with 2017 target Mohamed Bamba and 2018 star Cameron Reddish. That visit with Bamba must have gone well, because recruiting guru flipped his pick for Bamba from Duke to Kentucky, noting that Bamba’s friendship with Quade Green and the rest of UK’s 2017 class has put the Cats in a very good position.

3. Ellen went recruiting, too!

@OzardsOzone

@OzardsOzone

Can we talk about how much fun Ellen’s having this season? Not only is she in the stands to see Brad play every game, she’s even going on recruiting trips, which was unheard of in years past. Calipari joked on his podcast (for which Ellen helps him read ads) that before this year, Ellen was “Mrs. No” and now, she’s “Mrs. Yes.” The Caliparis even brought Ellen’s parents (pictured with them above) with them on this trip to Missouri.

You go, Ellen. Cute boots, too.

4. A quick glance at what Auburn’s been up to this season:

Screen Shot 2017-01-12 at 5.05.06 PM

Auburn started its SEC slate with a three-game losing streak before getting back on track with a five-point win over Missouri, although anyone who’s seen Missouri play this year will tell you that’s not much.

5. How much will UK be favored by?

Despite Bruce Pearl’s best efforts, Auburn is not good, so I’m going with a lot. As in 17+. After a hard-fought win over Vanderbilt in which the Cats never really looked in sync, I’ll think they’ll come out on fire and cover, maybe even double up if Malik Monk’s hot. Sorry, Bruce.

6. Lynn Bowden announces tomorrow

Screen Shot 2017-01-12 at 5.11.57 PM

Plenty of football recruiting to go along with basketball as we inch closer to Signing Day. Tomorrow, four-star athlete Lynn Bowden will announce his decision and all signs point to Kentucky. Yesterday, Freddie Maggard said Bowden is the most Randall Cobb-like prospect he’s evaluated since Randall Cobb, which is high, high praise. A source close to Bowden told me that Saturday should be huge for the Cats, barring a late offer from Ohio State. Stay away, Urban Meyer!

7. UK Hoops got a win last night

The ladies easily knocked off Alabama 71-54 in Tuscaloosa, thanks in part to a big night from Evelyn Akhator, who had a career-high 29 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. It was a much-needed win for Matthew Mitchell’s squad, who dropped out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since February 2010 on Monday. They’ll return to action on Sunday when they host Georgia at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff’s at 3 p.m. ET and the game will be televised live on the SEC Network.

8. Alex Poythress scored 35 last night

Poythress continues to do good things in the D-League, and last night, scored 35 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Check out his first-half highlights below:

9. Have you voted for your NBA Cats today?

If not, stop what you’re doing and get to it. Fan participation make up 50% of the vote this year. Here’s how:

  • Go to NBA.com/vote and select your favorite players (you can vote once per day)
  • Vote through the NBA app (once per day)
  • Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. You can vote for up to ten players per day using this method.
  • Do the same thing on Facebook
  • You can even just Google search “NBA Vote All-Star” and it will pull up a special ballot.

10. KSR is live at Comedy off Broadway this morning

Matt and Ryan will hang out with The League‘s Steve Rannazzisi this morning and it’s open to the public, so start your weekend early and get down there. You’ve got one hour.


@CourtsideFilms

Cal Brought Company on this Recruiting Trip

@OzarksOzone

@OzarksOzone

John Calipari typically brings company with him on recruiting trips, but it’s usually one of his employees. Tonight, he brought his wife and her parents.

A basketball gym isn’t the ideal place for a family reunion, but UK signee P.J. Washington is playing in Springfield, Missouri, Ellen’s home state.  Washington is making sure everyone in the gym knows who they are there to see.

@CourtsideFilms

@CourtsideFilms

Calipari is expected to stick around after to watch Marvin Bagley, the No. 1 junior in America, but with in-laws to appease, I doubt they will linger for long.


Recruiting expert changes his pick to UK for Mohamed Bamba

mo-bamba

Not even 24 hours after John Calipari and Tony Barbee made a special trip up to Philadelphia to see Mohamed Bamba, national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer of 247 Sports fame flipped his Crystal Ball pick for Bamba from Duke to the Kentucky Wildcats.

Meyer told his Facebook live viewers, “I just don’t get the feel that Duke is after him with the same fervor. I think his relationship with Quade Green — and he also knows Hamidou Diallo — but especially Quade Green… I think Kentucky has a very, very good chance with Bamba.”

Meyer did, however, predict Trae Young to Kansas (not a surprise these days) and Kevin Knox to Duke, saying Knox is “Duke’s to lose” on his live Q&A.

But how about that Bamba news?

GET IN HERE MOHAMED!