This weekend is the unofficial start to summer, which means we’ve only seen the beginning →
Basketball Recruiting News
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 22nd, 2015 @ 4:00pm
And now for a little bit of recruiting news. Some of you have asked why UK isn’t pursuing Thon Maker as much anymore, especially after missing on several elite recruits in the 2015 class. There are a few answers to that: 1) over the past few months, it’s become clear that Thon is much rawer of a prospect than originally thought; and 2) he won’t be able to enroll until December. Thon’s guardian has made it clear he wants to be one-and-done, but really, he’ll just be one half-and-done.
Therefore, Jeff Borzello’s tweet about Thon this afternoon doesn’t come as much of a shock:
Thon Maker's guardian tells ESPN that they're in most contact with Indiana and Arizona State. Won't enroll in college until at least Dec.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) May 22, 2015
Best of luck to Thon, but give me Skal any day:
We haven’t heard much from the Canadian shooting guard since he started his official visit to Kentucky, but this evening, he sent out his third tweet ever:
Just Enjoying The Process😊
— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) May 21, 2015
Something tells me this will be a rather long process.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 21st, 2015 @ 12:01pm
Owensboro’s Aric Holman, a four-star power forward, will sign with Mississippi State. The 6-foot-9 Holman originally announced plans to reclassify to 2016 and attend prep school for one year, but those plans changed and he will be a Bulldog next season.
A Kentucky Mr. Basketball finalist, Holman was on pace to be a star in the 2016 class with another year to polish his game. He is a late bloomer with a ton of potential and Ben Howland capitalized on it by jumping on him early.
UK observed Holman a couple times last summer (as did KSR) and again in April, but Calipari never really expressed interest. Let’s hope he doesn’t regret that once he gets a look at Holman in the SEC.
Good luck to the in-state kid in life and in trying to get the ball from Malik Newman.
More movement in the 2016 class: according to Jim Hicks of RCSSports.com, Kentucky has offered five-star power forward Jarrett Allen. The 6’9″ 210 lbs. Allen hails from Austin, Texas and is considered the 4th best power forward and 18th best player in the 2016 class by 247 Sports Composite.
He already has offers from Texas, Baylor, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, Oregon, and SMU. The Longhorns are the early favorite for his services. He’s the 16th player in the 2016 class to get an offer from John Calipari.
Let’s watch him work:
All eyes are now on Caleb Swanigan and Jamal Murray as Kentucky looks to complete its 2015 recruiting class. Murray, a five-star shooting guard, is currently on UK’s campus on an official visit, which is a very good sign for the Cats. Over the weekend, we heard Kentucky also gained some momentum with five-star center Caleb Swanigan; however, there’s a report this morning from Eric Vaughn, aka “The Geeker,” that Swanigan has committed to Purdue.
— Eric Vaughn (@evgeeker) May 19, 2015
Who is Eric Vaughn and should we trust him? Vaughn runs TheGeekReport.com and is a former assistant coach/color commentator. He’s got 1,774 followers, including Jeff Goodman and Reggie Rankin, so there’s that. He also likes turtlenecks that zip up. Swanigan has ties to Purdue, so the news wouldn’t be terribly surprising.
Evan Daniels just confirmed the news, so it looks like it’s legit:
Caleb Swanigan, a five-star center, has verbally committed to Purdue, a source confirms to Scout.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) May 19, 2015
So the Cats miss on Swanigan, but does this mean some good news is on the way from Jamal Murray?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 19th, 2015 @ 10:30am
Last night, a report came out from Canadian recruiting guru Elias Sbiet that Jamal Murray was on an official visit to Kentucky. No offense to Elias Sbiet, but I felt a lot better this morning when I saw Murray’s father confirm the news to CatsPause.com’s Chris Fisher and Adam Zagoria.
Zagoria also spoke with Murray’s coach at Orangeville Prep, Larry Blunt, who compared the five-star shooting to Jason Kidd:
“He’s a walking triple-double with size like Jason Kidd but a much better scorer,” Blunt told SNY.tv. “He’s super competitive with a will to win like Mike [Jordan] and Kobe [Bryant]. He does not like to lose anything. Video games, kick ball, checkers, chess, class. Jamal wants to win in everything. He’s hyper-competitive.”
Sounds good to me. Enjoy your stay, Jamal.
Big news late tonight as Canadian recruiting analyst (yes they have those) Elias Sbiet tweeted the following:
— Elias Sbiet (@Elias_NPH) May 19, 2015
If true, this would be a big visit for one of the best players in North America. Kentucky has been hoping to get Jamal Murray on campus and if that has happened, it will only increase UK’s chances of getting him to Lexington. We will hopefully find out more tomorrow morning about this alleged visit, but cross your fingers that our guy Elias Sbiet is on point with what could be big news.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 18th, 2015 @ 1:00pm
The rest of Kentucky’s 2015 class remains murky, but it’s never too soon to start looking forward to 2016. Five-star power forward Harry Giles is considered the second best player in the 2016 class and Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Wake Forest and Kansas are thought to be his favorites. The North Carolina native and his family hosted John Calipari on an in-home visit about a month ago.
In his latest blog entry for USATodayHSS.com, Giles describes the experience, which he called “definitely impressive”:
Coach Calipari talked about where he’d play me and how he’d develop me. He talked about all the players that he had enter the draft this year. It was definitely impressive. We talked about a lot of different stuff. Coach Cal is real cool; loved that visit!
Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, Giles had even more glowing remarks about his visit with Coach K and the Duke staff, calling it a “10 out of 10″ and “really cool” because “they’re the champs.” Ugh. Still stings.
Giles also says he’d like to decide before his senior season start and the package deal with Jayson Tatum and Junior Smith is “still alive,” which means it probably isn’t because it’s a package deal and those rarely come to fruition.
To read more, check out Giles’ entry at USATodayHSS.com. And then watch these highlights:
Caleb Swanigan has three days to pick a school and submit his signed Letter of Intent before Wednesday’s deadline for the spring signing period. That means we will likely know the five-star big man’s college basketball destination within the next few days.
The belief has been that Swanigan wants to team up with Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown at California, but Cuonzo Martin’s roster is completely full with no room for another player, not even one Martin would love to add. Unless he can miraculously figure out how to come up with a scholarship — which is still possible, I guess — Swanigan will likely end up at one of two schools: Purdue or Kentucky.
Purdue is the closer of the two schools, located about two hours west of Fort Wayne, Swanigan’s hometown. Purdue is also where Swanigan’s adoptive father played basketball and football, so the connection is strong.
Kentucky, on the other hand, is Kentucky and John Calipari needs Swanigan’s size in his frontcourt next season. If Swanigan decides to leave the state of Indiana and the family’s Boilermaker ties, UK will be the pick.
Either way, it sounds like the winner of Swanigan’s recruitment will be his second option, assuming Cal(ifornia) is completely out of the picture. And that’s perfectly fine by us if he wants to come to Lexington to be a Cat.
Bill Self stole another one from Kentucky today when LaGerald Vick committed to Kansas. Vick received an offer from Kentucky on Friday and was supposed to be in Lexington today and tomorrow. He was in Lawrence last week.
A former SMU commit, Vick will likely reclassify to the 2015 class and play for the Jayhawks next season.
I guess we’ll be seeing him at Phog Allen in January.
Meet Rawle Alkins, the latest player from the class of 2016 to hold an offer from Kentucky. Rawle is from Middle Village, NY and attends Christ The King Regional School. He also has offers from Texas and Villanova and the 6-5, 210-pound power guard is ranked No. 22 in the Top247. His frame and power could make for a great pairing with a junior Tyler Ulis. Watch him work:
Many believed it was a two-school fight between California and Purdue for Caleb Swanigan, but Kentucky is squarely in the mix, according to several reports.
Last night, CBSSports.com’s Jon Rothstein tweeted, “Kentucky has emerged as a legitimate landing spot for 2015 big man Caleb Swanigan.” Rothstein called UK a “real threat” to the other schools.
It sounds like Swanigan would prefer to join Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown at California, but Cuonzo Martin doesn’t have room on the roster for him as of now. While Swanigan waits for Martin to figure it out, UK is putting up a fight to land the five-star big man. Purdue is also contender for its proximity to Swanigan’s hometown in Indiana.
While the rumors of his high demands at Michigan State paint Swanigan as prima donna, he would make an excellent addition to next year’s roster at a position that needs his size.
Hell, I’ll cook for him and he can stay in my guest bedroom.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 14th, 2015 @ 2:00pm
According to Lindsay Brauner, whose Twitter bio says she is in Greece, Kentucky is still making a push for five-star big man Caleb Swanigan. Brauner writes, “For those wondering re Kentucky/Swanigan: source says Calipari and staff heavily making efforts to get him but Swanigan more interested elsewhere.”
Her source tells her, “Every kid is interested in Kentucky but Caleb is totally intrigued with playing with Rabb and Brown.”
Brauner works for Cal’s (California’s, not Calipari’s) Rivals.com site so I suppose we can trust her. If her scoop is accurate, UK wants Swanigan but Swanigan doesn’t want UK.
There’s a personal chef out there for him, somewhere.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 12th, 2015 @ 8:00pm
If we keep putting elite JUCO talent in Kentucky blue, the Franklin family will have to make room for the mascots and the UK pep band at Thanksgiving this year. (Back away from Aunt Julie’s broccoli casserole, Scratch.)
As I mentioned a couple times before, Mychal Mulder, Calipari’s latest addition to next year’s roster, was coached by Todd Franklin, my first cousin, at Vincennes University. Todd has sent countless players on to Division I careers, including all four of his sophomores in 2013-14 and all nine in 2012-13, while winning at least 33 games in each of his last three seasons. This past season, his Trailblazers were 32-0 until the championship game of the NJCAA District 16 Tournament when they fell in double-overtime. Mulder was the team’s leading scorer on the year at 15.7 points per game.
Needless to say, the Franklins are proud of what Todd has accomplished throughout his career and we’re very excited to see one of his own playing for the Cats next season. It’s even got my dad trading in Tennessee orange for a spot in Big Blue Nation. (About damn time.)
But the Franklin JUCO pipeline didn’t stop with Mulder’s commitment in late April. As Mark Stoops would say, we’re just getting started, bro.
This past weekend, Matthew Mitchell received a commitment from the No. 1 JUCO player in America, Evelyn Akhator. Akhator was coached by my other cousin, Greg Franklin, Todd’s younger brother. Greg and his Chipola Lady Indians finished 2014-15 with a 34-1 record and the National Championship, led by Akhator’s 21.2 points and 16.7 rebounds per game. She was named the JUCO Women’s Player of the Year and he took Coach of the Year honors.
Today, Akhator made it official by signing her Letter of Intent to Kentucky. She chose UK Hoops over Tennessee, Texas and Florida State, and let me tell you, folks: she is the real deal. Greg was showing me videos on his phone at Christmas and I couldn’t believe what I was watching. He’s had four players go in the first round of the WNBA Draft and he said she is “head and shoulders better than all of them.” Again, she’s the real deal.
So with two Franklin products suiting up for Kentucky next season, the family is pretty pumped for UK basketball and we have high expectations for Mychal and Evelyn.
We’ll have plenty of new Christmas Day game film to watch, too.
(And yes, that’s a Chia Uncle Si Robertson. I trust it made it to your desk, Todd.)
By Drew Franklin on ©May 12th, 2015 @ 3:00pm
No one really knows why five-star power forward Caleb Swanigan decommitted from Michigan State shortly after saying he was 100 percent committed to the program, but if the rumors circulating around the internet are true, Michigan State fans should be glad he’s gone. And Swanigan is my new favorite player outside the Bluegrass.
In an interview with a Lansing radio show, MSU beat writer Kyle Austin addressed the rumor that Swanigan had crazy demands from Tom Izzo. Among those rumored demands were… wait for it … separate living quarters and a personal chef. Whoa there, Caleb!
I don’t give one single you-know-what about Swanigan or Michigan State or Purdue because I fall asleep at the thought of Big Ten basketball, but I really want this to be true. If it is, Swanigan is the man for thinking that would happen under Tom Izzo.
Caleb Swanigan must really love Caleb Swanigan.