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Basketball Recruiting News

The KHSAA is Stuck in the Dark Ages

For more than a decade the state of Kentucky has failed to consistently produce high quality college basketball prospects.  Now, the KHSAA is keeping one of their best college prospects on the sideline.

De’Von Cooper is a 6’4″ 3-star shooting guard who averaged 17.2 points and 4 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Waggener High School in 2014-15.  Considered a top 300 player nationally, Cooper transferred to Findlay Prep.  Now he wants to return to Waggener for his senior season but the KHSAA has denied his eligibility.

When people wonder why prep basketball has suffered in the state of Kentucky over the last 20 years, prep schools are the first to blame.  Rajon Rondo and D’Angelo Russell are just two NBA players who left KHSAA basketball early for prep school.  Now, the KHSAA is turning away potentially a Rondo or a Russell because he wants to play in his home state.

The KHSAA denied Cooper’s request to play because he must sit out a year after transferring.  Somehow, returning from a prep school more than a thousand miles away is not an exemption in their rule book.  The Courier-Journal reports Cooper has one more appeal left.

I understand giving consequences for a kid who left for prep school, then returned to play for a traditional power like Ballard or Scott County.  Cooper is returning to the school he used to attend, Waggener; not exactly a traditional power.  He simply wants to play for his school.  Instead, they are not going to let him play basketball at all.  It’s unfair to the kid, it’s unfair to the school and it’s weakening what used to be the KHSAA’s premiere product — basketball.

For those who don’t care about this topic at all, you should know that this could affect UK.  Calipari needs a ton of guards in next year’s recruiting class.  Cal could also use a few three or four-year players.  Cooper is the kind of kid who could get hot at the end of the year, lead Waggener to the Sweet 16 and earn a scholarship to Kentucky.  Many people thought Dunbar’s Taveion Hollingsworth would be that guy before he committed to WKU; Cooper is ranked two spots higher in the 247 Composite Rankings.

Unfortunately, Cooper may not get another chance to play high school basketball because the KHSAA can’t keep up with the times.


Trae Young calls himself position-less guard, says he can play with Green at UK

USATSI_9378268_154849602_lowres

Trae Young has a new blog entry up over at USA Today High School Sports and in it he talks a little bit about Kentucky and the possibility of joining Quade Green and Shai Alexander in the UK backcourt next season.

Young was happy for Green when Green committed to the Cats, he says, and he is confident he could play alongside him, if Kentucky ends up being his pick:

With Kentucky, they got Quade Green and I was so happy for him and his family. They also picked up another guard in Alexander, but you have to look at Coach Cal’s resume; he’s always played with two or three guards on the court at the same time, so anything is possible. I definitely feel like I can play with anyone. I consider myself a position-less guard, I can do it all (Pass, shoot, score and defend).

Plus, we played together really well at USA Basketball.

Young also shut down the belief that he is only considering Kentucky and Oklahoma, saying Kansas and Oklahoma State are also in “serious contention.”

Read his entire blog here.


Scout.com has Kentucky running second in race for Bamba

Scout.com has Kentucky running second in race for Bamba

mo-bamba

Mohamed Bamba is a long way from making his college decision, but Evan Daniels over at Scout.com believes Kentucky is one of the three most likely options at this moment in time.

In Scout’s new profiles of the 13 best available prospects in the 2017 class, Daniels offers his predictions for each player. For Bamba, his No. 2 player in the class, Daniels has Kentucky running second in the race, behind Texas and ahead of Michigan.

If I were to power rank the top three schools involved I’d order them: Texas, Kentucky and Michigan,” he wrote. “But that truth is that’s just a guess at this stage.”

No Duke? Interesting.

Bamba played in front of the UK recruiting trio of John Calipari, assistant Tony Barbee and point guard signee Quade Green on Sunday.


Calipari and Quade Green went recruiting yesterday

green-commit

When Quade Green signed with Kentucky last month, he immediately started recruiting his friends to come to Lexington with him. The 2017 point guard is so focused on bringing top prospects to Kentucky that he hit the recruiting trail yesterday with John Calipari and Tony Barbee. According to ZagsBlog, the trio watched Green’s AAU teammate and good friend Mohamed Bamba play in the PSA Cardinals Showcase at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, along with fellow five-star Hamidou Diallo. If you remember, minutes after his commitment last month, Green vowed to bring Bamba, Diallo, and Kevin Knox to Kentucky with him.

“Now it’s my time to recruit him now,” Green said of Bamba, adding later, “There’s a bunch of guys I want to get there to play with me, Diallo, Kevin Knox, a bunch of ’em.”

Bamba had 9 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, and five blocks in his game, including this reverse dunk:

Meanwhile, Diallo put up 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. If you didn’t know already, he can jump high:

Bring ’em home, Quade.


Watch Highlights from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s ESPN2 Appearance

Herald Courier

Herald Courier

Playing against Penny Hardaway’s Memphis East High School, Kentucky signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 20 points and dished out nearly ten assists to lead Hamilton Heights to a 72-64 victory in front of a nationally televised audience.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s best assets are his quickness and ball control.  He did not show much of his shooting range.  Instead he got his teammates open from deep.  Using subtle moves, SGA is not flashy, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t make some highlights.

This up-and-under between four defenders iced the game.

He never shied away from contact at the rim.

If you couldn’t tell yet, he runs the fast break well.

He makes the one-handed pass look easy.

Arguably his filthiest move from the night.

Watch more highlights after the jump.

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Diallo still plans to attend college, he says

Diallo still plans to attend college, he says

hamidou-diallo

One of the top stars in high school basketball has intentions of attending college next season, although the option to go straight to the NBA is there, if he desires.

Hamidou Diallo, arguably the most athletic and explosive player in the Class of 2017, is eligible to enter next summer’s NBA draft, just as Thon Maker, another prep star, did last season.

However, Diallo wrote in his most recent blog entry for SLAM Online that playing college basketball has always been a goal of his and he intends to fulfill that goal:

“I definitely want to go to college. That’s my goal—it’s been since I was young. I don’t think I should skip a step but then again it’ll depend on what’s the right thing for me at the moment. So I’m just seeing how the process goes. I don’t want to rule anything out quite yet. I’m just happy to be in the position I am today. Hopefully one day soon I get to support my family from it.” [SLAM]

Diallo is ranked as the 11th overall player in ESPN’s rankings for the class, but there’s no player I’d rather see John Calipari add more than him. Like we’re seeing with Malik Monk this season, Diallo is an absolute freak, athletically. Just watch his first basket of his senior season:

Quade Green and Shai Alexander are a good foundation for the next backcourt, but Diallo will make a lethal addition to the group as the starting two-guard.

It’s good to hear he still plans to go to college, although he did leave the option open to skip straight to the league.


You can watch Shai Alexander on ESPN2 Thursday night

It kind of snuck up on us, but the Marshall County Hoop Fest is this weekend. Future Cat Shai Alexander and his Hamilton Heights Christian Academy team are participating, and on Thursday night at 9 p.m., their game vs. Memphis East will be televised on ESPN2. We don’t know a ton about Alexander yet (he’s averaging 20 points so far this season), so this is a great opportunity to get to know one of our newest signees.

If you’re going to the Hoop Fest, you can also see Alexander play Friday vs. five-star guards Gary Trent Jr. and Paul Scruggs. Alexander’s the only UK signee playing, but the event also includes John Petty, DeAndre Ayton, and Taveion Hollingsworth, the Dunbar star who recently signed with Western Kentucky. For the full Hoop Fest schedule, click here.

And then watch some of Shai’s highlights:


Get to Know Quade Green in this Documentary

Get to Know Quade Green in this Documentary

green-commit

Before committing to Kentucky, Jaime Boyer began documenting the rise of point guard Quade Green.  The documentary “Plan A” starts by showing Green struggle in the semifinals of the Peach Jam.  You’ll see Green recover, put the team on his back to close the gap before he seals a victory with a pair of free throws, eliminating his future teammate P.J. Washington.

From there, you can see Green’s preseason preparation, leading to his decision day at the school’s midnight madness.  Featuring interviews with Green and those closest to him, there’s no better way to get to know John Calipari’s next point guard.

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Texas made a great impression on Mo Bamba last night (And by that I mean Texas got killed by Northwestern)

One marquee game can make an enormous difference in a kid’s recruitment. (See: Green, Quade)

So it was a pretty big deal when Mohamed Bamba made the trip to the Barclays Center last night to watch Texas, a school ESPN recently named the favorite in Bamba’s recruitment:

“If you had to identify a favorite right now, it’s probably Texas,” Adam Finkelstein said during an ESPN Signing Day Special a little over a week ago. “He was on their campus for an official visit a couple of weeks ago and all reports were it went extremely well. Right now, I think Texas has to be the program that’s in the lead.” [Burnt Orange Nation]

But things didn’t exactly go in the Longhorns’ favor, considering they got smashed by 19 points by Northwestern with Bamba in attendance. Who knows what impact that will have on the five-star center’s view of Texas (probably very little) but it certainly can’t hurt everyone else’s chances in making up ground.

While we’re talking about making up ground, I like Kentucky to climb up Bamba’s list now that his good buddy, Quade Green, is the lead recruiter for the Cats. If Green can somehow convince Bamba to join Big Blue Nation, his off-court impact could be greater than anything he does on it next season.

Get in here, Mohamed.


Cats make Top 8 for 2018 Point Guard

Scout

Scout

After landing an elite point guard in the 2017 recruiting class on Saturday, John Calipari is one step closer to landing a top three point guard in the class of 2018.

Immanuel Quickley cut his list to eight: Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Providence, Washington, Virginia, Maryland and Miami (Fl.).  A lengthy penetrator with an exceptional pull-up jumper, Quickley was in Lexington last month for Big Blue Madness.

Immanuel Quickley
Point Guard (2018) | 6-3 | 175 lbs.
Bel Air, MD | John Carroll School
AAU: Baltimore Elite
★★★★★
ESPN No. 19 | 3 PG Top247 No. 8 | 2 PG
Rivals No. 19 | 4 PG Scout No. 11 | 2 PG

 

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

Trae Young Tweets Quade Green After Committment

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

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

Yesterday was a big day for UK athletics. After the Cats became bowl-eligible (!!) five-star point guard Quade Green officially committed to Kentucky. You can read Jack’s scouting report here. 

While this was amazing news, many fans assumed Green’s commitment would push fellow five-star point guard Trae Young to commit elsewhere, likely to Oklahoma. Today, however, Young tweeted his congratulations to Green, saying he’s “looking forward to playing after high school ball.” Hmmm… So maybe UK isn’t out of the question for Trae Young? Only time will tell.

 

In the mean time, BBN, let’s keep showing Young plenty of love.


Twitter: @MaggieDavisKSR


@KentuckyMBB

It’s Official: Welcome to the family

@KentuckyMBB

@KentuckyMBB

This morning, Coach Calipari officially announced his four-man Fall signing class. Once again Coach Cal is bringing in one of the strongest classes in the country. Let’s have a look:

“I’m excited about the beginning of this,” Calipari said. “I’m excited about these kids. Each one of them, just like the guys on this current team, they’re great kids. They’re sharers. They’re going to be servant leaders to each other. They’re going to be great teammates. They understand they’re coming here because they want to be the best version of themselves. They’re not worried about being better than another guy on this team. They’re worried about, ‘How can I be my best?’ If you think about it, none of these players are like one another. They’re all different. Just be the best version of yourself. Come here, get better and let’s do this.”

“Shai is a little bit like Jamal Murray and some other guys we’ve gotten late in the process before,” Calipari said. “He decommitted from a school and called us and asked us if we would be interested in recruiting him. I saw him play in the summer and I thought he was a pretty good player. Then he grew three inches and went and played for the national team. The national team brought out stuff that no one knew, and all of a sudden you’ve got a five-star guard that’s 6-5, 6-6, can make plays and can get in the lane. He can get in the lane like Isaiah Briscoe. He can guard and deflect balls.”

“Quade Green is a winner,” Calipari said. “Aside from great skills and the ability to pass, his ability to make shots and create shots, he wins. He’s tough and he’s a fighter. Everyone wants to play with him. He’s a player that guys want to play with. It’s important when you’re leading. When you’re that lead guard, you’ve got to be that – that mentality, that personality to where they know this kid is a fighter and I want to be in his foxhole. He’s skilled and one of the best in the country at what he does.”

“Nick is 7-foot tall with long arms,” Calipari said. “He’s a runner, a blocker, a defender and offensive player with a jump hook. He shoots free throws well. He’s in that same line of some of our previous big guys like Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis that had to establish who they were. That’s where he is. He’s a five-star kid and talented, but he’s not even close to where he’s going to be in two years. He’s going to flourish with us.”

While the men’s basketball team did not have a commitment November 9th, that changed in a major way when these four highly rated prospects committed and have now signed with Kentucky. UK owns the #1 ranked recruiting class according to 247 sports heading into the spring.

You can also watch this video with Coach Cal speaking on  his 2017 recruiting class so far…

 

Welcome to the family!


Quade Green on fellow five-star target Mohamed Bamba: “It’s my time now to recruit him”

Quade Green on fellow five-star target Mohamed Bamba: “It’s my time now to recruit him”

@AdamZagoria

@AdamZagoria

Landing five-star point guard Quade Green is great, but as Nick told you earlier, there’s the added bonus of Green’s friendship with AAU teammate and five-star big man Mohamed Bamba. Bamba’s a top five player in the 2017 class and high atop John Calipari’s wish list. Minutes after announcing he will take his talents to Lexington, Green said he’s ready to convince Bamba to come with him.

“It’s my time now to recruit him,” Green said of Bamba, via Dennis Chambers. According to Chambers, Green smirked and added he wants to bring five-star wings Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox with him too.

As a quick refresher, in addition to having a really cool name, Bamba is 6’11” with a 92″ wingspan, which, when he gets to the NBA, will be second only to the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, who has a 92.5″ wingspan. Calipari’s been working hard to pry Knox from Duke, and Diallo? Well, Diallo did this in front of a bunch of NBA scouts this weekend:

Get to work, Quade.


Scouting report: Five-star PG Quade Green

Scouting report: Five-star PG Quade Green

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(Ed. Note: with Quade Green’s commitment, now seems like a good time to revisit Jack’s scouting report from yesterday.)

While the Big Blue Nation is (hopefully) celebrating bowl eligibility tomorrow night, Calipari may very well be receiving his fourth commitment of the 2017 recruiting class from five-star point guard Quade Green.

Last week, rumors spread that Green was a “lock” to commit to Syracuse, as a visit to one of the teams’ early games seemed to seal the deal on his recruitment. After a surprise visit to watch Kentucky at the Champions Classic on Tuesday, momentum shifted to UK’s favor, with most recruiting analysts flipping their predictions over to the Wildcats as the week progressed.

With the Early Signing Period ending at midnight on Wednesday, it has been confirmed Green has indeed faxed a signed Letter of Intent to the school of his choosing, either Kentucky or Syracuse. Though there have been whispers, both programs are trying to stay tight-lipped on the situation.

Should he commit to Kentucky tomorrow, let’s take a look at what the five-star guard brings to the table:

Quade Green
Point Guard| 6-1 | 172 lbs.
Philadelphia, PA | Neumann Goretti
AAU: PSA Cardinals
★★★★★
ESPN No. 22 | 3 PG Top247 No. 31 | 7 PG
Rivals No. 23 Scout No. 25 | 4 PG

Strengths:

  • Floor general
  • Toughness
  • Dynamic passer

Many consider Green to be the best “true point guard” in the class of 2017, as he has a knack for finding the open man with a pass-first mentality. His court vision as a whole is remarkable, but he really thrives in transition when he has high-level athletes to connect with. Players love to play with him because he knows how to get the ball to scorers in large quantities, so you know you’re getting high assist numbers every time he steps on the floor.

Though his strength is as a passer, he knows how to get to the rim and finish with contact, not backing down from any defender in front of him. He’s a solid shooter, with a nice looking stroke he utilizes anywhere from midrange to behind the arc. His release is incredibly quick and he has nice touch, making him a really dynamic asset even when coverage is fairly tight.

The best characteristic of his game, however, has to be the mental edge he maintains each game. He’s a team leader that demands the best out of his teammates, remains vocal on the court, and gives out two punches for every one he takes to the jaw.

The kid is a floor general, keeps his teammates happy, and knows how to put the ball in the basket. There’s a guy that played at UK here recently with similar traits, and it worked out pretty well for him.

Weaknesses:

  • Athleticism
  • Size
  • Sometimes tries to do “too much”

He’s not going to jump out of the gym and dunk on anyone, that’s just not the player Quade Green is. He’s got speed and agility, but he’s not going to blow you away as an athlete. He’ll get beat on defense every once and a while, he’ll struggle offensively against physical freaks, that’s just the name of the game.

As far as size goes, he’s really undersized for a point guard in both height and weight, which may limit him against larger defenders and tougher opponents. He never let it stop him in high school, but we all know it’s a whole new ball game when you get to the next level.

A lot of criticism he’s gotten throughout high school, travel ball, and camps has been about trying to do a little too much with the ball in his hands. He sometimes forces passes and over-dribbles, which leads to some careless turnovers. With maturity and development, a lot of these mistakes will get corrected, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.

Player comparison:

Tyus Jones/Tyler Ulis

This comparison was pretty tough, as he’s a little mix of both players. Like Jones, Green really isn’t great at one thing in particular, but very good at everything. As far as leadership qualities go, Green falls right in line with Ulis, as he has that mental edge that every coach, fan, and analyst in America will love. He’s extremely tough, and just manages to make plays happen.

BONUS:

Recruiting aspect

Green is well known to be good friends with Mohamed Bamba, Hamidou Diallo, and Kevin Knox, three MASSIVE recruits with high interest in Kentucky. Each recruit has been very open in the past about their desire to play with Green, as the Philadelphia native knows how to see the floor and put the ball in his teammates’ hands. If Green commits to the Wildcats tomorrow night, the Spring signing period will be on a whole new level of crazy.

Come on down, Quade Green.

@JackPilgrimKSR


VIDEO: Quade Green commits to Kentucky

VIDEO: Quade Green commits to Kentucky

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-8-40-03-pm

Five-star point guard Quade Green is a Kentucky Wildcat, and just announced the news to his friends and family at Neumann Goretti in Philadelphia. Needless to say, he and his friends were excited when the news finally broke:

A better shot of Green in his Kentucky gear:

Welcome to the fam, Quade.