Basketball Recruiting News
By Nick Roush on ©December 08th, 2018 @ 7:00pm
For the second time this recruiting season, the top-ranked player in America has cut Kentucky from his list of prospective schools.
On the day James Wiseman committed to Memphis, swingman Anthony Edwards reclassified to the 2019 class. He immediately jumped Wiseman to become the No. 1 player in the class.
Edwards showed why he’s the No. 1 player in America last night. At the ARS National Hoopfest he scored 41 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a victory. After the win, Edwards told USA Today’s Jason Jordan he will officially visit Florida State, Duke, Michigan State and Kansas. Edwards previously took an official visit to Georgia.
The news comes five days after Edwards’ high school coach told Kyle Tucker, “I think they have a real shot” at landing Edwards. That “real shot” was always a long shot. Edwards has deep ties to Florida State. Similar to Wiseman and Memphis, Edwards’ recruitment is Florida State’s to lose.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 07th, 2018 @ 11:00am
Not surprisingly, John Calipari’s going to do a little recruiting during his trip to New York. Five-star power forward Jaden McDaniels‘ high school team plays in the Battle in the Apple at the Barclays Center Sunday evening, and according to Jake Weingarten, Kentucky will be in attendance.
We recently learned that McDaniels, the fifth ranked player in the 2019 class, has had an offer from Kentucky for months, but didn’t publicize it. He’s down to Kentucky, UCLA, Washington, Texas, and San Diego State and has taken his official visits, but according to his family, will likely wait until the spring to decide. In the meantime, visits like this from Cal certainly don’t hurt Kentucky’s chances.
Coach K is still landing top five targets without Jeff Capel.
Live on SportsCenter, Vernon Carey announced he will attend Duke next year. The No. 3 player in America picked the Blue Devils over North Carolina and Michigan State. Carey used a new commitment trick: he pulled out an embroidered handkerchief to reveal his selection.
Kentucky was initially in the picture for Carey but failed to make the final cut.
It’s always a blow to see a former UK recruit commit to Duke, but there is a positive spin: Carey’s commitment takes up a Duke frontcourt spot next season. Will Matthew Hurt want to split time with Carey? Duke’s 2018 class didn’t mind, but it could potentially help the Cats land Hurt in 2019.
By KSR on ©December 05th, 2018 @ 1:30pm
Hardly Committed is back with a special guest, America’s youngest recruiting news-breaker, Jake Weingarten. The Stockrisers scoop man talks about how he got into the game and much more after T.J. Walker reveals what happened on the Matthew Hurt visit. Highlights:
— Jerseys on UK visits!
— What kind of atmosphere did Hurt witness?
— Why T.J. is generally optimistic.
— Does Kentucky have a chance with Anthony Edwards?
— Thoughts on UK’s win over UNCG and a little Seton Hall preview.
— Four-star updates on four-star football recruits.
— T.J. is not his mother’s favorite son.
— Yankee Swap is cruel and unusual punishment.
Subscribe to Hardly Committed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app to get the podcast delivered directly to your phone. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play, and streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 04th, 2018 @ 12:00pm
Matthew Hurt obviously enjoyed his official visit to Kentucky enough to post a picture of himself wearing a jersey in the locker room, but the five-star power forward went into more detail in a lengthy Q&A with Evan Daniels. Hurt said he enjoyed the atmosphere at Rupp, John Calipari’s coaching style, and the staff’s pitch for him to be the next Tyler Herro.
“They said it would be like Tyler Herro, I would have the green light but I would have to respect it which means taking good shots, no double- or triple-teamed shots, don’t force shots, be smart with my shot selection, just having the green light respected.”
In what I’m sure wasn’t a coincidence, it sounds like Herro was Hurt’s host on the trip. In addition to Saturday’s game, Hurt and his family watched a practice, ate at Tony’s, and even hung out at Cal’s house. What may have been a coincidence was the timing of the trip. Hurt said Kentucky got his first official visit because it worked out best for his schedule. He’s planning to visit North Carolina next weekend for the Gonzaga game, Duke in January for the Virginia game, and Kansas sometime in February. He’ll take his final official visit to either Villanova, Minnesota, or Memphis in hopes of making his decision in April.
For more on Hurt’s visit, head on over to 247Sports.com.
We’re used to seeing photoshops of recruits in Kentucky jerseys, but recruits actually posing in jerseys on official visits? That’s a growing trend these days, and according to Matthew Hurt’s Instagram, exactly what went down during his trip to Lexington this weekend. Check out Hurt wearing Kentucky Blue in the Cats’ locker room:
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Matthew Hurt (@mhurt22) on
The five-star power forward is also considering Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and his home state school, Minnesota. For more on his trip to Lexington, check out TJ Walker’s Insider Notes from yesterday:
By Jack Pilgrim on ©December 03rd, 2018 @ 9:30pm
For the better part of the last year or so, elite high school prospects James Wiseman, Cole Anthony, and Vernon Carey Jr. have been deemed the top three recruits in the class of 2019. There are certainly other talented recruits in the class, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that feels those three haven’t stood out from their peers.
Just under two weeks ago, however, one elite 2020 prospect decided to throw a curveball to the various recruiting outlets and submit his name in the running for the top overall player in the class.
Anthony Edwards – a 6-foot-5 phenom out of Atlanta, GA – announced on November 20 he would be reclassifying to the class of 2019, forcing a jumble at the top of the rankings.
Originally considered the No. 2 overall prospect in 2020, 247 Sports immediately made the decision to move him to No. 1 overall in 2019, while ESPN and Rivals each listed the elite shooting guard in the top-four.
At the time of his announcement, many declared Florida State as the heavy favorite to land the dominant scorer. Edwards trimmed his list to Duke, Florida State, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina and UCLA, but most assumed it was the Seminoles’ to-lose.
After taking his first official visit to one SEC school and significant reported interest in another, maybe it’s time to re-think that sentiment.
In an interview with Kyle Tucker of The Athletic, Edwards’ head coach Ty Anderson said Kentucky has a “real shot” to land him.
“I think they have a real shot. Every conversation I have with him about college, Kentucky is always in the conversation,” Anderson said. “I mean, they wrote the playbook on how to get kids like this. Nothing different than what they’ve done to get all these other lottery picks they’ve had. This kid has the NBA in his future, so one of the most important things for him is going somewhere that’s going to prepare him for that future.”
Anderson said if Kentucky can secure a visit, and he absolutely expects them to, Coach Cal just might be able to make it happen.
“Can Kentucky open a little window and get seriously involved? I think they can. Just because of their track record and history, they’re not going to get shut out. I’d be surprised if they didn’t get a visit, and then anything can happen,” he said.
When Kentucky missed out on Wiseman, Anthony, and Carey Jr., many felt it was yet another missed opportunity for John Calipari to secure a can’t-miss prospect in the class of 2019.
Now, with Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney already committed, along with Kentucky gaining momentum with Edwards, Matthew Hurt and Jaden McDaniels, the UK coaching staff has the opportunity to secure signatures from five of the top-ten prospects in the senior class.
For the rest of Tucker’s article at The Athletic, you’ll have to subscribe here.
By TJ Walker on ©December 03rd, 2018 @ 2:00pm
I hope everyone had a great weekend! UK hosted five-star forward Matthew Hurt and that’s where we will start. Kentucky had a few other unofficial visitors but that was a team visiting and I wouldn’t consider any of those players UK targets, but Kentucky may keep tabs on a couple of those players. So, Hurt was the main attraction and received the blue carpet treatment over the weekend.
The visit went well (drink). Actually, I’m told the visit went really, really well and folks close to UK feel that things couldn’t have gone better. There were three things that stood out to the Hurt family.
- Atmosphere: Hurt and his family said they wanted to take their visits during the season to see schools play home games. They wanted to watch team’s pregame activities and the crowd during the game. I’m sure plenty of fans (myself included) were worried the crowd would be mediocre for Greensboro, but I was wrong. It was the best home crowd of the season and one of the best non-Power Six crowds I can remember in recent memory. Of course the game being close led to the wild crowd but I’m told that the Hurt family was really impressed. UK’s staff supposedly made sure the family knew that wasn’t a “big” game for UK standards and the crowd was still great. They pitched the idea of the Hurt family returning for a bigger game to blow them away. We’ll see if they return.
- Path to the NBA: Hurt, like any normal kid, wants to get the NBA. Obviously he knew about former UK players that are currently in the NBA, but supposedly Calipari and UK’s staff mapped out their plan for Hurt. That was well received, I’m told.
- The way the coaches treat the players: This isn’t verbatim but Hurt and his family wanted to see how the coaches interacted with players off the floor and out of practices/games. I don’t think I’d hear anything differently, but Hurt’s family was impressed with the family atmosphere. Surprisingly, UK sometimes isn’t known to have a “family atmosphere” in some recruiting circles. That’s a conversation for a different day, but supposedly the Hurt family liked what they saw.
The only issue with all three of those points is I’m sure every school on his list will make sure to check all three of those boxes. Kansas, Duke and UNC will probably have good atmospheres (it depends on the game, but as the season progresses the cupcakes fall off the schedule). All three of those schools have sent players to the NBA and I’m sure the coaches won’t be jerks when recruit’s parents are around. So, while things look good for UK as of today, other school’s will certainly have some momentum when they host the Hurt family.
One of the biggest things from the visit is the Hurt family did tell UK they plan to take their time. Previously there was a thought that Hurt may commit in the next two months but supposedly their plan is to take other visits. They want to see how roster situations shakeout and this could go later than I thought last week. I don’t take that as a negative for UK, but obviously the Cats would hope he wouldn’t visit other places.
Supposedly UK missing on other bigs and losing at least Reid Travis and PJ Washington is a big draw. “Waiting to (look) at the roster helps (UK),” I was told. Other schools will either be returning bigs or are bringing in other star bigs. Hurt isn’t afraid to play with other great players, but naturally he’s going to want to be able to have a chance to be the guy. Kansas may have a similar frontcourt pitch as UK, but UNC and Duke will have more crowded frontcourts.
I still like UK’s chances.
I still think he ends up going to Indiana but I don’t have anything new that would make me feel better or worse about that prediction. Trayce Jackson-Davis picking the Hoosiers likely only helps IU’s chances with Brooks, but it seemed likely that TJD was going to IU, so just because it’s official doesn’t mean much to me. UK is in second maybe we will all be in for a surprise.
But, when talking with someone on the AAU side of things they brought up an interesting point that wasn’t directly related to Brooks or any recruit in particular, but I wanted to share because of a tweet I saw this weekend:
Happy birthday from the Brooks family
— Keion Brooks (@keion_brooks) November 30, 2018
A nice gesture from Mr. Brooks. I’ve heard nothing but great things about UK’s relationship with the Brooks’ family and I think it’s the only reason why Keion hasn’t already committed to Indiana. UK’s done a great job building a relationship with Keion and his entire family. It’s funny as the field goal post moves for UK in recruiting the Cats try to adjust. A couple years ago it was that the parents didn’t prefer UK and now I think the majority of parents in this class have preferred UK. I know Mr. Brook thinks very highly of UK’s staff (tweet aside).
But what this AAU person told me was in his opinion UK has become too easy to say no to on the recruiting trail. Cal’s pitch of “UK’s not for everyone” and his “We want you, but we’re going to respect your decision” has made it easier for recruits to go where they feel “more important.” I’m not sure what Cal should do differently. Panic more? Put more pressure on kids that if they don’t pick UK he will be in a bad spot? Get on his knees and beg? I’ve always respected the way Calipari recruits and I would almost guarantee that this approach has helped more than it hurts, but at least one AAU coach thinks it could hurt UK in some instances, especially when recruiting against hometown schools. FWIW I’ve never heard of that being an issue with any recruits, coaches and I can’t imagine folks close to UK think it’s a problem.
The only reason I bring it up is to hear your thoughts on it.
I was able to touch base with someone close to McDaniels and the family is saying they will wait until the spring to make a final decision, despite already finishing all five official visits. This person thought there was a chance that McDaniels would announce in the next few months, but he differed to the family’s plan to announce later. So, it’s going to be a wait and see approach but after things were quiet for a couple weeks I still think the Cats are in a good spot.
The only thing that worries me about UK’s chances is McDaniels deciding to spend his likely one year in college so far away from home. UK can beat the home school, but it’s never easy being the school farther away.
He took his first official to Georgia over the weekend. UK still expects him to check out Lexington, but normally optimistic, I get the sense that even UK believes it will be an uphill battle beating out Florida State for Edwards.
Never say never, but I wouldn’t expect Edwards to end up at Kentucky.
Vernon Carey Jr.:
He will pick between UNC, MSU or Duke. It’s a tough spot for UK. You probably want MSU because they would possibly be less of a title threat than UNC or Duke, but the Cats would play Carey next season in the Champions Classic. UK currently isn’t set to play UNC or Duke next season and the only possible matchup would be in the NCAA Tournament. Seems like Duke is the slight leader with MSU right there. UNC a distant third.
Kentucky is hosting quite a few prospects for today’s game against UNC-Greensboro.
The biggest name on the guest list is five-star forward Matthew Hurt. The top ten player in the 2019 class is on his official visit. T.J. Walker will detail how things went for Hurt in the Monday Insider Notes.
There will be a few other tertiary prospects in the building as well. Madior Seye, a seven-foot center from the Senegal, is seeing a game at Rupp Arena with his teammates from Pennsylvania’s First Love Christian Academy. Seye is a raw talent in the 2020 class with plenty of untapped potential.
The Cats and the Spartans tip-off at 1:00 on ESPN2.
The Ball family will not be joining the Big Blue Nation.
Earlier this month the youngest Ball, LaMelo, returned from the professional ranks in Lithuania to play high school basketball at Spire Academy in Ohio. Naturally, there was an introductory press conference. LaMelo said he hoped to play college basketball at a school like Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Michigan State, even though he already played professionally.
LaMelo can hope all he wants, he isn’t playing at UK. Ben Roberts reports that Kentucky is not recruiting LaMelo.
While the news may bring joy to some fans, I’m disappointed we’ll never see the day when Kentucky Sports Radio is hosted by Matt Jones and Lavar Ball.
When reports surfaced this week that UK offered five-star forward Jaden McDaniels the reports weren’t wrong, but the offered happened months ago. Kyle Tucker of The Athletic spoke with McDaniels’ trainer, Cartiea French-Toney, who said the offer was old news.
“He was offered by Kentucky months ago. He just never put it out there for the public to know,” the trainer said. “He’s not that type of kid, seeking attention like other kids who’ll say, ‘Oh, Kentucky wants me! Coach Cal came to see me!’ He’s not going to make a social media post about it. That’s not him. He just wants to play basketball. But you don’t make the trip two times to Washington and then have him on an official visit if you haven’t already offered him. That’s a lot of time invested in a kid you haven’t offered. That’s a long flight to make twice if you aren’t serious. Coach Cal doesn’t really recruit the West Coast much, and part of that is it’s hard to ask a kid to leave here and go all the way to Kentucky, but if your goals and aspirations are aligned with what Kentucky does, it can be the right fit and right situation.
“Kenny Payne told me, ‘We’ve never had a dude like him before. We’ve never recruited a dude like him before. He’s different.’ And they’re excited about the possibility of seeing what they could do with a 6-10 kid on the wing who can get the rebound and become the point guard.”
French-Toney makes a good point. It was clear that McDaniels was a take for Kentucky and although the kid himself never confirmed it, UK would have accepted a commitment the day Calipari made the trip to see him.
McDaniels is down to UK, UCLA, Washington, Texas and San Diego State and it’s unclear when he will make a final decision despite taking all five of his official visits.
Tucker also spoke with Matthew Hurt’s father, Rich Hurt, who said that his son won’t be making a final decision until the spring. Hurt takes his first official visit to Kentucky this weekend.
But if you read the entire article it reads pretty well for Kentucky. Hurt talks about what they’re looking for in a school and having to put up 15-20 shots isn’t important. Sounds similar to a Calipari pitch.
You can check out the entire article HERE. Tucker does a great job breaking down how adding McDaniels/Hurt could completely change the way Calipari plays.
By TJ Walker on ©November 29th, 2018 @ 10:30pm
After dropping 52 points in his senior season opener it would be understandable if Dontaie Allen couldn’t top that performance in game No. 2. 52 points is a tough total at any level, but especially high school basketball where there isn’t a shot clock and the games are only 32 minutes.
And after his second game 52 points is yesterday’s news. The future Cat dropped 53 against Scott. Allen’s Pendleton County fell 83-73 but it was a close contest.
Part of that 53-point performance was this shot heading into the half:
— Chad (@ChadBlue83) November 30, 2018
Allen was the Mr. Basketball favorite heading into the season and his odds are even better after two games.
I can’t wait to watch this kid play at Kentucky and kudos to John Calipari and UK’s staff for getting a commitment from Allen this summer. Allen signed during the early signing period.
By TJ Walker on ©November 29th, 2018 @ 8:00pm
This weekend Kentucky will host five-star forward Matthew Hurt for his first official visit and there’s no denying how important of a recruit Hurt is for the Cats. UK has missed on big target after big target in the class of 2019, and only a few more remain. Here’s a look at UK’s best, worst, and most likely scenario for how the frontcourt situation plays out for the 2019-2020 season. For this exercise none of these scenarios include grad-transfers or 2020 players reclassifying. While both of those options are in play, and possibly even likely, we don’t have any names. Also, I’m trying to keep it somewhat realistic. Obviously the best care scenario will be bullish and worst bearish, but I’m trying to keep everything in reason and somewhat realistic.
The best case scenario is easy- Kentucky lands Matthew Hurt, one of Jaden McDaniels/Keion Brooks and hell, throw in five-star shooting guard Anthony Edwards while we’re at it. Then assuming UK would return at least one of Nick Richards or EJ Montgomery and the Cats would be locked and absolutely loaded for another season. The Edwards addition may seem bizarre when discussing UK’s ideal frontcourt for next season, but it makes sense. If the Cats landed Edwards, it would give UK more options on who to play at the four. Kahlil Whitney would get more run at that spot. The one addition of McDaniels/Brooks would allow them a more versatile role and you’d play EJ or Nick at the five. Hurt would also play a variety of positions. The addition of Edwards wouldn’t give you clarity on how the roster would look exactly, but you’d know you’d have enough talented players that are versatile enough to make something work.
That best case scenario is actually probably an abundance of players. It would give UK four players that could play a frontcourt position, where currently there is just one (Whitney) and some would possibly consider that a stretch (although I would disagree). I feel confident about one of Richards/Montgomery returning, so assuming that happens that would make two. They obviously need to land Hurt and one of McDaniels/Brooks to give UK four options on the frontcourt, even though just Hurt/Richards/Montgomery would be able to play the five. Three options for the frontcourt is a must for next season as UK couldn’t enter the season with just two post players. Foul trouble and possible injuries could ruin UK’s season before it even starts. Three bigs is minimum but four would make everyone feel warm and fuzzy heading into next season.
If UK could have a lineup like this next season, watch out:
PG: Tyrese Maxey (Green, Quickley, Hagans)
SG: Anthony Edwards (Green, Quickley, Hagans, Allen)
SF: Kahlil Whitney (Allen)
PF: Matthew Hurt (McDaniels/Brooks)
And that roster doesn’t include Tyler Herro (but does include all three PGs returning, which probably isn’t likely), who’s currently not being projected as a first rounder and could very easily return for a sophomore season. Regardless of UK’s recent recruiting misses, if the team looks something like that heading into next season it’s going to once again be a preseason top five team and rightfully so. That would be the nation’s best offense before they’d ever even play a game.
Again, we’re trying to keep it somewhat in reason because the worst case scenario would lead to UK missing on Hurt, McDaniels and Brooks (along with Isaiah Stewart but I don’t see a scenario he ends up at UK so I’m already banking on that) and would also include all of UK’s current frontcourt players darting for the NBA. That’s the worst case. To briefly entertain that idea UK would have to hit up the grad-transfer market big time and probably try to get a few other 2019 players that aren’t UK caliber to commit to Kentucky just so they had bodies.
I don’t see that happening.
In a more realistic worst-case scenario the Cats miss on Hurt and McDaniels, but land just Brooks in 2019. Nick Richards returns for a junior season and UK’s roster looks something like this:
PG: Quade Green (Quickley, Hagans)
SG: Tyrese Maxey (Quickley, Hagans, Allen)
SF: Kahlil Whitney (Allen)
PF: Keion Brooks
C: Nick Richards
Is that lineup making the NCAA Tournament? Duh. Could that team make a run? Sure. UK went to the Final Four with Josh Harrellson starting. But that is the thinnest frontcourt in UK history and it would become critical for UK to land at least one grad-transfer. And yes, I think even in a realistic worst case scenario UK lands one of Hurt, Brooks or McDaniels. For this exercise I picked Brooks just because he would probably be UK’s “worst” option to have to put in the frontcourt.
If that’s the worst case scenario that’s not the end of the world, although it probably wouldn’t be a serious title contender.
I haven’t been shy on this site saying I think UK lands Hurt. Of course there was a time (a long time) I thought UK was landing James Wiseman and another time (much shorter) that I thought UK was in a really good spot for Vernon Carey Jr. Point is, things can change in recruiting and do change, but currently I like where UK is at for Hurt.
So he’s included in the most realistic scenario at this time.
Then I think it’s realistic at this point to believe UK lands one of McDaniels/Brooks. I think IU holds a 65/35 lead over UK for Brooks, so McDaniels seems more likely, but things have gone quiet in McDaniels’ recruitment. It’s not a lock that UK lands either, but I think odds are they will land one, so we’ll roll with that.
I don’t expect Anthony Edwards to end up at UK. I do expect one of Richards/Montgomery to return and I wouldn’t be shocked if both came back, but it’s probably more realistic it’s just one. We’ll go with Richards for this exercise.
PG: Green (Quickley, Hagans)
SG: Maxey (Quickley, Hagans, Allen)
SF: Kahlil Whitney (,McDaniels, Allen)
PF: Matthew Hurt (McDaniels)
If that’s how things play out I would expect UK to add a grad-transfer, but there’s no telling the caliber of that player or even guess a name. So ignoring the transfer for now, what would we think of the above roster? It would be a really good scoring team, probably average defensively and thin upfront. It would probably be the type of Calipari team that would struggle on the road, take care of business at home and end up as a four seed in the NCAA Tournament. The talent would be there for a deep run, but consistency would be key.
One thing is for sure, regardless of how the roster turns it it’s shaping up to be a team that’s going to play as fast as any of Calipari’s. That will be fun to watch.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 29th, 2018 @ 11:00am
Last night, a high school basketball reporter tweeted that James Wiseman’s coach told him Wiseman received death threats after picking Memphis over Kentucky last week. This morning, Wiseman’s coach said that’s not true in an interview with the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
“No. I don’t know anything about that,” Holmes told Khari Thompson.
Clay Travis also made the claims on his radio show this morning. Here’s the tweet in question from Courtney Asher Smith, a writer for Prephoops.com, which has since been deleted:
Smith also tweeted that former Kentucky commit D.J. Jeffries received death threats, prompting his team to pull out of the Marshall County Hoops Fest. That tweet has also been deleted. Holmes told the Commercial Appeal that he’s unsure whether or not his team will play in this weekend’s event.
The past twelve hours have showed us how fans can overreact to sports; thankfully, it appears that wasn’t the case with James Wiseman and the Big Blue Nation.