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UK makes the cut for Bryan Antoine

Kentucky has made the final five of five-star 2019 guard. Antoine, a 6-foot-4, 170-pound New Jersey native also included Duke, Florida, Villanova and Kansas. Many assume the Blue Devils are the leader.

Many have assumed that Antoine, who’s the No. 7 player in the country by 247, will be a package deal with his teammate Scottie Lewis. UK seemingly has a better chance with Lewis, but John Calipari has actively recruited both players.

Calipari visited both Antoine and Lewis in mid-April, and with how hot Calipari has been lately you shouldn’t count out the Cats for Antoine.

The Cats landed Tyrese Maxey yesterday and he mentioned how he wants to start a super class, well, get to work Mr. Maxey.


Heat Check: John Calipari’s Best Recruiting Heaters

Heat Check: John Calipari’s Best Recruiting Heaters

John Calipari is on a heater right now.

Since bowing out of the NCAA tournament, Calipari has received commitments from three elite prospects: E.J. Montgomery (2018), Ashton Hagans (2019) and Tyrese Maxey (2019). Throw in DJ Jeffries (2019), who committed before the first weekend of the tournament, and Kentucky has a fourth commitment in a two-month span, all of whom are five-star prospects in their respective classes. He’s also made up a ton of ground with several other targets in the 2019 class.

But is this Calipari’s best run in recruiting?

Not quite. He’s had some pretty hot stretches on the recruiting trail over the years:

 

2009: First Class

In his first season at Kentucky, Cal locked up John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Darnell Dodson in a 41-day span. He had only been on the job a couple of months and he completely revamped the program with his first recruiting class, which also included leftovers Jon Hood and Daniel Orton from Billy Gillispie’s efforts.

DeMarcus Cousins – 4/8/2009
Eric Bledsoe – 4/24/2009
Darnell Dodson – 4/24/2009
John Wall – 5/19/2009

Spring of 2010

After his first full year of recruiting in Lexington, Cal brought in six newcomers (although one, Enes Kanter, never played) that would eventually lead him to his first Final Four on the job. He earned commitments from four of them — Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb, Eloy Vargas and Terrence Jones — in only 41 days after the 2010 season ended.

He also added two players to the following class with early commitments from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague in that same 41-day span. Kanter was only a month earlier.

Enes Kanter – 3/23/2010
Brandon Knight- 4/14/2010
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 4/15/2010
Doron Lamb – 4/17/2010
Marquis Teague – 4/22/2010
Eloy Vargas – 5/15/2010
Terrence Jones – 5/19/2010

October 2013

Calipari’s next great heater came in the fall of 2012 when he added four commitments in only two weeks. He got the top two guards in the country in Andrew and Aaron Harrison, and two top-20 five-star forwards in James Young and Marcus Lee.

Aaron Harrison – 10/4/2012
Andrew Harrison – 10/4/2012
James Young – 10/11/2012
Marcus Lee – 10/17/2012

He would later add the No. 1 power forward and the No. 1 center, plus two Kentuckians, for what is his best class on paper.

Fox, Monk and Bam in one week

Cal filled out his entire 2016 class in the early signing period, and landed the three biggest commits of the bunch within days of each other. De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo and Malik Monk all committed in a one-week span to join Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones, who had already committed earlier that fall.

De’Aaron Fox – 11/12/2015
Bam Adebayo – 11/17/2015
Malik Monk – 11/18/2015

Class of 2017

The freshmen we just watched in the 2017-18 season had a group commit together in the fall period. PJ Washington and Nick Richards committed on the same day to get the ball rolling, and were followed by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Quade Green the following week.

PJ Washington – 11/10/2016
Nick Richards – 11/10/2016
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 11/14/2016
Quade Green – 11/19/2016

Jarred Vanderbilt wasn’t too far behind with a late-December commitment.

Spring 2018

Cal’s current heater is among his best, too.

DJ Jeffries – 3/12/2018
EJ Montgomery – 4/9/2018
Ashton Hagans – 4/10/2018
Tyrese Maxey – 5/10/2018

For a trip down memory lane, see the commitment date of every player in the Calipari era.

2009
Jon Hood* – 5/8/2008
Daniel Orton* – 10/12/2008
DeMarcus Cousins – 4/8/2009
Eric Bledsoe – 4/24/2009
Darnell Dodson – 4/24/2009
John Wall – 5/19/2009

2010
Stacey Poole – 9/24/2009
Enes Kanter – 3/23/2010
Brandon Knight- 4/14/2010
Doron Lamb – 4/17/2010
Eloy Vargas – 5/15/2010
Terrence Jones – 5/19/2010

2011
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 4/15/2010
Marquis Teague – 4/22/2010
Anthony Davis – 8/14/2010
Kyle Wiltjer – 8/29/2010

2012
Archie Goodwin – 9/21/2011
Willie Cauley-Stein – 10/31/2011
Alex Poythress – 11/10/2011
Nerlens Noel – 4/11/2012

2013
Derek Willis – 1/20/2012
Aaron Harrison – 10/4/2012
Andrew Harrison – 10/4/2012
James Young – 10/11/2012
Marcus Lee – 10/17/2012
Dakari Johnson – 1/5/2013
Julius Randle – 3/20/2013
Dominique Hawkins – 4/10/2013

2014
Karl-Anthony Towns – 12/4/2012
Tyler Ulis – 9/13/2013
Devin Booker – 10/31/2013
Trey Lyles – 11/5/2013

2015
Charles Matthews – 2/26/2014
Skal Labissiere – 11/13/2014
Isaiah Briscoe – 11/13/2014
Mychal Mulder – 4/28/2015
Jamal Murray – 6/24/2015
Isaac Humphries – 8/1/2015

2016
Sacha Killeya-Jones – 8/19/2015
Wenyen Gabriel – 10/1/2015
De’Aaron Fox – 11/12/2015
Bam Adebayo – 11/17/2015
Malik Monk – 11/18/2015

2017
PJ Washington – 11/10/2016
Nick Richards – 11/10/2016
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 11/14/2016
Quade Green – 11/19/2016
Jarred Vanderbilt – 12/23/2016
Hamidou Diallo – 1/7/2017
Jemarl Baker – 4/11/2017
Kevin Knox – 5/6/2017

2018
Immanuel Quickley – 9/22/2017
Keldon Johnson – 11/11/2017
Tyler Herro – 11/14/2017
EJ Montgomery – 4/9/2018

2019
DJ Jeffries – 3/12/2018
Ashton Hagans – 4/10/2018
Tyrese Maxey – 5/10/2018


Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

ESPN: Tyrese Maxey has Tyler Ulis‘ leadership, Jamal Murray‘s scoring ability

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

Tyrese Maxey reminds John Calipari of both Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray; ESPN’s Paul Biancardi agrees, using the same comparison in his latest scouting report of the five-star guard, who committed to Kentucky yesterday.

“At this point, Maxey is a true combination guard who is grooming himself nicely for the point guard position. He shows the leadership of former Kentucky great and NBA point guard Tyler Ulis and the scoring ability of another great Wildcat and NBA player, Jamal Murray. Each can score in a confident and comfortable way from all three levels plus the free throw line. Maxey plays with personality and is in attack mode; he compares in many ways to former Alabama guard Collin Sexton. Both truly love the game and compete with a smile on their face.”

After watching Sexton at the SEC Tournament, I am all on board with that comparison. Another reason to like Maxey: he liked hearing what he needs to improve rather than what he does well.

“Coach Calipari told me what I needed to hear about becoming a next level-player, he did not tell me what I wanted to hear,” Tyrese Maxey said. “That was very important to me.”

That’s a competitor. For more of Biancardi’s observations, get your wallet out and head on over to ESPN Insider. Or, just watch some more highlights.

[Scout’s Take: Tyrese Maxey to Kentucky]


TYRESE MAXEY IS A CAT

TYRESE MAXEY IS A CAT

In one of the most predictable recruitments in the John Calipari era, Tyrese Maxey committed to Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound point guard from Garland, Texas picked the Cats over Texas, Michigan, Michigan State and Oklahoma State. He shockingly becomes the third player committed to UK in the class of 2019. And while there wasn’t too much suspense in Maxey’s college decision, the drama is when Maxey will attend Kentucky.

Along with Maxey UK has verbal commitments from D.J. Jeffries and Ashton Hagans in the class of 2019. Hagans is widely expected to reclassify to 2018, Jeffries will stay put in 2019, but the jury is still out on Maxey.

Just over a week ago it seemed likely that Maxey would make the jump to 2018, but over the weekend the tide turned back to Maxey staying in his original class.

Sources tell Kentucky Sports Radio that the plan as of today is for Maxey to stay in the class of 2019. He will be eligible for reclassification assuming he finishes two classes, so if there’s a change of plans in the next few months it won’t be an issue for Maxey to make the jump, but as of today consider him a 2019 recruit.

Maxey averaged 22.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists as a junior for South Garland and last summer he put in nearly 17 points per game as a rising junior in the Nike EYBL. So, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear he is off to a hot start again this spring. UK is landing a scoring point guard that can hit outside shots, attack the rim and isn’t selfish with the ball.

In my opinion when it’s all said and done he will be in the conversation as one of Calipari’s best point guards at Kentucky. That’s saying something.

Maxey is ranked No. 14 in Rivals and ESPN, but 247 ranks him as the No. 13 best player in the class of 2019.

How about some highlight videos of Maxey?


Tyrese Maxey is leaving the door open for a move to 2018

When five-star guard Tyrese Maxey made his much-anticipated announcement this afternoon, the concern wasn’t even about where he’d end up going to school. Nearly every recruiting expert and analyst considered it a near-lock for the 6-foot-3 scorer to commit to Kentucky. Maxey himself nearly let it slip once or twice over the last few weeks.

When he’d be a Wildcat, however, was the big question.

When the time came for the decision today, Maxey announced he would be sticking with his original class of 2019 rather than make a move to 2018. For now.

“I know that may shock some of y’all but for me it came down to me just wanting to be a kid for my last year of high school. I just wanted to be around all of my friends and all of my family one last year and I don’t want to pass that up,” he said in his new blog post for USA Today.

“My dream is to be a McDonald’s All American too so I’m just gonna take this year and work hard and do everything possible to make that dream a reality.”

And it completely makes sense.

We’ve heard similar comments from No. 1 prospect James Wiseman about just wanting to be a kid and living out his senior year (prom, senior activities, graduation, etc.) like other people his age. As far as basketball accolades go, making a run for a state championship, winning the AAU title during the summer, and being named to all the different All-Star and Team USA teams are all incredibly important to some. For others like Marvin Bagley III, Karl-Anthony Towns, etc., moving up a year early to get started on college and become a professional basketball player a year sooner outweighs the final year of high school. There are pros and cons to both.

While Maxey wants to just be a kid for his last year of high school, he hasn’t officially ruled out a move to 2018 in the future.

In an interview with Evan Daniels of 247 Sports, Maxey said there was a possibility of that changing down the road, specifically later this summer.

“It could,” Maxey said. “Anything is possible, but as of right now I am staying put.”

And he’s going to continue to leave that window open.

According to KSR sources, Maxey will continue to finish up his high school coursework this summer and work toward becoming NCAA eligible for the 2018-19 season, just in case. He only has a few boxes left to check class-wise and he’s in great academic standing, making any potential jump possible. In other words, expect him to stick with the class of 2019, but don’t be shocked if he (like many teenage kids do) changes his mind down the road.

After all, he does call him and (likely 2018) Kentucky Wildcat Ashton Hagans, “The Duo.”

Hard to be a “duo” in separate classes. *shoulder shrug*

Nonetheless, whether it be this year or next, the Cats got a great one in Tyrese Maxey.


Will Maxey move to 2018? Experts discuss (He says he’s staying 2019)

You can surf the web and find different opinions on Tyrese Maxey’s game and if he will move to 2018, but how about just coming to KSR and finding it all in one place? It’s worth noting that Maxey blogged after committing that he will stay in 2019.

“I know that may shock some of y’all but for me it came down to me just wanting to be a kid for my last year of high school. I just wanted to be around all of my friends and all of my family one last year and I don’t want to pass that up,” he told USA Today.

“My dream is to be a McDonald’s All American too so I’m just gonna take this year and work hard and do everything possible to make that dream a reality.”

First, Rivals.com Krysten Peek spoke with KSR about Maxey’s addition to Kentucky. If you’re not following Peek on Twitter, you should. Click here. She puts together highlight videos of all the best players in the country and knows these players as well as anyone.

On Maxey’s game and what makes him one of the top guards in 2019:

Peek: Tyrese Maxey is a very versatile player. He’s super quick in the lane but the most notable aspect of his game he’s improved on is his three-point shot. His release is quick and he can plant his feet even at full speed in transition. The way the game is going it’s not enough to be fast in the lane and create for others. You also need a jump shot and I can tell it’s something Tyrese has worked on.

On what Maxey brings to UK and why he fits Calipari’s style of play:

Peek: When I look back at the guards that have gone through Kentucky I think Tyrese is a great fit. He’s a tough player who can grow in Calipari’s system. I filmed one game of his in Dallas and it doesn’t take long to realize that he’s a special player. He’s high energy and a leader on the floor. I think Kentucky fans will love him.

On the timing of Maxey’s commitment to UK and the Cats currently having three 2019 players committed:

Peek: Maxey’s commitment along with Ashton’s Hagans’ commitment does seem a little odd to me. There are rumors that both of them will reclassify to 2018 and if that’s true, coach Cal has his hands full at the guard position. It now becomes a problem of too much talent and who plays when and with who? That is a great problem to have if you’re a coach and if there’s anyone that can pull it off it’s coach Cal but still a head scratcher to me.

On if she thinks Maxey will move to the class of 2018:

Peek: I think Maxey (along with Hagans) reclassifies. These elite players are all about getting to the league as soon as possible so if that opportunity is available, I think they’ll both take advantage of it and opt to play their one year of college hoops this year. Maxey definitely has the talent to reclassify and play this year. He’s ready.

Across the web other experts weigh in on if he will stay in 2019 (click on names for full articles):

Rivals’ Corey Evans: “Maxey is a do it all guard that most any college program would love to get its hands on. I expect for the five-star guard to select Kentucky on Wednesday, and while there are rumors that he could and will reclassify into the 2018 class, I believe that, for the time being, he will remain in the original 2019 class. Not that he could not ultimately reclassify, but at the time being, I see Maxey sticking it out as a member of the junior class and pledge to the Wildcats.”

Rivals’ Eric Bossi:  “A physical scorer who can play either the point or shooting guard spots, Maxey has always liked Kentucky. and behind the scenes buzz has picked that up for some time now. The question on Wildcats’ fans minds is whether or not he will remain in the class of 2019 or enroll early as a member of the 2018 class. A few weeks ago, it looked pretty certain that Maxey would move up a class, but as of the last few days, it seems to be pretty much up in the air. So I’m thinking he will end up staying in his natural class. 2018 or 2019, he should be a great pickup.”

247 Evan Daniels: “Those two can definitely play together,” Daniels said. “Now, Kentucky’s roster is going to consist of a lot more than just those two guys. What does that mean for guys like Quade Green and Immanuel Quickley [two other 5-star point guards on the roster this fall] and how do those four fit? But it’s a great problem to have and it’s not necessarily one that’s new for John Calipari.”

KSR’s T.J. Walker: (Hopes no one notices I put myself in the expert category) I think as of today Maxey stays in 2019 but if the Cats suffer an injury or Calipari believes he needs more play makers that could change later in the summer. Maxey will do what he needs to do to put himself in a position to reclassify but ultimately I think the Cats save him for a 2019-2020 super team. Having Maxey recruit Wiseman and other great players in the 2019 class is a major positive for the Cats.


Tyrese Maxey actually committed to Kentucky almost three weeks ago

Tyrese Maxey actually committed to Kentucky almost three weeks ago

The news is finally official: Tyrese Maxey will be a Kentucky Wildcat in the fall of 2019.

Kentucky has been the favorite for the five-star point guard throughout the spring; in fact, Maxey admitted on his USA Today High School Sports blog that he actually committed to Kentucky almost three weeks ago before the first live period of the EYBL circuit.

Kentucky has been my dream school ever since I can remember. I’ve wanted to play for Coach Cal since I saw him coach Derrick Rose. He does a great job of coaching guards and getting them to the next level. It’s a dream come true.

Man I can’t tell y’all how glad I am to have this secret out. The reality is that I committed before the first live period a couple of weeks ago.

Maxey said he called Calipari late one night to tell him, but Cal was asleep, so he got a call back the next morning.

I was sitting around with my parents late one night at my house and I told me them, “I’m ready to do this!” So I called Coach Cal and he was sleep. Haha!

So he called me early the next morning when I was at school and asked me, “Are you ready to do this?”

Awesome. Maxey confirmed he will stay in the 2019 class because he wants to enjoy his senior year of high school, a decision that especially makes sense given Kentucky’s loaded backcourt this fall. Also, he filmed his commitment video the other day and his sister almost gave it away when she kept her Kentucky shirt on when she went to McDonalds. LOL.

Do yourself a favor and go read Maxey’s blog. He is very, very happy to be a Kentucky Wildcat.

[The Tyrese Maxey Blog: This is why I chose Kentucky and why I’m staying in 2019]


KSR Live: TJ Walker on Tyrese Maxey’s Commitment

KSR recruiting analyst TJ Walker is going live on our Facebook page to break down Tyrese Maxey’s commitment to Kentucky. Watch below or on KSR’s page on the Facebook app:


5 Things to Know: Tyrese Maxey

This afternoon at 4 p.m. CT, Tyrese Maxey will announce his college decision via a video on social media. KSR have complete coverage of the announcement, but until then, here are five things you need to know about the five-star point guard, who could either join Kentucky in the fall or for the 2019-20 season.

Tyrese Maxey
Guard | 6-3 | 185 lbs.
Garland, Tx. | South Garland
AAU: RM5 Elite
ESPN No. 14 | 3 SG Top247 No. 17 | 2 PG
Rivals No. 14 | 3 SG 247 Comp. No. 13 | 2 PG

1. The latest buzz suggests he’ll stay in the 2019 class

Maxey told reporters a few weeks ago he’s only a few classes away from being able to play college basketball this fall, but the latest buzz suggests he’ll stay in the 2019 class. Given the bevy of guards on next year’s roster, that’s probably the best scenario for both Kentucky and Maxey; however, the Texas native made it clear he’s not afraid of competition when asked about possibly fighting for playing time on Kentucky’s roster this fall.

“Challenge is really good for competition,” Maxey said, via Chris Fisher. “That’s why we play basketball.”

That alone makes me like him.

2. Kentucky is the overwhelming favorite

The Cats own 92% of the picks in Maxey’s Crystal Ball, including that of recruiting guru Evan Daniels, who cemented his pick for Kentucky back on April 21 after Maxey hosted Cal on two in-home visits and raved about the possibility of sharing a backcourt with UK commit Ashton Hagans, who is expected to reclassify to 2018.

“I talked to Ashton a little bit. I hit him and told him good luck this weekend,” Maxey said, via Chris Fisher. “We both like to play defense and compete which would make us better in practice if we go at each other. But him being a really good passer and me being a good shooter and playing off each other, it could be special.”

In fact, Maxey went one step further, calling himself and Hagans a “duo” in a conversation with Kyle Tucker.

“We call ourselves The Duo,” he said, pausing a beat before correction himself: “A possible duo. I’m sorry. Trying not to laugh.”

Should Maxey stay in the 2019 class, there’s an equally exciting possibility of him teaming up with another star…

3. James Wiseman wants to play with him

The coveted big man was asked which players he wants to team up with at the next level and Maxey and Hagans were the two he named. With Kentucky and Memphis locked in a race for Wiseman, having Maxey go ahead and commit for the 2019-20 season could be the extra incentive Wiseman needs to turn down his former coach Penny Hardaway.

4. Calipari thinks he’s a combination of Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray

Cal likened 2019 guard Jalen Lecque to John Wall, but sees a mixture of Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray in Maxey for his ability to play on or off the ball. That versatility will help Maxey adapt should he reclassify to join a guard-heavy roster this fall.

5. He’s clutch

Why does Calipari want Maxey? Check out how he cooly clears the lane to go at the rim, and, after seeing the double-team, pulls up and sinks the game-winning jumper with a hand in his face.

Come on down and join the party, Tyrese.


Immanuel Quickley “excited to play with whoever” at UK

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Immanuel Quickley was a special guest on America’s fastest-growing podcast, The Aaron Torres Podcast, on the extremely popular Kentucky Sports Radio podcast network. We shared Aaron’s new episode last night, but in listening to it this morning, I decided one of Quickley’s comments needed to be written here on the internet’s best sports website, Kentucky-Sports-Radio-dot-com.

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E43: Immanuel Quickley

It came when Aaron asked Quickley about the potential logjam in the UK backcourt next season. To my knowledge, it’s the first time we’ve heard from Quickley since Calipari began adding new guards from the 2019 class. He said he’s excited to play with whoever ends up on the court beside him and he trusts Cal to make it work:

“I’m really excited to play with whoever is there, honestly. I think it just speaks to Coach Cal because he’s pretty much had teams like this already. There was the year where they had the Harrison twins, Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker, and he got them all to play together and they reached the Final Four. And pretty much all of them are in the league so it just speaks to his ability to coach and to get guys to play together.”

It’s good to hear he’s staying positive as Cal tries to add more pieces, considering he could be skipped over for playing time.

He also gave scouting reports on his three classmates: Keldon Johnson, EJ Montgomery and Tyler Herro.

Give it a listen here.


Maxey Watch: What about the other schools?

Maxey Watch: What about the other schools?

All signs point to Tyrese Maxey committing to Kentucky later today. It’s happening. The five-star point guard out of Texas will pledge his commitment to the University of Kentucky in a video he will release to the internets around 5 p.m. (or 4 p.m. Maxey time). It’ll be the Wildcats in the end when the announcement is made. If it’s not, I’ll eat a t-shirt of the other school on Facebook Live.

But what about those other schools on Maxey’s list? He is, allegedly, considering Michigan State, Texas, Michigan and Oklahoma State, too. I’ve not heard much about any of those schools throughout his recruitment. In fact, I didn’t know he was looking at any of them until he named his final five on Twitter last week.

So why are they in contention (allegedly) for his commitment? It’s hard to say. But here’s his connection to each one:

Michigan State

Tom Izzo visited Maxey back in December, followed by a follow-up visit from a Michigan State assistant in January. Izzo was also in to see him back in the fall, shortly after he offered.

Maxey earned his scholarship offer from the Spartans after he took an unofficial visit to East Lansing back in August. Michigan State was on him early in his junior year, but the buzz has died down since then.

Michigan

Maxey also visited Michigan, the same weekend he was at Michigan State. He cited the two programs’ history and successful coaches behind the reason for visiting the state he had never seen before. He mentioned former Michigan guard Trey Burke (2013 national champion) as another reason for visiting the Wolverines, but it’s very unlikely he’ll follow Burke’s path to Ann Arbor.

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State was one of the first schools Maxey visited, back in October of 2016 when he was only a sophomore in high school. He visited again in the fall of his junior year, but the Cowboys saw a head coaching change from Brad Underwood to Mike Boynton in the middle of those two years of recruiting him.

Texas

Shaka Smart has been on Maxey as much as anyone. He gave Maxey one of his first offers late in Maxey’s sophomore year and has maintained steady contact with his in-state target all the way up through this past spring recruiting period. Maxey recently said he loves the Texas coaching staff and it would be nice to play for his home state school. So if any of the four can upset Kentucky, it’s probably Texas. But don’t count on it.


Today on KSR: Tyrese Maxey Decision Day

It’s about that time, time for Tyrese Maxey to make a college decision.  The No. 2 point guard in the 2019 recruiting class will make his announcement this afternoon at 4:00 CT (5:00 ET).

Maxey’s final five schools are Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Michigan, Texas and Kentucky, but all signs point to the Cats.  The greater question is, will he stay in the 2019 class?  Rumors of reclassifying have been circulating for weeks.  What’s best for Maxey?  T.J. Walker broke down the pros and cons.

The sensational scorer could be destined to wear Kentucky blue before the day is done.  Stay tuned to KSR for complete coverage throughout the day.

BBNBA Eliminated from Playoffs 

Thirteen Kentucky Wildcats entered the NBA Playoffs.  After last night, there are none.

Anthony Davis’ New Orleans Pelicans were the final piece to fall.  The Golden State Warriors’ dynasty was dominant, defeating New Orleans 113-104.  Davis had an incredible performance — 34 points, 19 rebounds — but he could not do enough to extend the second round series.  Rajon Rondo added 7 assists and Darius Miller scored 5 points in the loss.

With the Pelicans’ elimination and Dwane Casey’s Toronto Raptors stuck behind the LeBron curtain, the Conference Finals remain elusive for the Kentucky Wildcats.  If only Boogie did not get hurt…

The NBA Highlight of the Night

Actually came from the NBA on TNT.  A conversation about the Toronto Raptors turned into a shouting match between Shaq and Chuck.  It featured at least two or three moments that will make you say, “DAYUM!”

No-No

Former Kentucky pitcher James Paxton threw the sixth no-hitter in Seattle Mariners’ history last night in his home country of Canada.  Paxton is just the second Canadian to throw a no-hitter.  He accomplished the feat with less than 100 pitches.

Paxton is on fire.  Through the last two games he’s struck out 23 batters.  Last night he ended by throwing three fastballs.  His penultimate pitch was 100 mph, the fastest he’s thrown a baseball all season.  Somebody let Paxton into his zone and the BBN could not be more proud.

Bat Cats Beat IU

It was a close call, but the Cats survived to get a crucial, resume-boosting road win against Indiana.  The Hoosiers stranded six men on base in the final four innings, including a bases-loaded groundout in the seventh, to help Kentucky survive with a 7-6 win.

Luke Heyer was The Real MVP.  The senior slugger drove in three runs off a double and his 17th home run of the season.  He now leads the SEC in home runs and RBIs.  Not too shabby.

You think this guy is a Louisville fan?

Happy Allergy SZN

The pollen is fighting back in New Jersey.


Should UK want Maxey in 2018 or 2019?

Jon Lopez | Nike

We’re still over 24 hours away from Tyrese Maxey’s decision and there isn’t a great detail of suspense surrounding the Texan’s college choice. Instead, the speculation centers around when Maxey will play college basketball.

Over a week ago, a surprise twist in Maxey’s recruitment would seem to indicate that he would be playing college basketball in November. Maxey told Ben Roberts he was just two classes shy from making the jump and it was something he was strongly considering.

But now experts are predicting that Maxey stays in the class of 2019, although no one seems to know for sure. And while folks close to Maxey may know his ultimate goals and plans, odds are Maxey hasn’t made a final decision and may not make a final call for a few months.

So, assuming the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Maxey, who’s ranked the No. 2 point guard in the class of 2019 by 247 Sports, is truly undecided let’s weigh the pros and cons of staying in 2019 and moving to 2018.

Pros of Moving to the Class of 2018:

He gets to the pros faster. This is a big one personally for Maxey. He turns 18 in November so if he were a one-and-done he’d be turning 19 at the start of the NBA season in 2019-2020. That’s young, but it’s not crazy young. He’d physically be ready and start making millions a year earlier.

– Weak NBA PG class. Maxey could theoretically be the first point guard taken in the 2019 Draft. We still need to see who officially stays and goes for the 2018 NBA Draft, but the 2019 NBA PG class isn’t great. Darius Garland may be the first PG taken.

– UK could use him. Kentucky’s backcourt will be loaded next season, but the Cats seem to have a blend of athletic players and set-shooters. Maxey would be give UK a burst of athleticism while being able to score from anywhere. With the exception of Ashton Hagans and Jemarl Baker (injury) we know what to expect from Quade Green, Immanuel Quickley and Tyler Herro. Maxey could be a superstar for the Cats.

– Depth. UK certainly seems to have enough depth at the guard position for 2018-2019, but you truly never know what will take place during the season. Will everyone stay out of trouble? Will there be another injury? Could a player transfer out? You don’t expect any three of those things to happen but they have caused issues in previous seasons.

– Summer Trip: Summer trips are huge for player development and team building. Maxey getting to be coached by college coaches and play against grown men starting in August would be good for his overall game.

Sending a Message: UK fans were in panic mode after Duke landed Zion Williamson a few months ago, but if the Cats had Maxey and Hagans reclassify UK would have the best class in college basketball. Calipari doesn’t like to be out shined and this would be a clear message to all of college basketball, and recruits, that he is still the best recruiter in the game.

Cons of moving to 2018:

Loaded Backcourt: I’ve touched on this but if Maxey were to move to the class of 2018 and commit to UK he would wouldn’t just be competing for a starting spot, he would need to compete to be the first, second, or third guy off the bench. Maxey isn’t the type of kid that wants anything handed to him, but things would be crowded.

– Missing his Senior Year: While there’s no denying the college game would be better for his development, missing out on your senior year of high school is a bummer for any kid. You look forward to that moment for most of your life and it can be hard on some kids to leave town just like that.

– When Would he Arrive?: Maxey has said he’s two classes shy of being able to make the jump, but how long would those classes take? What if he it would take until August and he would miss the summer trip? If that were the case it may not be worth it for Maxey. He would be behind several other players in terms of knowing the system and physically he’d be behind, too.

– Development: While the earlier Maxey gets to UK the better for his development, he likely wouldn’t be a top five pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. However, if he continues on the path he’s on he could find himself in that position in the 2020 NBA Draft. If draft position really matters to Maxey it may be best to stay.

When Would UK Really Need Him?: Having Maxey in 2018-2019 would be an abundance of riches for Calipari and UK, but would the Cats be better served being patient and using Maxey for the 2019-2020 season? Maxey would join D.J. Jeffries as 2019 commitments and would continue to put the full-court press on James Wiseman. Plus, having Maxey in the ears of Vernon Carey and other elite 2019 players will only help. Maxey and Jeffries could start a super class that could result in two great seasons for UK.

– Making Other Guards Unhappy: Tyler Herro had a quote saying the Cats had plenty of guards when Ashton Hagans committed and mentioned reclassifying. If the Cats added Hagans and Maxey would that rub Green, Quickley, Herro or Baker the wrong way? Could it disrupt chemistry? It only takes one player to be truly unhappy to cause locker room drama. UK will want to avoid that at all costs.

Those are some of the cases for and against Maxey joining UK for the 2018-2019 season. What is your preference?


Bill Self may have an edge with several UK targets

Last summer John Calipari had the benefit of being around and coaching several elite recruiting targets for several weeks and this time it’s Bill Self’s turn.

The Kansas head coach, along with Wake Forest’s Danny Manning and Dayton’s Anthony Grant, will coach the USA U18 team this summer in the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship from June 10-16 in St. Catharines, Canada. Last summer Calipari coached the U19 team that traveled to Egypt.

There’s no denying this can be a major advantage for a collegiate head coach and while it didn’t work out well for Calipari, it will be worth watching how Self builds relationships with some of the best players in high school and college basketball.

32 targets will compete from May 31st to June 2nd for 12 roster spots. Several UK targets are in the mix and will be considered to play for Self:

Tyrese Maxey (2019)

Cole Anthony (2019)

Bryan Antoine (2019)

Scottie Lewis (2019)

Armando Bacot (2019- UK hasn’t shown a great deal of interest)

Keion Brookes (2019)

Matthew Hurt (2019)

Jalen Leque (2019)

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (2019)

Hunter Dickinson (2020)

Some of the players listed are major Kentucky targets and some may have just heard from the Cats a time or two, but all will be coached by Self for at least a few days, at most nearly a month. Also, former UK targets Quentin Grimes and Zion Williamson may participate in the camp, so Self will get a chance to have a better idea what to expect from Grimes.

Last year Calipari had a camp that included uncommitted stars Bol Bol, Romeo Langford, Brandon McCoy, Louis King, Immanuel Quickley, Cameron Reddish and Mitchell Robinson. The Cats only landed Quickley, who was a strong Kentucky lean before the games. UK commits/players Kevin Knox, P.J. Washington and Hamidou Diallo were also in the camp with the latter two making the final roster.

It didn’t work out for Calipari and we can only hope for the same result with Self.

To read more click here.


Ashton Hagans Highlights

Photo by adidas

You all don’t need me to tell you, but Ashton Hagans is good. Really good. And he’s still (currently) a junior in high school.

You will want to watch this video of him balling out early in the spring AAU circuit.

One thing to remember when watching the 6-foot-4, 190-pound point guard from Georgia is that he’s obviously more comfortable with the ball in his hands. How will that work with Quade Green, Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro and Jemarl Baker? Well, it may not be a bad thing.

We know Green can play off the ball, and Quickley, too, if you watched him play for Calipari last summer on the Team USA U19 team. Herro and Baker are shooting guards that were brought to UK to play off the ball, so that’s not a concern. Assuming Hagans moves to the class of 2018 he may be the “true point guard” while others wait for him to dish.