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Vernon Carey Jr. on James Wiseman: I wouldn’t be surprised if we go to school together”

We talked several times on KSR about a dream scenario of Vernon Carey Jr. and James Wiseman forming a DeMarcus Cousins/Anthony Davis v2 frontcourt at Kentucky in 2019.

Could James Wiseman and Vernon Carey Jr. become Davis and Cousins v.2?

This weekend, 2019 No. 2 overall prospect Carey Jr. didn’t do much to shut down those dreams for the Big Blue Nation…

In an interview with Kyle Tucker of SEC Country, Carey said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if he teamed up with Wiseman in college.

“Me and James talk a lot, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we go to school together,” said Carey, “He’s going to do the best thing for him and I’ll do the best thing for me. [If we play together], I feel like it would just be interchangeable.”

The 6-foot-10, 245-pound center also said he talks to former Wildcat big man Bam Adebayo on a regular basis, who tells him Kentucky is the school to go to if he has NBA dreams.

“[Adebayo] says if you’re trying to go to the league after your first year, that’s the school to go to. Coach Cal is just going to help you develop,” Carey said. “I feel like if you want to go one-and-done, then you just go there.”

Once again, Carey confirmed that John Calipari is in consistent contact with him, making the Brow/Boogie pitch to both he and Wiseman.

“[Calipari] texts me every other day,” Carey said. “He just says look at Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, just take parts of their game and add it to mine. It feels pretty special for me to get recognized and kind of compared to them.”

Wiseman has said in the past that he would love to play with not only Carey Jr., but Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey as well. Hagans is already committed to Kentucky and likely reclassifying to 2018, and Maxey is likely following suit very soon. Four elite prospects, all four gaining massive steam to Kentucky (or already committed).

For the entire SEC Country article with more quotes and analysis, head on over here.

WATCH: Future Cat Ashton Hagans’ weekend highlights

Photo by adidas

What did we learn about future Cat Ashton Hagans in this weekend’s Adidas Gauntlet in Atlanta? That he’s a pass-first point guard. All of the recruiting experts that watched Hagans praised his passing, including Evan Daniels:

Hagans only had two points in Game Elite’s game on Saturday, but racked up 11 assists after turning in 10 assists the night before. Enjoy the highlight from Ball is Life:

Hagans is still a 2019 recruit, but told reporters he still has a 50/50 chance of reclassifying to 2018. He also reiterated that Kentucky is his dream school.

“To be honest, that was the offer I had been waiting on,” Hagans told The Daily Tribune News. “It’s my dream school, and I know coach Cal and his staff can get me to where I’m trying to go and reach my goals. That’s why I’m going to Kentucky is I’m trying to take my game to the next step.”

While Hagans was dishing out assists in Atlanta, fellow five-star 2019 guard Tyrese Maxey was doing the same at the EYBL in Indianapolis. ICYMI, Maxey told reporters that he and Hagans plan to be “the duo” at Kentucky:

Tyrese Maxey hopes to make school/reclassification decision “in the next week”

Bring it on.

[The Daily Tribune News]

D.J. Jeffries Reaffirms UK Commitment and is Recruiting James Wiseman


Penny Mania is sweeping the city of Memphis, but D.J. Jeffries isn’t buying it.

The tenth-ranked small forward in the 2019 recruiting class was John Calipari’s first commitment in the class.  Since he made the decision in March, his former AAU coach was hired to lead Memphis’ basketball program.  Even though he has plenty of connections to what could be considered his hometown school, Jeffries is sticking with the Wildcats.

“[Penny Mania] is crazy. I hear it and stuff, but I just try to ignore it, because I know I’m going to be at Kentucky. I hope the best for Penny,” Jeffries told SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker at this weekend’s Nike EYBL event in Indianapolis. “It’s not going to sway me. I’m going to stay at Kentucky.”

One person who could be swayed by Memphis’ Penny Mania is James Wiseman.

The top-ranked junior in America is teammates with Jeffries and played for Team Penny prior to Hardaway’s rise to the collegiate ranks.  Once a lock to Kentucky, now it’s essentially a toss-up between the Wildcats and the Tigers.  Jeffries is doing what he can to convince Wiseman that Kentucky is the best possible collegiate destination.

“I’m trying to work on James,” Jeffries said. “It might be his dream school, because you know, Coach Cal knows what’s best for kids. He’s a top player, he wants to go one-and-done, and Cal’s got a good system to do that, so I think it’s somewhere he would want to go.”

Wiseman has been completely surrounded by Memphis buzz, but John Calipari will not yield.  At least one staff member has watched the Bluff City Legends in every EYBL contest.  When they aren’t watching, Jeffries is talking.

See what Jeffries did against R.J. Barrett last year on the EYBL. 

[SEC Country]

WATCH: Tyrese Maxey Sinks EYBL Game-Winner

Jon Lopez | Nike

Tyrese Maxey made waves on and off the court this weekend at the Nike EYBL in Indianapolis.

He started the weekend strong.  With a slip of the tongue on Friday night, he let the cat out of the bag by describing himself and Ashton Hagans as “the duo.”  A week after giving unsure statements about his future, he told reporters he’d know within a week if he was reclassifying (and committing).  Since then, all of the buzz has been, “Maxey will be a Kentucky Wildcat.”

While the chatter consumed the sidelines, Maxey put on a show in-between the lines.

Saturday morning’s game against Marvin Bagley’s former team, the Phoenix Phamily, came down to the wire. With the game tied at 64 with 17 seconds to play, Maxey cleared out the lane and attacked the rim.  When a double-team came, the combo guard pulled up at the elbow to drain the contested game-winner with less than a second to play.

Another angle (with more highlights of his 24-point performance):

After he nailed the shot, Maxey said, “I don’t need the ball screen.  That’s money.”

Maxey was money on more than one occasion at the Session 2 of the Nike EYBL.  He closed the session by scoring 34 points on 12-of-22 shooting.  He added on 4 rebounds and 3 steals in a four-point overtime victory.

Maxey averaged 22.75 points per game with UK’s coaches on hand in Indianapolis.  Through two weekends he has the second-highest single-game scoring performance and is fifth in scoring (23.7 ppg.) while shooting 52 percent from the field.

He proved that he’s one of the best prep performers in the country.  We’ll find out in the next week or two if Tyrese Maxey will in fact be a Kentucky Wildcat this fall.

Could Kentucky Poach One of Chris Mack’s First Big Recruiting Targets?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Now that all of the dust has seemingly settled around the UofL basketball program, Chris Mack is looking to establish himself in the 2019 recruiting trenches.

While they were still at Xavier, Mack and assistant coach Luke Murray were eyeing 4-star 6’10” forward Aidan Igiehon out of Woodmere, NY. Now, the tandem are trying to coax Igiehon to Louisville. But as Mack is going to find out, recruiting can be a little more contentious in the Bluegrass. The Courier-Journal’s Jon Hale notes that the big man is now drawing attention from the blue bloods:

“I’m hearing from pretty much everybody in the country,” Igiehon said Saturday after his AAU squad, Team Rio, completed its third game of the weekend at the Under Armour Association event. “Duke and Kentucky is into it now. They basically wanted to see me this past live period. I’m looking to cut my list down soon.”

Mentioning “Duke and Kentucky” usually marks the end of the recruiting conversation, but Igiehon is still high on Louisville’s message:

“What I like about Louisville right now is the coaching staff,” he said. “Coach Mack and Coach Luke Murray basically turned a mediocre program like Xavier into a top 10 team. You look at that and they’re in a bigger setting, a bigger program at the University of Louisville. They could do some big things.”


With recent rumblings indicating a real competition between UK and Memphis for the services of no. 1 2019 player James Wiseman, maybe Coach Cal is looking further down the board for a backup big man. Or perhaps Cal just wants to send an early message to Chris Mack that the recruiting trail is his turf. Less likely, but possible nonetheless.



UK Showing Interest in 2020 Guard R.J. Hampton


Now that Coach Cal has pretty much singled out all of his backcourt targets in the 2019 class, he seems to be moving on to researching 2020, as evidenced by his increased interest in 5-star combo guard R.J. Hampton.

Hampton is the top prospect from Texas in the 2020 class, and according to SEC Country’s Joe Mussatto, Calipari and company took a trip to the Lone Star state last weekend to see the 17 year old in action:

Kentucky’s interest in 5-star 2020 guard R.J. Hampton has picked up in the last week. John Calipari and company watched him play last weekend in Dallas, and he expects a member of Kentucky’s staff to be on hand in Indianapolis for his game Saturday night or Sunday morning.

“They started getting in contact kind of heavy last week with my dad since he’s the AAU coach,” Hampton, who plays on the Under Armour circuit, said.

[SEC Country]

At 6’4″, 170 pounds, the kid certainly has the physical traits Cal likes to see in his backcourt. As of now, Hampton doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky, and he was just offered by Duke 3 days ago. So we may have yet another Wildcat/Blue Devil recruiting battle on our hands.

Here are the highlights from the game last weekend with Coach Cal in the stands:


Today on KSR: Recruiting updates, Rubber matches, Game 7’s

Happy Sunday, BBN!

It’s a quiet morning in the Bluegrass, but with how things have been going lately, you never know when breaking news could hit. So, before anything crazy happens, here’s what you need to know to start your day:

Bat Cats Play for Redemption

The UK baseball team will be back in action this afternoon for the final game in their series against Missouri. The teams have split the series so far, with UK taking the first game 2-1 and Missouri claiming the second 14-11. Yes, 14-11. Check out Trey’s recap of yesterday’s high-scoring affair here.

Today’s game is slated for 1 p.m. at the Cliff. If you can’t make it to Lexington, tune into the SEC Network+ or 630 WLAP for full coverage.

UK Softball Feels the Same

The baseball team isn’t the only group of Wildcats playing a decisive Game 3 today: the No. 18 Kentucky softball team takes on No. 6 Tennessee today at 1:30. The Cats took Game one, 9-8 in eight innings. But the Vols came back strong Saturday, earning a 8-1 victory over UK.

Only the top 12 teams in the conference qualify for the upcoming SEC tournament, and the Cats – currently sitting at No. 10 – need a win to stay in the fight until selection next weekend. Today’s game is set for 1:30 p.m.

Recruiting News

It seems like there’s new scoop from the recruiting trail everyday. What will today bring? Well…

It’s the final day of the Nike EYBL tournament in Indianapolis. James Wiseman and D.J. Jeffries will both hit the floor, plus recently-offered 2020 player Scottie Barnes. Tyrese Maxey, whose pending decision has been generating a lot of buzz recently, is also in attendance. Assistant coaches Kenny Payne and Tony Barbee are watching all of the weekend’s action unfold.

Joel Justus is in Atlanta at the Adidas Gauntlet Series. He’ll be keeping an eye on 2020 5-star players Matthew Hurt and Jalen Green, among others.

We’ll have plenty of coverage throughout the day as updates become available.

Bledsoe vs. Rozier update

If you’ve been following the Eric Bledsoe-Terry Rozier drama, you know the media has made it seem like they really don’t get along. And, maybe they don’t. But following last night’s Celtics Game-7 win, they tried to clear the air.

“I mean, it’s the playoffs. What do you expect, us to be out there shaking hands and giving out hugs the whole time?” Bledsoe said. “That [stuff] ain’t going to happen. He had a hell of a series, man, I got to take my hat off to him.”

Part of the drama started when Rozier referred to “Drew Bledsoe,” leading the former Cat to insist he didn’t even know who Rozier was. Last night, Boston fans had a little fun at Bledsoe’s expense.

On the court, both point guards had an excellent night. Bledsoe finished with 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting. But Rozier had the slight edge, finishing with 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting plus nine assists.

Think what you will, but I like to think it all started because of Kentucky-Louisville.

A Big Night for Lebron

Whether you love him or hate him, I’d be willing to bet most of you – at least the NBA fans – will be watching Lebron James and the Cavs take on the Pacers today for Game 7. There’s a lot on the line for Lebron, who’s never lost a first-round playoffs series. He’ll need another monster game tonight, but he’s got the momentum: in the Cavs’ three postseason wins, he’s averaging 40.7 points on 61 percent shooting, 11.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists.

If the Pacers come out with the win, today could very well be the last time we see Lebron in a Cleveland uniform… what do you think?

Tip is set for 1 p.m. and will air on ABC.

That’s all I have for right now. Have a great morning and, as always, go Cats!


KyKy Tandy wants offer from Kentucky


The University of Cincinnati has emerged as the leader in the KyKy Tandy recruitment. However, according to Joe Musatto of SEC Country the 4-star guard wants an offer from Kentucky. 

“It’d be a blessing if they offered me,” Tandy said. “I’m from Kentucky, so usually Kentucky kids don’t get that offer. I’ve been working my butt off and hopefully I’ll get that offer.”

Tandy averaged 30 points per game during his junior year at University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville, Ky. He’s currently playing for Team Thad on the Under Armour circuit and averaging 13 points per game.

Tandy has offers from Cincinnati, Florida, Iowa State, Kansas State, New Mexico State, Oklahoma and Tennessee. But no Kentucky.

“All of them basically said the same thing but I really like Cincinnati because they really talk about life and what really happens when you get on a college campus,” Tandy said.

Coach Cal and Joel Justus saw Tandy play in the 2nd Region Championship in early March. They haven’t lost touch.

“They’re still texting me a lot,” Tandy said. “They’re supposed to come and see me play soon, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

It’s been a while since an in-state talent committed to Kentucky. The last players were Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins. I hope Cal will offer, so finger crossed.

[Kentucky basketball: In-state star KyKy Tandy still hoping for offer from John Calipari’s Cats]

James Wiseman wants to play with Tyrese Maxey and Ashton Hagans

IG: bigticket_j13

John Calipari’s top target for the class of 2019 wants to team up with two other (likely) Wildcats.

In an interview with Kyle Tucker of SEC Country and Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog, No. 1 center James Wiseman said he wants to play college basketball with both Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey.

“I’d say Tyrese Maxey,” he said in the media session today. “And I’d say Ashton Hagans.”

Hagans is already committed to Kentucky, and when he gets his academic situation finalized in June, he will almost certainly move up to the class of 2018. As for Maxey, he will be announcing next week where he’ll be going to school and whether or not he’ll be moving up to 2018.

“I think I’ll be able to figure that out in a week or so,” Maxey told Tucker yesterday afternoon. “Probably next week, I’ll be able to come to a conclusion what I’m going to do. Academically I’m fine. I take my classes, I’m a pretty good student, so I’m actually in a pretty good place for that. But I just want to see what’s best for my family and best for my future. I’m ready to get that decision made.”

Barring a surprise, both Hagans and Maxey will be suiting up for Kentucky next season.

As for Wiseman, the 6-foot-11 center and top Wildcat target also mentioned he would be willing to play with Vernon Carey Jr. the No. 2 prospect in the class of 2019. John Calipari has been selling each of them on playing together at Kentucky in a similar style to Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins in New Orleans. Wiseman is a long, athletic rim protector like Davis, while Carey Jr. is a bully-ball big man with elite post-moves, similar to Cousins.

Wiseman has said on multiple occasions he will not be reclassifying to 2018, but would that change if the two players he wants to play with the most move up? If it were to happen, the Cats would easily be the deepest and most talented team in all of college basketball. It’s a dream scenario for Kentucky.

If not, I would take the most dominant frontcourt in the nation in 2019, too.

The Cats are in pretty solid shape.

Kentucky offers 2020 five-star forward N’Faly Dante

PHOTO: Draft Express

Just one day after extending an offer to sophomore five-star forward Scottie Barnes, the Kentucky staff offered their second scholarship in the class of 2020.

According to recruiting analyst Andrew Slater, 2020 five-star center N’Faly Dante now holds an offer from the Cats.

The 6-foot-11 center plays for Sunrise Christian in Wichita, Kansas on the Nike circuit. As a sophomore, Dante averaged 13 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists this season and is considered one of the fastest-rising prospects in the nation. Out of Mali, Dante earned a spot on the World Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit in early April, and is averaging a near-double-double in the EYBL season thus far at nearly 17 points and nine rebounds per contest.

He even earned All-EYBL First-Team honors last weekend in Dallas after averaging 18.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and two blocks per contest on nearly 73-percent shooting from the field.

Dante, the No. 10 recruit in the class of 2020 according to 247 Sports, also holds offers from Kansas, Oklahoma State, LSU, and St. John’s, among others.

Check out his sophomore season highlight tape:

John Calipari and his Kentucky coaching staff rarely offer players this early in the process, usually waiting till junior year before extending scholarships. For them to extend offers to 2020 prospects on back-to-back days?

Coach Cal isn’t playing any games.

PHOTO: @CityOfPalmsBKB

Jamal Mashburn Jr. wants to hear from Kentucky, play with “the best in the nation”

PHOTO: @CityOfPalmsBKB

At 6-foot, 160-pounds, former Kentucky great Jamal Mashburn’s son is considered a consensus four-star shooting guard and a top-100 sophomore in the nation, and his pure jumper and scoring ability is bringing his stock up in a major way.

Last weekend at the Under Armour Association in Dallas, Jamal Mashburn Jr. put on a show in front of several college basketball coaches and analysts.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. wants to follow in father’s footsteps, puts on a show at UA Association

We talked last week about Mashburn Sr. post-basketball career as a major businessman, where he now owns over 80 franchises, including nearly 40 Outback Steakhouses and over 30 Papa John’s stores. The former Kentucky star’s son is hoping to follow in his footsteps by thriving off the floor as much as on.

He reportedly maintains a 3.7 GPA, takes entrepreneurship courses, and hopes to work hard enough to get into Harvard.

“One of my goals is to have my grades be good enough for Harvard,” Mashburn Jr. told Walter Villa of USA Today. “Injuries can happen, and one day the ball is going to stop dribbling. But I want to have longevity as far as my mind.”

And like his father on the court, Mashburn Jr. wants to play with the best in the nation when he gets to college, specifically naming Kentucky as a school he wants to hear from.

“One of my goals is to play for the best destination and the best spot for me to get exposure because obviously I want to be a pro,” he told Joe Mussatto of SEC Country. “I wanna hear from Duke, Kentucky — all the big-name schools.”

Before Rick Pitino was fired at Louisville, Mashburn Jr. openly favored the Cardinals and said he wanted to play for the same coach his father did. In fact, he told Mussatto he still keeps in contact with the former Louisville head coach.

“I had a strong relationship with Rick Pitino and I still do,” Mashburn Jr. said. “He still keeps in contact with me to this day. That’s a big part about it. Even though he’s not part of Louisville, he still keeps in contact. That’s what I love about Rick Pitino.”

Though he claims his father is his trainer and mentor, the 2020 four-star shooting guard says Mashburn will not be steering him to Kentucky or any other school. He wants his son to “create his own path.”

“He wants me to create my own path and create my own journey,” Mashburn Jr. said. “Whatever’s best for me, that’s good enough.”

For more on Mashburn Jr.’s recruitment and time in Indianapolis this weekend for the Under Armour event, check out the entire SEC Country article here.

Tyrese Maxey hopes to make school/reclassification decision “in the next week”

Jon Lopez | Nike

We could be hearing news on 2019 five-star guard Tyrese Maxey in the very, very near future.

And it sounds like he’ll be joining Kentucky this season.

According to’s David Sisk and other reporters on the scene in Indianapolis for the Nike EYBL event, Maxey said he will be making a decision on both when and where he will be attending college “in the next week or so.”

In fact, Kyle Tucker of SEC Country said Maxey may have let the cat out of the bag this afternoon, calling he and Kentucky commit Ashton Hagans “The Duo” before correcting himself.

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

But he couldn’t help himself. He grinned as if he’d just let the cat out of the bag. That he’s leaning heavily toward picking the Wildcats is no surprise. He’s long raved about UK and its point guard whisperer of a head coach, John Calipari.

And if he does commit to Kentucky, Maxey told Tucker he is not worried about competing for playing time in a potentially loaded backcourt of he, Quade Green, Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro, and Jemarl Baker.

“No, sir. Coach Cal is really good at playing multiple guards at multiple positions,” he said. “That’s what he does.”

If you ask college basketball insider Andrew Slater, you can go ahead and chalk him up as a future Wildcat.


Photo by USA Basketball

Kentucky offers 2020 forward Scottie Barnes

Photo by USA Basketball

The first player in the 2020 class to land an offer from Kentucky? Five-star forward Scottie Barnes.

The Fort, Lauderdale, Florida native told Ben Roberts that Kenny Payne extended the offer a few days ago after the first weekend of the spring evaluation period. Usually, John Calipari likes to wait until players are juniors to give out scholarship offers, but in the wake of losing Zion Williamson, Cal seems to have changed his tactics.

“When you get an offer from one of those schools, it’s everybody’s dream,” Barnes told Roberts. “It just shows how much work you put in to the game. It just shows what your success is bringing.”

The 6’7” 175 lbs. Barnes is considered the seventh best player and the best small forward in the 2020 class by 247 Sports. He’s already got offers from home state Florida, Kansas, LSU, Miami, Oregon, and Syracuse.

[Herald Leader]

Scottie Barnes (2020)
Forward | 6-7 | 175 lbs.
Fort Lauderdale, FL | University School
AAU: Nike Team Florida
ESPN No. 5 | 2 PF Top247 No. 7 | 1 SF
Rivals No. 2 247 Comp.  No. 7 | 2 SF

Picks now split between Kentucky, Memphis for James Wiseman

Picks now split between Kentucky, Memphis for James Wiseman

IG: bigticket_j13

Kentucky remained the favorite for five-star big man James Wiseman even after his former coach Penny Hardaway took the job at Memphis. Now, recruiting experts see the race between Hardaway’s Memphis and John Calipari’s Kentucky as a toss-up.

The last eight picks in Wiseman’s 247 Sports Crystal Ball have been for the Tigers, including that of Jerry Meyer, who flipped his pick from Kentucky last week:

Why did Meyer flip his pick? He explained the decision to Ben Roberts.

“I just think the chances are better he goes to Memphis than Kentucky. It’s hard to quantify,” he told the Herald-Leader. “A lot of this, obviously, is connecting the dots. But it would be hard for me to see him not going to Memphis.”

Both Calipari and Hardaway conducted in-home visits with Wiseman last week, after which Hardaway explained the difference between his pitch and Cal’s on Jon Rothstein’s College Hoops Today podcast.

“That’s my thing with the top guys: if Kentucky’s a one-and-done school, then we’re a one-and-done school with the help of you getting to the point to where you want to get to with your game because we understand the game and we played the game,” Penny said. “That’s just our pitch.”

Wiseman and DJ Jeffries will be in action this weekend with the Bluff City Legends (formerly Team Penny) at the Nike EYBL. Calipari probably won’t be in attendance after undergoing minor surgery on Tuesday, but I’m sure Joel Justus, Kenny Payne, or Tony Barbee will make sure Kentucky is well represented.

For more of Meyer’s comments on Wiseman, head on over to the Herald-Leader.



WATCH: Hopkinsville’s KyKy Tandy Lights up the Under Armour Association


Kentucky fans love to see homegrown talent represent the Big Blue Nation.  KyKy Tandy could be the next instate star to don the blue and white.

Tandy’s play for University Heights propelled the Hopkinsville school to the Sweet 16.  Now in John Calipari’s crosshairs, he’s taken his talents to Team Thad on the Under Armour Association.  In the first weekend of play he shot 47 percent to lead his team in scoring with 16.25 points per game.  He also added 3.75 rebounds a game in three victories.

A scoring machine, you’ll see Tandy has no problem getting buckets.

Last weekend Tandy told Prep Circuit, “Iowa State, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Oklahoma and Kansas State have been reaching out to me the most.”  This weekend he’ll be in Indianapolis for round two of the Under Armour Association.