Basketball Recruiting News
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 11:50am
Move aside, James Wiseman; there’s a new No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class. According to Evan Daniels, five-star guard Anthony Edwards has reclassified from 2020 to 2019, and yes, he’s considering Kentucky.
“Kentucky is just a great school and a great program with a great fan base and stuff like that,” he told Daniels.
Edwards says he has offers from Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan State and North Carolina. He averaged 21 points and 6.1 rebounds on the Under Armour circuit last summer. He usurped Wiseman as the top player in the 2019 class in 247 Sports’ rankings, which Brian Snow said wasn’t even a debate.
Edwards has the ability to pull up from 25 feet and be a weapon shooting, he can attack off the rim and take advantage of smaller or slower defenders, and then also he is a good passer when the opportunity presents itself.
What is somewhat surprising about Edwards is how explosive he is as an athlete. Edwards has a thick frame that makes you think he is going to only be average as an athlete, but that is definitely not the case. He finishes well above the rim, can move his feet on defense, and has a dynamic first step.
Quite simply the scoring ability, and potential in every other aspect of the game, combined with the high motor he brings basically every time he is out on the court, makes Edwards the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2019.
Sounds like the ideal Calipari guard to me. Watch him work:
Good afternoon, folks. This post has been edited a couple times today with the news this morning. If you missed it, James Wiseman will announce his college decision on Tuesday at noon on ESPN and Vernon Carey Jr., will cut his list to three at some point this week. It’s going to be a busy week, so let’s get to the notes.
I posted what I’ve heard on Wiseman in another post and weighed the pros and cons of Kentucky’s chances. You can read that HERE. I have no current update from that post and what I was going to post today before the news is how strangely quiet UK has been over the last week, and really the last few weeks. A quiet confidence? Probably wishful thinking as I’m not sure Wiseman’s family has broken any news to UK (positive or negative). Someone did bring up another hypothetical that I didn’t put in the post above, maybe Wiseman is committing to UK tomorrow to give Penny plenty of time to look for other targets, but that seems unlikely. Wiseman plays former UK commit DJ Jeffries later Tuesday evening. If that were the case Memphis’ staff wouldn’t have been pumping their chest for the last month. I had one 2019 recruit tell me Wiseman is going to Memphis, but he said it’s “an educated guess.”
I’ll be watching tomorrow but I’m not expecting any surprises.
The best I have on Carey’s final three is that someone close to UK told me “anyone’s guess” which isn’t the bode of confidence UK fans were looking for in the recruiting world. I feel confident that Carey Jr. ends up at Michigan State or Duke (like most analysts). UK, UNC or Miami will get the last spot on that list, but folks on the AAU scene seem to believe that it would take something surprising for any of those three schools to overtake Carey’s top two.
I’m not ready to give up on UK’s chances of making the final three, but I haven’t heard anything to indicate it’s a lock. I’ll be anxiously awaiting like everyone else and it also seems like UK’s staff will be in the dark.
So, what’s next:
If Wiseman picks Memphis and Carey eliminates the Cats it’s going to be a blow and there’s no denying momentum is low for UK. However, no inside information, but Calipari will figure something out. Here are some options: UK still has other forward targets in 2019, we’ve been told that a grad-transfer is possible, keep an eye out on someone possibly reclassifying and I would almost guarantee that new names will emerge in 2019 and someone will decommit at some point in the next six months. A coach will get fired or something will happen.
But even though I believe UK will have viable bodies for next season this has still be a shocking development with bigs in 2019. Landing Wiseman, Carey or Stewart seemed like a must and there’s very little reason to believe any of the three will end up at UK. I would have never guessed that a couple months ago and always thought it was more likely that UK would end up with two of those players instead of none. I still think UK is the team to beat with Hurt, but as we’ve learn with the players above, being in the lead or near the lead months before a commitment doesn’t mean much (or anything). Hurt still hasn’t taken an official visit.
The troubling part is that UK wasn’t outworked in the Wiseman/Carey recruitments, especially Wiseman. Some schools have been recruiting Carey longer, but once UK started they’ve been recruiting him as hard as anyone. And while the Carey recruitment isn’t over it appears those two just weren’t buying what UK was selling. I’m guessing folks close to UK are as confused as you are as to what went wrong.
But UK will get bodies for next season. I’m not completely sold on E.J. Montgomery and Nick Richards leaving after this season. My guess as of today is that Montgomery will go, but he currently doesn’t have NBA teams salivating in what will be a loaded draft.
He officially visited UCLA over the weekend and that was his last official. He’s checked out his final five: Washington, UK, Texas, San Diego State and UCLA. How quiet the family has kept this recruitment has been pretty amazing. For nearly every official visit the media didn’t find out about the visit until a few days before. So, I have no idea when he plans on making a final decision or if he maybe will surprise everyone and sign in the next few days.
My guess is he won’t, but I’m not sure.
The only new piece of info/scuttlebutt I heard (from the AAU side of things) is that the dad likes UK/Washington, but others close to McDaniels would like to see him go to San Diego State where his brother currently stars. His brother is likely heading to the NBA Draft after this season, so it’s unlikely you’d see the two play together, but there seems to be a sense of keeping the McDaniels pipeline alive at SDSU. That same person also didn’t seem to love UK’s chances because McDaniels is a quiet kid and the lights may be too bright at Kentucky. I can confirm that McDaniels is a quiet kid but that’s the first I’ve heard that it could hurt UK’s chances.
We did report the near fight between McDaniels and UK commit Kahlil Whitney over the summer. I have zero inside info (as a matter of fact someone close to Whitney said there’s no truth to it) but I did wonder if Whitney refused to sign because UK is heavy with McDaniels. I doubt that to be the case, but if you’re looking for conspiracies there you go. I’d be completely shocked if Whitney didn’t end up at UK regardless of who Kentucky brings in at the wing or forward position.
And sadly that’s all I have for this week. I wish there was more but people have been mostly quiet during the signing period and I’m guessing UK’s taking a wait-and-see approach with how things shake out this week, but if the worst case scenario happens I’d be a little surprised if they didn’t try and reach out to some new names. If the Cats could land Hurt and another wing/forward, they would be fine for 2019-2020. You would still need a bruising center (grad-transfer) or Nick Richards to return, but a frontcourt like that would be serviceable enough to make a Final Four and compete for title. But the margin for error is razor thin.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 19th, 2018 @ 4:48pm
In the latest bad sign for Kentucky’s chances with James Wiseman, Evan Daniels just changed his pick. After sticking by his prediction of Kentucky for months, the recruiting guru now believes the Memphis Tigers will land the No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class.
Ugh. We’ll know for sure tomorrow at noon on SportsCenter.
Recruiting news is hot and heavy today. It was announced on Monday that James Wiseman will commit on Tuesday and Vernon Carey Jr. announced he will cut his list to three at some point this week. Both announcements don’t appear to be great news for the Cats.
Most experts expect the 6-foot-10, 275-pound Floridian to end up at Michigan State or Duke, so it seems likely the Spartans and Blue Devils will make up two of his final three, but can the Cats beat out the hometown Hurricanes to be the final team on his list?
Final 3 this week!!?
— Vernon Carey Jr. (@vernoncarey22) November 19, 2018
I’m not sure Kentucky or Miami can do enough to jump ahead of Duke or Michigan State, but it seems like it will be the Cats or the Canes as the third team on the list. Sometimes in recruitments you will see targets keep the hometown school listed as a favor to keep the program in the news. But other times it’s the opposite. If a recruit knows he’s not going to a school he does the school a favor by eliminating them so they can move to other targets.
If UK makes the final three they will fight to the bitter end to Carey Jr., so I wouldn’t worry about UK wasting time on Carey Jr., but obviously if Carey Jr., decides to include Miami then it’s all over for Kentucky. North Carolina is the other school Carey Jr., is considering.
The Cats could miss out on Wiseman and Carey this week, and that wouldn’t be good. Another recruitment where UK once had momentum is now just fighting to make the final three. Recruiting remains wild, folks.
By TJ Walker on ©November 19th, 2018 @ 11:17am
Five-star center James Wiseman will make his college announcement on Tuesday at noon on ESPN’s SportsCenter. The timing doesn’t seem like great news for the Cats, as Memphis has had the majority of the momentum for most of the fall.
The No. 1 prospect in the nation James Wiseman (@BigTicket_JW) will make his college decision LIVE on Tuesday in the noon ET SportsCenter on ESPN. His final five schools are Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis and Vanderbilt. pic.twitter.com/5TBbJCw3Fk
— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) November 19, 2018
Here are the pros and cons for UK’s chances with the No. 1 player in the 247 Sports 2019 rankings:
- 247 Sports’ Evan Daniels still is currently predicting Kentucky. Daniels has said that the UK picks comes off a piece of intel months ago, and he hadn’t heard anything lately to make him change his pick. While Memphis has had momentum for months Daniels hasn’t changed his pick, but he appears to be the only national analyst that has Wiseman going anywhere besides Memphis.
- Kentucky has recruited Wiseman harder than any recruit in the Calipari era. It doesn’t mean that Wiseman ends up at UK, but Kentucky was considered the heavy favorite for the majority of Wiseman’s recruitment. Only the last few months has momentum swung to Memphis.
- Wiseman’s family has made it a point to shoot down the “Memphis leads” narrative. His sister Tweeted me. His mom spoke with Daniels saying that the Tigers aren’t the leader. The family has tried to say for months that it isn’t a foregone conclusion that Wiseman ends up at Memphis. Maybe they were trying to extinguish the smoke that had everyone thinking Memphis, or maybe they genuinely wanted folks to know that Memphis may not be the choice. UK fans should hope for the latter, although logic points to the former.
- Kentucky has to land an elite big at some point, right?
- Memphis has had all the momentum for months.
- When thinking about attending a prep school Wiseman elected to stay in Memphis where everyone is pushing him towards Memphis. Tigers’ coach Penny Hardaway still has several of “his guys” associated with Wiseman’s AAU team and his high school.
- The plan was for Wiseman to announce in the spring and be one of the last players to commit. This appeared to be an easy way to slip out of Memphis without too much negative attention. Commit and leave. Then we heard that he may commit in December or January, but wouldn’t sign early. Now he’s committing and apparently signing early. If the pick is Memphis this will allow time for Penny to use Wiseman as a recruiting tool for other top targets. Memphis is still going after five-star forward Matthew Hurt and several other top 100 players. Had Wiseman waited until the spring and still picked Memphis, it wouldn’t have helped Memphis on the recruiting trail.
- Memphis received the last official visit (after initially not having plans to officially visit Memphis) and since that visit Wiseman has unofficially visited Memphis again and he went and watched D.J. Jeffries, his AAU friend and now Tigers commit.
- Nearly every other national recruiting analyst is picking Wiseman to Memphis.
- It doesn’t seem like a wise decision for him to commit to UK and then having to play/live in Memphis for the next several months. Wiseman wouldn’t be threatened or in danger, but he would hear negative comments for a long time.
What I’m hearing:
As you can see the cons definitely seem to outweigh the pros in Wiseman’s recruitment. Things don’t look good and I was planning on touching on this on the Insider Notes before news broke today, but people close to UK haven’t been commenting on Wiseman over the last week, and there’s been very little said for a couple weeks prior. I will note that generally folks close to UK will leak when they don’t feel like they’re getting someone, and that hasn’t happened, but there hasn’t been much optimism. Before we were hearing the UK felt like they were still in it, they weren’t giving up, anything can happen, they’ve put in the most work and they’re proud of the work they’ve put into the recruitment. Now there’s nothing. That’s not completely unusual during the season, but make of that what you will.
All the signs point towards Memphis and that’s my pick.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 19th, 2018 @ 10:41am
Breaking news and it’s probably not good for the Cats. According to Paul Biancardi, James Wiseman will announce his college decision tomorrow at noon on SportsCenter on ESPN. Wiseman is down to Kentucky, Memphis, Kansas, Florida State, and Vanderbilt, although it’s always been seen as a two-horse race between the Cats and Penny Hardaway’s Tigers.
Kentucky was the early frontrunner for Wiseman, the No. 1 player in the 2019 class, but Memphis has seized momentum in recent months. The fact that Wiseman is announcing tomorrow and not waiting until the spring is not a good sign for Kentucky.
But, we’ll see. TJ Walker will be by with his take on the news in just a bit.
By TJ Walker on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 5:30pm
Keion Brooks’ last official visit to Michigan State this weekend has been cancelled, per Rivals’ Eric Bossi. Rumors have circulated that Michigan State was the ones to cancel the visit, but regardless of why the visit was cancelled, it appears Brooks will be deciding in the coming weeks. Brooks’ father said the visit to Michigan State may be made at a later date.
The five-star Indiana native playing his high school basketball at La Lumiere isn’t expected to sign in the next few days, but if he is done with official visits a commitment may not be far off. He has officially visited UK, Indiana, UNC and UCLA, but is also considering Purdue and MSU. Brooks’ spoke with Bossi about his finalists and had nice things to say about the Cats.
He said that Calipari gave him the normal “it isn’t easy” pitch, but the UK head coach went into more detail about the roster turnover that happens annually in Lexington.
“On my official, (Calipari) sat me down and he kind of went through each player at my position and what he thought they did well and what he thought they needed to work on and if he thought they would be able to be drafted and go on to the next level next year. So as we were going through that, I was able to get a good feel for next year and how many minutes I would be able to come in and play.”
Brooks is asked about all his finalists and it’s a fun read. Check out the entire article HERE.
Brooks told Bossi he plans to decide in a couple weeks or a month. Indiana seems like the team to beat, but I do think UK is currently running second. Don’t count out Kentucky’s chances in this recruitment.
By TJ Walker on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
Tyrese Maxey can’t get enough of the checkerboard, and who can blame him? The Kentucky signee’s high school season has started and below is a short highlight video of Maxey doing Maxey things. He can score from anywhere on the floor, he gets teammates involved, has great athleticism and is a lockdown defender. But you don’t need to hear it from me, John Calipari said as much when Maxey faxed in his LOI on Wednesday.
“Tyrese has unbelievable competitive spirit,” Calipari said in a release. “I love Tyrese’s basketball savvy. He has an elite ability to score the ball, yet he creates shots for his teammates, he defends and he rebounds. In all the time I’ve watched him play, rarely does he make the wrong play. He may not make every shot, but he almost always make the right play. You can tell that he’s a coach’s son. Physically he is going to be able compete with the best in the country.”
UK fans are going to love this kid, and if you care about this sorta thing, he really, really wanted to be a Cat. There was no drama in his recruitment and he committed to Kentucky early on in the process. Plus, he likes checkerboards so he’s probably a pretty cool kid all around.
— SLAM HS Hoops (@SLAM_HS) November 16, 2018
— Overtime (@overtime) November 15, 2018
— Overtime (@overtime) November 15, 2018
UK has received Dontaie Allen’s Letter of Intent, officially making him a Kentucky Wildcat.
The 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing committed to the Cats on Aug. 2nd and joins Tyrese Maxey as the two players to have sent in their LOIs. Kahlil Whitney is the other 2019 target committed to UK, but his mom told KSR he won’t sign in the fall period.
Allen is considered one of the best players in Kentucky and picked the Cats over offers from Louisville, Clemson, Florida, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Purdue, and Xavier.
“Dontaie is one of Kentucky’s finest,” John Calipari said in a release from UK Athletics. “I love Dontaie’s ability to score the ball in different ways. He’s got a lot of skills with the ball in his hands and athleticism to play above the rim. I’m always excited anytime there’s a player from our state who can come in and help this program and have an impact. Dontaie does all that for us.”
He’s the first Kentuckian to sign an LOI with UK since Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis in 2013.
“As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a UK fan,” Allen said in the release. “The walls in my room are painted UK blue with pictures of Rupp Arena hanging with hopes and dreams of someday playing there. So many great players have come through the University of Kentucky. Being born and raised in this great state, this has been a dream of mine.
“Competing against elite level players reminds me of what my parents always told me: ‘Steel sharpens steel.’ I carry that with me. Having the opportunity to play for a Hall of Fame Coach in Coach Cal at an elite program like Kentucky in front of the best fans in the world, the Big Blue Nation, I’m just blessed and very thankful. Big Blue dreams do come true.”
If you remember, Kentucky watched Allen this summer and he blew up on the AAU circuit. When the Cats brought Allen in for an unofficial visit and offered him a scholarship in person Allen surprised everyone, including his family, when he committed on the spot.
Many UK fans will follow Allen’s senior season at Pendleton County and if it’s anything like his junior campaign it will be special. Last season he averaged 31.8 points, 11.4 rebounds while shooting 39.6 percent from deep.
Welcome to the Big Blue Nation, Dontaie.
— Jonathan Dunn (@jdunnlex18) November 16, 2018
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 15th, 2018 @ 12:00pm
The early signing period started yesterday, and if you trust ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, Kentucky will only add one more elite uncommitted prospect to its 2019 recruiting class. Borzello has John Calipari missing out on James Wiseman, Vernon Carey, Isaiah Stewart, Jaden McDaniels, and Matthew Hurt, but landing five-star small forward Keion Brooks. He sets his confidence level in that prediction at 40 percent.
“Could Brooks decide soon? He will take his final official visit this weekend, to Michigan State, at which point he will have visited the Spartans, Indiana, Kentucky, UCLA and North Carolina. Most of the recent buzz has centered around Indiana and Kentucky, with Michigan State sitting in third. Kentucky will have to convince him he can co-exist with Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen, while Indiana is hoping to keep him home.”
Borzello’s picks for Kentucky’s top targets and his corresponding confidence level:
- James Wiseman: Memphis (55%)
- Vernon Carey: Michigan State: (35%)
- Isaiah Stewart: Michigan State (40%)
- Jaden McDaniels (no Kentucky offer yet): Washington (40%)
- Matthew Hurt: Kansas (25%)
Let’s just hope Wiseman waits until the spring to decide. For KSR’s latest intel, read TJ’s Insider Notes from Monday.
By KSR on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 5:30pm
The early signing period is officially here. Celebrate the momentous basketball recruiting occasion by listening to another episode of Hardly Committed. T.J. Walker tells you who will sign, who will wait until the spring, and he breaks down a classic Office episode, The Fight. Highlights:
— Reason to worry about Kahlil Whitney?
— Could somebody quietly sign before announcing a commitment?
— What happened when Terrence Jones initially committed to Washington?
— A center who wanted to go to UK that is averaging 18-14 to start the season.
— Whose wife is a better cook?
— Amateur turtle racing.
— Will Jaden McDaniels sign in the fall?
— How schools negatively recruit against Kentucky.
— A podcast within a podcast within a podcast.
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.
As Drew already told you, Tyrese Maxey signed his letter of intent to play at Kentucky this morning, and the school just sent out a release celebrating the occasion.
“Tyrese has unbelievable competitive spirit,” John Calipari said of the five-star combo guard. “I love Tyrese’s basketball savvy. He has an elite ability to score the ball, yet he creates shots for his teammates, he defends and he rebounds. In all the time I’ve watched him play, rarely does he make the wrong play. He may not make every shot, but he almost always make the right play. You can tell that he’s a coach’s son. Physically he is going to be able compete with the best in the country.”
Maxey averaged 22.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game last season and led South Garland High School to the state semifinals and USA Basketball to the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA Americas Championship. He’s ranked as high as No. 7 overall by ESPN and said he chose Kentucky because of how Calipari develops his guards.
“Growing up watching Coach Cal-led teams, all the way back to Memphis, he always lets his guards play,” Maxey said. “He has a track record of developing guards and helping them reach their potential. I want to be coached and I know Coach Cal will push me and hold me accountable. I’m happy to be a part of this great tradition.”
The fall signing period began this morning and runs through November 21. In-state star Dontaie Allen will sign his letter of intent on Friday at his school, while fellow UK commit Kahlil Whitney may wait until the spring. (Don’t panic.)
By TJ Walker on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
Five-star center Isaiah Stewart told Rivals.com that he won’t be signing in the early signing period and is unsure when he will make a final decision on his college choice. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound La Lumiere star is considering UK, Michigan State, Duke, Syracuse and Washington, but when dissecting each school he didn’t seem overly high on the Cats.
“(The visit to Kentucky) was good. That visit, Kentucky came in pretty late, but I got the chance to go down there and see how they do things and see what they are all about.”
Stewart was asked what UK’s all aboute:
“It is sort of like a powerhouse, with all of the players that went there in the past and how they have gotten guys to the league. I feel like it is a place that usually, whenever you talk about Kentucky and you are a highly ranked player, it is something that you just have to look at.”
He said Michigan State felt like home, he mentioned Coach K at Duke, he said he would be embraced at Washington and that Syracuse is the hometown team. All seemingly more intimate than “sort of like a powerhouse,” but trying to nitpick recruit’s quotes is a dangerous game. Only once did UK have momentum and it was after his official visit, but a week or two later that buzz was gone. Stewart has officially visited UK, Michigan State, Washington and Syracuse. He’s still planning an official to Duke but is unsure when he will make it Durham.
Stranger things have happened but it seems like the Cats are on the outside looking in when it comes to Stewart’s recruitment. Read the entire interview HERE.
Tyrese Maxey is officially a Kentucky Wildcat.
The five-star guard, ranked ninth overall in the 2018 class, signed his Letter of Intent to solidify his spot as a member of the Cats’ next class of talent on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.
It’s official at South Garland: Tyrese Maxey (@TyreseMaxey), the No. 1 overall player in Texas for 2019, signs with Kentucky and four-star guard Chris Harris Jr. (@chrisharris_2) signs with Texas A&M. #txhsbb pic.twitter.com/wFJGjXPSKS
— Callie Caplan (@CallieCaplan) November 14, 2018
Maxey is the first of UK’s three commits to ink his LOI. Dontaie Allen will sign on the dotted line in a ceremony at his school on Friday, but it’s unclear when (or if) Kahlil Whitney will sign his.