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Kentucky’s Pitch to Matthew Hurt

adidas

When John Calipari flew to Indianapolis for the opening round of the adidas Gauntlet, he had one player in mind, Matthew Hurt.

Considered the No. 4 player in the 2019 class, the 6’9″ power forward from Rochester, Minnesota has a wide open recruitment with almost a dozen schools under consideration.  Before watching Hurt play last weekend, Coach Cal had an in-home visit with him on April 4.  Hurt revealed Calipari’s pitch to 247 Sports.

“They’re a great program that has produced great pros,” said Hurt of Kentucky. “I think they could use me in a way that would get me to that level. I know they said they would use me in a lot of pick and roll and pick and pop situations. It was a very good message.

Hurt has a variety of tools that unlike many Calipari players.  He does have one thing in common with them — he wins.  Last weekend his team went 4-0 as Hurt created a few highlights.

This weekend Nike’s EYBL will be in Indianapolis as Hurt travels to Atlanta for the second weekend of the adidas Gauntlet.  Coach Cal will not be at either event as he recovers from minor surgery.


NBA could end one-and-done rule by 2020 Draft

NBA could end one-and-done rule by 2020 Draft

This morning, the NCAA’s Commission on College Basketball called for the NBA to abolish the one-and-done rule and allow high school seniors to go directly to the NBA. Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting the NBA and Players Association plan to do just that, with change coming as early as the 2020 Draft.

The first recruiting class this could impact would be the 2020 class, making the 2019 class even more important. Yet another reason why John Calipari’s been a madman on the recruiting front, right? In addition to pushing some 2019 players to reclassify to 2018 (Ashton Hagans, Tyrese Maxey), Cal has reclaimed his role as head recruiter, putting in the legwork with James Wiseman, Vernon Carey, Scottie Lewis, Bryan Antoine, Matthew Hurt, etc.

So, what will happen to the players who aren’t elite once the one-and-done rule ends? The NBA has started to expand its G-League, which could end up as a farm system, a concept Calipari spoke out against in March.

“If you send high school kids to the D-League, how many of them will make the NBA? Give me a number. Five percent? You know that’s too high. Probably two or three percent. What do we do with the ones that don’t make it? Tell me.”

An expanded G-League seems inevitable, so Calipari met with the Players Association last week to encourage them to establish a combine for high school juniors to better educate them on who should make the jump to the pros and who should go to school. That’s a noble move by Cal, but with the prospect of finally being able to straight to the league ahead of them, several players will go regardless of whether or not they’re ready.

In the end, you better hope the NBA ends the one-and-done rule because the NCAA’s alternatives are horrible. This morning, the committee recommended reinstating freshmen ineligibility or locking the scholarships so that if a player does go pro after one year, the school can’t use it for three or four years, which are both terrible ideas and would lead to a mass exodus of talent to the G-League or overseas. If the one-and-done rule goes, the best of the best would go straight to the league but you would hopefully see the next tier of talent in college; if the one-and-done rule stays and the NCAA adopts freshmen ineligibility or locks the scholarships, any player with any hopes of a legit NBA career would run for the hills, and who could blame them?

If Woj’s report is correct, the end of the one-and-done era is near; for now, take heart that Calipari is doing everything he can to prepare for it.


How The NCAA Can Actually Fix College Basketball

Tomorrow morning, the NCAA’s Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, will share its recommendations on how to fix the problems facing the sport. What should you expect? Given the organization’s track record, probably not much, but let’s talk about it anyways.

Formed in the wake of the FBI’s report last fall, the committee focused on three key areas: the relationship of the NCAA, its member institutions, players, and coaches with shoe companies, summer leagues, and agents/advisors; the NCAA’s relationship with the NBA, i.e. the one-and-done rule; and transparency and accountability. Since the NBA is responsible for the one-and-done rule, don’t expect any changes there; in fact, it’s important to remember that all these suggestions are just that — suggestions. Whether or not they lead to actual change is a whole other story. NCAA officials won’t vote on the recommendations until August, leading to a long summer of speculation.

In that spirit, here are my suggestions on how to fix college basketball. Condi, if you’re reading, feel free to use them.

Adopt the Olympic model/Allow players to profit off their likeness

The NCAA topped $1 billion in revenue for the first time in 2017, thanks in large part to the NCAA Tournament. How much of that money do the players see? I bet you can guess. It’s beyond time for the hypocrisy to end and, as John Calipari said a few months ago, this is one of the easiest changes the NCAA can make.

“I think these kids should be able to use their likeness, make money from their signatures,” Cal said in February. “It’s their name and likeness. It’s not ours. It’s theirs. They should be able to make money. Maybe the school manages it, maybe the money goes to their parents for travel, eliminates all the — maybe there’s a limit on what they can do, maybe they get it when they leave here. It’s all stuff that can be done easily.”

NCAA President Mark Emmert did say at the Final Four that he’s open to the Olympic model, which would allow players to earn money for endorsements while retaining their amateur status; however, even if the committee recommends it, an organization that’s raking in this much money won’t give it away willingly.

Allow underclassmen who aren’t drafted to return to school

From his recent comments and the growth of the G-League, it appears NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is prepared to do away with the one-and-done rule; that won’t happen tomorrow, but look for the committee to present some kind of alternative, whether it be a version of two-and-through, the baseball/hockey model (see below), or getting rid of the one-and-done rule completely. The end of the one-and-done era is certainly coming, and tomorrow’s recommendation could provide a blueprint for when it arrives.

In the meantime, the easiest, most common-sense solution would be allowing underclassmen who declare for the draft to go through the draft and retain their eligibility if they’re not picked. Whether or not those players come back to school would be their decision, but kicking them out the door because they decide to chase their dreams goes against what the organization should be about.

Explore the hockey model

Similar to baseball, high school hockey players can now sign with an agent, go through the draft, and decide whether or not to sign with that team and play in a junior league (like the G-League) or play in college. The only restriction is that the representation must end before the player enrolls in school. The system will probably impact only 50 or so hockey players a year, but why can’t something like it work in college hoops? Only the top 10-15 high schoolers in each class should consider going pro straight out of college, so why not allow them to sign with an agent, explore their options, then make the decision?

I doubt the committee will say anything about this tomorrow because it’s pretty radical, but it’s food for thought, especially in light of Calipari’s recent meeting with the NBA Players Association about hosting a junior combine for the nation’s top prospects. Cal recently came out against the baseball model, arguing it wouldn’t work in basketball because the minor league system is much more extensive than the G-League, but there is something to be said for allowing players to have representation and be evaluated in high school to determine whether or not they’re able to make the leap straight to the pros.

Something — anything — about agents/summer league/shoe companies

This committee was formed after the FBI report about the influence of shoe companies and agents on the sport, so expect to hear some stern language about it tomorrow. While the corruption in the summer leagues is beyond the NCAA’s control, I’ll be interested to see if they have any answers on how to address it.

For instance, when financial documents were leaked a few months ago suggesting top college players met with or had meals with agents, Emmert seemed to brush it off as no big deal (likely because it’s so widespread punishment isn’t possible). Is that actually going to become no big deal? Is there a way players can meet with agents to discuss their options without risking their eligibility? Or are we just going to continue talking about how it’s a major problem and do nothing about it?

When it comes to summer leagues, which are funded by shoe companies, perhaps the NCAA could partner with USA Basketball to provide a viable alternative? Both the Pac-12 and the Big East recommended this recently, but taking down giants like the EYBL, adidas Gauntlet, and the UAA will require a major investment.

Reform bylaws for academic fraud

The NCAA really proved that academics mean nothing when they let North Carolina off the hook for 18 years of fake classes. Say all you want about Brian Bowen, Rick Pitino, adidas, etc., but the UNC case is by far the biggest black mark on the NCAA’s reputation and if the committee really means business, they’ll close that loophole and reform the bylaws. Considering how embarrassing that entire episode must have been for the organization, I would think this is priority number one.

Will Condi’s committee take any of my advice? Probably not, but find out tomorrow morning by watching their presentation, which we’ll stream live on KSR. The fun begins at 8 a.m. ET.


WATCH: UK Commit D.J. Jeffries EYBL Highlights

247

As John Calipari continues to scour the nation to recruit the top basketball talent to Lexington, people forget that he already has one player committed in the 2019 recruiting class.

D.J. Jeffries, a power forward that plays alongside James Wiseman for the Bluff City Legends (formerly Team Penny), is still an unknown for many Kentucky fans.  Considered the No. 32 overall player in America, in his first weekend of EYBL action Jeffries shot 56.2 percent to average 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as Bluff City finished their first weekend with two wins and two losses.

As you’ll see in his highlights, Jeffries excels in transition and never hesitates to make the hustle play.

If you’d like to see some tape on his AAU teammate, be my guest.

John Calipari and the rest of the Kentucky coaching staff will be in Indianapolis this weekend to watch Jeffries, Wiseman and Zion Harmon play for Bluff City in the Session 2 of the Nike EYBL.


Penny Hardaway claims he’s the best coach for one-and-done players

Penny Hardaway claims he’s the best coach for one-and-done players

When you think one-and-dones, you think John Calipari, which is why I have to both laugh at and applaud this bold statement by Penny Hardaway, the new coach at Memphis. On Jon Rothstein’s College Hoops Today Podcast, Hardaway claimed that he and assistant coach Mike Miller are the best option to get top players get to the league because they played in it.

Who better to get you to the next level if you’re a one-and-done kid than me and Mike Miller?” Hardaway said. “There’s no two coaches better in the country to be able to do that [than me and Miller].”

Shots fired! Hardaway claimed his statement wasn’t a slight to any certain coach, but directly referenced Kentucky a few minutes later, which is certainly not a coincidence since he and Calipari are currently going toe-to-toe for five-star big man James Wiseman.

“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. That’s just our pitch.”

While it’s true Penny and Miller have experience playing in the league, Calipari has experience getting players to the league, a distinct difference. Cal has more than proved himself as the best coach to help top prospects achieve their NBA dreams, whereas Hardaway’s only coaching experience has taken place at the high school and EYBL levels.

A refresher of Calipari’s NBA Draft success, in case a certain recruit is reading:

  • 42 NBA Draft picks, 31 at Kentucky, including 24 first-rounders
  • Four No. 1 draft picks (Derrick Rose, John Wall, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns)
  • At least one player taken in the top seven of the draft in eight consecutive seasons
  • The only coach to have five first round selections in the same NBA Draft (2010)
  • The only coach to have six players taken in one NBA Draft in the modern two-round era (2012 and 2015)
  • The first coach in any of the three major American sports to have the No. 1 and No. 2 pick in the same draft (Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 2012)
  • Two or more players selected in 10 consecutive NBA drafts dating back to 2008 with Memphis

And the most important…

  • All 21 one-and-dones drafted in the first round

Nice try, Penny, but you can’t argue with those results.

If you’d like to listen to Penny’s comments about one-and-dones and Kentucky, they start around the 19:30 mark:


Keldon Johnson stands out in lackluster 2018 class

With the high school all-star circuit coming to an end, the reviews on the 2018 class are…not great. The nation’s top incoming freshmen didn’t exactly impress at the McDonald’s All-American Game, the Jordan Brand Classic, and the Nike Hoop Summit, save for a few exceptions. Keldon Johnson was one of only a few prospects that played with consistent effort, according to 247 Sports national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels, who called the 2018 class the least talented he’s ever covered.

“I just think it’s brought more to our attention because it’s a mixture of the talent not being as good, plus they’re just not playing hard,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “And don’t get me wrong – there was still a handful of guys that competed. Like Nassir Little and R.J. Barrett and Keldon Johnson. But, top to bottom, it was a pretty poor effort.”

Ouch. It’s worth noting that Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro, and new signee EJ Montgomery also played in some of the all-star events, but Johnson earned kudos across the board for his effort and competitiveness. As we’re quickly learning, the future Cat is not one to rest on his laurels.

“You got a couple of people that just want to like chill and be satisfied that they’re here,” Johnson said of the all-star games.

Thankfully, Johnson isn’t one of them.

[Herald-Leader]


Today on KSR: Vacation

Welcome to a weird week on KSR.  The three-letter Kentucky empire has reached new highs thanks to hard work.  To continue producing wonderful content, you need time to recharge the batteries and that’s exactly what’s happening this week.  Matt Jones is taking a break from the internet, Drew Franklin is getting rowdy at Talladega and T.J. Walker is in Hawaii for his honeymoon.  Sick brag, T.J.

Do not worry, BBN.  Me, Mrs. Tyler, Jack, Maggie, Trey and the rest of the crew will be here to bring you everything you need to get you through KSR’s vacation week, a.k.a. the penultimate week of Derby season.

BBNBA Evens Series

Eric Bledsoe and John Wall were backed into a corner, but found a way to rebound at home with back-to-back wins.  Bledsoe’s Bucks held off Boston for a 104-102 win, while Wall’s Wizards took Toronto to the woodshed in a 106-98 win.  Two days after posting 28 points and 14 assists, Wall finished with 27 and 14 (and one fantastic poster).

Tonight’s NBA Playoff Schedule

  • 8:00 — Houston at Minnesota on TNT (HOU leads 2-1)
  • 10:30 — OKC at Utah on TNT (Utah leads 2-1)

J.R. Smith, Ladies and Gentlemen

Most people will be talking about the controversial ending to the Cavaliers’ win over the Pacers, but J.R. deserves all the buzz.

A Busy Recruiting Weekend 

In the first wild weekend of the college basketball evaluation period, John Calipari hit all three shoe circuits.  Cal started in Dallas where he saw James Wiseman, Vernon Carey and Tyrese Maxey at the Nike EYBL, before checking out R.J. Hampton at the Under Armour Association.  He finished the weekend watching Matthew Hurt at the adidas event in Indianapolis.  Coach Cal will be there again next weekend when the EYBL takes its talent to the Hoosier State.

Another Elite Talent is Leaving Kentucky

Kentucky’s best shot at landing a top five football talent from the state committed to Alabama.  Glasgow offensive tackle Tanner Bowles committed to the Crimson Tide after attending Saturday’s spring game.

The state of Kentucky rarely produces football stars.  That’s not the case this year.  Five of the nation’s 300 best players are from the Commonwealth and Kentucky will not likely land any of them.  Four are already committed to out of state powerhouses — Michigan, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Alabama — and convincing Milton Wright to come to Kentucky will be a long-shot.  The Cats have a few other solid options — J.J. Weaver, TaeTae Crumes and Wandale Robinson — but it’s still disappointing to see so many elite players leave the Commonwealth.

Thunder in 40 Seconds

Miss Thunder Over Louisville?  You missed wonderful fireworks on a beautiful day, but you can relive it with Wave-3’s time-lapse.


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

Photo: @CityOfPalmsBKB

At Kentucky, Jamal Mashburn was one of the top players in college basketball. As a junior, he averaged 21 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game, earning First-Team All-American, SEC Player of the Year, and All-Tournament honors in the process. He was drafted fourth overall to Dallas in 1993, where he became one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA over the course of his career. He finished as a career 19-point-per-game scorer, made an All-NBA team in 2002-03, and made an NBA All-Star team.

Fast forward 25 years from his last game at Kentucky and Monster Mash’s son is now one of the top prospects in the class of 2020.

Crazy, huh?

Jamal Mashburn Jr. first turned heads last July, when he scored 30 points and grabbed ten rebounds in the Under Armour Finals in Georgia.

Jamal Mashburn’s son is really good at basketball

Now, Mashburn Jr. is considered a consensus four-star shooting guard and a top-100 sophomore in the nation. At 6-foot, 160-pounds, he has a bit of filling out to do, but the incredible scoring abilities very-obviously run in the family.

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

Take a look:

Last year, Mashburn Jr. told Jerry Meyer of 247 Sports that his father is his trainer and mentor, and looks to him for advice on everything when it comes to the sport of basketball.

“He works with me every day,” said Mashburn Jr. “He is my trainer, my mentor. He’s everything. He’s all in on my development and I’m very cool with that.”

Mashburn Sr. became a major businessman after his basketball career ended, 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.”

As far as specific interests, he wants to get in the food business, just like Mashburn Sr.

“My dad’s a business guy, and I want to study food franchising,” he told USA Today. “I want to know how to pitch deals, and I want to learn early.”

Mashburn Jr. already holds offers from Louisville, Miami (FL), Florida, and Florida State, and he says there are a ton of other schools that have reached out. He said in an interview over a year ago Louisville was the favorite in his recruitment, as he wanted to learn from Rick Pitino just like his father did.

Now that Pitino is out of the equation, who knows how this recruitment ends up.

I just hope John Calipari gets involved so we get to see Mashburn on the back of a Kentucky jersey again.


Evan Daniels sits down with James Wiseman

USA Basketball

Evan Daniels sat down with UK target and #1 player in the Class of 2019 James Wiseman to discuss his recruiting process. If you’re like me, you have always wondered what a typical Calipari pitch would be. Well, Wiseman answers that question saying:

Basically, if I come to his program he will help me reach my full potential and help me become the player that I want to become.

The interview with Wiseman goes on to discuss more about Kentucky, Memphis and the recruiting process in a whole. You can read it in its’ entirety by clicking here.

Currently, the Wiseman recruitment is thought to be a two horse race between Kentucky and Memphis with his Crystal Ball at 50% for both teams.

James Wiseman
Power Forward/Center | 6-11 | 210 lbs.
Memphis, TN | Memphis East
AAU: Team Penny
ESPN No. 1 | 1 PF Top247 No. 1 | 1 C
Rivals No. 2 | 2 PF 247 Comp.  No. 1 | 1 C

@GormleyKSR


John Calipari selling Vernon Carey Jr. on being the next DeMarcus Cousins

Photo: Jasen Vinlove, USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari was in to see 2019 five-star center Vernon Carey Jr. on April 7, and Kenny Payne followed it up with a visit on April 16. This weekend at the Nike EYBL in Dallas, the Kentucky staff was in to watch him, as well.

James Wiseman has gotten the majority of attention from fans, and rightfully so. The UK coaches have made the No. 1 overall prospect in 2019 their top target, as he possesses ridiculous length and instinct on defense. He runs the floor well, has polished offensive moves in the post, and a developing mid-range jump shot. He models his game after Anthony Davis, and the Kentucky coaching staff is selling him on following in The Brow’s footsteps in the correct shade of blue and white.

But the staff is obviously making the No. 2 overall prospect (No. 1 on Rivals) a priority as well, with dreams of matching up Wiseman and Carey Jr. for easily the best frontcourt in college basketball.

Last week I wrote an article about how Wiseman and Carey Jr. could become Davis and Cousins v.2. You can check that out below:

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

According to Chris Fisher of The Cats Pause, John Calipari is using the talented Pelicans’ frontcourt duo as his top pitch for bringing in both prospects to Kentucky.

In fact, Coach Cal is telling Carey Jr. he could be a perfect mix of both Cousins AND Davis.

“That’s what he discussed with me in the meeting,” Carey Jr. told The Cats Pause. “That I could model my game after both of those two players. He told me to focus on those two. Just Anthony Davis’ effort and DeMarcus Cousins’ versatility.”

The 6-foot-10, 245-pound center is currently considered a consensus top-three prospect in the class of 2019, and for good reason. He knows how to throw his weight around in the post better than anyone in the nation, has deceptive athleticism, terrific rebounding fundamentals, and he’s surprisingly solid from mid-range and out to the three-point line.

As far as his interest in Kentucky goes, Carey Jr. told Fisher that he was appreciative of the Wildcat staff putting the full-court press on him, and that the visits have gone well.

“I was supposed to see Coach Cal. He was supposed to come down but I think he had to get surgery or something so just Coach Payne came down for an in-home visit like a week ago,” Carey said. ‘That was good. We just talked about the program. I’ve already been on campus twice so he was just trying to sell his pitch about the program.”

And it’s not just the Kentucky staff selling Carey Jr. on the Cats. According to several reports, Bam Adebayo has talked to the elite big man about playing at Kentucky and why it’d be in his best interest in joining a potentially loaded class in Lexington.

Carey Jr. had originally planned on making a decision in August, but that was when it seemed Duke and Miami (FL) were the two runaway favorites. Now that Coach Cal and company have made a massive push, among others, Carey said he may just cut his final list around that time to give him a chance to get more comfortable with all of the coaches and schools involved in his recruitment.

For more on Fisher’s conversation with Carey Jr. in Dallas this weekend, take a look here.


Scott Jacobson / Post Bulletin

Calipari watching two 2019 prospects in Indy

Scott Jacobson / Post Bulletin

John Calipari made his next stop on the recruiting trail this morning. He attended an Adidas event in Indianapolis. There, he, alongside Roy Williams, Bill Self and Chris Mack, watched 2019 recruits Matthew Hurt and Zeke Nnaji. The two are AAU teammates on the team D1 Minnesota.

Here are the rankings on Hurt:

Matthew Hurt
Power Forward | 6-9 | 200 lbs.
Rochester, MN | John Marshall
AAU: D1 Minnesota
ESPN No. 5 | 2 PF Top247 No. 4 | 2 PF
Rivals No. 5 | 3 PF 247 Comp. No. 4 | 2 PF

Hurt currently does hold an offer from Kentucky and was visited by Calipari on April 6th. In an interview earlier this month with Adam Zagoria, the 18-year-old said about Kentucky:

“Kentucky,the way I could develop there is pretty special. They said they need guys that can shoot the ball and that’s why they’re recruiting me. They said I could fit well in their program, too.”

You can check out his entire interview with Zagoria by clicking here. He gives his opinion on all of the schools that are currently recruiting him.

Currently, his Crystal Ball has 50% to Kansas, 30% to Minnesota, 10% to UNC and 10% as “Cloudy.” Watch Hurt’s latest mixtape:

You can also watch Hurt go up against future UK point guard Immanuel Quickley here:

Nnaji currently doesn’t hold an offer from the Cats, but as a teammate of a five-star, you never know what might happen. Currently, Nnaji’s best offer is probably Baylor and Wisconsin, while his Crystal Ball has Wisconsin at 100%. You can watch him work below as well:

@GormleyKSR


Will Tyrese Maxey Reclassify? Excellent Question.

The most intriguing recruiting development over the last month has surrounded point guard Tyrese Maxey.  Considered the No. 2 point guard in the 2019 class, he could make the jump to 2018, but will he?

In the first two days of EYBL competition, Maxey has already answered that question a few times.  The responses differ, making the murky situation even more unclear.

“Right now, I really haven’t put much thought into it,” Maxey told Jeff Drummond and a host of UK beat reporters this morning after scoring 14 points and dishing out 5 assists.

“It’s a tough decision now that I know it’s more real,” Maxey told USA Today’s Jason Jordan. “I’ve been thinking hard on it.

It’s impossible to discern anything about reclassifying from those conflicting quotes, however, he did provide insight into what would go into the process.  A good student, he would only need two or three more classes to make the jump, a task he could easily accomplish.  Maxey has no specific time-table, but it probably will not happen until after the Peach Jam in mid-July.

“Right now I’m just out here trying to focus on EYBL Session 1.  Me and my parents, we’ll get together and figure out a plan later,” said Maxey.

Kentucky is the early leader for Maxey.  Coach Cal visited him twice during the live recruiting period.  Outside of Kentucky, Michigan State, Texas and Oklahoma State are recruiting him the hardest.

We do not know if Maxey will reclassify.  We do know he would not do it until later in the summer.  We do know the kid can ball.


@CourtsideFilms

John Calipari Treated to Excellent Performance by 2020 Guard R.J. Hampton

USA Basketball

On the first night of the live recruiting period, John Calipari spent the night watching elite recruits like James Wiseman, Vernon Carey and Tyrese Maxey in the Nike EYBL.  This morning he left one Dallas gym for another.  Calipari had like what he saw at the Under Armour Association.

R.J. Hampton was the best player in the gym and Coach Cal got a front row seat to watch him do work.

The 6’4″ combo guard is considered the No. 4 player overall in the class of 2020.  In last night’s debut, Hampton flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 28 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds.  This morning he had 32 points and 13 assists in front of Calipari, Bill Self and many others.

Hampton does not currently have a Kentucky scholarship offer.  Kansas is the early leader for Hampton in the 247 Crystal Ball.  Duke and Texas are also heavily pursuing the 2020 star.

After watching Hampton, Calipari returned to the EYBL and ran into a familiar face (and I’m not talking about James Wiseman).


WATCH: James Wiseman EYBL Highlights in front of John Calipari

USA Basketball

At day one of the EYBL’s opening session in Dallas, John Calipari, Joel Justus, Tony Barbee and Kenny Payne were courtside to watch Kentucky’s top target in 2019 class do work.  James Wiseman did not disappoint.

The No. 1 player in the 2019 class was 9-of-13 from the field to finish with 19 points, 9 rebounds and one block in a 97-88 EYBL debut loss.

Bluff City, the new name for Team Penny, also features UK commit D.J. Jeffries and point guard target Zion Harmon.  Harmon knocked down a pair of threes to finish with 9 points and one assist, while Jeffries had 13 points, 2 assists and a rebound.  Jeffries could not reveal where Wiseman’s recruitment currently stands.

“Honestly, no one knows with James,” Jeffries told Rivals’ Jeff Drummond after the game.  “He’s quiet.  He keeps to himself so we really don’t know.”

Jeffries also talked about his relationship with John Calipari’s coaching staff, his mentor Penny and how his game resembles Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and P.J. Washington.

That all went down last night.  This morning Kentucky’s coaches returned to watch Bluff City go toe-to-toe with Cole Anthony, the No. 5 player in the 2019 class.


DJ Jeffries “all in” with Kentucky, but will still listen to Penny Hardaway’s pitch at Memphis

@lildjj0

When Penny Hardaway was announced as the next head coach at Memphis, we all expected him to make an impact on the recruiting trail right off the bat.

Just a month later, Hardaway is making a move on Kentucky four-star commitment DJ Jeffries.

In an interview with Chris Fisher of The Cats Pause, Jeffries said he is “all in” with the Cats, but will be listening to Hardaway’s recruiting pitch going forward.

As for Kentucky’s top target for the class of 2019, Jeffries says he will be “working on getting (James Wiseman) to Kentucky” in the very near future.

Wiseman finished the opening loss with 19 points (9-13 FG) and nine rebounds against the NY Lightning. Jeffries finished with 13 points, two assists, and a rebound in the loss.