Basketball Recruiting News
2020 UK target R.J. Hampton said Kentucky has been turning up the heat this summer. The 6-foot-4, 170-pound point guard from Little Elm, Texas (outside of Dallas) has a plethora of offers and it appears the Cats may be next.
Hampton blogged on USA Today the latest with his recruitment and it’s not just the Cats that have been turning up the head. Read that here.
“I would definitely say that Kentucky is coming on stronger and Memphis is too. I just hear from both of those schools more than I had been and they were at almost all of my games in Vegas.I still haven’t heard directly from Coach Cal, but I’ve heard from Coach Penny a lot more.”
He also mentions Duke, Kansas, Texas, TCU and Michigan as other schools recruiting him. If you’re into the crystal ball it has Duke the 75 percent favorite to land Hampton with eight predictions locked in at this point.
UK has only offered Scottie Barnes and N’Faly Dante in 2020 but I’d expect a few more 2020 offers to go out in the next month. Hampton should be included.
Here’s some Hampton highlights:
UK is in the final eight for five-star wing Kahlil Whitney. Although the Cats are somewhat new to Whitney’s recruitment, John Calipari and UK’s staff were able to make enough of an impression to make his final eight and visit Lexington this weekend.
It’s unclear when the Chicago native (now playing in New Jersey) will make a final decision but we know the Cats will take him whenever he’s ready to pull the trigger.
Plenty of list cutting has been happening the last couple days and expect to see more of it.
The Final 8?? pic.twitter.com/OUf99tXv3J
— #MyMommaTheReason?? (@KahlilWhitney) August 1, 2018
And here’s a fancier way of announcing.
— #MyMommaTheReason?? (@KahlilWhitney) August 1, 2018
By Drew Franklin on ©July 31st, 2018 @ 8:45pm
The decommitment of DJ Jeffries is getting a second run around the news cycle today after his father, Corey Jeffries, gained some attention for telling a Memphis radio station the Kentucky staff was “unprofessional” in its handling of Jeffries’ decision.
Corey Jeffries has since clarified that statement to The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, saying, “It wasn’t Cal that took it so bad. It was the main recruiter (assistant coach Tony Barbee).”
That same story also notes the former UK commit took offense to the absence of any UK coaches at his final AAU game out in Las Vegas.
“It was the last game of his summer career, so he was expecting somebody to be there,” Corey Jeffries said. “I think it kind of bothered him. That kind of shook him up a little bit.”
Furthermore, Corey Jeffries said it is interesting to see Memphis get “a leg up” on Calipari in recruiting and that the Jeffries family is “enjoying it, to be honest.”
Read the entire story in The Commercial Appeal here.
I don’t know much more than any of you, but to me it sounds like Kentucky lost interest and Corey Jeffries is a little bummed about it. First, the staff didn’t take the time to watch his son in Vegas. Then the staff didn’t seem to care when his son decommitted. He expected UK to beg him to stay, and they didn’t.
So let’s all move on.
We have yet another high school basketball star to keep a close eye on this coming season. Remember the name Oscar Tshiebwe because he has John Calipari’s attention and the interest is mutual. The Cats made Tshiebwe’s list when he trimmed it to eight finalists on Tuesday. He also named West Virginia, Kansas, Ole Miss, Baylor, Illinois, Georgetown and Virginia in that group.
Thanks to all the schools that have recruited me–this is my final 8 ??? pic.twitter.com/mcDsvYANV1
— Oscar (@Oscartshiebw) July 31, 2018
So who is he?
He’s a four-star center out of Pennsylvania, originally from Congo, and currently ranked No. 12 at his position in the 247 Sports Composite Rankings. At 6-9, 230 pounds, he’s a monster inside with a game fit for YouTube. One scout told me, “He’s a bad man. He gets every rebound and dunks everything.”
Calipari got his first look at Tshiebwe last December in a 26-point winning effort for the then-junior. Cal has since been in contact after Tshiebwe blew up throughout the summer circuit, including a recent game in which he dominated James Wiseman with 24 and 13 in a head-to-head matchup at the Adidas Summer Championship.
West Virginia has been assumed to be the frontrunner due to his long relationship with Bob Huggins. Huggins was on Tshiebwe earlier than anyone and has hosted the big man in Morgantown on several unofficial visits.
But given Tshiebwe’s recent play on the big stage, John Calipari may want to throw his name in the mix with an offer from UK. If you watch the clips below, you’ll see why.
Basketball recruiting analyst T.J. Walker answers your questions and discusses D.J. Jeffries decommits, his dad calling UK unprofessional and where the Cats go from here with wing targets.
Back by popular demand, it’s Hardly Committed with T.J. Walker. The world’s most popular Kentucky basketball recruiting podcast has plenty to talk about following the first UK decommittment of the John Calipari era. T.J. explains why D.J. Jeffries backed out of his UK commitment, who the Cats turn to next, and…
— How does Jeffries’ decision affect James Wiseman?
— Other potential post prospects if Wiseman stays in Memphis.
— The best name on the Kentucky recruiting front in years: Kofi Cockburn.
— A name from the past reemerges: Orlando Antigua.
— When to expect UK’s next commitment.
— A Preview of Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen’s unofficial visits.
— Diversity Day at The Office
Subscribe to Hardly Committed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app to get the podcast delivered directly to your phone. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play, and streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.
By TJ Walker on ©July 31st, 2018 @ 4:30pm
Big boy Kofi Cockburn is still considering the Cats and will team up with fellow UK target Cole Anthony at Oak Hill for their final high school basketball season. The 6-foot-10, 280-pound or 255-pound center (depending on if you use Rivals or 247) will leave Christ the King in New York to play for Steve Smith in Virginia.
But more interesting is that Cockburn continues to list Kentucky.
5??Kofi Cockburn @kxng_alpha will transfer from Christ The King to Oak Hill Academy to play for @OHACoachSmith his senior year.
These are his Final 12 schools:
— Andrew Slater (@Andrew__Slater) July 30, 2018
With Memphis trending for James Wiseman and the Cats only sending out offers to Matthew Hurt and Vernon Cary Jr. as other bigs in 2019, UK may need Cockburn. He’s a bruising center that has goals to lead the nation in rebounding. He’s certainly setting the bar high.
Kentucky watched Cockburn a few times this summer but it wasn’t an every game sort of deal. Kentucky missed the cut for Armando Bacot earlier this week so big options are running thin.
Four-star point guard Kira Lewis narrowed his list to 12 and the Cats missed the cut. Lewis visited Kentucky nearly two months ago and had great things to say about Kentucky and John Calipari, but after that visit the Cats virtually stopped recruiting him. There were a few conversations here and there, but that was about it.
When Lewis announced he was cutting his list earlier this week I was curious to see if UK would make the cut. Some players will keep the Cats around in hopes of an offer, but Lewis didn’t. Maybe UK’s staff told him an offer wouldn’t be extended? Maybe Lewis wanted to be a priority and that clearly wasn’t the case at UK.
— TIPTON EDITS ? (@TiptonEdits) July 31, 2018
Kentucky already has Tyrese Maxey committed in 2019 and it’s unclear if Quade Green, Immanuel Quickley, Ashton Hagans, Jemarl Baker or Tyler Herro will leave after this season. My guess is Hagans leaves and maybe one more surprise departure, but the Cats aren’t desperate for guards in 2019-2020. Take into consideration UK has offered five guards/scoring wings in 2019 and it becomes more clear why UK didn’t recruit Lewis harder.
One source told me earlier this spring that Lewis was the fastest player in 2019. I suppose the Cats didn’t have a need for speed.
I’ll show myself out.
By Nick Roush on ©July 31st, 2018 @ 1:25pm
For the first time since he became Kentucky’s head coach, yesterday John Calipari had a commitment renege on his pledge. In a radio interview, D.J. Jeffries’ father says the Kentucky coaching staff didn’t handle the news well.
“We talked with Kentucky (about the decision to de-commit), and it kinda shocked me. They were kinda unprofessional. They didn’t handle the news the way I expected them to handle it, being professionals,” Corey Jeffries told Jason and John on ESPN Radio Memphis.
In March the Top 50 small forward from Olive Branch, Mississippi became Kentucky’s first commitment in the 2019 recruiting class. A product of the Team Penny AAU program and teammates with James Wiseman, the elder Jeffries said things changed when Penny Hardaway became the head coach at Memphis.
“(Penny being at Memphis) was a factor. It was a big factor. We have a bond with Penny already. It’s not like we have to get re-acquainted with him.”
Listen to the entire interview below:
By Nick Roush on ©July 31st, 2018 @ 11:15am
After hearing the findings from the Commission on College Basketball, the NCAA is reportedly moving to change to the summer basketball recruiting schedule in 2019.
The report from Matt Norlander of CBS Sports goes into great detail about the nuances in play. The ultimate goal is to slowly step back from “non-scholastic events,” a.k.a. AAU tournaments sponsored by shoe companies, like the Nike’s Peach Jam.
If this legislation is passed, coaches will be limited from three non-scholastic events to only one in the month of the July. They will have five days to attend the Nike, adidas and Under Armour Championships.
Coaches will receive a second weekend to scout players in a live recruiting period, but this will take place at a sanctioned camp, coordinated by the NCAA, USA Basketball, the NBA and the NBA Players Association. Adding a collaborative camp to the equation along with NBA officials is an idea John Calipari has championed.
To make up for the lost weekend of live recruiting in July, the proposal would give coaches an extra weekend in April to complete in-home recruiting visits with prospects. Under the current rules, coaches could not visit recruits until after they completed there junior year. Coaches would also get two three-day periods at the end of June to see recruits in non-scholastic events.
This new recruiting calendar is not finalized, but Norlander reports the motion is set to pass on August 8. For more details, read the entire CBS Sports report.