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Noah Talks Basketball Recruiting on Hey Kentucky!

Noah Talks Basketball Recruiting on Hey Kentucky!

Kentucky’s always on the hunt for the top recruits in the country and who better to help John Calipari determine who’s elite and who’s not than Hey Kentucky! producer Noah Day?

That’s right! The popular “Noah Talks Sports” segment is back. Watch below as Perrin Johnson and Noah break down film and Noah hands out his own star rankings.

See the full episode below or at

Hardly Committed E19: Jaden McDaniels and a Benihana Christmas

T.J. Walker is back for another episode of KSR’s basketball recruiting podcast, Hardly Committed.  Of course, there’s plenty of recruiting chatter, but this week’s edition of The Annex is extra special.  To celebrate the best Christmas special in television history, Trevor Kelsey makes a surprise appearance with Nick and T.J.  Highlights:

— Could Anthony Edwards still visit UK? Does it even matter?

— The latest on Keion Brooks.

— So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

— Talking through the Jaden McDaniels situation.

— Michael is lucky Carol hung around for as long as she did.

— Karen Fillipelli is the ultimate Office victim.

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.

HIGHLIGHTS: Isaiah Stewart and Keion Brooks combine for 44 points

(Photo: Lopez/Nike)

Over the weekend John Calipari watched La Lumiere starts Keion Brooks and Isaiah Stewart. Both players are considering the Cats and both five-star recruits and incredibly important to UK’s 2019 recruiting efforts.

Brooks is down to UCLA, UNC, MSU, UK and IU, with it seemingly being a two-horse race between Kentucky and Indiana. Some still consider UNC and MSU as candidates, but either school would be a surprise as of today.

Stewart is considering Duke, MSU, Washington, Syracuse and Kentucky. His recruitment may be tougher to handicap but with Vernon Carey Jr., picking the Blue Devils many are pegging Stewart to the Spartans. As of today it doesn’t appear UK is in the top three, but that hasn’t stopped Kentucky from making Stewart a priority.

With Calipari in attendance both players finished 22 points. Stewart added 11 rebounds to Brooks’ nine. La Lumiere won 62-48 over Center Grove (Ind.), which features Trayce Jackson-Davis. Jackson-Davis recently committed to IU and has been recruiting Brooks hard to the Hoosiers.

We can see why the Cats desperately want both players.

Insider Notes: UK hits the road for recruiting

Photo via Endless Motor

Happy Monday, folks! I hope you all had a good weekend despite the frustrating loss. There’s no spinning Saturday’s game, but the good news is UK watched a handful of targets over the weekend and has picked up the intensity in a few recruitments.

Here are the notes.

(photo by Adam Zagoria)

Jaden McDaniels:

John Calipari and Kenny Payne were front and center to watch five-star Jaden McDaniels. I don’t have anything new from the kid or anyone close to McDaniels. He’s a quiet kid and things are probably going to be mostly quiet until he commits.

But that doesn’t stop other folks from talking.

I know that UK feels like they’re “closing in” on McDaniels. It’s not unusual for folks close to UK’s staff to feel confident about a recruit (if you’ve followed along long enough you know they generally feel like they have a chance in every recruitment) but things may be aligning for McDaniels:

  • Location doesn’t seem to be an issue. He has said it. Folks that know his recruitment say it won’t be a factor. I’ve always thought if McDaniels doesn’t pick UK it will be because of location, but no one seems overly concerned about that as of today.
  • McDaniels wants to get to the NBA ASAP and no school on his list does it better than UK. The Cats aren’t fighting Duke or Kansas in this recruitment. They have a track record that UCLA, Texas, Washington and San Diego State can’t match.
  • Cal has been more active and persistent in this recruitment than any other coach over the last several months. This should get you excited. We haven’t always heard a lot about it because things are so quiet with McDaniels, but Calipari has basically been the lead guy in this recruitment for months. Kenny Payne has been there, too. When those two guys are spending months recruiting you/building a relationship it helps the Cats’ position. Calipari certainly doesn’t need recruiting advice from me, but I have thought in some recruitments he showed up a little too late. Sure, assistants were there months prior, but he may take things over a little late in the game. That’s not the case for McDaniels.

I still think UK lands McDaniels but it’s an educated guess. He has said he will wait until the spring, so I guess we’ll take him for his word regarding a timeline.

La Lumiere:

Calipari watched Isaiah Stewart and Keion Brooks of La Lumiere on Saturday and things remain intriguing in both recruitments.


Wouldn’t it be a great surprise if Stewart shocked virtually everyone and picked UK? The Cats once had momentum in this recruitment but that hasn’t been the case for months. There have now been three (by my count) times UK has reached back out after things seemed to cool. I’ve heard that Stewart and his immediate family like UK, maybe even the family more than the kid. Those outside the family aren’t as high on UK because they hadn’t been recruiting him as long as the other schools. At least that’s what I’m told. Every time UK has reached back out or made contact it’s been trying to pitch to the family and to the kid. I’m unsure how those pitches have gone or how receptive the family is to UK, but the fact there isn’t much buzz tells me it may be too big of a hurdle to overcome. Never say never, but I don’t see it happening and I hope I’m wrong because Stewart would ease any frontcourt concerns for next season just like that. I think he’ll land at MSU.


Nothing new on Brooks. He finished with 22 points and nine rebounds in a win with UK watching. I still believe UK is running second but Kentucky’s staff has spent a lot of time building a relationship with Brooks’ family and I wouldn’t be shocked if he picked the Cats. Someone that covers IU to me there’s a lot of pressure for Brooks to pick Indiana. He’s the missing piece, he hears about IU everyday and they keep driving home the idea of representing his state in college. The sense is that will be too much to pass up.

Again, I wouldn’t be shocked if UK upset the Hoosiers for Brooks (it’s not impossible), but no reason to jump off my IU prediction at this point.

Matthew Hurt:

He had a huge game over the weekend in a losing effort (highlights above). I don’t have anything new regarding his recruitment but he’s fun to watch and could be a major difference maker for the Cats next season.

The plan is for him to checkout UNC this weekend (where he’s being told he can play like Luke Maye, how exciting) and then there’s a tentative Duke visit set for the UVA game in January. It’s unclear when/if he will checkout Kansas or Memphis for official visits.

I had Jake Weingarten on my podcast this week and he thinks it could come down to UK or Memphis for Hurt. Click HERE to listen. I’m not as high on Memphis on this recruitment but it seems like most experts think the Cats are right there at or near the top.

Anthony Edwards:

Joel Justus watched Edwards over the weekend as he finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds in a loss. Edwards has officially visited UGA and said FSU, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State will also receive official visits.

So, that means as of today UK’s not landing an official, and I can’t say I’m surprised.

I don’t think UK lands Edwards and the fact he’s not planning an official isn’t’ going to change my mind. UK hopes and thinks they will be able to get him on campus for an unofficial visit in January, but I think it’s somewhat telling that he mentioned those other schools for official visits.

It’s an Occam’s razor situation in my opinion.


2020 guys:

Joel Justus watched plenty of young talent this weekend. Here’s a list of guys I’ve confirmed UK watched:

Jalen Johnson– There were reports that UK missed Johnson. Not the case. They watched him yesterday. One of the best scorers in high school basketball he’s going to be one of UK’s top 2020 targets.

N’Faly Dante– It’s a name I’ve been throwing around for nearly a year and over the last few months the Cats have really been going after him. From a body/talent standpoint he’s one of maybe two 2020 guys that I think could make the 2019 jump and be successful. No indication that he’s planning on doing that, but UK does need frontcourt players for next season. Assuming he stays 2020 he will be UK’s big frontcourt recruit for that class.

Cade Cunningham- His name has been thrown around and UK watched him, but as of right now he doesn’t appear to be a serious Kentucky target. The Cats will continue to watch him as they like his game, but just need to see more of him. Versatile player that’s well coached. My guess is he ends up with an offer at some point, but just a guess as UK still wants to see more.

Hunter Dickinson- Here’s a player that I’ve really liked since watching him go toe-to-toe with Wiseman and Carey over the summer. Talent wise he’s not going to blow you away with his moves or jumper, but he plays incredibly hard and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He’ll be a fun piece for whoever lands him and should be a two year college player. UK’s interested.

There were obviously several other players that played in games UK watched this weekend, but I think those were the bulk of the players Kentucky was really intrigued in seeing. UK’s doing a really nice job getting out and seeing a lot of these 2020 kids and I’m guessing that cycle goes better for UK (although the 2019 class could still be really good).

Some news:

This will be my last Monday Insider Notes as it’s my last week at KSR. Covering UK recruiting for the last six years has been a blast and talking with you all about the future of Kentucky basketball here at KSR for the last 8/9 months was the best part of the gig.

Two years ago I started taking real estate appraising classes. It started off just about 2-4 hours a day for the first year but now it’s about eight hours daily and a full-time job. It’s a long process but I’m eligible to become certified early in 2019. There’s sadly just not enough time in the day for me to work towards that goal while also being full-time at KSR.

I told Matt when I accepted the position that I was doing appraising on the side and I would be eligible to be certified in 2019.  In October I notified him that I was still planning on making the transition and he has been nothing but great and helpful throughout the process. Everyone at KSR has been amazing. But the readers deserve someone that can keep an eye on recruiting 247 while traveling to the best events throughout the year and sadly I won’t have the time, but KSR has a great plan in place and I’m confident that the recruiting news will only continue to improve.

I’ll still be doing radio and will follow UK recruiting, so I look forward to continued discussions. Heck, find me in the KSR comment section.

I’ll be here working away the rest of the week before saying a final goodbye, but thanks for reading.

John Calipari and Kenny Payne watch five-star forward Jaden McDaniels

Photo via Endless Motor

After checking in with Isaiah Stewart and Keion Brooks yesterday in Indianapolis, the Kentucky coaching staff watched yet another elite prospect in the class of 2019 this evening.

John Calipari and Kenny Payne traveled back to New York City to watch five-star forward and Kentucky target Jaden McDaniels.

Here they are courtside at the Barclays Center:


Taking on Louisville signee Aidan Igiehon, McDaniels finished the day with 19 points, six assists, and six rebounds in the 91-49 blowout victory.

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress said the versatile big man put on a show on the big stage.

“Impressive showing from Jaden McDaniels in the Battle in the Apple showcase at Barclays center,” he said in a tweet. “Showed a very high skill-level, excellent passing ability, and some nice toughness in a blowout win and matchup with Louisville-bound Aidan Igiehon. Has tons of room to grow long-term.”

Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo tweeted that the Kentucky target is one of the most intriguing prospects in the nation.

“Extremely impressive showing from Jaden McDaniels, who is one of the more intriguing high school prospects I’ve seen in a while,” he said. “Long, smooth with great offensive feel and face-up game.”

The 6-foot-11 McDaniels, who has drawn comparisons to NBA superstar Kevin Durant, averaged 18.6 points and 9.1 rebounds, to go with 25 made three-pointers on the Nike EYBL circuit this past summer.

You can see some of those KD comparisons on this smooth play in transition tonight:

In an interview with Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog, McDaniels said he’s not worried about his recruitment right now and will make a decision when his senior season and all-star games have concluded.

Still, though, the elite forward was appreciative of Coach Cal and Payne being in attendance.

“It’s just nice to see [Calipari] come and support me because they’re recruiting me,” McDaniels said. “It’s a real big program, so having him there is something big to me. I have a good relationship with Kenny Payne, he’s a real good dude. I just talk to him on the regular. They always check in with me and see how I’m doing and stuff like that.”

Cartiea French-Toney, McDaniels’ trainer, told Zagoria that once the season is over, the process should be pretty quick. With no more official visits remaining, only an official decision is left for the potential future Wildcat.

“We look forward to finishing his recruitment and figuring out where he’s going once the season’s over,” French-Toney said. “No more visits. He’s taken all five official visit so that’s out the way.”

When the time does come for a final decision, San Diego State, UCLA, Texas, Washington and Kentucky are the final five schools in contention.

With Vernon Carey Jr. and James Wiseman off the board, Calipari has to find a way to get this kid in blue and white.

John Calipari visits Isaiah Stewart and Keion Brooks

John Calipari and the Kentucky coaching staff may be on a cold streak on the recruiting circuit, but that’s not stopping them from trying to close out the 2019 class with a bang.

Yesterday evening, Calipari left New York and flew to Indianapolis to watch two five-star Kentucky targets participate in the FORUM Tipoff Classic.

La Lumiere products Isaiah Stewart and Keion Brooks each put on a show in a 62-48 victory, nearly outscoring the opposition by themselves. Stewart finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds, while Brooks added 22 points and nine rebounds in front of Coach Cal.

After the game, Calipari went to visit each of them individually, hoping to swing some momentum back to Kentucky.

As of today, Stewart is rumored to be favoring Michigan State and Duke, while Brooks may be looking to stay home and play at Indiana.

This morning, Stockrisers’ Jake Weingarten reported we can expect a decision from both in “the next few weeks.”

“Brooks’ recruitment is more UK-Indiana for me but as we know in the recruiting world, things can change, and they can change fast,” he said. “Both are likely to announce decisions in the next few weeks. For Stewart, I’d say Duke is (Michigan State’s) primary competition.”

In an interview with Inside the Hall, Brooks said he was looking to make a decision “within the next month or so.”

With James Wiseman and Vernon Carey Jr. opting for Memphis and Duke, it’s no secret Calipari has to find an elite big man to close out the class to anchor the middle. Kentucky is in great shape with Jaden McDaniels and Matthew Hurt, but their only hope for some power up front (outside of a potential grad transfer) is Stewart.

As for Brooks, Kentucky already has Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen at the small forward position, but he’d be a terrific addition for the Wildcats and provide an immediate scoring impact on the wing.

Bring ’em on home, Coach Cal.

24/7 Sports

Kentucky visits 2020 Five-Star Forward Cade Cunningham

24/7 Sports

Members of the Kentucky coaching staff did not take a lot of time to dwell on yesterday’s heartbreaking loss to Seton Hall. Instead, they hit the recruiting trail to see five-star forward Cade Cunningham’s Montverde team play against Paul VI in Maryland.

Montverde is the same team that did give us Dakari Johnson a few years ago.

In the game, Cunningham finished with 8 points, 9 assists and 10 rebounds as Montverde, who is ranked #1 in the nation, defeated #11 Paul VI.

The Kentucky target threw down a massive slam dunk in a game earlier this week which you can see in the video below. Throughout the video, you get to see more of Cunningham (#1) as a team player instead of just highlights of what he can do offensively.

If you’re more into the highlight video of what he can do, you can check that out here too:

Cunningham is currently rated as the #7 player in the Class of 2020 by 24/7 Sports and the #3 Small Forward. He hasn’t picked up an official offer from Kentucky yet, but if he keeps putting on shows like he has in the previous two videos, I can’t imagine it taking much longer.

Even without the offer from the Cats, the Arlington, Texas native is 100% Kentucky on his Crystal Ball predictions.