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WATCH: Immanuel Quickley and Zion Williamson combine for 48 points, 26 rebounds, and 11 assists at adidas Uprising Gauntlet Finale

WATCH: Immanuel Quickley and Zion Williamson combine for 48 points, 26 rebounds, and 11 assists at adidas Uprising Gauntlet Finale

Two of John Calipari’s biggest targets went head to head this afternoon, and it was about as exciting as you’d expect.

Five-star prospects Immanuel Quickley and Zion Williamson, two of the top ten recruits in the class of 2018, faced off at the adidas Uprising Gauntlet Finale in front of Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Michigan State, among countless other coaches.

Quickley finished just short of a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in Team BBC’s 68-64 victory over SC Supreme.

Williamson, however, finished with 28 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and two steals in the loss.

Here are just a few of the incredible plays from the duo:

KSR put together a highlight tape of the potential future Wildcats putting on a show:

If only they were planning on putting together a package deal… And Quickley was all but locked up for Kentucky… That’d be special…


Calipari shows off his Nike self-lacing shoes at the Peach Jam

It’s Friday night of a busy recruiting weekend, and John Calipari’s feeling good. Cal is courtside at the Peach Jam, and before Marvin Bagley’s game, decided to take a moment to brag about his new Nike HyperAdapt self-lacing shoes on Twitter:

As we noted last week, Cal also sported these shoes at the FIBA World Cup in Egypt. They retail for $720 and yes, they really do “tie” themselves:

See that, young basketball stars of tomorrow??


Immanuel Quickley, Zion Williamson Discuss Package Deal after Duel

Adidas

The duel between Immanuel Quickley and Zion Williamson lived up the hype.  Two of the ten best players in the class of 2018 put on a show at the Adidas Final.  When the dust settled, Quickley emerged on top and the two friends talked about playing college basketball together.

“We actually just talked about it after the game,” Quickley said after I mentioned every college recruiter’s favorite term ‘package deal.’   “He’s going to talk to his mom.  I’m going to talk to my people and we’re going to try to get it done.”

Before playing against each other on the Adidas circuit, they have a history of playing with each other at other Adidas events.

“I played with him at the Path, for Adidas.  He’s usually my roommate when we go to those events, so I know him pretty well,” Quickley said.

Zion took it one step further when asked if there was any truth to a potential package deal.

“There’s a lot of truth to that,” Zion said.  “Me and Immanuel are good friends.  We bonded over the Adidas Path and I just love the way he plays point guard.  That’s the type of point guard I want to play with.”

But wait, there’s more.

After watching the two today, they might be the most powerful package deal mentioned to date.

Quickley connected on an alley-oop from half-court.  Williamson had so many tip-slams, I lost count.  In the end, the talented point guard prevailed.  Quickley was one assist away from a triple-double in a 68-64 win; 20 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.  Williamson finished 28 points and 16 rebounds.

UK assistant coach Joel Justus watched the game courtside.  There were dozens of other coaches from Duke, Kansas and everyone in-between.

“I enjoy it,” Quickley said after the game.  “That’s the most fun for me.  A packed gym, all the coaches, I think that’s the best part of the AAU circuit.”

Quickley has somehow continued to play at a high level throughout the tournament, even though he’s only had one day off in the last month.  The most rewarding experience throughout his basketball travels from around the world was playing for Coach Cal in Egypt.

“It was really cool.  Just him being hands on with me, I think that was really important.”  Quickley said their conversations haven’t ended since the trip.  “I keep in touch with him a lot.”

Williamson talks to the Kentucky coaches just as much.  “Coach Cal and Coach Joel text almost every two days.”

Quickley is very close to making a decision.  Many already consider him to be a Kentucky commit, but he has yet to officially pull the trigger.  He plans on doing just that before his senior season of high school basketball.  Zion is taking it slower.  He will just start visiting schools before his senior season.

“I’m just looking at every opportunity because I only get one chance to pick a school and I got to make sure it’s the right school.”

If the right point guard is at the right school, it could be an easy decision for the five-star phenom.


Hurt and Bassey (right, via San Antonio Express-News)

Cats are Keeping a Close Eye on Two of the Top Three in 2019

Hurt and Bassey (right, via San Antonio Express-News)

John Calipari and his Kentucky coaching staff are keeping a keen eye on two of the best in the class of 2019; yesterday, he and Joel Justus sat courtside to see Matthew Hurt and Charles Bassey.

The second-ranked player in the 2019 class behind R.J. Barrett, Charles Bassey is a 6’10” power forward that is built like Bam Adebayo.  He’s not built like high school Bam; he looks like Bam right now.  It’s not Calipari’s style to extend a scholarship offer this early, but he is making his presence known to who could be Bam 2.0.

“They’re looking at me,”Bassey said of his personal interaction with the Kentucky coaches. “Right now they don’t talk to me.  They talk to my parents and they let me know what they’re saying.”

His parents have heard from UK, but they’re currently more focused on finding a school for his junior and senior high school seasons than on a college choice.

This morning, Bassey struggled with foul trouble, playing just 14 minutes, yet he still had a 10-point 10-rebound double-double.  An imposing figure in the pick-and-roll, when he didn’t get double-teamed, his teammate’s had easy offensive opportunities.  In the full court, if Bassey does not start the break with a rebound, he’s off and running.  On one occasion, he took it himself and dumped it off to a teammate who finished the assist.

 

The No. 3 player in 2019 is an atypical AAU star.

Matthew Hurt from Minnesota is a 6’8″ small forward that is basically an elite role player.  He does just about everything well and he doesn’t do much wrong.  He defends the post despite his thin frame.  He can knock down threes, but that doesn’t make him effective.  He’s skilled offensively in a variety of ways, but none that necessarily WOW you.  Yet, few compare in overall skill.

Like Bassey and most juniors-to-be, Hurt’s recruitment is wide open with a long way to go.  “I’m open for anything right now,” Hurt said today.

Currently Indiana, Duke, Kansas, Louisville and his home state of Minnesota are making the biggest recruiting push.  His brother Michael just finished his freshman season for the Golden Gophers.  Hurt has a trip planned to unofficially visit UCLA when his family vacations to California later this summer.

With that many schools involved, Calipari had to throw his name into the mix after watching him play yesterday.

“Their assistant coach has been texting me a lot.  Coach Calipari texted me after the game yesterday,” Hurt said.  “I’m not really doing anything serious right now.  I’m open for anything. ”

Bassey and Hurt will not play college basketball for a long time, but it’s never too early to get to know the bets of the best.  That applies to Kentucky fans and their head coach, John Calipari.


Zion Williamson drops 24 points and 19 rebounds at adidas Uprising in front of Joel Justus, Coach K, and Self

Zion Williamson drops 24 points and 19 rebounds at adidas Uprising in front of Joel Justus, Coach K, and Self

After scoring 31 and 32 points in two games to open up the adidas Uprising Gauntlet Finale yesterday, five-star stud Zion Williamson put on yet another show this morning.

In 31 minutes (of 32 possible minutes) of action, Williamson managed 24 points (9-12 shooting), 19 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block. He also went 1-1 from behind the arc and 5-8 from the free throw line.

Following the massive performance, the top player in America spoke to reporters again on his recruitment, his game, and what he’s hoping for out of his senior year.

When asked which schools remain in contact with him, Williamson narrowed it down to the blue bloods and the local South Carolina schools.

Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, Clemson, South Carolina, UCLA, Arizona, and a couple more schools,” he said.

Coach K, Bill Self, Tom Izzo, Joel Justus, and Frank Martin were all in to see Williamson play this morning, along with countless assistants from top-tier programs.

When asked about Coach K and the Duke staff, Williamson was fond of the Devils’ persistence.

“Duke’s whole coaching staff usually texts me every two days, they’re always communicating. They want me to come to Duke and play positions one through four.”

When asked again about Kentucky, it was much of the same: NBA, NBA, NBA.

“Coach Cal and some of the other assistants text every two days. Coach Cal has just said if my dream is to make it to the NBA, he can help me do that. That’s very important to me, because that’s the ultimate dream.

Though making it to the NBA is the goal, just being known as a “one-and-done” going into it isn’t a priority of his.

Kentucky, that’s what they’re known for is their one-and-dones, but I’m not necessarily looking for just that. I’m just looking for the situation that fits me best,” said Williamson.

When it comes to intensity and never letting up on their players, the Spartanburg, SC native said Calipari, Self, and Coach K are second to none.

With Coach Cal, Coach Self, and Coach K, they are always on their players,” he said. “If they take a play off, they’re going to be on the bench realizing they should’ve played harder on defense or whatever.

Despite Clemson, South Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina all having high interest in the five-star forward, Williamson said location will not play a factor in his final decision.

No sir, location will not play a factor,” he said.

Williamson will take on Immanuel Quickley’s Team BBC at 2:20, where we’ll give you all the footage, quotes, and statistics you can handle.

Until then, we’ll leave you with KSR’s highlights of Williamson’s first game of the day:

 


Three Observations from a Morning at the Adidas Uprising

Immanuel Quickley is Too Good

The point guard is such a good passer, half the time his teammates don’t know he’s passing it to them.  When they are prepared, they rarely finish.  Quickley could have 12 assists a game on a team filled with comparable talent.

The most likely candidate to be UK’s first commit and next point guard, the prospect of playing with Quickley could be a vital asset for Calipari in the 2018 class.  He can fill up the points column in the box score, but he’s a pass-first point guard.

Today he had to take matters into his own hands.  Quickley scored 32 of his team’s 72 points in a five-point victory that he put out of reach.  A couple of late threes extended the lead just enough for him to finish them at the free throw line.  He also added 7 rebounds and 3 assists.  For a kid that’s only spent one day at home in the last month, it’s amazing that he’s still playing excellent basketball.

Zion is a Bully

Zion Williamson picks on his opponents.  When you watch him, it feels as though he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  Known for his powerful dunks, the lefty is surprisingly agile around the rim.  He displayed finesse when finishing with finger-rolls below the rim and by sneaking around opponents for offensive rebounds.  That’s one part of his game, but the powerful finisher is much more entertaining.

Quickley and Zion will meet each other this afternoon at 2:20. We’ll have plenty of updates @RoushKSR and @JackPilgrimKSR.

Two of the Best in 2019

The No. 2 and No. 3 players in the Class of 2019 started their day by posting double-doubles.  You’ll hear from Charles Bassey and Matthew Hurt later on this afternoon.  Also stay tuned for more on 2018 guard Quentin Grimes.  Considered a top five point guard, if Quickley is to Wall, Grimes is to Bledsoe.  Stay tuned.


Report: Top 2018 player may reclassify to 2017

Report: Top 2018 player may reclassify to 2017

Marvin Bagley is the No. 1 player in the 2018 class, but this morning, there’s a report that he could reclassify and play college basketball next season. 247 Sports recruiting guru Jerry Meyer dropped this little rumor in his Peach Jam roundup, hinting that Bagley could move up to the 2017 class and join USC this season:

An interesting note in Bagley’s recruitment is some intel that has come to 247Sports of the possibility of him reclassifying up to the 2017 class. Bagley is scheduled to visit Duke and Coach K and staff have been doggedly tracking him. But the buzz is that hometown USC could be his desired destination as a potential 2017 recruit. Andy Enfield has been a familiar face at his games, but so have John Calipari and Sean Miller. In the end, though, Bagley’s recruitment has the feel of a Duke and USC showdown.

Calipari and Kenny Payne watched Bagley last night and the 6-11 power forward told reporters that he wants to make a trip to Lexington at some point. Considering Meyer’s report and the fact that he’s visiting Duke immediately following the Peach Jam, it may seem like the Blue Devils and the Trojans have the momentum, but never count out Calipari.

Read more of Meyer’s observations here. And then check out Bagley’s highlights from yesterday, along with his interview with reporters via Nick Roush:

 


Good News and Bad News from the Peach Jam

Good News and Bad News from the Peach Jam

Good News: Calipari watched Bol Bol and Marvin Bagley last night.

Bad News: Bagley didn’t have a lot of good things to say about Kentucky.  In fact, all he had to say about UK was, “Eventually, we’ll get to Kentucky.”  Entering the tournament we thought the Cats were in a good spot to land the nation’s best player, but that’s not the case.

Good News: Bol Bol will visit UK, maybe for Big Blue Madness.  If you can’t get Bagley, Bol is an exceptional alternative.  One of the largest human beings I have ever seen can score from wherever he pleases.  That could eventually be Lexington.

Bad News: 247 thinks Bol will not play in Lexington.  Even though Bol said he isn’t upset about not getting picked to Team USA, Jerry Meyer told Ben Roberts he believes Bol will remain on the West Coast and play at USC.  Pulling Bagley and Bol away from the West will be a challenge, but I believe  Cal is in a good place right now with Manute’s son.

Good News: Cam Reddish scored 44 points.

Bad News:  Reddish’s performance was in the Peach Jam play-in game, and his team lost.  Now playing the minor league Peach Jam tournament for all those who didn’t qualify, he’s resting after a long week with Calipari in Egypt.  I was excited to see him play alongside Louis King, a guy who made Team USA and is searching for a UK offer, but instead it’s just a big bunch of crap.

Bad News: The talent here is WAY down.  I’d like to balance this out with more good news, but I can’t when I can’t see any good players play basketball.  Last year there approximately 12 players with UK offers at the event; five that eventually committed (Washington, Richards, Green, Knox & Diallo).  This year there are only two players with UK offers playing in the Peach Jam.

To make matters worse, the two guys with offers do not play on good teams.  Bagley’s team needed an exemption just to qualify.  His frontcourt partner can hardly walk and chew gum.  I was not the most coordinated basketball player, but even I reserve the right to call out this kid’s coordination.  Somehow, Bagley has carried them to two wins, equaling their regular season total, but it can’t last forever.

Good News: Malik Monk showed up.

Bad News:  Kevin Durant showed up.  The entire event is covered with KD’s face.  In the middle of Bagley’s game, he gave Coach K dap as he went to another court.  That impressionable statement is something you’d rather not see.

I could write more bad news, but I don’t want to be salty on a fantastic Friday morning.  

 

 


Friday’s Top 10: Winter is coming

Friday’s Top 10: Winter is coming

Winter is coming on Sunday in the form of the “Game of Thrones” Season 7 premiere, and what better way to get ready than this picture of Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, aka Gregor Clegane, aka “The Mountain,” throwing up three goggles with Michael, a diehard UK and KSR fan? For those who don’t watch the show, here’s what The Mountain looks like in costume:

Also, don’t worry; if you stop your life right now and start binge watching, you’ll be ready for Sunday night. Or, you can just catch up with Nick and TJ Walker’s Kentucky Thrones Radio podcast, a new episode of which you can expect later today, I hear.

In the meantime, here’s what’s going on in the world of UK sports….

1. Zion Williamson wants to decide before his senior season

John Calipari started his recruiting marathon by watching Zion Williamson at the adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, and the five-star forward definitely put on a show, scoring 31 points to lead SC Supreme to the comeback win:

Williamson told our own Jack Pilgrim that he’d like to make his college decision before the start of his senior season, and that his relationship with Calipari is “really good.”

“We have a really good relationship,” Williamson said. “He tells me if my dream is to go to the NBA, he can help me achieve that.”

Here’s hoping that really good relationship and NBA pitch is enough to get Zion out of the Carolinas. Read more of his comments here.

2. Cal finished the day watching Marvin Bagley and Bol Bol

How big is the hype around the No. 1 player in the 2018 class? Kevin Durant came to watch him play (and sat next to Kenny Payne) and Calipari fired up the private jet for the 115-mile trip between Spartanburg and North Augusta to see him in the night session, where he was joined by Malik Monk. The 6’11” power forward has lived up to the hype so far, averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds through three games. Here are his highlights from the early game:

Where does Kentucky stand in the race for what some are calling a once-in-a-generation type player? He’ll take an official visit to Duke following the Peach Jam, but said he plans to make it to Kentucky eventually.

3. Bol Bol says he has no hard feelings over being cut from Calipari’s U19 Team

The question on everyone’s mind after 7’3″ Bol Bol was cut from the U19 Team was what effect it would have on Kentucky’s chances in his recruitment. Bol told reporters yesterday that he has no hard feelings about the decision, which he knows wasn’t just Calipari’s.

“It wasn’t just his fault,” Bol said via Kyle Tucker. “It was a coaching staff and a USA Basketball staff, so I don’t really blame him for not putting me on the team, because he can’t, like, officially decide everyone who’s on the team.”

4. Romeo Langford re-aggravated his back injury

Langford battled back spasms throughout the FIBA World Cup, and yesterday, they flared up again during his first game at the adidas Gauntlet Finale. No word yet on if he’ll be able to go today. Despite a report from Evan Daniels that Kentucky is fading in the race for the New Albany native, that didn’t stop Calipari and Joel Justus from being front and center for his first game.

5. More good vibes from Immanuel Quickley

Quickley continues to give off vibes that he could be the first 2018 recruit to commit to Kentucky, telling Jack Pilgrim and other reporters that he was very impressed with Calipari during the FIBA World Cup.

“It was good. We wanted to win the gold but obviously came up a little short. It was a good experience overall on and off the floor. (Calipari) is a great coach on and off the floor. I think it was really cool to get to learn from him. When you spend time for three or four weeks, almost a month with one person you get to know them pretty well.”

Well enough to want to spend a whole year with him? We’ll see soon.

6. Today’s schedule

Peach Jam

  • 9:00 AM: Nike Phamily (Marvin Bagley) vs. Howard Pulley
  • 10:30 AM: Cal Supreme (Bol Bol) vs. Oakland Soldiers
  • 6:00 PM: New York Lightning vs. Nike Phamily (Marvin Bagley)
  • 9:00 PM: Bradley Beal Elite vs. Cal Supreme (Bol Bol)

adidas Gauntlet Finale

  • 10:20 AM: SC Supreme (Zion Williamson) vs. Garner Road
  • 10:20 AM: Team BBC (Immanuel Quickley) vs. Gamepoint Pump N Run
  • 1:00 PM: Rytes Warriors vs. Twenty Two Vision (Romeo Langford)
  • 1:00 PM: Team Arsenal vs. Basketball University (Quentin Grimes)

Want to watch? Peach Jam games are being streamed on Facebook via FloHoops and adidas games via BallisLife.

7. All-SEC Preseason Teams will be announced today

Media Days is over, but this morning, the media’s choices for the All-SEC Preseason Teams and conference standings will be released. Did they pick Kentucky or South Carolina third in the East? Or, did old habits die hard and the Cats didn’t get any respect?

Speaking of football…

8. The 2017 Schedule posters are available at Kroger starting tomorrow

Starting tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., all seven posters will be available at Kroger stores statewide, so go get yours. And if you go to the Euclid one, say hi to John Short.

9. You all have a lot of french fry opinions

Yesterday was National French Fry Day — one of the least annoying of the “Why is this a holiday?” holidays — and to celebrate, I ran a Twitter poll asking people to pick their favorite fries between McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Arby’s, and Chick-fil-A. Naturally, McDonald’s won, but people went after me for not including Rally’s. In the interest of a fair and complete evaluation, I’m including Rally’s (or, as it is called in Tennessee, Checkers) in a new poll below:


10. Today on KSR: Laura Rutledge

The SEC Network reporter will take over the mics today to talk Media Days, UK Football, and whatever else is on her mind. That starts in one hour.


Immanuel Quickley hopes to make decision soon, turns heads in front of Coach Cal and Joel Justus at adidas Uprising Gauntlet

Immanuel Quickley hopes to make decision soon, turns heads in front of Coach Cal and Joel Justus at adidas Uprising Gauntlet

Immanuel Quickley finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in his first game of the adidas Uprising Gauntlet Finale, proving to Coach Cal that he deserved the most attention at the point guard spot in the 2017 recruiting class.

Even though Quickley filled up the stat sheet, he was not extremely impressed with his play.

“(I was) not that good,” he said. “I’d probably give myself a D or a C. But we just have to come out and compete tomorrow.”

Quickley’s Team BBC squad lost 71-60, and will start in the loser’s bracket tomorrow morning. The five-star guard just returned from his trip to Egypt playing for Coach Cal’s U19 team, so a bit of fatigue is to be expected. In his eyes, however, it’s not an excuse.

“No. Even if it was that’s never an excuse for playing and taking an L,” he said. “That’s an L and that’s on me as a point guard. I’ll come back and be ready tomorrow. I’m really competitive. I don’t like losing at all.”

When asked about his experience playing for Calipari in Egypt, Quickley said he was extremely impressed with Coach Cal both on and off the floor.

“It was good. We wanted to win the gold but obviously came up a little short. It was a good experience overall on and off the floor. (Calipari) is a great coach on and off the floor. I think it was really cool to get to learn from him. When you spend time for three or four weeks, almost a month with one person you get to know them pretty well,” said Quickley.

Quickley channels his inner Coach Cal, recruiting star guard Romeo Langford at the event.

When it came to Calipari’s coaching in Egypt, Quickley said he loved the way he runs his point guards.

“I love the pace of play. I see all his point guards playing a similar role of getting up-and-down the floor and that’s a big part of what he does. They all play fast and that was the biggest takeaway for me,” he said.

Both Calipari and assistant coach Joel Justus were in attendance at the first game at adidas Uprising, something that resonated well with Quickley.

“I think that’s a major pro. Any coach that’s coming around should keep coming and showing love and as a player I really appreciated that” he said.

Rumors have spread that Quickley and elite prospect Cameron Reddish have discussed playing together in college, but he said he’s not ready to say they are a package deal.

“I won’t go that far but me and Cam were roommates in Egypt,” said Quickley. “We talked a lot and he’s a great person to get to know.”

Like Zion Williamson, a college decision may come for Quickley sooner rather than later. Though no date is set, many recruiting analysts expect a decision to come in August.

I don’t have a date but it will be before the basketball year I’m sure,” Quickley said. “I do plan on visiting each school one more time before I do make my decision.”

Check out Quickley’s highlights from the game:

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR


Romeo Langford re-aggravates back, sits out remainder of 2017 adidas Uprising debut

Romeo Langford re-aggravates back, sits out remainder of 2017 adidas Uprising debut

Though the adidas Uprising Gauntlet Finale is filled with some of the top talent in the country, the majority of interest is centered around five-star prospects Zion Williamson, Romeo Langford, and Immanuel Quickley.

Both Williamson and Quickley impressed in their first games of the event, but after three quick buckets, Langford re-aggravated his back and sat out the remainder of Twenty Two Vision’s first round loss.

Langford started the game by posterizing a defender on the baseline, and followed it up with a fast break layup and a pull-up jumper at the top of the key. Just six minutes into the game, the New Albany, IN native subbed out of the game and a trainer began working out his back on the sideline.

Langford has been bothered by back spasms for the past month or so, leading to limited playing time in Egypt for Coach Cal’s U19 Team USA squad.

In a recent interview with SEC Country, Scout.com recruiting insider Evan Daniels says the Wildcats may be “fading” in Langford’s recruitment, with Indiana and Louisville seen as the likely destinations (for now.)

Both John Calipari and Joel Justus were in attendance to watch Langford, proving they still have major interest in the five-star prospect.

There is no word on if Langford will participate in the loser’s bracket tomorrow afternoon, but we’ll update you on what we hear.


Bol Bol Didn’t Play for Calipari in Egypt, but UK is Still one of his Top Suitors

247

Bol Bol is a beast.  A 7’2″ athlete that can score from everywhere on the floor — even behind the three-point line — he had a casual 25 points and 11 rebounds earlier today at the Peach Jam.

After talking to others, it was evident that the performance I saw from Bol today wasn’t his best.  I can understand why, but hardly.  He was smooth, moving effortlessly around the floor, finishing offensive rebounds with dunks and nailing contested three-pointers.  If that wasn’t his best, and he was playing his best at Team USA Training Camp in Colorado, how in the hell did he not make the team?

Unfortunately I missed the brief window of opportunity for an interview with arguably Calipari’s most sought-after recruit.  Luckily, Kyle Tucker was in the media hub to hear Bol’s response for failing to make the U19 team.  To put it plainly, he wasn’t very happy about it.

“I felt pretty comfortable. He (Calipari) was a pretty cool person. I thought I was going to make the team, but I guess I didn’t,” he said. “It was very disappointing, because I just heard good things from him and other people the whole weekend, so I thought I was on there.”

Bol didn’t make the team, but he did jump into the top five of every recruiting service.  One of the most dynamic athletes I’ve ever seen, Bol isn’t letting Team USA’s decision change his opinion on Calipari and Kentucky.  Bol plans on taking official visits this fall to Arizona, Oregon and Kentucky, likely for Big Blue Madness. 

[SEC Country]


Two Five-Star Forwards Emerging as UK Targets

Two Five-Star Forwards Emerging as UK Targets

Wiseman (Left via USA Basketball) and Williams (right via USA Today)

John Calipari is in contention for the top five players in the 2018 class, but one class cannot be composed of just the five guys at the top.  You’ve got to spread it around a little.  He’s doing that by going after a few other guys.

The thirteenth-ranked player in the 2018 class, 6’8″ power forward Emmitt Williams from IMG Academy in Florida, has created more buzz than anybody at the Peach Jam after putting Marvin Bagley on a poster.  He did it to the nation’s top-ranked player not once, but twice last night.

It was no big deal for Williams.  “I just dunk on any person in front of me,” he said today.  What was a big deal for Williams?  Getting a call from Coach K.  “Getting a phone call from him was like talking to God.”

Just because Williams has an offer from Duke, doesn’t mean he’s not considering others.  Kentucky first reached out to him earlier this week.  It’s still early, but Williams said it would be a blessing to get an offer from UK and get a chance to play with his former EYBL teammate, Kevin Knox.

“I always wanted to get an offer from Kentucky and have a chance to go there,” Williams said.

Another rising forward had a lot more good things to say about UK.  The No. 6 player in the 2019 class is quite literally rising.  James Wiseman has shot up the rankings as he’s grown.  Now the Nashville-area star is near 6’10” and hearing from Joel Justus.

They texted me recently, like everyday,” Wiseman said.  “They think that I’ll fit well in the system.  Just like everybody else says.”

What’s different between UK’s system and others is who has played in it.  When asked who he models his game after, he replied, “Anthony Davis.”

“He lets people play,” Wiseman said of John Calipari.  “Anthony Davis was blocking shots.  I like blocking shots a lot, running the floor, shooting 10 to 15 feet out.”

The growing, versatile athlete is being recruited by Indiana, North Carolina, Texas and Vandy.  As of right now Wiseman plans to take official visits to three schools: Kansas, Duke and Kentucky.

Even though Calipari has just begun to contact these two forwards, he’s in great shape with Wiseman.  Williams has asserted himself as one of the best on the Nike Circuit, but his style of play doesn’t fit like Wiseman’s.  The lengthy athlete was eager to talk about Kentucky, more than any other school, and that might be why the only Crystal Ball Predictions for Wiseman are to Kentucky.

After Calipari spent the first part of the day at the adidas event in Spartanburg, I expect we’ll see just how interested he is in these prospects tonight in North Augusta, South Carolina.


Marvin Bagley will Visit UK, but Duke is up First

Scout

The top-ranked player in America has Kentucky on his radar, but John Calipari has a few others in front of him in line for Marvin Bagley’s services.

After leading his team to its first Peach Jam victory, Bagley said he is visiting Duke after the tournament.  Coach K watched Bagley’s win from near midcourt court alongside Jeff Capel.  Krzyxewksxki had some NBA help too.  During pregame warm-ups, he chatted it up with Tyus Jones.  The biggest name watching Bagley’s game was Kevin Durant.  If you really want to hate KD, he gave Coach K some dap as he left the court.

Bagley said he’s still considering the Cats, but they aren’t on the short list of schools he is visiting in the near future.  After a trip to Duke, the West Coast kid will take visits to Arizona and USC.  He plans on visiting UK, but has nothing planned in the immediate future.

It will be a battle for John Calipari, but it’s worth the fight.  The 6’11” athlete does things few others can.  A lefty that can finish with a floating finesse or a powerful slam, he’s been compared to the MVP who watched his game today, Kevin Durant.  The lanky No. 35 doesn’t just look the part, he plays like it.


Zion Williamson says he is close to Calipari, wants to make a decision before his senior season

Zion Williamson says he is close to Calipari, wants to make a decision before his senior season

After a dominating 31-point performance in his 2017 Adidas Uprising Gauntlet debut, five-star phenom Zion Williamson updated KSR and fellow reporters on his recruitment.

Though he claims he has a wide range of schools in contention with no favorites, most deem Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, UNC, South Carolina, and Clemson as the top six in his recruitment.

When the time comes, the Spartanburg, SC native will make a decision from all of the schools he has interest in, opting out of the traditional “final list” setup most recruits follow.

“Right now I am looking at a lot of schools, but for me, I’m probably not going to make a list,” Williamson said. “I’m just going to pick a school when it feels right.”

When asked about Coach Cal and the Kentucky Wildcats, the star forward said he and the UK coaching staff remain tight, talking on a regular basis.

“We have a really good relationship,” Williamson said. “He tells me if my dream is to go to the NBA, he can help me achieve that.” 

Don’t count out the local schools, though. Williamson says both South Carolina and Clemson are still recruiting him and both remain high on his list. When asked if the Gamecocks helped themselves with their historic Final Four run in March, however, Williamson said he was impressed, but will make the best decision for him.

“The Final Four run was big for South Carolina, but in the end, I have to look at what players are there at my position and coaching style,” Williamson said.

When it comes to the final decision, Williamson says he wants a coach to push him to the limits to help prepare him for the NBA.

“I want to know if a coach is actually going to coach me and not just let me do whatever I want,” Williamson said. “In the NBA, coaches are going to be on to me and my spot can easily be replaced. I’m just looking for a coach that can push me to limits that I’ve never pushed before.

As far as a timetable on his decision, it looks like we aren’t too far away.

“I want to hopefully pick a school before my season starts so I can get that out of the way,” Williamson said.

Watch the interview in its entirety below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjfYYiYThFI