After waiting on pins and needles since the NBA Combine, the first report on Hamidou →
Basketball Recruiting News
Jarred Vanderbilt is officially a member of the University of Kentucky’s 2017 basketball class.
The small forward out of Texas inked his National Letter of Intent at his high school Monday afternoon. Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston has the video from Vanderbilt’s signing ceremony:
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) April 17, 2017
Vanderbilt joins Quade Green, Shai Alexander, Nick Richards, P.J. Washington and Hamidou Diallo, an early enrollee, in John Calipari’s crop of 2017 talent. Another hard commit, Jemarl Baker, has yet to sign his NLI.
Still no injury update though.
Big Blue Nation is anxiously awaiting an update on Jarred Vanderbilt.
The future Wildcat suffered an injury to his right ankle/foot in the final seconds of the Jordan Brand Classic last Friday and he was seen writhing in pain under the basket on the broadcast. He was eventually carried off to the bench by the medical staff without putting any pressure on his right foot.
Fans have of course speculated the severity of the injury over the course of the weekend, but there is still no word from Vanderbilt or anyone in the know. He reportedly returned to Houston for his X-ray and the results are expected to be made known some time today.
Until then, we continue to wait and worry about the five-star forward, currently projected by many to be among the starting lineup in Lexington next fall.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 17th, 2017 @ 12:15pm
There was some good ol’ fashioned trash talk at the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic over the weekend that went unnoticed and needs to be addressed.
Apparently, one of Rick Pitino’s future Cardinals, someone named Darius Perry, explained why he picked Louisville over other schools. Perry citied Pitino’s player development as the deciding factor (LOL) and then took a shot at Isaiah Briscoe, saying, “Briscoe couldn’t shoot when he got to Kentucky… and he still can’t shoot.”
Darius Perry says player dev. separated UofL from other schools. "Briscoe couldn't shoot when he got to Kentucky..and he still can't shoot."
— Card Nation (@UKHateWeek) April 14, 2017
Hear it for yourself at the 33:45 mark:
Someone should remind Perry he did not pick Louisville over Kentucky because Kentucky did not show him any interest. He had offers from Georgia, Minnesota, Wake Forest, Xavier and Texas A&M, therefore he chose Louisville over those schools. To say Briscoe’s shot development is the reason he went to Louisville is laughable.
Learn your own recruitment, bud. Cal didn’t want you.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 17th, 2017 @ 11:00am
John Calipari will travel to Maryland tomorrow to visit one of the top point guards in next year’s recruiting class.
According to the good people at the Cats Pause, Calipari will be in Bel Air on Tuesday to visit Immanuel Quickley, one of five high school juniors with a scholarship offer from Kentucky.
Point Guard (2018) | 6-3 | 175 lbs.
Bel Air, MD | John Carroll School
AAU: Baltimore Elite
|ESPN||No. 12 | 1 PG||Top247||No. 18 | 5 PG|
|Rivals||No. 12 | 2 PG||Scout||No. 10 | 2 PG|
Quickley picked up his offer from the Cats back in October before he took an unofficial visit to Big Blue Madness. He was the first point guard in the class to catch UK’s eye and earn an offer; the only other PG on the board is Quentin Grimes, who Calipari offered last Month.
Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Miami, Providence, Virginia and Maryland are the other schools in contention for Quickley.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 16th, 2017 @ 10:00pm
After finishing up his high school basketball career at the Jordan Brand Classic, star forward Kevin Knox says his recruitment is coming to a close very soon.
Knox will have several coaches in over the next week or two for in-home visits, and make a decision after that.
The 6’8 forward out of Florida sat down with Pat Lawless of MadeHoops.com, where he broke down his final five schools.
Read what Knox had to say about the Kentucky Wildcats going into the home stretch of his recruitment:
“They have a lot of great players that are committed there and I’m really happy for them,” he said. “Coach Calipari has been on me 24-7 and Coach Kenny Payne is one of the best assistant coaches in the country. I would be able to come in and play with those great guys, who I know I am able to play with because we have been playing together at these all-star events. Their commits have been in my ear all the time and they just have a great overall school.”
To end the article, Knox says all five schools on his final list are still in contention.
“I’m wide open right now, all five schools can get me,” Knox said. “I just plan on talking with my parents soon and a decision will be coming very soon. All five schools have a chance and I’ll make the decision in the next couple of weeks or in early May.”
You can read the rest of the interview here: MadeHoops.com
By Brett Bibbins on ©April 16th, 2017 @ 6:00pm
By now, everyone has seen the videos of the number 2 player in ESPN’s top 60 for the class of 2018, Zion Williamson. He’s a freak athlete and his dunks would be nothing short of amazing to see in an NBA game, much less a high school gym.
He was recently invited to the ESPN studios to take part in putting some ESPN employees on the dunk cam.
While these dunks aren’t especially impressive, take a look at what Williamson does with a real ball on a real hoop in real games. Unbelievable.
If Coach Cal can land this kid, Rupp is going to be seeing some dunks it has never seen before.
By Eli Mitchell on ©April 16th, 2017 @ 3:00pm
The No. 7 overall player in the class of 2017 had the opportunity to follow the Brandon Jennings Model by playing professionally overseas for a season before becoming eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, a Chinese Professional team offered Kevin Knox a $1.4 million contract for the 2017-18 season. Knox’s father told the Times, “we politely said thanks but no thanks. He’s going to college.”
Knox has narrowed down his recruitment to 5 schools with Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Florida State and Missouri in the mix. The 5-star prospect is expected to make his announcement sometime before May 10th.
Duke is considered the favorite to land Knox but anything can happen in college basketball recruiting.
Illinois Mr. Basketball and UK target Mark Smith discussed his upcoming visit to Lexington after last night’s Derby Classic with Darrell Bird of Cats Pause.
There was speculation that Kentucky would no longer be considered by Smith after the commitment of California shooting guard Jemarl Baker but the 4-star prospect told T.J Walker of Cats Illustrated earlier this week , “That doesn’t change my interest at all.”
Smith is excited to visit Lexington to “meet some of the players, see what Cal’s plan would be for me, see how the campus is, and get to meet the coaches.”
Check out everything Smith had to say about his upcoming visit, his relationship with Kenny Payne, and his Derby Classic teammate UK Commit Shai Gilgeous-Alexander :
By Nick Roush on ©April 15th, 2017 @ 9:30pm
Kentucky signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a class above the competition at tonight’s Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic. The future UK combo guard led all players in scoring (29 points) and assists (6) to take home MVP honors at Freedom Hall.
He wasted no time getting to work, knocking down this trey on the second possession of the game.
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) April 16, 2017
Shortly after that bucket, he took it to the rim in transition, AND THE FOUL.
AND ONE pic.twitter.com/yxsIY9IX4R
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) April 16, 2017
What makes SGA’s dominance even more impressive is that he only played about 20 minutes. He also won the three-point shooting contest at halftime, with the closest competitor falling by four buckets.
UK signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander easily wins the 3 point shooting contest at the Kentucky Derby Basketball Classic. pic.twitter.com/EnB3geE2R4
— Jonathan Dunn (@jdunnLEX18) April 16, 2017
The first Kentucky scholarship signee to play in the game since Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins, SGA also had 9 rebounds. Illinois Mr. Basketball Mark Smith, a shooting guard recruit visiting Lexington next week, finished with 7 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. The Team Lightning teammates won 122-109 over the Louisville signee-filled Team Thunder.
The update is there is no update…yet.
After traveling back to Houston, Vanderbilt’s father told T.J. Walker he will receive x-ray results on Monday. The future Kentucky small forward injured his right ankle with 36 seconds left in last night’s Jordan Brand Classic. Injuries to Vanderbilt’s left foot sidelined him for a significant portion of his summer and senior season.
Until Monday, keep your fingers crossed for Jarred.
By Nick Roush on ©April 15th, 2017 @ 4:30pm
Future Kentucky combo guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has an established reputation is an exceptional penetrator. SGA can get to the rim, but many have questioned his outside shooting ability. Last night, he answered that question.
At the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic’s “Night of the Future Stars,” Gilgeous-Alexander ran away with the preliminary round of the three-point shooting competition. SGA drained 19 threes, four more than his closest competitor. WDRB has footage from his performance.
Alongside Kentucky target Mark Smith, SGA will compete against UofL and IU’s recruiting classes at Freedom Hall. Tickets are $18 and the game tips off at 7:00. If you can’t make it to the fairgrounds, but are in the Louisville area, you can watch the game on WDRB.
The second-ranked center in the 2018 class, David McCormack, will take an unofficial visit to the University of Kentucky tomorrow. According to Evan Daniels, the No. 44 player in the 2018 class will see UK’s campus a day after visiting UofL.
“Massive” might be the best word to describe McCormack. The 6’10” 300-pounder is a powerful post for Oak Hill Academy. Maryland, Georgetown, N.C. State and Kansas are currently his top suitors. He does not have a scholarship offer from John Calipari. Watch him work:
The 16th Jordan Brand Classic rolled through Brooklyn’s Barclays Center last night, rounding out the third straight weekend of High School All-Star tournaments for the class of 2017.
Quade Green, Nick Richards, Jarred Vanderbilt, and P.J. Washington were on hand representing Jordan Brand’s tournament-high four commitments for Kentucky. Duke and Alabama notched two each.
Divided into East and West, Green and Vanderbilt represented the East with Richards, Washington, and Kentucky-hopeful Bamba on the West.
Jarred Vanderbilt injured with :36 remaining
With 36 seconds remaining in the game, Jarred Vanderbilt had to be carried off the court after a nasty ankle injury. This happened after Vanderbilt lead all Kentucky players with 17 points, adding on an impressive 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal.
Coming into the week, I had the most questions about Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt answered these, and then some.
Vanderbilt was ‘positionless’ on the court. He was a high-efficiency scorer, hustled for rebounds, and displayed a surprising ball-handling ability.
Here, Vanderbilt goes coast-to-coast for an and-1.
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) April 15, 2017
After the game, I asked P.J. Washington if he had any updates on Vanderbilt
“He was just in the training room and I went in to see if he was okay. It seem like he’s doing fine, but I’m not sure.” Vanderbilt posted this on Instagram shortly after the game.
Prayers out to Vanderbilt. There is no question that the young man has put in work on court over the past few months. It shows up on the stat sheet and will be rewarded as he continues to soar up the recruiting rankings. We hope this is just a minor setback.
From Kentucky to Bowling Green
Quade Green turned in 6 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and a game high 9 assists. Other than the alarming 9 turnovers, Green looked to be the dominant point guard on the floor.
Providing highlight after highlight in the first half, Quade Green hooked up with WKU commit Mitchell Robinson for countless ally-oops.
The umpteenth lob from Quade Green to Mitchell Robinson. pic.twitter.com/6MNAZ5SFPw
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) April 15, 2017
Aside from the no-look, dime dropping delights, Green exhibited annoying defense and a sweet jumper. The comparisons heard throughout the week to Tyler Ulis are no joke.
As for rooming with Mo Bamba and his efforts of getting the big man to Kentucky, Green said, “I only need Mo to come in. Get the papers ready to sign for us.”
Nick Richards likes to dunk
The New Jersey native went 5-7 from the field for 10 points, three of which were backboard-rattling dunks. Having trouble developing a rhythm on the boards, Richards turned in an underwhelming 3 rebounds and 1 block.
Richards did, however, give us the highlight of the night.
— Overtime (@overtime) April 15, 2017
Bamba (Surprisingly) Struggled
Despite being one of the more impressive players during practices, Bamba went 3-9 from the field for a mere 6 points, 2 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal. Luckily, Bamba dominated the boards leading the West with 10 rebounds.
Bamba was a a media member’s dream. There’s no telling how many times Bamba has answered the same recruiting questions over-and-over again. Nevertheless, each is answered with a smile.
I couldn’t pick up any signs throughout the week as to where I felt Bamba swayed. During the practices, I saw him hanging out a lot with P.J Washington and Nick Richards, even hugging them in the huddles.
Tonight, I leave feeling that Texas and Duke are still very much in the thick of it.
Hearing some of the non-Kentucky guys yelling “Hook ’em, Mo!” during media interviews, and Duke-commit Gary Trent Jr. encouraging Bamba to “tell them really where you are really going,” left me feeling less confident.
I understand that both of these pro-Texas and Duke signs could be paranoid observations on my end, but take it as you will.
Future Kentucky small forward Jarred Vanderbilt received raved reviews for his early performance in the Jordan Brand Classic, but his game ended in the worst way possible.
With less only 36 seconds remaining in the game, Vanderbilt planted his right foot awkwardly on a drive to the basket. He remained on the floor, writhing in pain for minutes until he was helped off the court without putting any weight on his right leg. There’s no word on the severity of his injured right ankle.
In the last month Vanderbilt’s stock has soared, primarily because he was finally healthy. Vanderbilt missed chunks of the EYBL, including the Peach Jam, and his high school regular season while dealing with ankle and foot injuries. Before the injury, he had 17 points and 7 rebounds.
Jarred posted this on Instagram to reassure the BBN that he’s okay.
Back in February I went to New Jersey to watch Nick Richards in a tournament at Isaiah Briscoe’s old high school. Richards looked decent through foul trouble, but the trip was worth it to see Naz Reid, a big man in the 2018 class. Dude was incredible and I knew I’d be hearing a lot more about him soon.
Well now’s that time.
John Calipari and Tony Barbee had an in-home visit with Reid today in Jersey, according to this guy:
Nazreon Reid, a class of 2018 PF from Sports U (NJ), just had an in-home visit with Kentucky's John Calipari and Tony Barbee.
— Pat Lawless (@PatLawless_) April 14, 2017
Calipari and Barbee were also in attendance when I caught my first glimpse of him, and it’s no surprise they made a return trip for more.
Watch this young man do his thing and then explain to me how he is a junior in high school: