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@JVando_

Jarred Vanderbilt: “Feels good to be a Wildcat!”

@JVando_

@JVando_

Jarred Vanderbilt’s announcement caught us all off guard, but the best Christmas presents are those you don’t know are coming, right? The five-star forward has taken to social media following his surprise announcement, telling his followers, “Feels good to be a Wildcat!”

He also shared these great pictures of himself and his family after the big reveal:

@JVando_

@JVando_

@JVando_

@JVando_

@JVando_

@JVando_

Beautiful family. Go follow our newest Wildcat @JVando_.


Jarred Vanderbilt made the decision to come to Kentucky about five days ago

Jarred Vanderbilt made the decision to come to Kentucky about five days ago

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Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt is a Kentucky Wildcat, joining Quade Green, Shai Alexander, Nick Richards, and PJ Washington in what is quickly becoming a loaded 2017 recruiting class. After announcing his decision, Vanderbilt opened up on why he chose the Cats over North Carolina, Oregon, and TCU.

“I felt like it had a family atmosphere when I went out there,” Vanderbilt said of his official visit to UK on October 22. “Coach Cal, he’s a Hall of Fame coach, a great personnel coach, and I feel like he does the best with developing his players on and off the court. I feel like it’s a great school, a great opportunity for me to excel at.”

Vanderbilt said he came to the decision to commit to Kentucky after some long talks with his parents and prayer. According to Evan Daniels, he made the decision to come to Lexington about five days ago.

“It really hit me about five days ago,” he said. “It was always a thought in the back of my mind. It really made it clear and the more I watched them, It became more clear.”

Vanderbilt said visiting UK on October 22 opened his eyes to how Calipari coaches players in practice, as did watching the current team’s speed in transition.

“The way they get up and down in transition and they way he develops guys. My game is complemented and I thrive around great players with my passing and rebounding and everything. It’s a place you can develop for the league”

Vanderbilt closed his commitment video with the best possible message for Kentucky fans this Christmas: “Go Big Blue Nation!”


Jarred Vanderbilt picks KENTUCKY

Jarred Vanderbilt picks KENTUCKY

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How’s that for a Christmas present? Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt just committed to Kentucky over North Carolina, Oregon, and TCU, surprising everyone with a decision two days before Christmas.

Jarred Vanderbilt
Forward | 6-8 | 200 lbs.
Bellaire, TX | Victory Prep
AAU: Houston Hoops
★★★★★
ESPN No. 22 | 4 PF Top247 No. 19 | 5 SF
Rivals No. 21 | Scout No. 15 | 2 PF

Vanderbilt is one of the most versatile players in the 2017 class, with some services listing him as a power forward and others a small forward. He was EYBL teammates with future Cat De’Aaron Fox, which put him on Calipari’s radar relatively early. He earned a scholarship offer from Kentucky in July 2015. The easiest way to remember his game? V for versatility. Draft Express nicknamed him the “6’8″ Swiss Army Knife” for his ability to produce on both sides of the floor.

Vanderbilt is Kentucky’s fifth commitment in the 2017 class, joining point guards Quade Green and Shai Alexander; center Nick Richards; and power forward PJ Washington.

Watch his commitment below:

Welcome to the fam, Jarred!


LIVE STREAM: Jarred Vanderbilt’s announcement

LIVE STREAM: Jarred Vanderbilt’s announcement

j-vanderbilt

Jarred Vanderbilt is about to announce his decision via ESPNU’s Twitter and Facebook live streams, one of which we’ve embedded for you below:


Get to Know the 2017 Prospects: Jarred Vanderbilt

Get to Know the 2017 Prospects: Jarred Vanderbilt

vanderbilt-header

[Editor’s note: With Vanderbilt’s decision coming at noon, this is a good time to rerun this feature on him from May. I updated it as much as I could with current information.]

With what is likely to be a roster overhaul on the horizon, the 2017 recruiting class could end up being one of John Calipari’s most crucial. With that in mind, KSR will introduce you to Calipari’s top targets in the 2017 class over the course of the summer. I got things started a few weeks back with a profile of small forward John Petty, and tonight, we’ll get to know forward Jarred Vanderbilt.

Vitals

Jarred Vanderbilt
Forward | 6-8 | 200 lbs.
Bellaire, TX | Victory Prep
AAU: Houston Hoops
★★★★★
ESPN No. 22 | 4 PF Top247 No. 19 | 5 SF
Rivals No. 21 | Scout No. 15 | 2 PF

The other contenders

Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, TCU

And no, Vanderbilt University has not shown interest. Here’s a fun fact Bluebloodtoo unearthed in the comments section yesterday: according to the 2000 census, only 1,700 people have the surname Vanderbilt, making it one of the most uncommon last names in America. I could be wrong, but I doubt Jarred Vanderbilt has any relation to the iconic Vanderbilt family, after which Vanderbilt University was named.

Background

Vanderbilt is one of the most versatile players in the 2017 class, with some services listing him as a power forward and others a small forward. He was EYBL teammates with future Cat De’Aaron Fox and has played plenty of tournaments in Kentucky, including the Marshall County Hoop Fest, Mustang Madness (McCracken County), and the Bluegrass Showcase (Lexington). For that reason, Vanderbilt was on Kentucky’s radar relatively early, earning an offer from Calipari last July. Since then, he’s made the most of his appearances in the Bluegrass, nearly putting up a triple double in the Bluegrass Showcase with 33 points, 23 rebounds, and 9 assists in one game.

Vanderbilt and former AAU teammate De'Aaron Fox (IG: jvando_2)

Vanderbilt and former EYBL teammate De’Aaron Fox (IG: jvando_2)

Vanderbilt clearly enjoys playing in the state of Kentucky, telling Larry Vaught he loves the attention he gets from UK fans whenever he plays here.

“It has been fascinating. Every time I come here they welcome you with warm arms and always support you. It is a great pleasure to play in Kentucky,” Vanderbilt said. “All the time they refer to it and coming to Big Blue. I don’t mind that. It is nice. It shows that they really want me here, and I like that. The fans are very passionate about basketball here.”

@VaughtsViews

Larry Vaught’s interview with Vanderbilt unearthed a wealth of information about his life off the court, including his 4.3 GPA, track background, and love of music. Turns out Vanderbilt used to play percussion (drums, bells, xylophone, etc.) in his middle school band, which he said helped his coordination. Neat.

[Vaughts Views]

Recruitment timeline

  • 07/28/2015: Kentucky offers Vanderbilt
  • 12/12/2015: Calipari and Kenny Payne watch Vanderbilt at the Bluegrass Showcase in Lexington
  • 12/12/2015: Vanderbilt takes an unofficial visit to Kentucky for the Arizona State game

Strengths

  • VERSATILITY!
  • Rebounding and pushing in transition
  • Passing in the open court
  • Slashing to the basket
  • Ability to guard any position
  • Tons of upside
  • Left-handed

Easiest way to remember Vanderbilt’s game? V for Versatility. From Draft Express last summer:

“As is the case with almost every tournament or showcase he attends, Jarred Vanderbilt was easily one of the most versatile players at the 2015 Nike Global Challenge. The 6′ 8” Swiss army knife out of Houston does a little of everything on both ends of the floor and finds himself around the ball on nearly every possession.”

“The 6’8″ Swiss Army Knife” is an excellent nickname that might need to stick.

Weaknesses

  • Needs to continue to develop his perimeter jumper
  • Cut down on turnovers

Video evidence

Social Media Profile

Vanderbilt’s Twitter is pretty much what you’d expect from an elite high school basketball player: lots of pictures of himself with his teammates, famous people he’s met along the way, and countless retweets of NBA highlights. Pinned at the top is this picture from 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, in which Team USA won the gold medal:

During Team USA’s championship run, Vanderbilt played and started in all five games, averaging 9.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.8 steals a game.

He’s also pretty proud of this picture with Kobe Bryant:

GOAT🐐

A photo posted by Vando (@jvando_) on

And Kevin Durant (and Miles Bridges):

After I gave my man @easymoneysniper buckets🏀💯 #nikebasketballacademy

A photo posted by Vando (@jvando_) on

And James Harden:

Houston just breed different 🌆

A photo posted by Vando (@jvando_) on

 

 


Jarred Vanderbilt announcing decision at noon

jarred-vanderbilt

Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any slower news wise, here came the basketball recruiting fairies to deliver this stunner: five-star small forward Jarred Vanderbilt will announce his decision on @ESPNU’s Twitter account today at noon. As in, 45 minutes from now.

Jarred Vanderbilt
Forward | 6-8 | 200 lbs.
Bellaire, TX | Victory Prep
AAU: Houston Hoops
★★★★★
ESPN No. 22 | 4 PF Top247 No. 19 | 5 SF
Rivals No. 21 | Scout No. 15 | 2 PF

Vanderbilt is down to Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and TCU, and lately, Kentucky’s had all the momentum for the talented 6’8″ small forward from Texas. The Cats have 61% of the picks in his Crystal Ball, including the last three. He took an official visit to Kentucky on October 22nd; the only other official he’s taken is to North Carolina on October 14. It’s a shame Vanderbilt can’t join the team right now, because he might be the legit four the Cats desperately need.

We’ll have a live stream of his announcement on the site at noon. Until then, watch these highlights and LET’S GOOOOOOOOO.

 


Friday’s Top 10: Darlene Love, Recruiting, and Creepy Tiger Woods Santa

Friday’s Top 10: Darlene Love, Recruiting, and Creepy Tiger Woods Santa

darlene-love-pianotop

Between the Vegas trip and the Louisville game, Christmas really snuck up on me this year, but there’s always one moment that puts me in the holiday spirit. For me, it used to be Darlene Love singing “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)” on the David Letterman Show. Letterman, of course, retired last year, but thankfully, things like YouTube exist so I can recreate the moment every year:

If you don’t know about Darlene, I recommend watching the documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” which profiles backup singers and, in Love’s case, their difficult transitions to becoming solo artists. I always loved that Letterman had Darlene on so she could get her time in the spotlight, and last year, she put out a new album entitled, “Introducing Darlene Love” that is definitely worth a listen if you like people with amazing voices. Since it’s Christmas, here’s Darlene’s “It’s Christmas, Of Course” album from 2007 to listen to while we go through the news:

1. Both the football and basketball teams are home for the holidays

It’s probably going to be a quiet day on the news front, as both the football and basketball teams are at home with their families to enjoy the holidays. The football team will head to Jacksonville Christmas night to begin bowl prep, while the basketball team will come back to Lexington on December 26 to resume Camp Cal and get ready for their SEC opener in Oxford on December 29.

2. A basketball recruiting note to keep an eye on

Yesterday, the internet was abuzz with rumors that five-star wing Hamidou Diallo had left his school and enrolled at UConn, but for now, that is false. Diallo is on an official visit to UConn, and has already graduated high school, so he can enroll in college as soon as next semester, which would allow him to enter the 2017 NBA Draft. Getting to the 2017 Draft seems to be Diallo’s goal, so keep an eye on his visit to UConn. If he decides to enroll early, it will most certainly be there.

3. Some football recruiting notes to keep an eye on

Unfortunately, it got overshadowed by the UofL game, but earlier this week, UK picked up its 21st commitment in the 2017 class in three-star defensive end Jordan Wright, and Stoops and company aren’t done yet. Kentucky’s still in the hunt for several four-star prospects, including athlete Lynn Bowden, wide receiver Danny Davis, offensive lineman Thayer Munford, and wide receiver Kevaughn Dingle.

4. Do they have a shot at flipping Jedrick Wills?

It’s also worth noting that the staff hasn’t given up on five-star offensive lineman Jedrick Wills. Even though the Lafayette star is committed to Alabama, he’s been spotted around the UK Football Training Center lately, and flipping him apparently isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Hopefully we’ll find out more once Scoop Lemond gets back from Mexico.

5. I hope you all saw this tweet from Tiger Woods

Is it wrong that I actually feel more confident Tiger will make a comeback now that he’s doing weird stuff like this again?

6. If you haven’t yet, read Gregg Doyel’s article about Grayson Allen.

EVERYONE’s had an opinion on the Grayson Allen trip, but none may be as interesting as Gregg Doyel’s, who argues Allen’s outburst is a sign of a much larger problem for the Duke star. Doyel opens up about his own problems with anger, which he recognizes in Allen. Yes, Allen acted like a complete douche by tripping the Elon player, but watching his outburst on the sidelines afterwards, it’s hard to deny something bigger’s going on. Click here to read Doyel’s take on it.

7. Here’s the UK Hoops crew singing “Jingle Bell Rock”

Definitely better than the guys singing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”:

8. Look at all the bowl games we can watch today!

  • 1:00 PM: Bahamas Bowl – Eastern Michigan at Old Dominion, ESPN
  • 4:30 PM: Armed Forces Bowl – Louisiana Tech vs. #25 Navy, ESPN
  • 8:00 PM: Dollar General Bowl – Ohio vs. Troy, ESPN

Three cheers for the fighting Neal Browns!

9. Look at all the KSR podcasts you can catch up on!

Be sure to refresh your KSR podcast feed today because there are new episodes. Freddie Maggard uploaded the bowl edition of The Depth Chart Podcast and the Funkhouser crew debut their new podcast, Comics, Culture & Wildcats, which I’m eager to check out. Last night, the KSR Football Crew taped their bowl preview at The Original Brooklyn Pizza in Lexington, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear it. Look how much fun they had, though:

@Jgrip3899

@Jgrip3899

10. No radio show today

The radio station gave everyone the day off, but holidays don’t exist at the KSR compound, so we’ll be here to bring you the latest UK sports news in the most ridiculous manner possible.


Kentucky Recruit Scores 53 Points

USA Today

USA Today

Folks around the Bluegrass are paying close attention to the recruitment of junior shooting guard Romeo Langford, but there’s another top-ranked junior you need to know.

South Carolina small forward Zion Williamson, considered the No. 2 junior in America, scored 53 points last night in a 20-point win.  He only missed three three-pointers and knocked down all 24 two-point attempts (25-28).  Williamson added 16 rebounds, 3 assists a block and a steal.  Even more impressive?  He did it against Jalek Felton, a senior 5-star North Carolina signee.

From the opening tip, Williamson was prepared to impress the sold out crowd of 1,500.

John Calipari is recruiting Williamson but has yet to extend a scholarship offer.  Duke, North Carolina and Clemson are the top suitors early in his recruitment process.


Tonight’s Matchup is also a Recruiting Battle

Indy Star

Indy Star

The stakes just got a little higher for tonight’s game.  New Albany head coach Jim Shannon told Jeff Greer the nation’s second-ranked junior prospect, Romeo Langford, will be at the Yum! Center to watch the Cats take on the Cards.

The superstar shooting guard grew up cheering for the school across the Ohio River.  Tom Crean was one of the first to offer Langford before Pitino and Calipari entered into the mix.  Pitino recently attended Langford’s nationally-televised game against the No. 1 team in America.  The highlights from that 40-point performance are impressive.

Winning tonight’s game could go a long way in Langford’s recruitment.  Duke and North Carolina are also in the mix with the area’s big three schools.


Monday’s Top 10: Louisville week is finally here

Monday’s Top 10: Louisville week is finally here

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Greetings, friends. I’m back from Vegas after one of the most fun weekends I can remember, so pardon me if I’m a little sleepy this morning. Not only were we treated to the best regular season game I’ve witnessed, hanging out with the BBN at adult Disney World was ridiculously fun. Shoutout to all the Kentucky fans I met; we certainly had a good time, didn’t we? Let’s power through this Monday. We’ll do it together.

Thankfully, there’s a lot of news to keep us occupied, especially with Wednesday’s showdown with Louisville looming. Let’s run through today’s agenda.

1. The Louisville game is only a few days away

I don’t know about you guys, but it feels like Madness was yesterday. This season is flying by, and Kentucky’s thrilling win over North Carolina helped recapture some of the mojo lost after the Cats took an L to UCLA a few weeks back. Personally, given Kentucky’s success this season, the football team’s upset of the Cards, and all of the drama going down on Floyd Street, it feels like there’s a little bit of the “things are going too well right now, aren’t they?” fear/karma, but I feel better than ever about Wednesday’s game at the Yum Center. We’ll preview the game ad nauseam between now and then, but the matchups definitely favor the Cats, and I just don’t see how Louisville keeps up with us, especially after Malik Monk’s performance for the ages.

2. Prediction: Malik Monk wins SEC Player of the Week

Speaking of Monk, there’s no way he doesn’t win SEC Player of the Week, right? Monk’s 47 points are the most in a single game by a UK Freshman ever and the sixth most by a Kentucky Wildcat in the program’s storied history. Making things even better was Monk’s game-winning three, which resulted in one of the most gleeful celebrations by Kentucky fans ever. Vegas wasn’t ready for us.

3. ICYMI, the players celebrated by singing carols at the Lodge

Thank God they’re good at basketball, right?

4. Where will Kentucky end up in the polls?

Right now, the Cats are ranked 6th in the AP poll and 7th in the Coaches’ Poll. Where will they be after a win over 7/6 North Carolina? Find out around noon.

5. Forget to record the game like me?

Thankfully, CBS Sports Network will replay Saturday’s game at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET today, so set that DVR. Here are some highlights to tide you over until then:

6. Troll of the Day: Adam Lucas

Most of the Carolina fans I encountered in Vegas handled the loss with class, but not Adam Lucas, a columnist on the Tar Heels’ official website. Lucas turned in the most hypocritical, butt-hurt take on what was an amazing game by both teams with this article, in which he implies that somehow, Calipari is lesser than Roy because he wore jeans to the postgame presser and that Kentucky cheats even though UNC is the one under NCAA investigation for academic fraud:

You can hate the game because the opponent was Kentucky and being in the same building with them reminds you of exactly how differently things work in Lexington. John Calipari arrived at his postgame press conference with his tie off, top two buttons on his shirt unbuttoned, and having changed into blue jeans. There are not two top-level programs in America right now that arrive at the end result off the court more differently than Carolina and Kentucky.

I’ll remind you again that post is on UNC’s official website, GoHeels.com. Absolutely pathetic. I’d rather link Jeff Goodman than that drivel.

7. Jarred Vanderbilt has Kentucky in his final four

The five-star small forward released his final four last night and Kentucky made the cut, along with North Carolina, Oregon, and TCU. Vanderbilt, De’Aaron Fox’s former AAU teammate, visited Kentucky for Madness and the Cats seem to have the momentum right now, leading his Crystal Ball with 44% of the predictions.

8. Eddie Gran will talk to the media after practice today

Basketball has taken center stage the past week, but the Tax Slayer Bowl is only eleven days away. The football team has practice this afternoon, after which Eddie Gran will speak to the media. Tune in to the site this evening for a full recap.

9. Part three of Freddie Maggard’s Georgia Tech glossary will be posted tonight

Check the site around 7:30 or 8 to read Freddie’s latest breakdown of the Yellow Jackets’ flex bone offense. I’ve never been more grateful for Freddie’s ability to take something complex and explain it in terms I can understand.

10. Frontier Airlines encountered the wrath of the BBN yesterday

Yesterday was a tough day to travel, with several delays and cancellations across the country, specifically those trying to get home from Vegas. I know several fans who had to stay an extra night in Sin City because their flights were cancelled, many of them through Frontier. Frontier encountered the wrath of the BBN when they inexplicably canceled a flight from Cincinnati to Phoenix, which left the Mercer County Lady Titans basketball team scrambling to try to find a way across the country to participate in prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions. Larry Vaught has the complete story, which will leave you furious and hopefully unwilling to give Frontier any of your money from now on.

The guys are traveling back from Vegas, so our old friend Big EZ is stepping in on the radio show, which starts in an hour. Plenty of time to get some more coffee, or in my case, tea.


via @JVando_ Twitter

Five-star power forward Jarred Vanderbilt narrows his recruitment to ‘Final Four’ schools

via @JVando_ Twitter

via @JVando_ Twitter

Five-star power forward, Jarred Vanderbilt has narrowed down his list to the final four schools and yes, Kentucky made the cut. Vanderbilt is also considering North Carolina, TCU and Oregon. Prior to tonight’s announcement, 247 sports’ crystal ball had reported the 6’8” forward at 50% Kentucky, 33% TCU, 11% Texas and 6% Kansas.

Vanderbilt has a few ties to Kentucky seeing as he played with De’Aaron Fox for the Houston Hoops, and we all know how aggressive of a recruiter Fox is. Malik Monk’s Arkansas Wings competed against Vanderbilt as well, who retweeted one of Monk’s encouraging “come to BBN” tweets earlier in the year.

Things are looking hopeful for Kentucky, but stay tuned to KSR for all of your recruiting updates on Jarred Vanderbilt and more!


Watch Hamidou Diallo Dunk

HoopSeen

HoopSeen

The nation’s No. 1 shooting guard has a versatile skill set.  His best tool is his athleticism and he uses it to dunk like few players before him.  Diallo’s dunks are artfully crafted.  A simple windmill does not suffice.  Take a look for yourself.

That 29-point performance was in front of NBA scouts at the National High School Hoops Festival in the DMV.  Eligible for the NBA Draft, Diallo has said he intends to go to college first.  Kentucky is at the top of his list, alongside Syracuse, UConn, Kansas, Arizona and Indiana.

Hamidou Diallo
Shooting Guard | 6-4 | 170 lbs.
Queens Village, NY | Putnam Science Academy
AAU: New York Rens
★★★★★
ESPN No. 11 | 3 SG Top247 No. 7 | 1 SG
Rivals No. 10 | 3 SG Scout No. 10 | 1 SG

In related basketball recruiting news, Trae Young scored 53 points last night — a pretty average outing for him at this point — in an 11-point loss.  I’m not sure how that happens, but I guess it’s possible when the rest of your team only scores 20 points.


Watch Romeo Langford vs. America’s No. 1 Team on ESPN2

USA Today

USA Today

The best junior guard in America is testing his talents tonight against the nation’s No. 1 team at 7:00 on ESPN2.

Romeo Langford’s 18th-ranked New Albany Red Devils will take on Jaren Jackson, Jordan Poole and Brian Bowen of No. 1 La Lumiere.  La Lumiere’s trio of 2017 prospects are all ranked in the Top 60 of the ESPN100.  Jackson has signed to play at Michigan State, Poole at Michigan, while Bowen remains uncommitted.

Langford is the No. 2 player in the Class of 2018.  It’s going to be a war to get him to Kentucky.  Calipari is competing with Duke, Louisville, Indiana and everybody else for the shooting guard’s services.  Here’s a sample of what you might see from Langford tonight on national TV.

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UK Signee Quade Green had a Sensational Second Half Last Night

Scout

Scout

In a game against a pair of D-I signees, future Kentucky point guard Quade Green did not disappoint.

Known for his second half heroics, Green once again proved he has the clutch gene, scoring 24 of his 37 points in the second half against Rhode Island signee Daron Russell and South Carolina signee David Beatty to lead his team to an 87-73 win.  Green got his 37 points on 11-19 shots, 4-8 threes and 11 of 14 free throws.  He also had 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists.

Green rocked Kentucky blue before the game, and even pulled out a modified bow-and-arrow after knocking down a trey.

 


Joel Justus on the Recruiting Trail for Kentucky

Scott Jacobson | Post Bulletin

Scott Jacobson | Post Bulletin

Before they see each other on the court over the next eight days, Kentucky will see North Carolina and Louisville on the recruiting trail.  North Carolina’s C.B. McGrath, Louisville’s David Padgett and Kentucky’s Joel Justus will watch 5-star 2019 prospect Matthew Hurt play tonight in Minnesota.

Hurt is a 6’9″ sophomore power forward with extensive shooting range from Rochester, Minnesota, ranked by ESPN as the No. 6 player in the class of 2019.  Hurt currently has 14 offers, two of which are from UNC and UofL.  Also on his list are Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin and Kansas.  Watch him do work:

While Calipari keeps busy on a book tour, Justus is busy on the recruiting trail.  Yesterday he was in Columbia, South Carolina to check in on another 2019 prospect, 5-star small forward Christian Brown.