Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.





BB Recruiting

Basketball Recruiting News

Kentucky target Aidan Igiehon will announce his decision on Friday

Photo: Pat Lawless

Yet another dominoe in the class of 2019 is set to fall this week, as four-star forward Aidan Igiehon will be announcing his decision this Friday.

The 6-foot-10 big man out of Woodmere, N.Y. announced on Twitter this evening that he will make his college announcement at his high school on Friday at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Igiehon recently cut his list to four schools, with Kentucky joining Louisville, Oregon, and St. John’s as the finalists.

John Calipari has yet to offer the four-star, and talks between both sides have been minimal over the last few weeks, at best. In fact, the four-star big man had a visit scheduled to Kentucky, but that fell through in favor of a visit to Louisville. Considering the obvious tea leaves and what analysts are saying, signs are pointing toward Igiehon committing to Louisville on Friday.

Kentucky big man target Oscar Tshiebwe will also make his decision this weekend, announcing his choice on Saturday at some point.

Like Igiehon, momentum with Tshiebwe has stalled significantly, as most analysts believe the five-star center will be committing to West Virginia. Bob Huggins and the Mountaineer coaching staff has been building a relationship with Tshiebwe since he first came to the states several years back, and though Calipari made a solid push,  they feel the long-term relationship will win out in the end.

Two Kentucky targets will be off the board by the end of the weekend, and barring a major surprise, neither of them will end up in blue and white.


Insider Notes: Vernon Carey visits and the latest with James Wiseman and Oscar Tshiebwe

Did you have a good weekend? Did you enjoy Big Blue Madness? I was in Texas at a wedding, so I had to miss the festivities but watched the replay and have heard nothing but great things about John Calipari’s 10th BBM. All three UK commitments were in attendance and five-star center Vernon Carey. The Cats hosted a plethora of 2020 guys and even a few players from the class of 2021.

Here’s the latest.

Vernon Carey:

Let’s start with the biggest eye-popper of the weekend. Above was an Instagram story post (if you’re unsure of what that is, it’s just a social media post) from Vernon Carey’s mother. It certainly didn’t seem like a positive update regarding UK’s chances. Seven poo emjois, whatever, but when you plop an eighth that’s when you know things aren’t great. I’m told that UK’s staff was aware of the post and wanted to get to the bottom of what happened and the answer may surprise you. Or maybe it won’t.

The post had nothing to do with UK or the family’s time in Lexington. It’d be crappy if it were about UK, but it wasn’t. The post was 100 percent and entirely about their travel getting to Lexington. Hurricane Michael made things complicated along the Florida Panhandle and east coast. “(They) were delayed like four times and then cancelled on flights getting in,” I was told by someone more familiar with the post.  Once again, it had nothing to do with their time in Lexington or UK’s presentation.

That supposedly went great (drink). I feel better about UK’s chances than I ever have in the past and I’ve said in the past that I thought UK was the leader. That was a couple months ago, but I still think the Cats are the leader. I need to mention that he is fresh off a visit to Kentucky and it was his first official visit this fall (he officially visited Michigan State back in February). Players, staffs, people ride high after an official visit, that’s how this works. UK’s visit will now need to holdup against official visits to Duke (10/19), Miami (10/26) and UNC (11/2). Michigan State may or may not get another official visit (new rules would allow it). A month is a lifetime in a recruitment so I’m not ruling out things possibly changing, but I think Carey ends up at Kentucky unless he’s persuaded on one of his other official visits.

I truly believe UK could have  Wiseman/Carey frontcourt for the 2019-2020 season.

Photo by adidas

Matthew Hurt:

KSR broke the story last week that Hurt wasn’t visiting Kentucky for Big Blue Madness.The intial post was false from the jump and nearly every website ran with the idea that Hurt was going to be on campus this weekend. It wasn’t that the visit was canceled or the Cats aren’t in a good enough position to land an official from Hurt, but despite tossing around the idea, Hurt never finalized plans to travel to Lexington for Big Blue Madness.

I believe he will be in town for an official visit during the season and Hurt won’t make a final decision until the spring. Hurt may see what other bigs in the class do, and how current NCAA players are projecting for the NBA Draft and that could impact his decision. I’m not sure if UK is the leader, but they’ll be right there until the end. There’s nothing to worry about with the news of him not being in Lexington this weekend.

Photo by Jeremy Warner, 247 Sports

Oscar Tshiebwe:

He will announce on Saturday and I expect him to pick WVU. I have one AAU source that believes it will be UK, but all other signs point towards West Virginia so I’m not going to go against the grain on this recruitment. UK’s staff hasn’t conceded, but I do know that WVU’s staff would be “shocked” if Tshiebwe ended up elsewhere. There was also a report from Illinois insiders that said they heard Kentucky is out of the running. They also said that Kahlil Whitney was going to Illinois so I wouldn’t put too much stock into that.

We’ll see how it all goes down on Saturday, but UK did a good job in this recruitment. They made huge strides in a short amount of time, but when the host family is pulling out all the stops for Tshiebwe to go to WVU that makes it tough, especially when the Mountaineers have been on the kid for years instead of months.

I’ll watch the decision and won’t be shocked if it’s UK, but as of today I’m going with WVU.

James Wiseman:

He officially visited Vanderbilt over the weekend and it appears the visit went well (drink). Like I’ve been saying for months, there’s going to be a third-party school that creates and generates buzz. I don’t know if it will be Vanderbilt. We also heard good things about the Kansas visit. My guess is it will be Florida State that gets the majority of the third-party momentum after he visits the Seminoles at the end of the month. This upcoming weekend he will allow for Memphis to pay for his visit, but he’s already been on that campus and around that staff several times so I don’t think you’ll hear too much new news after this weekend. Of course this won’t hurt the Tigers’ chances, but I doubt it changes the big picture.

One thing to look for- I would be worried if Wiseman signs in the fall. He may commit in mid to late November, but if he commits in early November and plans to sign in the fall that would worry me about UK’s chances. People close to UK thought he wouldn’t wait until April or May, but they definitely don’t think he signs in November, so if that happens that would be a surprise and surprises aren’t usually great in recruiting.

Some good news is I’m told that the three UK commits this weekend were talking about Wiseman joining their class. Obviously they were spending time with Carey all weekend, and I’m told they also like UK’s chances with Carey, but supposedly they were confident (mostly Maxey/Whitney, supposedly) about Kentucky’s chances with Wiseman. On the one hand, they may have been just talking optimistically about their friend and shooting the breeze, but on the other hand they are all friends. They may have more insight into these recruitments than any expert. I’m not hanging my hat on their prediction, but it’s certainly not bad news.

No. 1 player in 2019 James Wiseman (left) and Jalen Johnson.

Quick Hitters:

  • 2020 guys: I hope to have more later this week and maybe next week, but I’ve been told UK feels good about their chances with Jalen Johnson. He’s the small forward from Wisconsin that many have pegged for Duke, but I’m not so sure. I wouldn’t expect a decision anytime soon. It was Johnson’s second BBM visit.
  • Isaiah Stewart: Welp, it would be a big surprise if he ends up at Kentucky. Supposedly the family has had a change of heart after the dad was all about Kentucky. Make of that what you will.
  • Keion Brooks: He will visit this weekend. I think he likes UK but I’d be surprised if Brooks went anywhere besides IU.
  • Jaden McDaniels: He took his first official to San Diego State where his brother plays. Expect to hear of an official visit to UK soon. There’s a quiet confidence about UK’s chances in this recruitment.
  • Cole Anthony: He will visit Oregon this weekend. There’s been next-to-no buzz surrounding UK’s chances. I’d just start rooting for him to end up at a place like Oregon or Notre Dame so he doesn’t possibly cost UK a Final Four or title down the road.

James Wiseman takes official visit to Vandy

USA Basketball

Today in James Wiseman news: the No. 1 player in America is spending the weekend in Nashville. The Music City native is staying close to home for his official visit to Vanderbilt.

Now, does anyone really believe Wiseman will end up anywhere other than Kentucky or with Penny Hardaway in Memphis? Probably not. Nevertheless, the 6-foot-11 power forward is making sure to take full advantage of all of his options – he’s already taken a visit to Kansas and has a trip to Florida State scheduled for the end of the month.

Wiseman was not in the audience for last night’s Big Blue Madness, but don’t worry – he attended the event last year as a junior, alongside future commit Tyrese Maxey and eventual de-commit DJ Jeffries.

Even though he missed this year’s BBM, he saw quite the show during today’s Vandy-Florida football game altercation… Dan Mullen vs. Derek Mason – who ya got?


@MaggieDavisKSR


Aaron Torres Sports Podcast Ep. 86: Corey Evans and more on the FBI Case

It’s a new episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, as Rivals.com‘s Corey Evans joins the show to break down all the big storylines in college basketball recruiting. But first, Aaron is joined by Nick Coffey, as the guys discuss:
The latest on college basketball’s FBI probe: The guys dive deep into the FBI probe. What does Brian Bowen Sr.’s testimony mean for Louisville, and do Louisville’s actions actually warrant the death penalty? Also, the guys wonder: Does this trial prove that cheating in college basketball is actually less prevalent than everyone thinks it is?
A College Football Week 7 Preview: After the lengthy FBI chat, the guys briefly skim the Week 7 college football slate. Is there any cause for concern for Georgia entering their big game against LSU? Also, is Michigan being overlooked after just one loss to a really good Notre Dame team?
Next up, Aaron is joined by Rivals.com’s Corey Evans for all the big recruiting headlines. The pair discuss:
The Emergence of Isaiah Stewart: The guys discuss last weekend’s USA Basketball Camp, where Isaiah Stewart emerged as the breakout star. Kentucky is perceived to be the leader, but Corey gives a new, interesting name to look out for in Stewart’s recruitment.
Surprising Cole Anthony News: Corey also has some surprise developments in the recruitment of the nation’s top point guard, Cole Anthony. Anthony has long believed to be a North Carolina lean – but is a new school ahead?
James Wiseman Update: The big man has seemingly been down to Memphis and Kentucky for months. Does an early commitment change anything? And is there anything either school can say at this point in the recruitment that could sway him one way or the other?

Get the podcast delivered directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.  You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  Don’t forget to follow the show Instagram too.


Hardly Committed E12: Big Blue Madness, Krysten Peek and Here Comes Treble

Before recruits descend upon Lexington for Big Blue Madness, T.J. Walker is back for another exciting episode of Hardly Committed.  T.J. tells you who will be at Rupp Arena this weekend after a candid conversation with Rivals’ Krysten Peek.  Later in The Annex, T.J. and Nick stay on the Halloween train with a discussion on “Here Comes Treble.”  Highlights:

— What went down during Oscar Tshiebwe’s official visit to West Virginia.

— That time Jaden McDaniels and Kahlil Whitney got into a scuffle.

— Two big 2019 recruits that could be especially impressionable at BBM.

— Who will be officially visiting UK in the near future.

— One Advantage for Dontaie Allen.

— What do we think of Erin and Nelly?

— Toby Flenderson: Big Creep.

— An acute Monster Mash observation.

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.


Insider Notes: We may know UK’s future frontcourt sooner than expected

IG: bigticket_j13

The USA Basketball Junior Minicamp concluded over the weekend and there was unsurprisingly plenty to talk about. UK commits Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney were there and did some much needed recruiting for the Cats, plus we have interesting news from some of Kentucky’s biggest targets in the class of 2019.

Let’s get to the notes.

Bigs:

Carey: He talked in Colorado about wanting to play with Isaiah Stewart or James Wiseman in college. He also said that he would like to decide in 2018 after initially planning to decide in the spring. We heard a few other players mention they may be announcing earlier than anticipated, but while Carey had mentioned the spring as his timetable he never seemed adamant about it. Both of these things are incredibly interesting and seem like positives for UK, especially wanting to play with Wiseman and Stewart.

What I found to be most interesting is that he said some pitches involve him being the guy on the frontcourt and others involve him playing with another star like he will be doing in the NBA. He admitted he liked the former pitch. Again, also great news for UK.

Wiseman: The five-star center seems almost certain he will make his college decision by the end of January at the latest, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides in November. The biggest news from this weekend with Wiseman is how he continues to say it’s not just between Memphis and Kentucky. He still has visits planned to Memphis along with Florida State and Vanderbilt, but I still think the Cats are the team to beat. I don’t blame Wiseman for reiterating that all five schools have a chance and I wouldn’t really expect him to say anything different, but people behind the scenes that know Wiseman’s recruitment have told me that UK has put in the most work and Wiseman and his family have a stronger connection to UK’s staff than any other. Then you mix in UK’s platform and available playing time, I think the Cats are in a great spot.

Stewart: There wasn’t a great deal of tell when it came to Stewart’s recruitment over the weekend, but the sooner we hear of a decision date the better for UK. He currently hasn’t set any other official visits and if that is still the case in a month than Stewart will likely either already be committed to Kentucky or the Cats will be the clear favorites when he does announce a decision. But, I’m hearing at least one other official is likely and probably two. That will change things for Stewart but I like where things stand as of today. One analyst that was in Colorado told me he was the best big.

Hurt: As we get surprised by new timetables for other recruits, Hurt doesn’t appear to be in any sort of rush. I love Hurt’s game and I think UK has done a good job in his recruitment, so nothing would surprise me, but I’m told there’s a lot of Kansas buzz after this weekend. Again, it doesn’t seem like there will be a decision anytime soon, and that’s good for UK and Hurt, but the connection Hurt and Bill Self made this summer being together for USA Basketball may be too tough to overcome.

So, how does it shakeout?:

I don’t know. If UK doesn’t currently lead for Carey, Wiseman and Stewart I think the Cats are easily in second. Second doesn’t mean anything in recruiting, but it shows the Cats are right there. Without using an inside source for this take- it seems like the odds would indicate that two of those guys end up at Kentucky. UK will be losing its entire frontcourt, a couple of those players have mentioned playing together and it would come as a surprise if UK misses on three out of the four.

Carey and Hurt will be on campus this weekend for Big Blue Madness. I know UK jokingly, but also serious, extended the invite to Stewart and Wiseman to also come and check it out, but Wiseman will be in Nashville checking out Vandy and it seems unlikely that Stewart returns to UK so suddenly when he’s still debating on taking other official visits.

This is a big weekend for UK’s chances with Carey and Hurt. I think the Cats can make up a lot of ground on Hurt and maybe extend its lead with Carey.

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tshiebwe:

He visited West Virginia this weekend and sadly I won’t hear more of the visit from folks close to Tshiebwe, including his coach, until later this evening or tomorrow. I’ll be sure to make a post based on what I’ve heard. Tshiebwe won’t return home until later this afternoon, so we don’t have much information at this point.

I was told the visit went well (drink) and that WVU was really pushing how long they have been recruiting him and how they have considered him part of their family for years. Of course Tshiebwe’s host parents are pushing WVU. They made the trip with him to Morgantown but skipped the trip to Lexington.

If Calipari can pull this one out it would be something special from a recruiting standpoint because the odds were stacked against UK from the beginning. I still think UK has a chance but I need to hear more from the official to WVU.

Whitney:

I was told by someone out in Colorado that Kahlil Whitney could go down as John Calipari’s best wing player. Ever. Better than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who was the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft. Whitney’s growth over the last few months is incredibly promising and while we figure out the big situation in 2019 it should make Kentucky fans feel better knowing the backcourt and wing will be elite in 2019-2020.

Quick Hitters:

Cole Anthony: He will being visiting Oregon this weekend. Notre Dame, UNC and Oregon have landed visits from the best point guard in the class. Two left for Anthony. If UK doesn’t land a visit there’s no chance, but I think it’s a longshot regardless if he checks out Lexington. It’s a bummer because he’s that good, but UK should be fine in the backcourt next season.

Keion Brooks: He will officially visit UK on 10/20 and I think I made a mistake somewhat moving on from this recruitment. Since UK missed on Scottie Lewis I’m told that Brooks is the next option for UK. They want to use him like a Kevin Knox (I don’t think it’s an amazing comparison FWIW, Knox was a much better scorer at this level) but both were incredibly long and Brooks is still versatile. I don’t think he ends up at UK, but the Cats have convinced him it would work.

Jaden McDaniels: He will visit San Diego State officially this weekend, where his brother plays. It’s his first announced official visit. A little piece of me is wondering if McDaniels will make all five official visits. Obviously he will have to officially visit UK for the Cats to have a chance. I don’t think he ends up at UK but they are giving him the same pitch they are giving Brooks and he’s receiving more attention after Lewis picked Florida.

Jeremy Roach: He will officially visit Duke (remember, 2020 kids and a few 2019 kids get more official visits). UK has had the lead in this recruitment for months and I don’t think that changes just because he officially visits Duke. Often UK has to make up ground in recruitments but this is one where the Cats have the lead. Great player in 2020 that’s worth getting to know.


Vernon Carey Jr. interested in playing with James Wiseman and Isaiah Stewart, decision coming soon

USA Today

Over the past several months, we’ve heard on numerous occasions that John Calipari is interested in a dynamic 2019 frontcourt pairing featuring both Vernon Carey Jr. and James Wiseman, two top-three prospects in the class.

More specifically, he noticed just how well the Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins frontcourt duo worked in New Orleans last year, and he wants to emulate that next season at Kentucky. Wiseman plays a very similar style to Davis, while Carey has drawn comparisons to Cousins for years. Bada-bing, bada-boom.

Both elite big men have mentioned being interested in that potential scenario on several occasions in the past, though they each reiterated they would make the best decisions for themselves.

Yesterday, however, Carey added gasoline to the flame yet again by saying he would not only mind playing with another elite big man, he welcomes it.

In an interview with Jason Jordan of USA Today, Carey said he is extremely interested in playing with both Wiseman and Kentucky target Isaiah Stewart.

“I think it would be great,” said Carey. “I feel like I have the type of game that can play with anyone. So, yeah, I’d love it.”

Carey said he watched how well Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter played together in the frontcourt at Duke last year, and he’s excited to see Kentucky’s ridiculous big men depth with Reid Travis, PJ Washington, EJ Montgomery, and Nick Richards this season. If that’s the recipe for a national title, that’s what he’s going to do.

“Some schools are selling me on playing with another elite big and some are focusing on me,” Carey said. “I think it’s more attractive to play with another big, actually. I think it would help both of us. I want to win and whatever gives us the best chance to do that is what I want to do.”

So what about Kentucky, in particular?

In an interview with Corey Evans of Rivals.com, Carey said the one-and-done aspect is intriguing, and Kentucky commitments Kahlil Whitney and Tyrese Maxey are pushing hard for the elite big man to join them in Lexington.

“Coach Cal (John Calipari) has just said that he really wants to coach me and that I can be a go-to guy and a one-and-done there. He has just been saying that Kentucky would be the best place for me.

“I have been talking to Kahlil (Whitney) and Tyrese (Maxey) about Kentucky; we are all going their next weekend for Big Blue Madness, along with RJ (Hampton), I think,” said Carey. “They are just saying that they have some of the best crowds in college basketball and Coach Cal and Coach (Kenny) Payne, along with the other assistants, they are all a good, collective group. Coach Cal has compared me to DeMarcus (Cousins) and Anthony Davis.”

Carey has four official visits scheduled in the next four weeks, with Kentucky coming first (October 12), followed by Duke (October 19), Miami (October 26), and UNC (November 3). After those visits, it’s decision time.

“After I take my officials, I’ll probably get my decision over with,” Carey told USA Today. “I should know by then. My goal is to sign during the Early Signing Period. If it’s with another big, I think that’s great, but either way, it’ll be what I feel is the best situation for me.”

(USA Today)

(Rivals.com)