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John Calipari conducted an in-home visit with 2019 five-star guard Tyrese Maxey today

Jon Lopez | Nike

After visiting five-star prospects Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis on Saturday, John Calipari was in Texas this afternoon to conduct an in-home visit with Tyrese Maxey today.

And according to Evan Daniels, a reclassification is still absolutely on the table for the Wildcat target.

Last week, SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker broke the news that Maxey was contemplating a move to the class of 2018, and that John Calipari was pushing for it to happen. Maxey’s “mentor” said he was “99-percent” certain the five-star guard would be sticking in the class of 2019, though Maxey himself said he’s very interested.

No matter which year he plays in college, now that Maxey’s father is no longer on staff at SMU, Kentucky is seen as the runaway favorite in his recruitment.

Calipari will meet with both Vernon Carey Jr. and James Wiseman for in-home visits tomorrow afternoon, as well.

This man is relentless.


Could James Wiseman and Vernon Carey Jr. become Davis and Cousins v.2?

PHOTO: FloHoops

Watching Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins dominate the New Orleans frontcourt over the last year and a half has been special.

Before Cousins went down with an Achilles injury, Davis and Cousins averaged a combined 53 points, 24 rebounds, and 4.2 blocks per game this season. They have been one of the most unstoppable duos in the league.

You certainly enjoyed watching their individual seasons at Kentucky.

Now, John Calipari is looking to emulate that dynamic duo by putting the full-court press on the top-two big men in the class of 2019, James Wiseman and Vernon Carey Jr.

We all know about James Wiseman, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2019 who has been deemed Kentucky’s “to-lose” for months. 247 Sports and ESPN list the 6-foot-11 big man as the No. 1 junior in the class, as he possesses crazy length and instinct on defense. He runs the floor well, has polished offensive moves in the post, and a developing mid-range jump shot.

Wiseman has told reporters on multiple occasions he models his game after Anthony Davis. The Kentucky coaching staff, who will meet with Wiseman this week, has been selling him on following in Davis’s footsteps as one of the best defensive talents to ever play at the school. And he’s in love with the idea.

“He’s a unicorn,” recruiting analyst Evan Daniels told Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “The physical gifts are there, across the board. Whether it’s the length or the athleticism or the mobility, he’s the full package in terms of the physical gifts. And when you throw in how skilled he’s becoming, it’s impressive.”

Vernon Carey is currently considered a consensus top-three prospect in the class of 2019, with Rivals listing him as the No. 1 overall junior. He’s better than anyone in the nation at throwing his weight around in the post, has impressive athleticism, terrific at rebounding, and he’s surprisingly solid from mid-range and out to the three-point line. In a game against Keldon Johnson’s undefeated Oak Hill team just two weeks ago, Carey finished with 29 points and six rebounds on 13-16 shooting. Unstoppable, like he has been throughout his entire junior season.

Carey himself claims to model his game after both DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, though the Cousins comparison is certainly more obvious.

Last week, KSR’s TJ Walker wrote a post breaking down Carey’s game, specifically pointing out Cousins as a direct comparison.

Carey Jr.- The 6-foot-10, 245-pound forward reminds me a lot of DeMarcus Cousins. He’s physical, he’s big, he’s a bully and he has a mean streak. While UK is making Wiseman a priority don’t sleep on Carey Jr.

John Calipari met with Carey last week, and he has another visit scheduled with him on Monday. Duke and Miami (FL) have been seen as the favorites in his recruitment, but Coach Cal is doing whatever it takes to make up ground with the elite big man. Carey has said he hopes to make a college decision by August.

Watching both of their highlights, it’s hard not to drool at the thought of both of these kids manning the Kentucky frontcourt.

First, Wiseman’s highlight tape from his showing at the City of Palms Classic:

And then Carey’s official junior season mixtape:

Most recruiting analysts seem to believe Wiseman will end up at Kentucky and Carey Jr. will head to Duke or Miami (FL). But with the way Coach Cal has been recruiting both players in the current recruiting period, it makes you wonder if the Kentucky head coach is daydreaming about a Cousins/Davis-esque frontcourt in Lexington.

Why not both?


Tyler Herro Kind Of Has A Point, Guys

Last week’s sudden influx of talent into UK’s 2018 recruiting class renewed the BBN’s optimism for next season in the wake of Kevin Knox’s and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s departures to the NBA.

The new kids on the block: 5-star power forward E.J. Montgomery and likely-to-reclassify number 1 2019 point guard Ashton Hagans. Montgomery will transition nicely into the slot left behind by the transferring Sacha Killeya-Jones. But Hagans’ commitment, should he decide to reclassify, gives the Cats an embarrassment of riches at the PG position for next year.

But now, the hot word on the street has Tyrese Maxey, the 2nd overall 2019 PG, leaning towards a UK commitment as well, especially now that Maxey’s father Tyrone is no longer with SMU, a program that the younger Maxey is considering. And again, he is a candidate for reclassification.

Coach Cal has prided himself on conducting practices that are effective training for the professional ranks. Certainly, having 4 former 5-star point guards on the roster, not to mention the underrated SG Tyler Herro, lends well to competitive practices. But for the sake of game minutes, that’s quite a log jam. This thought has clearly entered Herro’s head.

He’s not wrong.

A Maxey reclassification would, unfortunately, likely lead to Quade Green’s exit. And as has been evidenced by Cal’s most successful UK squads, maintaining some veteran leadership is key to a deep March run.

Sure, Shai took the reigns this season, but that doesn’t take away from Quade’s legitimate chops, and I for one want him to stay in Lexington.

For the program’s sake, Maxey should remain in the 2019 class. There are more than enough guards for next season. And for Tyrese’s future draft prospects, he might want to stand out more than he would alongside 4 other top tier Wildcat guards.

@JayWinkKSR


Was R.J. Barrett closer to committing to Kentucky than he led on?

It seems like since the day that R.J. Barrett first burst onto the national college basketball scene back last summer, it was inevitable that he was headed to Duke. The Canadian wing, who dropped 38 points on a John Calipari-led Team USA club at last summer’s FIBA U-19 World Cup grew up a Duke fan, and once he reclassified to the Class of 2018 (he was originally a 2019 recruit) it seemed to be a matter of “when” not “if” he’d end up a Blue Devil.

That “when” came in early November when Barrett officially declared for Duke, picking the Blue Devils over Kentucky and Oregon on decision day. But what if “Barrett to Duke” wasn’t nearly as done of a deal as everyone made it out to be?

It sounds crazy, but that’s what Barrett claims. Earlier this week at the Nike Hoops Summit, KSR asked Barrett about the recruiting process and he dropped a shocking note: “Barrett to Duke” wasn’t nearly as much of a lock as everyone made it out to be.

“I mean, I’ve always liked Duke,” he said following practice at the Nike Hoops Summit on Thursday. “Kentucky and Oregon were high on the list too. So I really had no idea until the day before. It was tough.”

He continued.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do.”

Maybe Barrett is playing nice, or maybe, just maybe he really did consider other schools. It’s not as though Coach Cal didn’t make a strong sell to Barrett, essentially telling him that the 38-point performance against Team USA was just a preview of things to come if he were to commit to Kentucky. And Barrett’s own AAU coach confessed to spending quite a bit of time speaking with the UK coaching staff once Barrett officially decided to reclassify over the summer, according to SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker.

Again, Barrett’s ultimate choice was Duke, but if his decision really did come down to the wire, could it have possibly been Kentucky had he not chosen Duke?

Barrett with coy when asked that question.

“I wouldn’t know that either,” Barrett said when asked where he would have gone if he didn’t chose Duke. “Kentucky and Oregon were right beside each other.”

It’s no surprise that all these months later that Barrett is playing nice, and claiming that he had no leader behind Duke.

Still, watch the video closely and you can see a glimmer in Barrett’s eye when he talks about those other schools.

Doesn’t it look like he’s thinking “Kentucky” even if he didn’t say it?


John Calipari to Visit Pair of Top Ten 2019 Wings

@AdamZagoria

John Calipari’s 2019 recruiting campaign continues with a visit to New Jersey.  Kentucky’s head coach will meet with a pair of highly-touted teammates, Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine.

The star wings have played together in high school and AAU since they were freshmen.  That will likely not change when they eventually make a college decision.

Lewis is considered the No. 1 small forward in the nation, ranked sixth overall, and Antoine is the No. 1 shooting guard and seventh-best overall prospect.  They will host Coach Cal a day after Coach K came to town.  Villanova is considered the other top contender for the dynamic duo.


Tyler Herro snubbed in forgettable Nike Hoops Summit game

Kelly Kline/Under Armour

There’s no real nice way to put it… but let’s just say that you won’t be telling your grandkids about the 2018 Nike Hoops Summit game. A matchup between the best high school players in the United States squaring off with the best from across the world turned into a largely forgettable dud, as the World Team beat Team USA by a score of 89-76.

Yes, it was that bad, especially when you consider last week’s Jordan Brand Classic finished with a 146-136 final score. The McDonald’s All-American game final was 131-128. After two straight weeks where the losing team broke 120, the winning team on Friday night couldn’t even break 90. You could be forgiven if you turned this one off early. Or more likely, if you fell asleep mid-game.

It was also an especially forgettable night for any Kentucky fan that was battling sleep deprivation to try and watch future Wildcats Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson in Portland. Johnson sat out for the second straight weekend with an ankle injury, Herro was limited to 7:18 minutes of play, the fewest of any healthy Team USA member. Team USA coach Mike Jones said that it was nothing personal after the game. To his credit, Herro took the high road when asked if he believed he should have played more.

“I think so,” he told KSR. “But it’s all good.”

That’s especially disappointing considering that Herro proved what he can do on a national stage last week with a solid, 13-point effort at the Jordan Brand Classic, an effort that led Zion Williamson to tell KSR’s Jack Pilgrim that Herro is “The most underrated player in the entire 2018 recruiting class.” What made the look even worse for Team USA, is that on his very first possession in the game, Herro hit a beautiful step-back jumper that appeared to be a solid sign of things to come on the evening for the Kentucky commit.

Plenty in Big Blue Nation were not happy about the snub.

at the game outside the UK lens, there were a handful of interesting developments. Future Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland paced the USA team with 16 points off the bench, including four of six shooting from beyond the arc. Former Kentucky recruit (turned Oregon commit) Bol Bol played as well as this writer has ever seen him with 12 points and six blocks. Duke commit R.J. Barrett was probably the best player overall in the game, leading Team World with 20 points. It was his second straight year in this game.

There was also one interesting development that’s worth keeping an eye for Kentucky fans as well: The continued emergence of 2019 prospect Josh Green. The 6’6 wing who is originally Australia and who now plays at IMG Academy in Florida was a revelation all week for the World Team, and showed just how talented he is on game-night with 11 points off the bench. It’s all the more impressive when you consider at just 17-years-old, he was one of the youngest players in the event.

Green is currently ranked as the No. 27 player in the class of 2019, but after a strong showing here and at the “Basketball Without Borders” event at NBA All-Star weekend, he should move up in the rankings.

He currently holds offers from most major programs in college basketball, including Kansas, UCLA, Arizona and Virginia. This is simply an educated guess, but I’d be stunned if he didn’t hold an offer from everyone in college basketball, including UK, by the end of this summer.

For those who were disappointed by Herro’s lack of playing time on Friday night, there’s a chance you’ll see him on the court again soon. He’s slated to play in next week’s Allen Iverson Classic in Philadelphia, although Herro admitted that he’s unsure if he’ll be there.


Even Zion Williamson’s future Duke teammates were shocked when he picked the Blue Devils

It doesn’t feel like an exaggeration to say that Zion Williamson had one of the most memorable college commitments in years. Considering that he is arguably the most hyped high school prospect since LeBron James and considering that even the most plugged-in recruiting experts were in the dark on what college he was going to pick, everyone knew that Williamson’s commitment decision was going to be bonkers.

And that was before he shocked the world, pulled out a Duke hat and announced he’d be headed to Durham to play for Coach K (sorry for the reminder). Not only was Williamson a heavy Clemson lean with Kentucky lurking in the background, but it also meant that Duke had wrapped up a stunning recruiting haul that included the top three players in the country. In addition to Williamson, No. 1 prospect R.J. Barrett and No. 2 prospect Cam Reddish were headed to Duke (as well as point guard Tre Jones), giving the Blue Devils a clean sweep of the top three players in America.

Again, sorry for the reminder, but for any fan that felt deceived by Williamson’s decision don’t be – he shocked everyone. Including one of his future teammates.

That’s because on Thursday, KSR spoke to Reddish about Williamson’s commitment at the Nike Hoops Summit. And while Reddish – the first of those top three players to commit – always believed that Barrett would be a Blue Devil, he was in the dark on Williamson. Just like everyone else.

“R.J. was easy,” Reddish said of selling his future teammates to come to Duke. “It was Zion. Zion was the pain. R.J. was pretty simple. I think R.J. wanted to come in the first place, it wasn’t that difficult, he was like ‘alright, let’s do it.’ And then after we got R.J., we went and got Zion. Zion was a different beast.”

As Barrett explains it, the three players (Williamson, Reddish and Barrett) were all in a group snap chat with Jones and corresponded regularly. But as Williamson’s decision date grew near he stopped responding.

It led Reddish to believe that Williamson was going somewhere else.

“We had been snapchatting the entire time, and he hadn’t replied,” Reddish said, with Jones nearby nodding in agreement. “He didn’t open it and stuff and we’re like ‘Oh, snap, he’s not coming.’”

Therefore by the time that Williamson’s decision came, Reddish had lost hope. He said that he had actually played a high school game of his own that evening, and on a whim decided to pull up Williamson’s announcement in the car on the way home from his game. He didn’t expect Williamson to commit to Duke but wanted to see where he was going anyway.

“I was watching it on the way home from my game on my cell phone,” Reddish said. “I just started screaming. I was like ‘Oh, snap.’ I was surprised. I didn’t think he was going to come.”

In the end, it remains to be seen how Williamson, Reddish and Barrett will all co-exist together next year at Duke.

But at the same time, don’t feel deceived: Zion’s future teammates were just as shocked by his commitment as you were.


James Wiseman will not reclassify, per his mother

It may be time to put the James Wiseman reclassifying discussion to bed.

SEC County’s Kyle Tucker spoke to Wiseman’s mother and she said her son will stick around high school for his senior season and will not make the jump to college basketball next fall.

“I can’t imagine James leaving me for 2019, much less leaving me for 2018,” she told Tucker. “I want James to experience as much of being a kid as he can, because once we step out in the college world we have to grow up really fast. We’ve talked and James wants to be a kid right now.”

She also confirmed that Memphis has entered the picture as a serious contender since Penny Hardaway extended a scholarship offer on Wiseman’s 17th birthday. The five-star big man is still very high on Kentucky, but Calipari is going to have to put up a fight to land a commitment, especially now that Memphis will have another year to impress him.

For more on Wiseman’s future, read Tucker’s interview with his mother here. Kyle’s been Mr. Scoop these past few weeks with all these interviews with parents.


John Calipari scheduled for (another) in-home visit with James Wiseman

USA Basketball

John Calipari has been on a recruiting tear over the last week, picking up commitments from five-star prospects EJ Montgomery and Ashton Hagans.

He also fit in visits with top-rated juniors Keion Brooks and Matthew Hurt. And then set up visits with Vernon Carey and Tyrese Maxey.

And guess what? That grind isn’t stopping anytime soon.

According to recruiting insider Pat Lawless, Coach Cal will be in Memphis for an in-home visit with James Wiseman on April 16.

Immediately after the news, Wiseman released a tweet with the following picture…

There have been rumors that Wiseman will indeed stick in the class of 2019, and he has regularly told reporters that he plans on playing another season at Memphis East High School.

Still, though, Calipari is going to continue to push for a reclassification to 2018 and commitment to Kentucky. At the very least, there are rumors Coach Cal has talked to Wiseman about transferring to another prep school, with Findlay Prep being the most discussed option.

I don’t care what year he’s a Wildcat, he just needs to end up in the right shade of blue and white when it’s all said and done. Get him away from Penny Hardaway and Memphis.


Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro share their thoughts on Tyrese Maxey’s potential reclassification to 2018

Jon Lopez | Nike

This was a recruiting week for the ages at Kentucky – and as we learned on Wednesday afternoon it might not be over just yet.

That’s because after Kentucky received a surprise commitment from five-star forward E.J. Montgomery on Monday and then followed it up with a commitment from 2019 point guard Ashton Hagans on Tuesday, news began to leak Wednesday that John Calipari is still on the hunt for another five-star prospect. That player would be Tyrese Maxey, a guard from Texas in the class of 2019.

Still, the story with Maxey isn’t necessarily that Calipari is interested in bringing him to Lexington, but instead, when he might arrive. That’s because like Hagans, there’s real talk that Maxey – again a 2019 prospect – could reclassify to 2018 and join next year’s Kentucky roster.

Since the Maxey news broke Wednesday it seems like just about everyone has an opinion on it – including two members of the 2018 Kentucky recruiting class.

That would be Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro. Both are in Portland, Oregon for the Nike Hoops Summit, and each shared their thoughts on Maxey and what he could potentially bring to the Wildcats.

“I know Tyrese Maxey pretty well,” Johnson said. “He’s from Texas. I talk to him a lot.”

Johnson continued.

“He’s a dynamic player, really good. We’d love to have him whether it’s this year or next year. I think it’d be a really good fit for him.”

Then there was Herro. He spoke to WLAN’s Curtis Burch on Thursday and admitted that he didn’t know much about Maxey, other than a few games on the Nike EYBL circuit last summer. Still, Herro admitted that he would welcome the challenge if Maxey decided to commit, even if he isn’t totally sure on how all the puzzle pieces would fit.

“Yeah I would [welcome the competition],” Herro said. “But if Ashton [Hagans] reclassified I think we have a lot of guards already, especially if Quade [Green] stays around. If everybody stays around, we have a lot of guards already. That’s between him and Coach Cal.”

In theory, were Maxey to reclassify, Herro is right, it would make for a loaded backcourt in Lexington next season. As of right now Green is expected back as a sophomore, and Jemarl Baker will return after missing all of the 2017-2018 season with an injury. Then there are Herro and Immanuel Quickley coming in with the freshman class, and the very real possibility that Hagans will come with them. Herro said he expects Hagans to know if he’ll be eligible to play in 2018-2019 no later than August.

Adding Maxey would make for six potentially big-time All-American guards in next year’s lineup, a loaded backcourt (and first world problem) if ever there was one.

Still, as fun as the idea of adding Maxey into next year’s backcourt may be for Wildcats, the reality is that it’s a long ways away.

While Maxey has remained optimistic about the possibility, his guardian told SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker that he’s “99 percent sure” Maxey will stay in the class of 2019.


Will Ashton Hagans be eligible in 2018? Tyler Herro thinks he knows when we’ll have an answer

It’s not too often that any school, anywhere in college basketball can get commitments from a pair of five-star prospects in back-to-back days. Only that’s exactly what happened at Kentucky earlier this week.

On Monday, 6’10 forward E.J. Montgomery committed to the Wildcats, choosing Kentucky over Duke and North Carolina, in a move that even surprised one of his future teammates. And then on Tuesday John Calipari and his staff did it again – reeling in another five-star prospect. This one was point guard Ashton Hagans, a dynamic 6’4 playmaker who is also out of Georgia. As things stand, Hagans is actually a part of the class of 2019, although Hagans told 247 Sports’ Evan Daniels that his hope is to reclassify and play at Kentucky next season.

So when will we know for sure whether Hagans is eligible for the 2018-2019 season? It won’t be any time soon. However, KSR spoke to future Kentucky Wildcat – and friend of Hagans – Tyler Herro at the Nike Hoops Summit on Thursday, and Herro may have given a timeframe on when we’ll get an answer.

“We’re just going to have to wait for August,” Herro told KSR, when asked about the possibility of Hagans showing up on campus next season. “He told me he has to take his final test for school and then see if he can reclass(ify).”

That note from Herro is interesting – but ultimately is in line with everything we’ve heard so far.

That’s because earlier this week Hagans’ AAU coach Chris Williams spent some time on radio with KSR’s T.J. Walker and Nick Roush and mentioned that for the time being, Hagans was still a part of the class of 2019. Williams did say that he believes Hagans should know by July, which is a similar time-frame as what Herro provided on Thursday.

Point being, as exciting as the Hagans news was on Tuesday, we’re still a long way away from knowing when exactly the five-star, can’t miss point guard will end up on Kentucky’s campus. That means we’re also potentially months away from knowing exactly what Kentucky’s 2018-2019 roster will look like as well.

Still, if you’re looking for a glimmer of hope that Hagans will be in Lexington this coming fall, Herro might have provided it on Thursday.

“I think we have a pretty good shot,” Herro said, when asked if he thought Hagans would be on campus this fall.


Choose your own adventure: UK basketball edition

Choose your own adventure: UK basketball edition

These are strange times for UK basketball. During a somewhat disappointing regular season many in the Big Blue Nation were able to hold their heads high knowing that John Calipari may have a shocking amount of players return. Late in the year it seemed UK would lose just Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamidou Diallo. Losing only three players would be a nice change of pace for UK fans.

But it hasn’t played out that way and the Cats could end up losing double that amount. Maybe more.

Luckily for UK fans John Calipari is prepared for whatever happens with his roster. Here are a few options Calipari will have to make while waiting for draft and transfer decisions from other players. Feel free to comment on which choice you think is best for Kentucky next season.

Departures:

Kevin Knox: NBA Draft.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: NBA Draft.

Sacha Killeya-Jones: Transfer.

Tai Wynyard: Transfer.

Dillon Pulliam: Carnegie Mellon (I won’t count him moving forward but he is a departure).

What’s the Hold Up:

P.J. Washington: Testing NBA Draft waters.

Hamidou Diallo: Hasn’t made a decision (Certainly seems like he leaves for NBA).

Jarred Vanderbilt: Hasn’t made a decision (NBA).

Wenyen Gabriel: Hasn’t made a decision (NBA).

Quade Green: Hasn’t made a decision (transfer).

Nick Richards: Reports that he will return to UK but no official announcement (it would be surprising if he left).

Wait. What? UK could realistically lose nine scholarship players off a team that went 26-11 and lost to Kansas State in the Sweet 16 and none were seniors. That’s hard to swallow. For the record that isn’t necessarily my prediction, but it could happen.

So, what’s next?

Coming In:

Immanuel Quickley

Ashton Hagans (Currently 2019 but all signs point towards reclassifying)

Tyler Herro

Keldon Johnson

E.J. Montgomery

If Duke didn’t add the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 players in the class of 2018 that would likely be the No.1 recruiting class in the country and a damn good one at that. But even with those talented five players teaming up in Lexington next season the Cats are still in the red from a numbers standpoint.

What’s Calipari’s plan to fill out a roster after potentially surprising departures? He has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Grad-Transfers:

If P.J. Washington, Wenyen Gabriel, Jarred Vanderbilt and Quade Green, or at least two/three of those players surprise folks and decide to leave UK, a grad-transfer could be in play for the Cats. Maybe even more than one.

F-Reid Travis: The Stanford senior averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for an awful Stanford team. He’s 6-foot-8, 245-pounds and an absolute bully on the block and in the paint. He would be the ideal replacement if P.J. Washington were to leave. Travis is stronger and more physical, although Washington has a better touch around the rim and more potential.

Travis’ name has been linked to UK and is a serious option for Kentucky.

F-Mike Daum: The Dauminator averaged 23.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game for South Dakota State last season while spraying 96 threes for the Jackrabbits at a 42.5 percent clip. Daum is a 6-foot-9, 250-pound stretch four that can score on the block but is better away from the basket. Daum’s unique game would be different than anything the Cats had last season.

I believe UK prefers Travis over Daum but I’m sure the Cats couldn’t go wrong with either.

G-Joe Cremo: I’ll fully admit I’ve only heard Cremo’s name mentioned a few times but if Quade Green were to transfer it’s clear Calipari will want to add another guard. Plenty of schools have reached out to the Albany grad-transfer that averaged 17.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game last year. Cremo hasn’t mentioned UK when talking about possible destinations but that’s not to say the Cats aren’t somewhat interested. It appears Calipari would prefer a player to reclassify but if the Cats were to go a grad-transfer option at guard expect it to be Cremo.

Jon Lopez | Nike (Tyrese Maxey)

High School Options:

F- Vernon Carey: The No. 1 player in 2019 hasn’t been considered a Kentucky lean but it may be time for that to change. UK has been in touch with Carey about possibly joining UK for this upcoming season. The Cats recently visited Carey and don’t be surprised if there’s a followup visit that’s mentioned soon. Carey would be a top five player in the class of 2018 and may be UK’s best option when it comes to grabbing a new player. He’s 6-foot-10, 245-pounds and could be one of the best bigs in college basketball come next March if he elects to reclassify. Unlike some other players thinking of reclassifying, Carey wouldn’t have to worry about his body being college ready. His body was college ready about two years ago.

F- James Wiseman: The No. 2 player in 2019 is a name that UK fans are much more familiar with when it comes to recruiting. Sources tell KSR that it’s truly unlikely that Wiseman reclassifies but don’t be surprised to hear about him leaving Memphis for prep-school. Obviously things can change in any recruitment, but Wiseman seems more likely in 2019-2020 than 2018-2019, but the good news is it seems UK truly leads. If Wiseman were to reclassify he would have to put on some muscle and weight.

G- Tyrese Maxey: My favorite guard in the loaded 2019 class was recently visited by UK’s staff and reclassifying is on the table for Maxey. If the Cats were to lose Quade Green it appears UK’s preference is Maxey. Kentucky’s backcourt with Maxey, Hagans, Quickley, Herro and Baker would be extremely young but it would have the most potential in the country. If Hagans and Maxey stayed in 2019 and played for UK in 2019-2020 it would probably be one of Calipari’s best point guards. Could both possibly make that jump a year earlier? Time will tell.

So, now I’m curious what you all think. Feel free to tweet me (@TJWalkerKSR) or comment below. Let’s assume you only get these players for one year. That will stop the “Well, you may get him for multiple years” debate.

You get one additional guard to join Hagans, Quickley, Herro and Baker:

G- Hamidou Diallo/Quade Green/Joe Cremo/Tyrese Maxey

Just one more season. Who you got?

 

You get two bigs to join Richards and Montgomery:

F- Gabriel/Washington/Vanderbilt/Travis/Daum/Carey/Wiseman (I know Wiseman would likely get two years but let’s just make it one because it doesn’t seem likely he makes the jump)

Me personally? Green, Washington and Daum. But you really couldn’t go wrong with adding any of those players.

And with that my starting lineup would be:

Green

Hagans

Johnson

Washington

Daum

Bench: Richards, Montgomery, Herro, Baker, Quickley. That’s a team that could legitimately go 10 deep and you would be able to play a variety of ways.

These next few months are going to be interesting. Buckle up.


Even Tyler Herro was surprised by E.J. Montgomery’s commitment to Kentucky

It’s no secret that E.J. Montgomery’s commitment to Kentucky took the basketball world by surprise on Monday morning.

Since decommitting from Auburn back in September, the five-star forward from Georgia has had a surprisingly quiet recruitment for a player of his talents, and there was no clear indicator when he would pull the trigger and commit with a new school, or what school that would even be. For weeks, there wasn’t even an obvious front-runner for Montgomery’s services, with Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke all believed to be in the mix.

Only there was Montgomery pulling the trigger on Monday morning and committing to Kentucky, to the surprise of just about everyone – even one of his future Wildcats’ teammates.

On Thursday, KSR caught up with Kentucky commit Tyler Herro at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland, Oregon. Herro admitted that he knew Kentucky would get a commitment this week – but that it would be from Ashton Hagans.

He had no idea that Montgomery was close to committing, or that he would end up with Kentucky.

“I was surprised,” Herro admitted. “I did not know that E.J. was committing. I talk to Ashton quite a bit so I did know that he was committing. But we’re happy to have both of them. Having E.J., that’s a big get for us.”

Just how big was the get? Well, Kentucky not only added another five-star prospect, but a player that could be at a major position of need. It’s no secret that Kentucky is waiting on the draft decisions of Jared Vanderbilt, P.J. Washington and Wenyen Gabriel, and if two of the three (or all three) end up leaving, Montgomery will be called upon to contribute right away.

The good news is that most think he’ll be ready. Montgomery’s AAU coach told KSR’s T.J. Walker that Montgomery can play “inside and out” and that’s a sentiment that Herro agrees with.

“I think he brings everything,” Herro said of Montgomery. “He can shoot it from 15 feet and out. He’s a presence inside. He’s a big body. Just having another high-caliber five-star like him is going to help us a lot.”

Herro also isn’t worried how Montgomery – or any of the new Wildcats for that matter – will fit in with the rest of the roster. While Hagans’ reclassification to 2018 is still up in the air, Montgomery will be on campus at Kentucky in the next few months.

And Herro believes each of the new Wildcats will bring something different to the table.

“We all bring our own attributes,” he said. “I think I can bring my scoring, Keldon can bring everything that he does. EJ is an inside presence. Immanuel is a great point guard. So I think we’re all going to fit together.”


It won’t be just Calipari visiting Tyrese Maxey

Jon Lopez | Nike

It won’t be just John Calipari checking in with five-star 2019 guard Tyrese Maxey. Corey Evans of Rivals.com is reporting the Maxey family will host three other schools this weekend.

What’s also interesting is how Calipari will return to visit Maxey after checking out the 6-foot-4, 185-pound Garland, Texas native. UK was in just last night to see him. That’s when Maxey told SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker that UK is looking to add him for next season and he was open to reclassifying.

“Me and Coach Cal have talked about [reclassifying] multiple times,” Maxey told Tucker. “He’s just saying it would be a great opportunity for me to be a part of this special team that he’s building for next season.”

Remember, Maxey’s father is on staff at SMU. It appears the Mustangs may not be the threat many assumed early in the process.

One thing to keep an eye on is now that Maxey has said publicly he’s open to reclassifying, you better believe Texas, Michigan and MSU will also push to add the the Brandon Knight like guard to their rosters for next season, too.

Calipari is also planning on seeing Scottie Lewis, Bryan Antoine and Vernon Carey. Sounds like Calipari is with #TeamNoSleep.


Calipari is a man possessed in this spring recruiting period

I can’t imagine any other coach in America is hitting the spring recruiting period as hard as John Calipari. After finding some new hunger and drive to regain his throne, Calipari is a man possessed as he tries to reel in the elite talent in next year’s class — some of whom he has convinced to reclassify — and to avoid another off-year.

When the April recruiting period began last week, Calipari paid a visit to Ashton Hagans, who committed on the spot, and EJ Montgomery, who announced his commitment the morning after the visit. He also spent last Thursday with Tyrese Maxey, who is strongly considering joining the mix next season. He’ll make another trip to see Maxey for a second time this weekend, in hopes of convincing him to go ahead and make it official.

Calipari will also be in New Jersey this weekend to visit two five-star teammates, as we told you earlier today.

John Calipari to visit two New Jersey stars this weekend

And according to Evan Daniels, Calipari will also take the jet down to Florida to see Vernon Carey, the No. 1 player in the 2019 class. Carey is considered a Duke lean, but Calipari got his swagger back, so anything is possible.

Calipari has also visited with Keion Brooks and Matthew Hurt, two other top-rated juniors, since the April period began. He will have until next Wednesday to keep it going until things go quiet for a couple of months.

Until then, get out of his way.