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2019 Recruiting Big Board: April Period


With only a couple days remaining in the spring recruiting period, we update John Calipari’s big board for the 2019 high school basketball class. It’s been a wild couple of weeks for Calipari, who’s out to reclaim his throne, so get caught up on the prospects he has targeted in the spring before the AAU circuit gets rolling.

 

— COMMITTED —

DJ Jeffries
Forward| 6-7 | 185 lbs.
Olive Branch, MS | Olive Branch
AAU: Team Penny
ESPN No. 17 | 4 SF Top247 No. 27 | 8 SF
Rivals No. 47 | 16 PF 247 Comp.  No. 26 | 8 SF

DJ Jeffries became the first member of Kentucky’s 2019 class when he pledged his commitment on March 12, picking the Cats over Alabama and Mississippi State.

Jeffries is from the Memphis area and has admitted to being a lifelong fan of John Calipari, going back to Calipari’s time as the Memphis head coach.

Though verbally committed to Kentucky going into the summer before his senior season, the four-star forward could still consider signing with Memphis now that Penny Hardaway, his former AAU coach, is the new head coach of the Tigers. His AAU teammate, James Wiseman, could also pick Memphis over UK in the end, which would be devastating to Calipari’s recruiting efforts in West Tennessee.

Ashton Hagans
Point Guard| 6-4 | 185 lbs.
Covington, GA | Newton
AAU: Georgia Stars
ESPN No. 18 | 3 PG Top247 No. 6 | 1 PG
Rivals No. 6 | 2 PG 247 Comp.  No. 8 | 1 PG

Ashton Hagans received a visit from John Calipari on the first day of the April recruiting period, and gave his commitment before Calipari left town. A former Georgia commit, the five-star point guard announced his intentions of becoming a Kentucky Wildcat to the public on April 10.

However, Hagans is expected to reclassify and skip his senior year of high school to join the Cats next fall. He’s taking the necessary classes to make the jump, but will likely wait until the end of the summer before making anything official. One reason for the delay, it’s believed, is Hagans wants to play AAU this spring and summer. He will probably be a late-summer addition to the 2018-19 roster, should he ultimately go the reclassifying route.

— TOP TARGETS —

Tyrese Maxey
Guard | 6-3 | 185 lbs.
Garland, Tx. | South Garland
AAU: RM5 Elite
ESPN No. 14 | 3 SG Top247 No. 17 | 2 PG
Rivals No. 11 | 3 SG 247 Comp. No. 13 | 2 PG

Tyrese Maxey is ranked behind Ashton Hagans as the No. 2 point guard in the class, and he could follow Hagans’ path to college. Maxey is considered a heavy Kentucky lean and Calipari made two visits to see him in the April period, in hopes of securing a commitment before the summer.

Calipari’s pitch to Maxey is the same as his pitch to Hagans: commit now, reclassify, and join UK’s backcourt next fall to form something special. Maxey is considering Cal’s plan, but it’s unclear how serious he actually is about foregoing his senior year to play for UK next season.

James Wiseman
Power Forward/Center | 6-11 | 210 lbs.
Memphis, TN | Memphis East
AAU: Team Penny
ESPN No. 1 | 1 PF Top247 No. 1 | 1 C
Rivals No. 2 | 2 PF 247 Comp.  No. 1 | 1 C

James Wiseman is Kentucky’s top target in the 2019 class and it’s long been the belief that Wiseman would eventually commit and sign. But with the recent hire of his former AAU coach, Penny Hardaway, at Memphis, it’s going to be a fight for Calipari to keep his position as the heavy favorite to land Wiseman’s services.

Wiseman’s mother recently told SEC Country that her son would remain in high school for one more year, despite rumors he could reclassify into the 2018 class. She also said Memphis entered the mix when Hardaway extended a scholarship offer on Wiseman’s 17th birthday earlier this month.

It would be in Kentucky’s best interests for Wiseman to transfer out of Memphis and into prep school next year to get him farther away from Hardaway’s recruiting.

Scottie Lewis
Small Forward | 6-5 | 177 lbs.
Eatontown, NJ | Ranney School
AAU: Team Rio
ESPN No. 8 | 1 SF Top247 No. 9 | 2 SF
Rivals No. 9 | 2 SG  247 Comp. No. 6 | 1 SF

Scottie Lewis picked up his scholarship offer from Kentucky last fall and has hosted the UK staff on multiple visits, most recently this past weekend.

He is a high school teammate of Bryan Antoine, another UK target, whose timeline of events is almost identical in regards to contact with the Kentucky staff, considering they’re always in the same place.

Bryan Antoine
Shooting Guard | 6-5 | 175 lbs.
Eatontown, NJ | Ranney School
AAU: Team Rio
ESPN No. 7 | 1 SG Top247 No. 8 | 1 SG
Rivals No. 7 | 1 SG 247 Comp. No. 7 | 1 SG

Bryan Antoine is one of the top shooters in the class and he is ranked as the top shooting guard by all the major recruiting services. Like Scottie Lewis, his high school and AAU teammate, Antoine received his UK offer last fall and has hosted the staff on multiple visits, most recently this past weekend.

Matthew Hurt
Power Forward | 6-9 | 200 lbs.
Rochester, MN | John Marshall
AAU: D1 Minnesota
ESPN No. 5 | 2 PF Top247 No. 4 | 2 PF
Rivals No. 5 | 3 PF 247 Comp. No. 4 | 2 PF

Matthew Hurt is a highly-touted big man who can extend the defense with his outside shot, which makes him unique to Calipari’s typical brand of post players. However, Hurt said Calipari told him he has changed his ways and will only recruit shooters, which is a major change in philosophy for Calipari. A commitment from Hurt could be a big sign of Cal changing his ways.

Keion Brooks
Forward | 6-8 | 185 lbs.
Fort Wayne, IN | North Side
AAU: Spiece Indy Heat
ESPN No. 30 | 9 PF Top247 No. 16 | 5 SF
Rivals No. 36 | 13 PF 247 Comp. No. 22 | 6 SF

Keion Brooks was one of the early targets in the class last fall and the interest hasn’t changed this spring. Calipari visited the versatile forward on the second day of the April recruiting period, and though Brooks is mostly considering Big Ten schools, Kentucky is in the hunt.

Vernon Carey
Power Forward/Center | 6-10 | 245 lbs.
Fort Lauderdale, FL | University School
AAU: Nike Team Florida
ESPN No. 2 | 1 C Top247 No. 2 | 1 PF
Rivals No. 1 | 1 PF 247 Comp. No. 2 | 1 PF

The son of the former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman of the same name, Vernon Carey Jr. is the second-ranked big man behind Wiseman, and the early speculation is he prefers Duke at this stage. John Calipari isn’t going down without a fight, though; he visited Carey last week and will follow up this week with a second trip to make his pitch for the Wildcats. (UPDATE: Monday’s follow-up trip put on hold.)

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

13 responses to “2019 Recruiting Big Board: April Period”

  1. meeksfor3

    Why would any big man prefer Duke? Who was the last big man to do anything significant in the NBA who went to Duke? Elton Brand?

  2. Biglaw Dawgin'

    I guess re-classifying to an earlier year is pretty simple nowadays, huh? I wish I could’ve just been like, “ok, I’m over High School” then take a couple extra classes that summer and, poof, be finished.

    1. @GoCayts

      These kids are generally staying back a year (for sports). If they turn out to be good enough to go ahead and play college ball, they can decide to. It’s basically the same thinking as going from college to pro… you could get hurt staying in high school and screw up your shot at a college scholarship. Ashton Hagans is older than Kevin Knox and he’s trying to decide whether to be 1 or 2 years behind him.

    2. UK Big Board Update

      Biglaw Dawgin’ commenting on something he obviously doesn’t how works, to help push a simple-minded narrative he conjured up, will never stop being hilarious to me.

  3. Ez21

    Whatever. I would’ve never reclassified so I missed a year. That’s the last time in your life you will be trapped in a building w that many beautiful women. Lol

    1. Big blue erection

      ???

    2. UK Big Board Update

      college > high school

      Trust me.

    3. ClutchCargo

      You could be trapped in many buildings with 10 times the number of beautiful women, which will then not be enough to keep you from going pro after a year or two if you are good enough. Not sure what point you are attempting to make.

    4. runningunnin.454

      Now I’m confused; are these beautiful women actually trapping you in a building? Only statement I understood was college > HS.

  4. Ez21

    What don’t u understand? You aren’t free to leave a school anytime u want that’s what I said trapped. In college yes there are more girls but not all in the same building with you all day and when you’re one of the top athletes like I was you have your choice.

    1. UK Big Board Update

      LOL. Uh huh…

    2. runningunnin.454

      Glory Days, they’ll pass you by,
      Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye.

  5. dballrb

    Sounds as if Carey is not interested if (trip put on hold),all he has to do is beat out Bolden and that shouldn’t be too hard at this point…