At this point in the camp there is a few kids who are starting to show that the grueling schedule is taking its toll. Others are just starting to come out of their shell. Here are some of the big happenings of the day:
– Michael Gilchrist (pictured above) and Harrison Barnes faced off early on. Gilchrist’s game was cut short by a mild leg injury, but he really put on a show before he left. He played great defense on Barnes, keeping him from getting into the lane despite Barnes’ quick first step. On almost every fast break, Gilchrist was either leading the charge and finishing at the rim or somewhere in the mix making the nice pass. I left that game with the opinion that he absolutely stole the show. For a kid going into his junior season to have that much talent is an absolute travesty for the rest of the high school competition that he’ll face in the upcoming season. He finished with 16 points and could have easily added more if not for the injury. Regardless of class, he’s a legit top 3 player in America. Word around the camp, and the world for that matter, is that he is pretty heavy UK lean. Please take a few moments to allow that entire paragraph to really sink in UK fans.
– Harrison Barnes was his same effective self in the match up with Gilchrist. He’s a great player and a true winner on the court. He’s got all the tools to be great and some added flashiness to keep the fans oohing and ahhing. He did have a tough time against Gilchrist and his relentless defense, but he still got his usual point total in the teens. Gilchrist’s defense seemed to turn Barnes into more of a spot shooter rather than driver, which is a huge testament to how quick Gilchrist was able to slide his feet on D. I got the chance to talk to Barnes, who is exceptionally articulate and just an all around nice kid. Previously, he had listed 12 schools but that list has been cut to 11 with the departure of Tim Floyd from USC. He spoke about the opportunity to see the rivalry game between UNC and Duke in Cameron Indoor during the past season, noting the intensity and the competitiveness that both teams brought to the hot arena, packed with Blue Devil fans. Sick of hearing about all the Dukie love, I used my quick first step and large frame to body the ACC reporter out of the way in order to get to the juicy stuff. I asked Barnes specifically about his comment from BoxofMess.com, which at first he didn’t seem to completely recall, but eventually he assured me that whatever was said wasn’t meant to be knock on Kentucky or Coach Calipari, who is still involved in his recruitment. He went on to deny even making the comment about the scholarships being taken away from players and said that, if anything, he might have said the part about Calipari leaving Memphis, but only in the context of whether or not he left Memphis and continued to recruit him at Kentucky. All in all, if the comment was said, it was probably just another classic case of kids talking and wasn’t meant to be as “earth shattering” as it was taken to be. Barnes was pretty adamant about denying the comment though, especially the part about the scholarships being taken away, so I’ll just allow you to make up your own mind on what you wish to believe. In terms of rumors that Kansas and Duke are leaders, he said “that might be a bit premature at this point,” mainly because he hasn’t had the opportunity to see other schools, giving North Carolina and Kentucky as examples of campuses that he plans on getting a better look at.
– Mychal Parker will visit UK next week. He describes himself as a slasher and I would agree wholeheartedly. He has a tendency to “blend in” from time to time but when he gets the chance to shine, he doesn’t waste it. He’s got athleticism and hops. Take a look at the video that Beisner posted earlier to get a better idea of his ability to get into the lane. UK has yet to offer Parker but he might end up with one after he gets the chance to meet the coaching staff in Lexington. Maryland is a school that has been rumored to be high on his list but he hasn’t committed yet, despite holding an offer from the Terrapins. We’ll keep you posted on how the visit goes.
– Jelan Kendrick has really put on some good performances. He fits his billing as a big point guard and can lead fast breaks with ease. He also has the ability to make quick passes into tight spaces or use his athleticism to get to the rim. Calipari’s staff had offered him a scholarship while at Memphis and he believes that offer to still be on the table for Kentucky. On the way that Calipari would use him in his offense, Jelan said “He’s shown in the past with point guards like Tyreke Evans, that he likes to use tall point guards.” Miami, Florida, Georgia, Clemson, Alabama and Marquette are some of the unofficial visits that he has taken but he plans on taking a few more before deciding on where to spend his official visits. Jelan plans on starting to narrow down his list in early July and then making an ultimate decision at some point after that, most likely in the fall or early winter.
– Cameron Clark is still hearing from Kentucky. He was supposed to take a visit to Texas recently but said that he didn’t end up making it out there. He will visit Arizona in the next couple of weeks. The other schools on his list include Oklahoma, USC, UCLA, Kansas and Memphis. Whenever I hear USC I just immediately wipe them off the board…feel free to do the same.
– Adreian Payne, who visited UK in early May, said that he plans on making his final decision during the summer. He seemed to like his visit to Lexington but didn’t get the opportunity to meet up with Coach Calipari while he was there. Payne doesn’t plan on taking any more visits at this point and seems to be getting close to making it final.
The playoffs begin tomorrow and the intensity of the match ups should rise to a new level as the kids compete for MVP honors and a tournament championship. I’ll be posting some more recruiting updates from LaQuinton Ross and Rod Odom, as well as a few others. Be sure to follow my twitter for some of the immediate reactions and recruiting updates.