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Future Cats Hit the Beach in Cali

The Pangos All-American Camp came calling this weekend and many prospects who find themselves on UK’s radar made the trip out West.  This is a top notch event, which crowned John Wall as their most outstanding player a year ago. Here’s a run down of how some of the UK recruits performed:

Harrison Barnes didn’t start the first game with his best jump shot available but the big news was that he was able to make the adjustment and began driving the ball to the hole and took the hacks while finishing at the rim.  The 6’6″ wing was confident with the ball, scored when he had to and made the defense pay for their mistakes. Overall, Barnes continues to receive great assessments for his basketball IQ and his ability to help his team win.  It was reported this past week that Barnes will stay after the tourney and take unofficial visits to UCLA and Stanford. Barnes is smart kid with a high GPA, so many believe he’ll pick his school with academic considerations somewhere on the list. Duke has been rumored as one of the schools to beat along with Kansas and Bill Self. Cal wasn’t recruiting Barnes at Memphis, so this is one of the catch-up recruits for UK but all reports seem to lead one to believe that Cal is doing a good job of getting in with him.

Will Barton was another 6’6″ wing getting a lot of respect in Cali. Barton was able to find the rim almost every time he tried and was finishing with either hand. He has the ability to slash with the best in the class and, from what we’ve seen so far out of him through the spring, he is in for a great showing this AAU season. Scout.com feels like he has solidified his spot as a top 2 guard and top 10 overall prospect in his class. I haven’t been able to read anything remotely associated with AAU basketball without hearing people swoon over how Barton is playing. Its really getting a little old, unless of course he commits to UK…then I’ll start enjoying it a little more. Otherwise, it just makes me covet him in a John Wall-esque unhealthy sort of way and I find him consuming too many of my thoughts throughout the day.

Quincy Miller, a 2011 wing, is showing that he has a lot of potential. He’s one to continue to follow throughout the summer to see how his game develops against the better competition. At Pangos, he hit 4 three-pointers on the first day of play, showing off his outside game.  He’s a prospect that recently moved to North Carolina and seems enamored with the scene in his new home state. He’ll be a hard one to pull out of NC but many top coaches are willing to give it a shot as his list boasts big names like Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Purdue and all the North Carolina-based universities.

– 2010 PG prospect Joe Jackson showed off his usual skills: speed and defensive pressure.  He has the ability to make quick passes and blow by defenders to get to the rim.  Jackson grew up a Memphis fan so Pastner has a leg up on the rest of the competition.  However, Cal did develop a good relationship with Jackson while he was at Memphis and has carried that over to UK. Tennessee and Bruce Bruce are also recruiting Jackson but I’ve not heard any word yet on whether Jackson has aspirations of a future rap career, so his interest in UT is not yet fully known.

Doron Lamb, 2010 SG, was highly touted for his ability to carry his team. He played great defense and was knocking down his jump shots. The second day proved to be more of the same as Doron continued to shoot spot on. When his shot is falling, he is really able to fill up the score card quick.  Lamb plans on trying to work a UK visit into his busy schedule this summer, according to Scout.com. He also noted that he is a big fan of UK assistant coach Rod Strickland who, like Lamb, also attended Oak Hill Academy.

Terrence Jones is a prospect who is being followed by many of the top schools and UK is reportedly one that has recently jumped in.  The 2010 PF is what you would call the classic matchup problem. At 6’8″ 220 lbs. he has the size to bang down low but also has the ability to step outside and knock down the three pointer from time to time. Jones’ inside-outside game begs comparison to Ohio State commit Deshaun Thomas. When players of their size can knock down threes consistently, the defenders are at their mercy because there are no weaknesses to play off of. Jones may be developing that type of game and, if so, he’ll be a force at the next level. He’s a lefty with a long wing span and is having a good spring and summer so far.

A couple of youngsters have been added to the list of prospects that UK is pursuing:

Keaton Miles told Scout.com that Kentucky has been working their way into the mix with him.   This 2011 Texas wingman that has an interesting background. He was being recruited by Billy Gillispie’s staff and is playing fairly well on the AAU circuit this summer. He also plays for the Dallas Mustangs which is the old AAU team that Nolan Dennis, the former Calipari commit, played for.  Cal has the “foot in the door” with that AAU team, obviously, so it’ll be interesting to see how he uses it and how strongly he tries to woo Keaton.  With his size, there were questions about which way he would develop his game, either more power or small forward. Scout.com believes that he is going more in the small forward direction. He is also starting to feel more confidence for his game and that has led to more assertiveness on the court. Arizona, Indiana, all the teams in Texas and Oklahoma State are involved as well.

2011 wing Ramon Eaton told Scout.com that he is hearing from the Cats.  He is from Sacramento, CA and is made from the athletic mold that Calipari seems to enjoy. Rivals.com has described him as a long, skilled, smooth forward. He is two years away from stepping foot on a college campus and is already 6’8″ so he’ll most likely be projected as a big man with abilities to face the basket.  Southern Cal and Kentucky are the two big name schools looking at Eaton at this time, according to Scout.com.

Other Notes:

Jesse Berry spoke to Rivals and said that he is not sure whether Kentucky has offered a scholarship yet. Through channels within his camp, he believes that they have. He also spoke rather glowingly about playing for Coach Cal. He is a good shooter but probably needs to work on not disappearing during certain points in his games. He is on an extremely talented team, which includes Dominique Ferguson, and that may have something to do with that. When he puts his best effort into his matchups, he has the ability to be a good combo guard, making athletic drives toward the rim and knocking down outside shots.  Its seems like Cal’s interest is growing and landing Berry might be a step in the right direction to landing Ferguson, although, AAU relationships aren’t necessarily that close amongst players.

Espn is reporting that Coach Sean Miller is excited to show newly open Justin Martin his new toys at Arizona.  Martin re-opened his commitment earlier this week after being previously committed to UL. Martin and Miller were close when Miller was at Xavier and this only confirms what many had believed, that Martin would give Miller another shot this time around especially since he is at Arizona now.

– I’ll have a few more notes from the rest of the Pango’s tournament tomorrow.

Article written by Dustin Rumbaugh

I enjoy basketball, Kentucky sports and extremely short walks on the beach, followed by a nap. Sorry ladies, I'm taken.