UK’s staff has been doing quite a bit of scouting in the New York area and Sterling Gibbs, a New Jersey product, is one point guard from the area that received a good deal of attention from the staff. Its no secret to anyone that follows recruiting that UK has their eyes and ears tuned into the New York/New Jersey area. In 2010, they’re trying to lure in Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb and Kyrie Irving. 2011 should be no different, with Michael Gilchrist, Achraf Yacoubou, Angel Nunez and Gibbs all hailing from the Northeast and getting a good amount of the attention that the staff is directing towards their class. With Orlando Antigua, who grew up in the Bronx playing for St. Raymond’s High School, and Rod Strickland, another Bronx product who ran summer ball with the New York Gauchos, the connections are evident.
Add those connections to John Calipari’s resume for placing guards in the pros and you can see why point guards in the area have mutual interest in the Cats. Gibbs relayed his feelings on UK’s new staff and the new vibe surrounding the program by saying, “I really like Kentucky, I’m open to all schools, but I really like them. They put guards in the pros, most recently Tyreke Evans, and they’re just a great program.”
UK has their eyes on Gibbs as well. “They were at all the games at Reebok U., the Summer Classic and, I think, a little in Vegas, too,” said Gibbs, who played summer ball with the NY Panthers.
While it is still early for the junior-to-be, he has already started scouting out his schools. He just finished up a visit to Seton Hall, where he plans on returning again. Pitt, where his brother Ashton currently resides, will play host on Aug. 28th, Duke in late August or early September, and then he will attend a Maryland football game on Sept. 26th. Kentucky is another school that he would like to take an unofficial visit to, although the exact date is still in the works.
But don’t expect Gibbs to be too starstruck if he runs into Rod Strickland on campus during his visit. The New York Panthers, Gibb’s AAU team, is coached by current NBA player and New York streetball legend, Rafer “Skip to My Lou” Alston. “He has a lot of experience, of course, playing in the NBA and he’s able to teach us stuff that a regular coach can’t teach us because he’s been through it all,” Gibbs told SNY.tv’s Adam Zagoria earlier this year. If Alston’s NBA experience is seen as an advantage for Gibbs, then Rod Strickland’s NBA veteran status has to be seen as an advantage for the Cats, if their pursuit of the young guard reaches a boiling point next year.
The problem with the Cats 2011 recruiting, or advantage depending on which way you look at it, is going to be a lack of available space. Right now, Gibbs would best be described as a prospect on the radar, and if the Cats are able to find some free scholarships, depending on who makes the jump to the next level, Gibbs seems to be one young guard that the staff is keeping a close eye on.
Kentucky fans grew accustomed to having a point guard with the New York/New Jersey swagger and tough streetball mentality when Ramel Bradley was running the offense. Last year’s point guard play wasn’t exactly anything to “swag” about, but with the way that UK’s staff is zeroing in on the area, that same fire and passion that seems to be genetically bred into the kids who surround the Big Apple might be making its way back into Rupp again.
Back about a month ago, we told you about Kyrie Irving saying at the LeBron James Skills Academy that he might be twittering his commitment. Well, today we learned, via twitter of course, that Kyrie is at least going to go as far as to tweet out his list of schools that will be getting official visits from him. The pertinent part of the tweet reads, “…the list is coming out on Twitter on Friday RIGHT after the elite 24 game.” I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Indiana and Duke are on that list. I’ll include Kentucky, Texas A&m and Seton Hall as my other three. Anyone else care to make any guesses?
Before this, I was a little afraid to link up Kyrie’s twitter, at least after his comment in passing at LeBron, but now it just seems like Kyrie wants everyone following along, so I’ll link the twitter below. Only thing I have to say is this: If he doesn’t include Kentucky or eventually chooses another school, please respect the kid. Not only because Kyrie is a genuinely nice young man, but also because it really just gives us a horrible national image and these kids do talk about those sorts of things.
Other recruiting notes:
-Just in case you missed it yesterday, UK’s staff is scheduled for an in-home visit with Adreian Payne on September 12th. Kansas will follow after them on September 14th. The purpose of the visits is to allow Adreian’s grandmother to get a more personal feel of each coaching staff. Still no word on when Payne’s other three schools, Michigan State, Arizona, and West Virginia, will be dropping by.
– Casey Prather told Palmetto Sports that three of his official visits will be spent on Clemson, Florida and Michigan. If you’re trying to use those official visits as a gauge on his interest levels, don’t forget to include Vanderbilt, since home schools rarely get an official visit. North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Memphis are the other schools that are on his list.
– Oddly enough, with perfect timing, Achraf Yacoubou tells Zag that his top three are UConn, Villanova and Kentucky. Yacoubou plays for Long Island Lutheran and is another northeastern target for the Cats. He’s one of the top shooting guards in the class of 2011 and Zag gave him this review: “In a game that also featured Tobias Harris, Devon Collier and Derrick Williams, Yacoubou was the best player on the floor.” He also told Zagoria, in the article that you can view here, that he would be taking a trip to UK for an unofficial visit during Midnight Madness this year.
– In the same post, Zagoria also mentions that you’re mom has been keeping an eye on Rob Lowe since the mid-eighties, but you need to keep an eye on Rob Loe, a 6-11 big man from New Zealand. He’s getting interest from UK, Georgia Tech and Pitt.
– 2011 UK target Quincy Miller recently attended South Carolina’s elite camp, according to Scout. Miller also said that he has grown two inches since May and is now up to 6-9. This coming weekend Quincy will be heading to Durham to attend Duke’s first elite camp.