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Coach Cal has Four Recruiters for Knox and Bamba at the McDonald’s All-American Game

Images via ZagsBlog and Andy Jones, Tampa Tribune.

Images via ZagsBlog and Andy Jones, Tampa Tribune.

Images via ZagsBlog and Andy Jones, Tampa Tribune

John Calipari may have not got the best draw in the NCAA Tournament, but he couldn’t have asked for a better selection at the McDonald’s All-American Game.  Four Kentucky commits — Quade Green, Nick Richards, P.J. Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt — are teammates with Kevin Knox and Mohamed Bamba, Calipari’s remaining two targets in the class of 2017.

“They’re in my ear 24/7 talking about how good it is to play with each other and how we’re getting along with each other,” Knox said after this morning’s practice.  Bamba’s description is the same: “Non-stop. Non-stop.  Seriously, non-stop.”

Bamba is third-ranked player in the 2017 class.  The lengthy 7-footer is down to Kentucky, Duke, Michigan and Texas.  Knox is the eighth-ranked player in the class, choosing between the Cats, Duke, North Carolina and Florida State.

Knox is also hearing it from Duke players, but the Cats have another ace-in-the-hole: P.J. Washington’s father, Paul.

“Him and my Dad are really close.  They always talk at every camp.  My mom and his mom are really close.” Knox said Paul asked him after practice, “‘How does it feel playing with Jarred and P.J. and Quade?’  He’s recruiting me too.  It’s all fun when my parents and their parents get together.  It never stops.  They’re always in my ear.”

Knox dunks one home at today's practice as Green and Richards look on, via McDAAG.

Knox dunks one home at today’s practice as Green and Richards look on, via McDAAG.

Green’s form of recruiting simple.  “When I see Mo and Kevin, I just tell ’em ‘BBN’ and walk away from ’em.”

Washington might be the biggest talker of the bunch and he’s feeling pretty good about the Cats’ chances.  “We’re trying to get them and I feel like we have a really good chance to get both of them.”

Jarred Vanderbilt echoed Washington’s statement.

“I’ve been in Mo’s ear all weekend.  Kev too.  We’re trying to make a dynasty,” Vanderbilt said.  “I feel like we got some good chances.  They’re still a work in progress but I think I we can get ’em.”

Knox will be making his decision during Spring Break after the Jordan Brand Game.  He initially planned on announcing in March, but wanted to see how the college basketball season ended.

“That’s one of the reasons I pushed it back from March to April is to wait to see how people did in the tournament, what people are leaving, what people are staying.  That’s definitely going to play a big part in my decision.”

When the small forward was discussing each of his finalists, I laughed a little when I heard, “Duke, they lost pretty early.”  Knox cracked a smile when he started talking about his Kentucky-bound teammates.  “I’m on a team with all the Kentucky commits.  It’s good to play with them.  They like to run and gun.”

A slam from Bamba via McDAAG.

A slam from Bamba via McDAAG.

Bamba’s perspective on Duke is different than I’ve ever heard before, validating those who say Coach K’s time as the Team USA head coach is a recruiting advantage.

“With Duke, you get something a little bit different because you’re getting three different brands,” Bamba said.  “You’re getting the university, you’re getting the program and you’re getting Coach K.  Coach K has his own global brand, which is pretty outstanding.”

When Bamba visited UK’s campus, he was taken aback seeing the walls filled with NBA players and banners at the Joe Craft Center, but that will not be the primary reason he chooses Kentucky.

“I really like their coaching staff and I really like the players that are coming in next year.”

Next year’s players have two more days in Chicago to convince two more All-Americans to become Cats.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

23 Comments for Coach Cal has Four Recruiters for Knox and Bamba at the McDonald’s All-American Game

  1. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    3:12 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    It would be great to get all these guys if they understand they won’t all be one and dones! Come and stay for 2, 3, or 4 years!

    • UkfanMatt
      3:31 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

      I like the traditional 4 year players. However, the latest trend in college basketball is that the best players are playing 1year and jumping to lucrative NBA contracts, and I don’t blame them, so would i.

  2. Rod Crandler
    3:18 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    Based on Bamba’s comments recently looks like he’s Duke bound to me. Time to find another big dude and fast.

    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      3:26 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

      Humphries and Richards can do just fine at the 5.
      SKJ, Gabriel, Washington, Vanderbilt all possibilities at the 4…
      Not to mention Wynard for depth.
      In other words, no need to look for another big…if Bamba comes he would start…if he doesn’t come we don’t need to go dumpster diving.

  3. Kevin C
    3:26 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    Too soon…I’m still too pissed off and depressed to give a sh*t about recruiting.

  4. Joealex3
    3:36 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    I’m witcha, Kevin C. Too soon. Very much bummed out. I thought this team would do it. Despite the first half getting hosed by the refs, I thought the refs did a decent job the 2nd half, and so it came down to making a couple stops, but we couldn’t get it done.

    Perhaps a timeout would have helped. We’ll never know.

    I’ve watched the final seconds 40 times. Willis got beat 80 feet from the basket. If he had been between his man and the basket the whole time, esp while 15 feet from UNC’s basket, Pinson would have used Maye as a pick and been forced to take a difficult shot after Willis would have switched on him. That would have been the preferred scenario, but because Willis was out of position the entire final 6 seconds in guarding Maye, the play developed like it did.

    It was an easy shot, and Maye, to his credit, hit it. Also I Bam had not been pressing and would have run down after Monk’s three, then we would have had an extra defender. But we were all geared up to press and without a time out, that was our default.

    Bummer. Euphoria to hating life all within 10 seconds.

    • Kray502
      4:21 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

      Completely sums up how I felt about it. Super mad still.

  5. runningunnin.454
    3:41 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    Lol, did Knox say “run and gun”?

  6. RealCatsFan
    3:52 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    It’s like Tyler said – BBN was falling in love with the current team. Hard to move on so fast to the next bunch of guys, although it will be fun when it gets here. When they come, BBN will embrace them like they have every other class.

  7. Angelo
    3:54 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    Thanks Nick! This gets me out of my funk. Number nine next year!!!

  8. ukisgr8
    3:57 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    I would love to have both but if I could have just one, Knox would be it because of need. I’m greedy though, give me both. Some players are going to transfer imo.

  9. BluKudzu
    4:08 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    These guys have more thn those 4 as recruiters, they also have BBN. 1000’s everywhere showing the love. Go to Duke for 3 brands that mean nothing, Come to UK to create and make your own brand, for the NBA. Not much of a decision, actually.
    Go Cats

    • runningunnin.454
      4:21 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

      Bamba needs to talk to Marques Bolden…I’ve never seen a sadder kid sitting on a bench.
      Needs to ask how that worked out.

    • RealCatsFan
      5:26 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

      Well, to be fair, Sacha looked pretty sad sitting on our bench this year, and he was a 5-star burger boy as well.

    • runningunnin.454
      5:59 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

      I don’t know…he seemed pretty happy when the team was doing well; that’s not to say he won’t transfer.
      But I don’t think I saw Bolden smile even once the last half of the year.

  10. Aar
    4:43 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    Just give me the ones who want to be Kentucky Wildcats for as long as it takes them to succeed enough that they get to proceed to the next level.

    I love the top shelf talent and I love the one and done players. They are so much fun to watch. However, I’m starting to believe that players like Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller, Willie Cauley-Stein, Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins are essential to making Calipari’s system reach the highest highs. If you look at all of those players’ last seasons in Lexington, they were the “glue guys” that helped the team stay in crucial games.

    As long as we have the best coach this program has had since the early seventies, we will get the best talent. Many of them will leave as soon as the NBA will take them. I’m fine with that. However, I’d like to see him add one, maybe two, Dominique Hawkins or Darius Miller per recruiting class. I mean talented players (hopefully Kentucky boys) who will get a few minutes or more per game from day one and stay around to be the “Old Reliable” heart and sole of the team as Juniors or Seniors. I suspect Briscoe and Humphries can be those guys next season (assuming they don’t take their talents elsewhere) and hope Killeya-Jones and Brad Calipari can follow them in 2018-19 but they didn’t get enough Frosh PT. Who will follow in those footsteps?

    (No disrespect to Joe B Hall intended at all – he’s definitely above BCG, ES and TS, prolly even with or slightly better than RP)

    • Bobbum Man
      5:19 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

      We had two seniors who played good minutes, briscoe, humphries. We had all the veterans one could want this year and didn’t win. Don’t understand why everyone is still so convinced we just need more mediocre 4 year players

  11. Jordan
    5:07 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    I’ve been conflicted about this for a while. Get Ky boys/3-4 year players, HOPE they contribute, or go after a McD’s AA. On one hand you could end up with a Hawk/Willis type player for 4 years, or get a star for each of the next 4 years. IMO I want the best players. But Cal has to offer the local guys too. 1 kid is at WVU, 1 at Xavier, 1 going to WKU next year. I’d love to have these guys on our team but Cal wants a star and we can’t expect every ky boy to wait ALL season just to see if there will be a scholarship available

    • CATandMONKEY
      6:08 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

      Willis, Hawkins, Humphries, Briscoe, Gabrielle, Mulder, SKJ, Wynyard.
      8 players who either played significant minutes, Started or played some minutes outside of garbage time at least in a few games.

      EIGHT players on the roster who are not One and dones nor victory cigar walk-ons.

  12. Bobbum Man
    5:18 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink


  13. AGSlater
    7:23 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    More one and dones woohoo

  14. AGSlater
    7:23 pm March 27, 2017 Permalink

    We are gonna suck next year