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Corey Evans Gives the Latest on Kerry Blackshear, R.J. Hampton and Jaden McDaniels

(Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports)

(Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports)

It’s no secret that Kerry Blackshear Jr. is the No. 1 target on Kentucky Basketball’s board right now. It’s also no secret that it was a BIZARRE week in his recruitment.

On Monday, Rivals.com’s Corey Evans reported that John Calipari visited Blackshear’s parents for an in-home meeting.

Cool, right?

Well, not exactly. Almost immediately after Evans put out that report, Blackshear’s father, Kerry Blackshear Sr., denied that the meeting ever happened.

Weird, huh?

Well, it gets even weirder, since later in the week Blackshear Sr. admitted that he lied, and that the meeting did in fact happen.

And since those bizarre interactions, everyone has tried to figure out what to make of Blackshear Sr.’s behavior. Did he not want details of the meeting getting out to the media? Did Kentucky tell him to keep things hush-hush, especially with two big men (Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery) testing the NBA Draft process?

Only Blackshear Sr. knows, but the man who was on the other side of this mess, Corey Evans of Rivals.com, joined KSR’s Aaron Torres Sports Podcast this week to explain his version of the event. He also discussed Blackshear’s recruitment and gave updates on R.J. Hampton and Jaden McDaniels (you can download the full show by clicking here).

Evans was hesitant to speculate on what the Blackshear family might have been thinking, but added that because Kerry Blackshear Jr. was a relatively low-rated recruit coming out of high school, his family might not be used to this kind of attention.

“There’s definitely some pressure there on all sides,” Evans said. “I think of what Kerry was in high school. He was a relatively thought of prospect. But it wasn’t like this. It’s not nationally acclaimed, coming from every angle. The family has never dealt with this.”

Strange ordeal aside, it’s clear that Kentucky is in fact in the mix to land Blackshear if he returns to college. And if he does land in Lexington, the Wildcats are getting an instant impact player that Evans called “maybe the best grad transfer I can remember” after he averaged 15 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in the rugged ACC. The question now is, after this bizarre week, where exactly does Kentucky fit into the pecking order?

Evans made it clear that Blackshear Jr.’s full focus is on the NBA. But if he does return to school, Evans said that, as has been reported elsewhere, the Wildcats, Florida and Texas A&M (where Blackshear’s old coach Buzz Williams is) are the teams to beat.

“First off, what I think Kerry would like to do is go to the NBA,” Evans said. “But if he does return to college those three schools would atop his list. That would be Florida, the local program that is bringing in a super-talented class. They already have a couple guys [in the backcourt] in terms of Andrew Nembhard, Noah Locke and Keyontae Johnson and all they’re really missing is that stud big man. He can take Florida from a potential Top 4, Top 5 SEC team, to a dark horse Final Four team. Kentucky is there [in the mix] as well. Texas A&M too. Buzz Williams was the guy who recruited him when no one outside a select few schools were really on him.”

Evans also mentioned that he believes Michigan State, Tennessee and Gonzaga are making a strong push for Blackshear as well, but are currently on the outside of those three schools looking in.

Outside of Blackshear, the rest of the recent recruiting buzz with Kentucky has been on a few select players, including 2020 guard prospect R.J. Hampton, who is expected to reclassify into the class of 2019, as well as Jaden McDaniels.

Hampton is a transcendent talent, a player who Evans said “might be in the mix for the top player in the class of 2019” if he decides to reclassify. Unfortunately, with a loaded backcourt next season with the return of Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley and the arrival of Tyrese Maxey, it doesn’t seem like Kentucky makes a ton of sense for Hampton.

“John Calipari was there [Thursday] along with Kenny Payne to do their best to get two Texas guys with Hampton along with Tyrese Maxey,” Evans said. “They’re doing their best, but it’s not the right fit I believe.”

With the return of Tre Jones at Duke, Evans gave the Blue Devils “about a one percent chance” of landing Hampton, and said he believes it will likely come down to Memphis and Kansas.

And finally, there is the long, winding, maybe never-ending recruitment of Jaden McDaniels. The 2019 prospect is finally, just now starting to take his recruitment seriously. But even just weeks before most freshmen will enroll in college, Evans and most recruiting experts have no great feel for where McDaniels will land. He did say that he wasn’t as convinced as everyone else that the choice would be Washington, but added that no one is quite sure right now.

“I talked to his family two weeks ago and they told me that Jaden had begun to start to turn his focus towards his recruitment,” Evans said. “He doesn’t have to do anything until — honestly, he could sign Financial Aid papers and show up on campus at any of those colleges, and they likely keep a scholarship for him just in case it happens.

And it sounds crazy like, ‘that would never happen.’ But Jaden is just that kind of guy to do that. He just wants to ball. He doesn’t care about the recruiting process whatsoever. His family has kept him down to Earth throughout this all. I think there’s been some traction. But nothing where we’re talking about a commitment.”

Overall it was a fun conversation with Evans, and in-depth on three of the biggest prospects that Kentucky is currently recruiting. To listen to the full interview, please click here.

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Article written by Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres is covering football and basketball for KSR this season after four years at Fox Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, Facebook or e-mail at [email protected] He is also the author of the only book written on the Calipari era, “One and Fun: A Behind the Scenes Look at John Calipari and the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats.”

31 Comments for Corey Evans Gives the Latest on Kerry Blackshear, R.J. Hampton and Jaden McDaniels



  1. CatfaninCinci
    2:20 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    Blackshear is a must to me… Im terrified of the thought of EJ/Nick splitting the 5 next year. Terrified. Nick Richards, I like the kid, but his first two years have been an experience in perseverance. He lacks that playing angry mentality. He’s hesitant. And some games, it hurts me to watch him struggle against smaller dudes.

    We get Blackshear and we become a favorite.



    • mashburnfan1
      2:29 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Funny Mr. Blackshear did not want people to know the payment….errrrr, meeting took place.



    • Cokely53
      2:41 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Get lost turd



    • Bluebloodtoo
      2:45 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Funny, that could be considered libel…. So not really funny at all.



    • IrishCat
      4:17 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      EJ is gonna be a stud, but I like him better at the 4 than the 5.



    • chris43
      5:11 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      The potential is def there for EJ. I’d love nothing more than Richards to have a breakout season BUT I would be shocked judging by the previous two. But who knows as it takes longer for some players to adjust. We def need Blackshear.



    • ClutchCargo
      2:56 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      trashburn specializes in turds.



    • 4everUKblue
      3:34 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Mashbum is a dUKe fan, no two ways about it, and a jackass on top of that. Just because K pays players doesn’t mean Cal does.



    • Ridge Runner
      3:41 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Great points Cinci.



    • CATandMONKEY
      7:30 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Gargle broken glass, Mash.



    • 4everUKblue
      10:19 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Hell with that! Drink a gallon of anti-freeze!



  2. Catcasey1
    2:37 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    That’s really funny mash



  3. JT55
    2:43 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    Blackshear is a must get for UK. Some pretty serious competition though for him.



    • MontyCats
      3:08 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      I think if he returns to college we are the favorite. I haven’t seen anything from RJ that says transcendent. I think were in for another 10th-12th best team in the country year. Great, but still waiting on the next serious title contender. Also I wouldn’t sleep on EJ’s ascension.



  4. Ridge Runner
    2:46 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    Blackshears dad worries me. I want his son in Blue/White but this image of Pop doin’ a “Ball-Father” spin is runnin’ thru my head. Haaaaa



    • ClutchCargo
      2:48 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Papa Blackshear seems more uncomfortable in the spotlight, instead of seeking it out like Lavar. I wouldn’t worry about that.



    • Ridge Runner
      3:02 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Absolutely and let me clarify.
      Not in specific characteristics as you pointed out correctly. I’m referring to dad getting more “overall” ink than son.



  5. addyjaxlarkin
    3:00 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    My source tells me he has already committed to UK. I am told to expect a commitment any second now. My source is never wrong.



    • addyjaxlarkin
      3:07 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Treat my source like a jump shot and Bank it…



    • 4everUKblue
      3:54 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      There is no such thing as a source or anyone else who is never wrong, you on the other hand are never right.



  6. VirginiaCat
    3:12 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    I believe that Mr. Blackshear deserves the benefit of the doubt. No reason whatsoever to believe that he is a meddling father like Lavar. McDaniels is the one who concerns me. Sounds unfocused and unpredictable from what I have read and some have questioned his motor. I have no substantiation to go with that, so I guess he deserves the benefit of the doubt as well.



    • Ridge Runner
      3:24 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Agreed. But I think if we are all honest.. my point is we don’t need distractions from parents no matter what the specifics are. Not saying it will happen but this bizarre story would naturally make someone take note. It could be a flash in the pan oops and probably is. But when you are in a program like ours, every media entity is ready to lead with a story and twist it to counter what we do. All I’m saying is… let’s hope this doesn’t materialize to anything versus turning my head away and not mentioning it.



  7. Ridge Runner
    3:33 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    Look at the small issue PJs dad had when he was perceived as not willing to define whether PJ would return from injury to play for us. It was under a microscope and he had to clarify, explain, etc.. It was nothing. UK isn’t for everyone as coach says and sometimes we fail to remember that includes parents. We’ve been very lucky not to have anything of issue but you can bet ESPN would love to lead a story over something a players family questioned or was involved with. Again, just explaining my personal reasoning for mentioning. I really don’t believe I’m in the minority again if folks are honest.



    • Corder
      7:27 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      To be honest I want to know why our fan base cares so much about the media. We all know by now the media always has an agenda. It’s not about getting the facts straight or writing good stories anymore. It’s all about throwing out information as fast as you can weather it’s right or wrong as well as writing things it get a rise out of people for more clicks. Journalistic integrity has gone out the window, so to put so much stock on what they say or write at this point is a waste of time. Enjoy the teams Cal puts out there every year. There’s going to be haters and naysayers all the time but at the end of the day it always feels so much better to shut those people up and make them look stupid when our team and coach proves them wrong.



  8. Bigblueswami
    4:34 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    It’s sounding like we’re gonna swing and miss on three straight…



    • Carcrook
      8:14 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      My thoughts exactly! Hampton, is strike one! Out of the three Blackshear Jr, is The only one we might get! Go CATS!



  9. timtim1960
    5:24 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    Blackshear is big time player. With Nick and EJ behind him will be unstoppable. With your offense playing through your post, it would open up your guards driving. Something the cats haven’t had in a long time. Our offense the last 5 years has been something like watching paint dry. Unwatchable. Before the center at Kansas got hurt their offense went through the post . It was unstoppable.



  10. StuckinLville
    5:33 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    Blackshear Sr tryin to keep things hush is not like Lavar at all. Hopefully he’s son ends up playing for us. He’s more important than McDaniels. Besides, McDaniels will not be a Cat. He does not like the spotlight.



    • Luether
      7:05 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Agree. Additionally, my sources say that McDaniels does not want to be far from home…



  11. ibescootch
    5:34 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

    I just don’t see this as that big of a deal with Blackshear Sr. Imagine if your son/daughter was the sudden focus of the national sports media and you have reporters calling and asking questions- reporters who are experts at digging out info, and you get nervous and say something you didn’t mean, or forget a detail, or something like that. Or said something and was told by someone else to back off the statement. Big deal.



    • TheMaxCat
      7:03 pm April 26, 2019 Permalink

      Papa Blackshear has shown over the last four years that there are no worries about him drawing attention due to unwanted/unnecessary commentary. We are going to be fine… but we’d be damn fine if his son decided to move to Lex.