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Kentucky Recruits Shine in Jordan Brand Classic


Unlike the Nike Hoop Summit, which unwisely left a couple UK recruits off their list, all four Kentucky recruits got a chance to show their stuff in the high-octane, poor-defense shootout known as the Jordan Brand Classic.  The third major high school All-Star game, and the second of which to feature all four of our guys, was a fun exhibition of a diverse array of skills we can look forward to next year, regardless of who comes back.

First, Karl Anthony Towns.  The big man showed that he’s not limited to staying right around the rim, knocking down outside shots and throwing a few assists, including a sweet no-look, behind-the-back dime from half court that had the commentators ooh-ing and aah-ing for the next few possessions.  Not to mention, Towns apparently conveyed the opinion of his doctors that he might still grow another 2-4 inches.  Karl’s already pushing 7′, so any height on top of that would make an already daunting presence flat out ridiculous.

Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker got their fair share of attention as UK’s future backcourt, with some praise thrown Ulis’ way for being a guy to “facilitate,” and play “94 feet” on defense.  What he lacks in size, he makes up for in tenacity and vision, and the Jordan game was a great chance for him to show his stuff among much taller players.  We can no longer be surprised when Ulis shows up and either takes control of the team from the start, or challenges Andrew Harrison for playing time, whichever the case may be.  He also tossed in a three in the face of Louisville recruit Shaqquan Aaron, so we appreciate him getting a head start on that.  Booker displayed his nice outside touch on several occasions.

Ulis also got this shoutout from friend of LeBron, Cuffs the Legend (does anybody know his real name?):


Trey Lyles was fairly quiet on the offensive end, minus a nice and-1 in the second half to give the East an 11-point lead.  He did however pull down 8 boards, which is considerable when you’re surrounded by guys 6’10” and up.  He and Towns anchored the inside for the winning East.

There was an interesting note in the second half as ESPN high school recruiting expert Paul Biancardi mentioned that Tyler Ulis would have plenty of frontcourt help, with “Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson” coming back to UK.  Does Biancardi know something we don’t, or is he just making stuff up?  Of course, smart money is on the latter, but still.  Any news helps.

Also check out a fun highlight in the 3-D projection shown on the court pre-game.  As far as low-lights go, there was Joel Embiid’s fedora.

Article written by Corey Nichols

33 Comments for Kentucky Recruits Shine in Jordan Brand Classic

  1. KCat
    9:19 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    I’m being honest when I say Tyler Ulis is just plain fun to watch.

    • Ridge Runner
      9:26 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

      Agreed. I mentioned this below but can you imagine the contrast opposing teams would face when he comes in to spell Andrew? Yes, that’s still a big if and Tyler would be fine if Andrew goes –but to think about that speedy gonzalez tenacity in your face and pushing 100mph after trying to guard a tall Harrison is not something other teams could handle.

    • Delk for 3
      10:33 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

      I could see Cal going with Tyler and Andrew playing at the same time, similar to how the Suns play with two PG’s with Bledsoe and Dragic.

  2. shawn
    9:25 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    Twins can’t come back. Ulis might be the best pure point guard moving Andrew over to the 2 which he wouldn’t like or to the bench which he for sure wouldn’t like.

    • Mc
      11:32 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

      The twins would still get the 1-2. The interesting thing would be the 3. I think it goes to Booker. I know a lot of people say AP, but a lot said that last season. If AP can develop the game of a 3, or a consistent jumper he can play it. Obviously he’d get decent minutes at the 3 though. He just has the game of a 4 (right now). If the twins return, there will be plenty of minutes for Ulis, the twins, and Booker between the 1-2-3.

  3. Rex
    9:26 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    The way they were talking about Ulis you would think The Twins are gone. They talked three different times as if Ulis was going to be our point guard next season.

  4. blake
    9:26 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    I watched most of the game and they can say what they want about okafor jones and whoever else…after watching all I can say is…” I like my team”.

  5. js2
    9:28 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    Lyle scored 16. Did you watch the game?

  6. colonelcat
    9:32 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    Box scores anyone?

  7. CatFan22
    9:42 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    Lyles a quiet game? He was the most impressive UK recruit in the game. You didn’t watch very well.

  8. poppycat
    9:51 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    Out on a limb………I think maybe Lyles will out do Randle at UK and NBA.
    He has more skills, a more rounded game than Randle…………whereas Randle is mostly just a power player……that’s still good.

  9. Big Blue
    10:14 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    Lyles looked good to me.


  10. IRex
    10:18 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    A lot of the young guns looked good tonight. The one guard that stood out over and above the ‘hype’ …not necessarily over the rest, was…Duke’s quiet guard…Grayson Allen…solid. Play maker. But like the earlier town crier said…” I like my team!” Coach Me has so many options next year…I have my 5 fave starting/backup lineups already… Trey Lyles Mother and Father should be very proud of their son. He is going to be a dandy!

    • cracka
      10:38 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

      Allen stood out … He looked completely out of his league out there

    • Teachable Mo'
      11:08 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

      I thought Cliff Alexander looked like the most promising player out there. Next season’s Julius Randle. (Presuming that Randle goes pro.) Just too strong for the college game.

    • Mc
      11:28 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

      Seriously. Allen was way out of his league. He has some hops. He’s an okay shooter. He’s a terrible defender, and he’s careless with the ball. If he plays more than 15 mpg next season I will be shocked.

  11. Delk for 3
    10:29 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    Starting lineup for next season come tournament time:

    PG — Andrew Harrison
    SG — Aaron Harrison
    SF — Trey Lyles
    PF — Karl Towns
    C — Willie Cauley-Stein

    *Towns will guard the 5, Cauley-Stein the 4

    • MATTY G 123
      10:36 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

      Poy needs to play a major role next year, as long as he comes back. I love Poythress, reminds me so much of Darius Miller, and I think next year is when he finally begins to find an offensive identity. much like Darius did in his Junior and Senior seasons.

    • Delk for 3
      10:54 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

      Other than their physical size, I personally don’t see the comparison. They are two incredibly different players. Darius Miller had offensive skills that Poythress just doesn’t have. Poythress has more athleticism and strength than Darius. Poythress could also develop into a much better defender. Poythress really needs work on his shot, his handle, and his offensive moves. He must develop into a more consistent scorer and has to dominate where he’s best — on the boards and playing above the rim. I love Poythress, too. He really needs to put in a tremendous amount of work to be able to achieve his dream of playing in the NBA. I think he can do it because of his athleticism, but he has to learn to become a more consistent scorer and defensive stopper. Do those two things and the sky is the limit.

    • eddie vedder
      11:09 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

      Agree completely with Delk, there really is no comparison between the two. Darius had a more complete game than Poy by far. Poy’s athleticism is matched by very few though.

  12. Delk for 3
    10:31 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    Also could see this:
    1 — Tyler Ulis
    2 — Andrew Harrison
    3 — Aaron Harrison
    4 — Karl Towns/Trey Lyles
    5 — Willie Cauley Stein

  13. Delk for 3
    10:37 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    Andrew needs a lot of help in developing his scoring punch. He’s pretty good at getting to the rim, but has no mid-range or outside game of which to speak of. I think Ulis will allow Andrew the chance to develop that part of his game.

  14. Bob
    10:42 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    “We can no longer be surprised when Ulis shows up and either takes control of the team from the start, or challenges Andrew Harrison for playing time”

    “Does Biancardi know something we don’t, or is he just making stuff up?”

    Am I the only one that caught this? Know something we don’t, Corey?

  15. wat
    10:47 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    I wouldn’t take anything Paul Biancardi said during that game with a grain of salt. I could see them coming back though. It isn’t like its completely out of the realm of possibility.

    I thought they all looked good tonight. I think all 3 of them made a 3 in the game which was nice, I am really excited to see Ulis look like a passing point guard. We haven’t really had one like that since Wall and I think he could be great. We are also lacking at wing positions so we could have Andrew at 2 and Aaron at SF.

    Got a really interesting week coming up ahead of us, all we can do is sit and wait.

  16. Delk for 3
    10:55 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    I think the twins are coming back. I’m very confident in that. I just believe his parents are wise enough to see the writing on the wall — the time is just not right. Jumping into the draft will do nothing but leave 1 or even both of the kids in the D-league.

  17. Charles Moore
    11:40 pm April 18, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t understand the no offense comment about Trey Lyles because he had 17 point and 6 rebounds. He was the MOST impressive future cat on offense.

  18. Casper
    12:59 am April 19, 2014 Permalink

    I will dream of the blue cats…

  19. Tj Wren
    2:05 am April 19, 2014 Permalink

    Did this guy even watch the game All the future Cats played good Lyles and Ulis 9 assists playing the best.

  20. Hillel Slovak
    7:12 am April 19, 2014 Permalink

    ……………………..The Fender Stratocaster turns 60 today!

  21. Welcome To The New Age
    10:00 am April 19, 2014 Permalink

    The NBA Age Limit Is Top Priority: Welcome To The New Age

  22. Bobalatate
    10:03 am April 19, 2014 Permalink

    That 3D court thing is pretty cool. I’d love to see that at Rupp… of course there is that little hiccup with funding…

  23. Huh.
    12:17 pm April 19, 2014 Permalink

    Tyler Ulis shot a 3 in the face of Shaqquan Aaron? Booker, Ulis, and Aaron were ALL on the same White/West team. Does the stuff being written here even have to make sense anymore?