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Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Anthony Edwards sets a decision date

Photo: USA Today

Photo: USA Today

Good evening, BBN! Welcome back to the Monday Insider Notes!

This edition of the notes will be a little bit different, as we’ll really only go in-depth on one prospect and touch on some other news going on within the Kentucky basketball program and some guys already signed/committed for next season.

We’ll start with the biggest news of the day…

Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards
Shooting Guard | 6-5 | 215 lbs.
Atlanta, GA | Holy Spirit Preparatory School
ESPN No. 4 | 1 SG Top247 No. 1 | 1 SG
Rivals No. 3 | 1 SG 247 Comp.  No. 2 | 1 SG

On Thursday, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports reported five-star shooting guard Anthony Edwards cut his list to four, with Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida State being the final schools in contention. After having an official visit scheduled to Kansas, he cancelled the visit and removed them from consideration entirely.

Today, Daniels broke the news that not only will Edwards be cancelling his visit to North Carolina originally scheduled for today through Wednesday, he’s also dropping them from his list and deciding between Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida State…… next Monday.

Concerning the first bit of news, sources tell KSR that the Tar Heels (like the Jayhawks) were not one of the schools Edwards seriously prioritized during the home stretch of his recruitment and the superstar guard prospect has been focused on those final three schools for a few weeks now.

Now let’s break down all three finalists.

Following Edwards’ official visit to Kentucky last week, those within the program felt very confident in their position with the elite guard. There’s no doubt the Kentucky coaching staff realizes how talented he is and believes he has a legitimate shot at becoming the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NBA Draft, and they feel they are the best school to help him accomplish that feat.

Though he’s close to Tyler Herro, his relationship with Ashton Hagans is especially strong, and the current Kentucky point guard is selling him on following in his footsteps: reclassifying, turning down the ‘hometown hero’ offer from Georgia, and developing into one of the top guard prospects in the nation. I’m told Edwards has been receptive of this pitch and strongly values Hagans’ opinion. They likely wouldn’t play together (we’ll get to that in a minute), but it still means something for the elite guard prospect to have someone from his area go through the process already and find success at a high level.

Those outside of Kentucky, however, feel Georgia has taken over the top spot, followed by Florida State and Kentucky, in that order. Staying home and putting on a scoring display in front of friends and family every night, along with continuing his strong relationship with the Georgia coaching staff, is pulling at his heartstrings. He also has a strong relationship with the Seminole coaching staff, so the decision will come down to going with the relationships established at lower-profile schools or going to the blueblood program with glitz, glamour, and branding opportunity before making the jump to the big leagues.

Edwards will be a top-five pick no matter where he goes, but where can he make the biggest name for himself? Under the national spotlight at Kentucky, with a deep run in the tournament possible? Or by putting up absurd numbers at Georgia or FSU, similar to what we saw from Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons?

He’ll be visiting Florida State this weekend, the school many believed to be the leader from the second he reclassified to the class of 2019, so it’ll be interesting to see the kind of push they make. With it being an official visit and his recruitment coming to an end immediately afterward, the Seminole coaching staff will be rolling out the red carpet to make a push back into the lead. Florida State has technically been on him longer than Georgia, so you better believe that they’ll use that as part of their one final pitch to the No. 1 prospect in the nation. Unfortunately for them, I think the relationships are close enough to where Edwards will value proximity to home more when he makes it official on Monday.

Each school feels confident in their spot, but my gut says Georgia on this one.

NBA Draft scuttlebutt

On my first edition of the notes, I told you that Kentucky felt strongly that PJ Washington and Keldon Johnson would enter the NBA Draft after this year, but beyond those two, everyone else was expected to return at that point.

With a few impressive games under his belt, they knew there was a chance Ashton Hagans would make a midseason jump like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander did last season and ultimately find his way on the draft boards. With Tyler Herro, NBA scouts have always been intrigued by his game, but they’ve been looking for more efficiency before showing draft interest, especially in the first round.

Since then, both Hagans and Herro have upped their games, and their draft stock has reflected that. The goal for both has always been to enter the draft after one year at Kentucky, and now (barring a major and unexpected late-season change), that’s likely to come to fruition.

Now, the expectation is that Washington, Johnson, Hagans, and Herro will all make the jump to the NBA after this season.

With those four likely moving on, that would leave Kentucky with a roster of Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, EJ Montgomery, Jemarl Baker, Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney, and Dontaie Allen. With Matthew Hurt and Jaden McDaniels still on the board for 2019, along with 2020 prospects Isaiah Todd and N’Faly Dante still being seen as reclassification options, the Wildcats still have a lot to work with to close this next class out.

Should the other targets fall through, sources tell KSR that Kentucky will explore the graduate transfer route again, a la Reid Travis last offseason. It’s not the preferred method, and they still feel confident in what’s left on the table elsewhere, but they’re leaving the option open.

Kahlil Whitney and Tyrese Maxey

I had a conversation that I found interesting a few weeks back that I have been waiting to share on the notes, and with things relatively “slow” outside of the big Anthony Edwards news, I feel like now is a good time to share.

According to several people I’ve talked to, both on Kentucky’s side of things and elsewhere in the high school/AAU circles, Kentucky may have secured commitments from the two most underrated players in all of high school basketball… and they’re both consensus top-15 prospects.

With Whitney, I have been told those within the Kentucky basketball program believe he has top-five draft selection and NBA All-Star written all over him. In the past, Whitney has been known as an athletic freak with great slashing ability and high defensive potential, but his shooting ability has always been subpar.

Now, the 6-foot-6 small forward has become a knockdown shooter from both midrange and beyond the arc, really the only major hole he had in his game. The form is there, and finally, the consistency is, too.

With his most recent developments, Whitney is about as well-rounded of a prospect as you can get with a game fit perfectly for college basketball and the NBA. I was told by one individual that former Kentucky target and current Boston Celtic Jaylen Brown is Whitney’s strongest player comparison, and I think that’s pretty fair (and obviously high praise).

He’ll be signing with Kentucky on May 3rd, and it’s a get the UK coaching staff is absolutely giddy over. He was once seen as a fantastic replacement for DJ Jeffries following his decommitment will become one of the best blessings in disguise we’ve witnessed over the course of the Calipari era.

With Maxey, his ability as a pure shooter and scorer is certainly well-documented, with several recruiting analysts saying he would have been a major contributor on this Kentucky team, let alone the 2019-20 year. He’ll be able to put points on the board at an incredible rate next season in Lexington, all while being a pest on the defensive end of the floor.

Keldon Johnson was a player we heard whispers about coming out of high school as an instant impact/underrated guy, but I think the whispers may be even louder with these two. Considering how good Johnson has been for Kentucky, I’m ecstatic to see what we get out of Whitney and Maxey.

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Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

38 Comments for Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Anthony Edwards sets a decision date



  1. Blublood41
    8:31 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    Honestly, I cant say I’m not surprised about herro and hagans, just disappointed. I just dont see us winning another title with all the turnover every year. Imagine we didnt win with wall/cousins/Bledsoe. Or the 2015 group….now were not even getting the best of the best. For kentucky, final four and championship or bust.



    • cking
      8:48 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

      It ain’t happened yet…
      Neither Hagans or Herro are high in any mock drafts…
      Buck up big camper!



    • BigolBlue
      9:06 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

      Agree. Unless you get Anthony Davis. Cak hasnt gotten a top 5 guy in a while



    • bigbluebanana
      9:55 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

      Remember bigolblue, 2016 wasn’t that long ago. Also, your god, coach K, has also only won 1 championship in that same time span with top 5 players. Green Day wrote a song about you once, Walking Contradiction.



    • 4everUKblue
      9:46 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

      That should make you happy BigolSlaterMedic, you are so against the one and done yet you bitch about Cal not getting the top recruits, who btw are all one and done. You want 4 yr guys and the top 5? Make up you little pea brain mind.



    • bigbluebanana
      9:56 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

      4ever, you know I’m always on your side bro, but I am adamantly against this statement as you imply bigolblue has a “mind”. Shame on you! Lol



    • BigolBlue
      10:15 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

      Again 4 ever and banana comment of EVERY post I have. Get off my back your heavy. Its a comment board deal with it or leave. You dont see me on here posting to every damn ksr post. You have your opinions good for you. Yeah I said one and dones are annoying. Doesnt mean I still dont want Anthony Davis esque players I just hate the system. Also Cal has proven he cant win without an Anthony Davis because guess what he hasn’t. Now personally attack me again. Im stupid this stupid that. Good for you guys. Just keep policing the boards. Awesome guys. Only your opinion matters just like Matt Jones.



    • catsarerunnin
      7:48 am February 5, 2019 Permalink

      Awww you poor little thing. You need a teddy bear?



    • StuckinLville
      7:03 am February 5, 2019 Permalink

      Anyone saying he’s wrong obviously hasnt been paying attention. We should have titles from ’10, ’11, ’14, ’15 and you can make a case for ’17 and even ’18 because of the teams that lost. Do i think we’d seriously win all those? No but to only have one title with all the talent that has rolled through is a little unsettling. That superstar caliber player is what we have been missing and for some reason, they just dont want to come to UK anymore. And when guys leave for the NBA that aren’t ready like Dakari Johnson, Briscoe, Gabriel, Humphries, it only hurts the team. When 3-4 year guys feel they have to leave, that’s a problem. So now you’re not getting the studs nor are guys staying. They transfer or something. I know Cal can get his teams ready every year, but when the talent isnt the same and guys keep leaving, titles hopes take a serious hit. Hopefully this year will end up in a title, but I’m not betting my paycheck on it. I’ve given up hope so just waiting for it to happen.



    • KYcats11
      7:18 am February 5, 2019 Permalink

      Y’all forget Fox was top 5



    • Jiminy Crickets
      8:26 am February 5, 2019 Permalink

      Fox and Knox were both top 10, not top 5. I believe they were both #6. Last top 5 was Skal Lab….



    • b2h3slin
      2:53 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      Fox 5th, Knox 9th btw



  2. 8XChamps
    8:34 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    I understand the “hometown hero” pitch, but if you were the potential number one draft pick, why wouldn’t you want to come play against some of the best players in the country, make run for the championship, and have maximum exposure to NBA scouts?



  3. bbanks81
    8:45 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    Not a knock here, but you just told us what every person that follows recruiting on Twitter already knows. I’d love it if you actually had some “inside” information.



  4. hal9944
    8:49 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    I don’t see herro at this point going pro early. Still has a lot to improve, mainly consistency. I think he would benefit greatly to stay one more year.



  5. cking
    8:57 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    I am hoping that this kid was excited on what he saw during his visit…the staff may have sold him on Hagans and Herro potentially going which would clear space for Edwards.

    Here’s the Rub…
    Hagans is without a doubt one of the best defensive point guards we have seen in the Cal Era. His knock is his scoring which is improving but is no where near first round pick efficiency. Maybe the staff drastically sees his scoring improving dramatically over the next month.
    Right now he’s not as well rounded as Alexander.

    Herro:
    I have not seen Herro listed in any first round mock drafts…he’s a great scorer and his defender has come along way..but he doesn’t have the scoring efficiency nailed down yet. The staff must really think he is going to take a leap like Hagans going down the stretch.

    We will see…



  6. dcforuk
    9:01 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    Agreed! Herro, Hagans, Johnson and Washington are all gone. You take the good, you take the bad, you take em both and there you have the facts of one and done. They clear to make room for the new. The cost of a championship run is high turnover. Not such a horrible price to pay!



  7. michaelb
    9:16 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    All the return to Kentucky or go pro questions are decided in the tourney . It’s simple , play good / draft stock rises . Other foot = sophomore year



  8. Aar
    9:24 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    Thanks Pilgrim. I appreciate that you are willing to share your personal “it’s not gonna be UK” opinion in advance of a player’s commitment date.



  9. Smyrna_Cat
    9:37 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    To be honest, this info on Edwards is a repeat of what has already been written … on this site!!! Move on. Nothing to see here.



  10. BRumZz_20
    11:44 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    “Following Edwards’ official visit to Kentucky last week, those within the program felt very confident in their position with the elite guard.” *drink*



  11. VirginiaCat
    11:46 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    The formula for a championship is A) Recruit elite, overwhelming talent on the order of KY 2012 or Duke 2019 or B) Build a team over multiple years on the order of Nova’s two championship teams. We will likely have a deep run this year with the talent that we have, but a national championship is unlikely. The point is that losing most of our talent every year is not going to get us where we want to be.



    • CATandMONKEY
      3:34 am February 5, 2019 Permalink

      To be fair , a national championship is unlikely for about 350 Div I teams every season.



    • Jiminy Crickets
      8:33 am February 5, 2019 Permalink

      So what does Maxey do? Move to the 2? I’m not sure the continued trend of recruiting PGs and then recruiting over them and pushing The first to the 2, or in briscoe’s case to the 3, is a long term solution. Before anyone says Bledsoe, he never really figured out the 2 spot, and his shooting from the 2 was the weak link in that monster team. I’d love to have Edwards, dont read me wrong, but if Herro doesn’t leave, quickley doesn’t leave, and we’re bringing in 3 SFs. It seems like a log jam. If Edwards chooses UGA or FSU, this will be why



    • Jiminy Crickets
      8:45 am February 5, 2019 Permalink

      Didn’t mean to respond to you. Sorry



    • dcforuk
      1:45 pm February 5, 2019 Permalink

      From my perspective, final fours are the threshold of success at a place like Kentucky. This coach has been to four final fours. It is been a few years since the last one but it is nowhere near the drought or droughts that we previously had. We are 2 to 3 years away from even consideration of legitimate griping that in my opinion still would not be legitimate given the return to excellence this year!



  12. bigbluebanana
    11:49 pm February 4, 2019 Permalink

    Aww, bigolblue is miffed. Settle down sweetheart, it’ll be okay. I just can’t wait to see what kind of nonsense you spew if we do win it all this year.

    Also, *you’re & commas are your friend. Tighten up your troll game bubba, it’s too easy on us when you’re writing skills match your tiny brain.



  13. Smyrna_Cat
    9:16 am February 5, 2019 Permalink

    “Kentucky may have secured commitments from the two most underrated players in all of high school basketball” … poor writing. We DID secure commitments … what you seem to be trying to say is that both are “the most underrated” … but that doesn’t make sense, either, since both are top 15.

    But facts are optional …



  14. luke.emberton
    9:39 am February 5, 2019 Permalink

    Tyler Herro is not NBA ready at all he needs to come back for another season



    • dcforuk
      3:42 pm February 6, 2019 Permalink

      I was not ready for my first professionally paid job either. However, I was hired based on my potential!



  15. DukeFan1
    9:42 am February 5, 2019 Permalink

    I really hope UK is in Duke’s bracket. Would love to see a rematch. I don’t think margin in the first game truly reflected the difference between the teams, although I do think Duke wins again.



    • Smyrna_Cat
      3:49 pm February 5, 2019 Permalink

      You are a Duke fan … so your option that “Duke wins again? is deeply flawed.



  16. dieden39
    10:47 pm February 6, 2019 Permalink

    Does Anthony want to improve and be the best???? There is only one option…..become a WILDCAT. We need you Anthony but you need us even more. You had better put on that U. K. Hat next Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. And make it a Win/win for you and us. GO CATS