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Next Man Up: Tyler Herro Fueled by All-Star Snub

Next Man Up: Tyler Herro Fueled by All-Star Snub

[Ed. Note: The is the second installment of KSR’s “Next Man Up” series profiling Kentucky’s 2018 signees. Last week, Drew profiled future point guard Immanuel Quickley.]

It’s no secret that Tyler Herro wanted to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game. When the roster came out last month and his name wasn’t on it, he fumed.

“I was actually really mad when that roster came out,” Herro told Kentucky Sports Radio last week. “The next day, I went to the gym at five in the morning and I pretty much go every morning now.”

Hours of shooting did little to dull Herro’s anger. According to his high school coach Travis Riesop, Whitnall’s practice that afternoon was one of their worst ever because Herro was still so mad. A phone call from future coach John Calipari affirmed his belief that he was talented enough to make the roster, as did his inclusion in the Nike Hoop Summit and the five-star ranking he received a few days later from ESPN.

“It made the McDonald’s committee look even more like — why wasn’t I in the game if I had five stars and all that,” Herro wondered. “To me, it’s all political. Who you know, who you don’t know is how you get in the game.”

The snub is just the latest fuel for Herro, who will suit up for Kentucky this fall thanks to a relentless work ethic and burning desire to prove people wrong.


A year ago, Herro’s life was going according to plan. The sharp-shooter from the suburbs of Milwaukee was committed to play for his home state Badgers, set to follow in Sam Dekker’s footsteps. Then, he hit a growth spurt. After a promising summer on the EYBL circuit, Herro was invited to the Team USA Training Camp in October where he played alongside the best of the best, including Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson. With the realization that he belonged among the nation’s elite, Herro decommitted from Wisconsin, setting off a firestorm of criticism from Badger fans that still burns to this day; however, when Kentucky came calling, it was all worth it.

“They heard I was thinking of decommitting, so they asked my AAU coach what was going on and talked to my dad a little bit,” Herro said. “After I decommitted, they took some time and came after me about a week or two later. It kind of went from there.”

Even though other programs reached out — Kansas, Oregon, Villanova, Butler — Herro waited for Kentucky.

“Ever since he opened his commitment up, he was just like, ‘Alright, when’s Kentucky going to come?'” Riesop recalled.

Calipari finally came to Whitnall on October 31, all swagger and NBA statistics in a fine wool suit. Herro took to his pitch like a fish to water.

“He just told me he doesn’t promise anything, not even to Anthony Davis, who was the best player coming out of high school. Everything is earned. That’s what I like about him.”

Riesop said that was all Herro needed to hear.

“Coach Cal came and said, ‘Kentucky is not for everybody. We do things differently and you need to work your butt off when you’re here.’ When he said that, I was like, well, Tyler is definitely a perfect fit for Kentucky.”

It doesn’t hurt that Calipari coached Devin Booker, the newly crowned NBA Three-Point Contest Champion whom Herro models his game after. The two have yet to meet in person, but Herro talks to Booker’s trainer every week and is hoping they can workout together before he comes to Kentucky this summer.

After watching Herro, it’s easy to see the similarities between his game and Booker’s. Not only are both incredible shooters — Herro averages 32.6 points and has seven 40-plus point games this season — like Booker, he’s not afraid to go at the basket, keeping defenders honest inside and out. He also has a Booker-like swagger that will make him beloved in Kentucky and hated outside of it, a chip on his shoulder sharpened from playing in front of bitter Wisconsin fans in gyms all over the state. Even though he decommitted from Wisconsin months ago, he still receives angry tweets from Badger fans blasting him for reneging on his pledge. The jeers from opposing crowds are even worse.

“It’s been weird,” Herro, a lifelong Wisconsin fan, confided. “A lot of student sections that we play against are all wearing Badger gear and calling me a snake and stuff like that. But I guess it’s cool.”

It’s really not, but Herro thrives on the hate, regularly dropping 40-plus points in hostile environments.

“I definitely think that my character has gotten better since I decommitted because I have to focus on the things that are around me and let everybody else talk and say what they believe,” he said.

“He’s just that kid,” Riesop said. “He wants to be pushed, he wants to be better and he’s got that killer mentality that, ‘I want to be the best.’ That’s what I really like about him and why it’s so fun to coach him and see how he responds when we go places on the road.”

Riesop recalls one away game in which two girls in the student section held up “Herro is overrated” signs, then afterwards, asked Herro for a selfie. When Riesop called them out for their hypocrisy, they claimed other people put them up to holding the signs. Booker had to deal with girls licking his car when he was at Kentucky; something tells me Herro will receive similar treatment.

Tyler Herro poses with Wisconsin star Nigel Hayes on his Senior Night

Wisconsin fans’ attacks on Herro seem especially petty when you learn he’s still friends with Badger legend Nigel Hayes. The two met at a Nike camp in Los Angeles Herro’s freshmen year, and even though Herro parted ways with Hayes’ alma matter, they stayed in touch, to the point Hayes came to Herro’s Senior Night on Friday. After posting pictures of the two on Twitter, I was stunned by the number of angry responses from Wisconsin fans, who could clearly learn from Hayes’ example.

Herro’s decision to come to Kentucky instead of Wisconsin hasn’t just resulted in personal attacks; Riesop says it may have also put his campaign for the Wisconsin Mr. Basketball award in jeopardy.

“A lot of times, when people pick that award for our state, they say, ‘Well, we want a hometown guy who’s going to come to Wisconsin’ and now they’re like, ‘He totally did us wrong and that’s not okay.’ Strictly looking at basketball, he really is the best player.”

There are rumblings that Herro may tie for the award, which Riesop says is unfortunate.

“He may be one of the best players to ever come out of this state, so for you to just push him off to the side is really unfortunate because he’s doing things that are absolutely unbelievable.”


Senior Night at Whitnall was a grand affair, with the program saying goodbye to eleven players. Herro and the rest of the normal starting lineup sacrificed their starting spots so five other seniors could enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the final home game. Once in, Herro — wearing custom UK sneakers — didn’t shoot well, scoring only 21 points and hitting two threes, but his other talents were on full display. With his shot not falling, Herro focused on creating for others, often bringing the ball down the court and calling out plays, a role that comes naturally to him.

“He is the guy that picks everybody up and keeps everybody together,” Riesop said. “I think he really is soaking all of that in and I think that’s where he’s really matured this year and that’s why he’s doing so well.”

After Herro was whistled for a phantom double dribble, Whitnall’s gym erupted in boos and the fan beside me muttered, “Good, he plays better when he’s pissed.” On the next series, Herro zipped a beautiful no-look pass down to the lane to his teammate for an easy score and met him under the basket to celebrate. A few plays later, he sprinted down the court and dunked it with authority:

Whintall cruised to an easy win over Shorewood, securing the Woodland East title. Last night, Herro put up 39 points to lead the sixth-ranked Falcons to the Woodland Conference Championship, beating top-ranked Pewaukee on the road. Next week, they’ll start their run in the WIAA Tournament, which Herro hopes ends with another ceremonial cutting of the nets, a tradition he strives to continue at Kentucky. He and fellow signees Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson regularly discuss their goal of winning the national championship in a group text that lights up daily.

“We just see what the guys are doing this year and how they’ve been losing and stuff and we pretty much said to each other that we’ve got to go out there and fight together and put the NBA stuff to the side and just focus on our main goal, winning the national title.”

Herro’s focused on winning a state title right now, but his excitement for next year in Lexington is obvious. Riesop said Herro wears Kentucky gear to school four days out of the week, and it would be five if not for a team rule that players must wear Whitnall gear or dress up on game days.

“He’s really excited about it. We talk about it all the time and it’s funny how he says, ‘Drake follows me now on Instagram’ and all this stuff. It’s cool. I’m happy for him because he is soaking it all in and he’s really enjoying it but at the same time, he’s very humble about it. He doesn’t flaunt it. He doesn’t brag about it.”

Herro’s visited Kentucky twice this season, once for an official visit after reopening his recruitment and again on his birthday for the Florida game. Even though Kentucky lost to the Gators that day, he couldn’t get enough of the Big Blue Nation.

“When I went to the mall, when I got there, right when I walked in the mall, there were ten people asking for a picture right away, which I thought was kind of cool,” he recalled, smiling. “It was weird knowing a lot of people already know me and I’m not even there yet. It should be fun.”

Herro with his parents

Also weird: having LaVar Ball slide in your DMs. Through Instagram, Ball extended an invitation to Herro to join his Junior Baller League in lieu of going to college, a path Herro said is not for him.

“I told my parents right away and all they said was, ‘No. Don’t respond.’ So, I didn’t respond to him, but it was kind of funny, seeing it in my direct messages. I thought it was funny. I don’t want to hate on him or LaMelo or any of his kids. I support what they’re doing but I just don’t think that’s the path I want to go down.”

Since our discussion last week, Kentucky is finally back on the winning path, but there’s no denying the Cats could use Herro’s talents right now.

“It’s exciting to know that next year, they’re going to need a shooter and that’s what they’re missing. Being able to go in there next year and hopefully make an impact right away with my shooting and scoring.”

In fact, Herro went as far to deliver this promise to Kentucky fans.

“It won’t be like this year.” 


Until then, Herro will keep striving to prove his doubters wrong because it’s the only way he knows how.

“That’s the thing about Tyler,” Riesop said. “When people doubt him or people are challenging him that they’re better than him, he’s like, ‘Okay, well I’m going to work twice as hard as you and I’m going to try to do more than you to be better than you.’ He wants to work to be the best. Getting up at five in the morning, stuff like that. That’s his life. That’s what he knows. That’s ingrained in his DNA.”

The fact that Herro is coming to Kentucky is proof he’s a great player; however, one particular snub will always stand out.

“When I make it – hopefully – when they ask me why, I just want to remember the day they left me out of the McDonald’s All-American Game.”



Yahoo! Sports: “If your school produced a first-round pick in the past three years, be worried.”

Last week, Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports dropped a bombshell report saying over 50 schools could find themselves in trouble with the NCAA following the major FBI investigation sweeping college basketball.

Tonight, both Thamel and Pat Forde released another report that should terrify the entire nation even further.

According to Yahoo! Sports, the FBI has spreadsheets detailing every single player to receive illegal benefits, how much money they received, and how much they planned to receive. They also reported no school with a first-round pick over the last three years should sleep easy each night.

“There are spreadsheets detailing who got paid, how much they got paid and how much more they were planning to pay,” said a source familiar with the investigation. “The feds got everything they wanted and much more. Don’t think it will only be players who ended up signing with ASM that got paid. Those spreadsheets cast a wide net throughout college basketball. If your school produced a first-round pick in the past three years, be worried.”

In fact, this could impact the current eligibility of NCAA players, including “numerous prominent players in the upcoming NCAA tournament.”

According to the sources, the financial records from Miller and wiretap conversations featuring Dawkins illuminate the blatant nature of deal-making to land top talent well before the players turn professional. Those deals could threaten the current eligibility of players because of NCAA amateurism rules and retroactively put in peril the contests participated in by those players. Sources said this includes numerous prominent players in the upcoming NCAA tournament, the showcase of college basketball. “It’s all there,” said a different source familiar with the investigation.

So when could we start seeing these NCAA violations/announcements come to fruition? Yahoo! reports it could last all the way through 2019 because the case is so massive.

In terms of potential NCAA violations, the information is expected to inevitably trickle out through pretrial motions and the trials themselves. Dates for three trials have been set, some of them not scheduled to begin until 2019. (There’s no certainty all of the collected information will get out, nor will there be any specific timeline when it’s released.)

There were several elite recruits that didn’t sign on the dotted line with former NBA agent Andy Miller, but that doesn’t make you immune from this case. In fact, more players received improper benefits from Miller than the agency actually signed.

So how deep did Miller’s operation go? One source with knowledge of the investigation estimated that ASM Sports was paying more than three times as many prospects, and families of prospects, as clients they signed. The impact on the NCAA landscape is expected to be significant. No one is certain if the federal government is targeting other NBA agents amid the competitive landscape, but it is widely believed within the sport that Miller was far from the only agent operating in this manner.

Uh oh.


John Calipari visits 2019 No. 1 prospect James Wiseman in Memphis

(Photo by Bart Young/USAB)

John Calipari has officially put the full-court press on the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2019.

According to recruiting insider Pat Lawless, Coach Cal was in Memphis this afternoon to see James Wiseman play in the district title game:

Here is Cal in the stands:

Wiseman is considered the top prospect in 2019, and almost all recruiting analysts consider him a heavy Kentucky lean.

Kyle Tucker of SEC Country reported just two days ago that the Kentucky coaching staff sees Wiseman as the next Karl-Anthony Towns, and the talented big man is in love with the comparison. In fact, one source close to Wiseman’s high school basketball program told Tucker he was a near-lock to head to Lexington.

“James is going to Kentucky,” he told Tucker. “That’s what he tells everybody.”

If you missed his profile, check it out here:

This profile of James Wiseman bodes well for Kentucky

Earlier in the day, Calipari also reportedly visited five-star prospect DJ Jeffries in Mississippi, another player reportedly heavily favoring the Wildcats.

After striking out on some top talent in 2018, it’s good to see Calipari doing whatever it takes to lock up top talent for 2019.


This profile of James Wiseman bodes well for Kentucky

By now, you should be familiar with James Wiseman, the 2019 big man who plays for Penny Hardaway down in Memphis. On his way to Arkansas for tonight’s game, Kyle Tucker stopped by Memphis East to meet Wiseman, whom many are comparing to Karl Anthony-Towns, not only in terms of talent and smarts, but also because Kentucky is the heavy favorite to land him. There’s been talk that, like Towns, Wiseman could reclassify and move up a class, but Wiseman once again shot down that possibility and left the door slightly open with a sly “you never know.”

Regardless, it sounds like Kentucky remains in the driver’s seat despite growing buzz that Hardaway could land a college coaching job, maybe at Ole Miss or Memphis. A source tells Tucker that while many of Penny’s players would follow him, Wiseman’s got his mind made up.

“Some of these guys might,” said one person close to East High program, which has a half-dozen or more Division I prospects on the roster, “but James is going to Kentucky. That’s what he tells everybody.”

After watching him interact with fans and drink in the sights at Big Blue Madness, I can tell you Wiseman definitely wears his Kentucky blue on his sleeve. Do yourself a favor and go read Kyle’s profile to learn more about him.

[Kentucky basketball: Meet James Wiseman, who could be the Cats’ next great big man]


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Next Man Up: Getting to know Immanuel Quickley

I don’t know what John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program will be getting in Immanuel Quickley next season. Quickley has all the potential and the accolades of Calipari’s other star point guards before him, but if you want me to tell you how good he will be, I simply cannot do that. Your guess is as good as mine, although I expect we’ll all be very pleased when he suits up for the Cats next fall.

I can, however, tell you what kind of person John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program will be getting next season. After traveling all the way to Maryland to meet Quickley and watch him play, I learned more about him off the court than I did on it.

So let’s throw out the basketball talk — which was originally the entire purpose of this piece when I hopped on a flight to Baltimore — and let’s get to what I saw in my brief time around Quickley at the John Carroll School.

Next year Kentucky will be getting a 6-3 point guard who never misses church on Sunday. For an 18-year-old kid already balancing the workload of his senior year of high school and a rigorous basketball schedule, Quickley is at Highway Holiness every Sunday. He has to be there, because, if he’s not, who will play the drums during the service?

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Quickley’s musical talents don’t stop with the drumsticks; he also played saxophone for the school marching band before devoting all of his free time to basketball. He used to play the piano too.

When Quickley suits up for Kentucky next season, he’ll also be bringing a huge support system with him. I knew he had a big fan club when I walked into the game in front of his grandparents, Marion and Ellen Hamilton, who were excited to show off their t-shirts.

Marion Hamilton filmed every second of the game on his iPad from the top row of the bleachers. Ellen sat a few rows down from him, leading the cheers from centercourt.

But the Hamiltons weren’t the only two fans with their own custom t-shirts in the John Carroll gymnasium, and they weren’t the loudest fans, either. That honor goes to Quickley’s aunt, Demetria, who split her time between sitting in the family section and standing courtside in front of the student section, holding a cardboard cut-out. She was Quickley’s most recognizable cheerleader, and her game day shirt cannot be topped.

I spoke to Demetria after the game and she couldn’t have been nicer. The same can be said of his grandparents, who also went out of their way to talk to a complete stranger from Kentucky after the game. They may be new to Big Blue Nation, but I don’t know if you’ll find a group of people more excited about the Wildcats next fall.

Then there is Mama Quickley, Nitrease.

Nitrease Quickley is a school teacher and she too couldn’t have been nicer in our brief meeting after her son’s game. We spoke a little about how excited she is for her many trips to Lexington next season to watch Immanuel play in Rupp Arena; then she turned and introduced me to yet another group of proud friends and relatives, who are also eager to be new members of the BBN.

All of these people I speak of, I assume, are why Immanuel Quickley came across as such a nice, well-rounded, church-going 18-year-old high school senior, and not too full of himself, like some others his age with his hype and expectations — which is why I think Cal is getting another good kid to represent our favorite basketball program.

As for the actual game, which is why I was there, Quickley struggled to hit shots, but was an unselfish leader on the court. Unfortunately, his unselfishness was not always rewarded with a made basket; otherwise he would’ve had about 20 assists in the 84-59 win over the outmatched Archbishop Spalding of Severn, Md.

But it was clear he is very vocal on the floor and has a knack for finding his teammates, willingly.

The leadership and passing were refreshing to see as Coach Cal struggles to get his current team to communicate and share the ball back in Lexington, although I wish Quickley had shot the ball a little better this particular night. After all, he considers shooting the best part of his game. He told me, “My biggest strength right now is my shooting. It came a long way. I wasn’t always a shooter. I got in the lane a lot, but I think to round out my full game, shooting has been a big part of it.”

He also told me he began to see the changes in his game once he suited up for the local AAU program, Team BBC, and committed himself to improving as he moved into a more prominent role on his high school team.

“I started separating myself around my sophomore year, especially playing with Team BBC,” he said. “I got in the gym a lot that year and started working on my game. Big colleges starting coming after me soon after that.”



Kentucky was on him early, and Calipari made him the first point guard in the 2018 class to have a scholarship offer from UK, when he offered him in October of his junior year. Once he got to know Calipari and the UK staff, it didn’t take a lot of convincing for Cal to land the signature.

“He really didn’t have to convince me,” said Quickley. “I kind of knew what I wanted to do, and what I want to do is be a pro. He told me: if you stay on the right track and work hard and stay disciplined, it’s not going to be easy, but keeping working hard and you can get there.”

Quickley prides himself on his hard work; it was the first thing out of his mouth when I asked him to describe his game. His full evaluation of his game was, “I’m somebody who is going to work hard from Day 1, a leader, somebody that can get everybody involved, but also scoring when I need to and play defense. Just play hard every possession.”

If he brings all of that to Kentucky next fall, Cal will have another good point guard on the roster.

And there will be a lot of good people coming with him… in screen-printed t-shirts, with iPads in hand.


Tyrese Maxey will Visit Kentucky this Weekend

247

Five-star point guard Tyrese Maxey will be in Lexington this Saturday for Kentucky’s game against Alabama.

Corey Evans of Rivals reports the nation’s No. 2 point guard will come to town just a week after John Calipari and Tony Barbee watched him play in Texas.  It’s Maxey’s second trip to Kentucky.  He became the first 2019 point guard to pick up a scholarship offer following a visit to Big Blue Madness.

See what Maxey did this summer on the EYBL:


Immanuel Quickley okay after injury scare

Future Kentucky point guard Immanuel Quickley had a scary moment in last night’s game vs. Mount Saint Joseph’s, going down with an apparent knee injury late in the fourth quarter. Thankfully, he’s okay, but was reportedly on the ground for a few minutes before getting up and walking off under his own power:

Have no fear; at his McDonald’s All-American Game jersey ceremony this afternoon, Quickley assured reporters he’s fine.

“I’m good, I’m good, I’m feeling better,” Quickley told USA Today High School Sports. “Nobody wanted to see me go down.”

@TheTeamBBC

What does Quickley make of Kentucky’s recent struggles?

“I’m not concerned,” Quickley said. “Coach Cal is a really good coach and I think the last time they struggled like this was the (2013-14) team that had Julius Randle and the Harrison twins and they made the Final Four. (This year’s Kentucky players) are freshman and they’ll get used to the grind.”

Kid knows his stuff. Drew will have an in-depth profile on Quickley for you once he returns from vacation, so stay tuned…

[USA Today High School Sports]


2018 5-star forward EJ Montgomery schedules unofficial visit to Kentucky

Photo by Kelly Kline/Getty Images

According to 247 Sports’ Evan Daniels,  five-star recruit E.J. Montgomery has scheduled an unofficial visit to Kentucky for February 24th.

Montgomery is considered the No. 12 player in the class of 2018, and the second-best remaining uncommitted recruit.

The 6-foot-10 power forward out of Marietta, Georgia also has visits scheduled to North Carolina on Monday, and then Duke on Wednesday.

Montgomery has trimmed his final list to UK, UNC, Duke, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, USC, Georgia, Clemson and UCLA, but most feel his recruitment will come down to the blue blood programs.

Duke has gotten the most buzz since he decommitted from Auburn, with the draw of joining the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class and earning immediate playing time in the frontcourt being major factors.

That being said, John Calipari and Kenny Payne visited Montgomery last week, and Payne visited the talented forward the week before, swinging some of that momentum back Kentucky’s direction.

With the Kentucky coaching staff getting Montgomery on campus, all bets are off.

Bring him on home, Cal.


John Calipari Watched Five-Star 2019 Texas Point Guard

John Calipari and Tony Barbee spent their Friday night scouting one of the best junior point guards in America.  They did not leave disappointed.

Before going to College Station, Cal and Barbee went to Garland, Texas to watch Tyrese Maxey, the No. 2 point guard in the 2019 class, knock down seven three-pointers en route to a district championship.  Maxey finished the game with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists.

Considered the No. 13 player overall, Maxey became the first point guard in the 2019 class to receive a UK offer after he visited Lexington for Big Blue Madness.  Despite the offer, SMU took the lead in Maxey’s 247 Crystal Ball after the Mustangs hired his father to be an assistant coach this summer.


John Calipari visits five-star forward EJ Montgomery, Kentucky getting “extremely aggressive”

John Calipari visits five-star forward EJ Montgomery, Kentucky getting “extremely aggressive”

Photo by Kelly Kline/Getty Images

John Calipari may have struck out on some of his latest top targets, but he’s putting on the full-court press to ensure that doesn’t happen again to close out the class of 2018.

Coach Cal and Kenny Payne are both in Georgia to see five-star forward EJ Montgomery, the second-best remaining prospect on the recruiting board.

Larry Thompson, Montgomery’s high school coach, posted the following picture this afternoon during Kentucky’s visit to practice.

Payne visited the 6-foot-10 power forward at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga. last Wednesday, where an understanding of a scholarship offer was on the table.

He let him know he could commit to Kentucky at any time, but Payne wanted his team’s Hall of Fame head coach to break the news and extend the offer in person, something we are expected to hear about after their visit concludes tonight.

Montgomery committed to Auburn back in September of 2016, but following the school’s involvement in the latest FBI scandal, he decided to open his recruitment again.

Though the talented prospect recently cut his list to 11 schools, Rivals basketball recruiting analyst Clint Jackson believes the final decision will come down to three blue blood programs and two wildcards.

In an interview with Eric Bossi of Rivals.com, Wheeler High School head coach Larry Thompson talked about Kentucky’s increased interest, and just how interested his star forward is in suiting up in blue and white.

They have been extremely aggressive,” Thompson said of Kentucky. “I got a text from them right before they played Tennessee. Coach [John] Calipari is supposed to come for practice today. Coach [Kenny] Payne wanted Coach Cal to make the offer official today. I think he’s definitely interested. I mean, it is Kentucky.

Though he only has upcoming visits scheduled to North Carolina and Duke, it is widely expected Montgomery adds a visit to Kentucky on the itinerary in the very near future.

When he finally makes it on campus, all bets are off.

According to Rivals’ Eric Bossi, UNC and Duke have garnered the most attention as of late, but it’s important to look at Coach Cal’s track record on the recruiting trail.

“When John Calipari comes into the picture, it’s never a good idea to count him out,” he said.

Watch Montgomery work in his latest mixtape:

Bring him on home, Cal.


Calipari to watch potential 2018 target tomorrow

Calipari to watch potential 2018 target tomorrow

(Photo: Jon Lopez, Nike, Scout.com)

How about some intriguing recruiting news to pass the time until tip off? According to Andrew Slater, John Calipari and Kenny Payne will travel to North Carolina tomorrow to watch Jalen Lecque, a five-star combo guard who is considering reclassifying to the 2018 class.

Lecque was originally a 2018 prospect but decided to move to the 2019 class in April. His stock skyrocketed after an impressive summer on the EYBL circuit, and at the John Wall Holiday Invitational in December, he told USA Today’s Jason Jordan he may rejoin the 2018 class.

“Academically I’m good to go,” Lecque said. “It’s all about my development. Right now, I’d say I’m 50-50 on moving up to 2018.”

Right now, Lecque is considered the 12th overall player in the 2019 class per 247 Sports Composite. Joel Justus watched him last week. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander moving up the draft boards, is Calipari looking to add another guard next year? Or is he simply going to extend an offer for 2019?

Jalen Lecque

Combo Guard 6-4 | 185 lbs. Bronx, N.Y. Christ School (NC)/Southern Stampede
ESPN: 10 | 2 PG Top 247: 10 | 2 CG 247 Composite: 12 | 2 CG Rivals: 13


Keldon Johnson is a Semifinalist for National Player of the Year

A Kentucky signee is one of the ten best high school basketball players in America.

Today the list of candidates for the Naismith National Prep Player of the Year award was trimmed to ten semifinalists and Keldon Johnson made the cut.  The McDonald’s All-American small forward has helped Oak Hill Academy to an undefeated record and top-five ranking by averaging 20.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

The Naismith list will be trimmed one more time on February 16.  If Johnson goes the distance to win the award, he’ll join Ron Mercer as the only Kentucky Wildcat signees to ever win the Naismith Prep Player of the Year award.