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SEC Country: Immanuel Quickley gives recruiting update on Zion Williamson and Keldon Johnson

It’s no secret Kentucky’s 2018 recruiting class is expected to grow sooner rather than later. As of today, five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley is the lone commitment for the Wildcats, but names like Zion Williamson, Keldon Johnson, and Bol Bol could pop at any moment.

Kyle Tucker of SEC Country caught up with Quickley to ask him his thoughts on UK’s chances with some of his buddies left on the recruiting board and when they may make a decision.

Quickley opened with his thoughts on Zion Williamson and what he felt about his time at Big Blue Madness.

“He said it was even better in person. He liked it a lot,” said Quickley, who has spent months selling Williamson on their connection from the Adidas AAU circuit and as roommates at several international events. “I think in the end it’ll work. I think Kentucky fits him and I know he liked the visit, so I think it’ll work.”

After Big Blue Madness, Quickley tweeted a picture of both he and Williamson in Kentucky jerseys.

According to Quickley, however, it wasn’t an indication of a silent commitment or anything of the sort.

“Nah, nah, nah,” he said, laughing, “just trying to get one of my good friends to come play with me.”

The latest hot rumor, however, is that five-star forward Keldon Johnson is a heavy Kentucky lean, and a commitment is on the horizon.

Quickley agrees.

“I’ve been talking to Keldon a lot. He says he likes Kentucky a lot, too, so hopefully I can get him to come with me,” Quickley said. “I think Kentucky is definitely his leader.”

A few weeks back, Quickley told reporters a few commitments were coming for Kentucky. Tucker asked him to follow up on those comments, and who he’d like to play with as a Wildcat.

“I can’t say when, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some decisions come before basketball season,” he said. “I’m just trying to get all my friends to come play with me. I just want to play with good players.”

You can read Kyle Tucker’s entire article over on SEC Country here.


Misleading Headline: Calipari tossed Ferrari keys to five-star recruit

Misleading Headline: Calipari tossed Ferrari keys to five-star recruit

Let’s turn our attention to Oklahoma for a moment, where there is a new behind-the-scenes story about Trae Young’s recruitment, and it includes a little tale about John Calipari.

According to The Norman-Transcript, Calipari once tossed the keys to his Ferrari to Young and asked him what he will do with it.

The wild recruiting process, both fun and exhausting, was over. Some of the moments were unforgettable. Kentucky coach John Calipari once tossed the keys of his Ferrari to the five-star point guard and asked him something like, “You’ve got the keys to my offense now. What are you going to do with it?” Norman North students chanted OU coach Lon Kruger’s name at he watched Young play. Kansas coach Bill Self was in the locker room, joining the celebrations following a win in the Bishop McGuinness Classic. [The Norman Transcript]

Are we sure this story isn’t exaggerated? I bet it was the keys to his Vespa. We all know Cal’s a Vespa guy; not a Ferrari guy. Or maybe it was the black and blue Mustang with his signature down the side. Yeah, I bet he tossed him the keys to that. Does Cal even own a Ferrari?

Read the story here.


Hey, look who’s the new leader in Zion Williamson’s Crystal Ball

After what appears to be a very successful official visit, Kentucky is now the new leader in Zion Williamson’s Crystal Ball.

Kentucky jumped Kansas in Zion’s predictions yesterday, and while we’ve learned over the years that the Crystal Ball definitely isn’t gospel, the swing supports the buzz we’ve been hearing in recent days. Word has it the explosive forward enjoyed his time in Lexington so much he stayed an extra night. Even before Madness, ESPN’s Jeff Borzello picked Kentucky to land Zion, putting his confidence level at 60 percent.

Let’s hope those good vibes hang around while he takes his official visit to Duke this weekend, and UCLA the weekend after that.

Zion Williamson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Forward 6-7 | 230 lbs. Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg/SC Supreme
ESPN: 2 | 1 PF Top 247: 1 | 1 PF Rivals: 2 Scout: 3 | 2 SF


2019’s No. 1 prospect Vernon Carey lists Kentucky in his final eight

The top prospect in the class of 2019 released his final eight schools tonight, and the Kentucky Wildcats were included.

Here was Vernon Carey’s announcement:

The five-star forward out of Fort Lauderdale, FL has reported offers from 19 different schools, including every top program in America. That being said, it looks like it’ll be a battle of the bluebloods for the top talent, including Kansas, UNC, Duke, and the Wildcats.

Coach Cal visited Carey on September 20, and immediately offered a scholarship.

Judging by his highlight tape, it’s easy to see why.

Come on down, big fella.


Today on KSR, sponsored by Anthem Medicaid: Mississippi State on deck, Pitino officially out

Today on KSR, sponsored by Anthem Medicaid: Mississippi State on deck, Pitino officially out

Message from today’s sponsor:

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Mark Stoops will preview Mississippi State

The bye week is over, which means Mark Stoops will meet up with his favorite media members at Kroger Field to preview Saturday’s game vs. Mississippi State. Tune in to the site around lunch for a live stream and complete recap, courtesy of Nick Roush.

If you missed it, the Bulldogs opened up as a 10-point favorite. Here’s what they done thus far this season:

We’ll also find out the Tennessee game time

The Volunteers continue to implode, which could make next weekend’s game in Kroger Field especially sweet. Tennessee hasn’t scored a touchdown in ten quarters and are by all accounts a terrible football team; however, I’ve seen enough games vs. the Volunteers in my lifetime to be cocky. I just hope they hang onto Butch long enough so a loss to Kentucky will be the final nail in the coffin.

Speaking of coffins…

Rick Pitino’s fate is about to be decided

As we speak, UofL’s athletics association board is meeting to discuss Rick Pitino’s contract, or, more specifically, terminating it. It still seems surreal that Pitino’s out at Louisville, and today, he’ll have the chance to defend himself, whether it be in person or by video call. Knowing Rick, his lawyers will continue to drag this out to get every cent they can, but today is officially the end of the Pitino era at Louisville, a damning end to the final chapter of a legendary coaching career.

Speaking of Rick…

Did you see that Karen Sypher will be on KSR tomorrow?

She’s the big surprise guest. Tomorrow’s interview is her first since being released from federal prison and she reached out to KSR ahead of other outlets. Yet another must-listen show.

Kentucky Volleyball took down #1 Florida

For the first time in program history, the Kentucky volleyball team took down the number one team in the country, the undefeated Florida Gators. Watch the final moments below, along with the post-match celebrations:

It was a good weekend for basketball recruiting

Zion Williamson and Bol Bol wrapped up their official visits to Kentucky yesterday, and from everything we’re hearing, they went very well. The Cats were already considered the leader for Zion, but the visit moved them back into the driver’s seat with Bol as well. After watching the group of recruits wait by the blue carpet for almost an hour on Friday night, I can tell you that, unlike some of the guys, Zion and Bol ate up the attention from fans and genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves (as did 2019 star James Wiseman and 2021 PG Zion Harmon). Hopefully Immanuel Quickley’s tweet from yesterday is further confirmation of all those good vibes:

Check out Matt’s post from last night for more good recruiting news, including the latest on Keldon Johnson, who could be the sleeper in the 2018 class:

“Magoffin County Cadillac’s Sunday Night Notes”

Shoutout to my big brother

My brother Travis made the family proud yesterday by finishing the Ironman Louisville. In just over 11 hours, he swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and ran 26.2. Meanwhile, I drove home from Danville, had a piece of pizza and a beer, watched football, and napped. Clearly, he is the badass in the family. Way to go, big bro.

Radio in an hour…


UK Basketball Recruiting Rewind: Anthony Davis

It’s time for another Recruiting Rewind. Want more? Reminisce with me as we look back on the recruitments of John Wall, Terrence Jones, Nerlens Noel, Karl-Anthony Towns, Brandon Knight, and Willie Cauley-Stein.


Does Big Blue Madness signal the official beginning of the basketball season? I always thought it was the first non-exhibition game, but if it means I get to say the season is truly underway almost 4 weeks early, I’ll take it.

So to celebrate the “official” start of the season, we’re rewinding to 2010, when Coach Cal landed the eventual alpha of the 2012 National Championship team, The Brow himself, Anthony Davis.

The Recruitment

The go-to fun tid-bit regarding Davis is his remarkable high school growth spurt. Over the course of 4 years, he grew nearly a foot, transforming from a potential Cleveland State point guard to the number 1 overall player in the 2011 class.

By the time his evolution was complete, his opponents didn’t stand a chance.

The word “unfair” comes to mind.

The final race for AD’s services came down to UK, DePaul, Syracuse and Ohio State.

The Commitment

Davis committed to Kentucky in August of 2010, over a year before he would debut for the Cats. Kentucky dodged a bit of a bullet, though, because of allegations that came out hot on the heels of his impending decision.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Davis’ father, Anthony Davis Sr., had requested upwards of $200,000 for his sons’ services. After a swift response from Lexington lawyers, The Sun-Times was forced to amend their piece, now calling the pay-for-play request “rumors”, before eventually citing sources from multiple universities from whom Davis Sr. had requested money.

Nothing would come of the reports, and Davis and his family publicly denied any under the table dealings. They also threatened to sue the Sun-Times, but both sides slowly dropped the issue.

As the hype for Davis continued to build, preseason accolades began to roll in. He was lauded as the potential no. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, as well as being a potential All-American.

But Davis would receive only one vote for preseason AP All-American team.

Man, I bet those folks wish they could cast that ballot again.

The Performance

Averaging 32 minutes played in each of the team’s 40 games, Davis was assembly line levels of efficient. He averaged a double-double, with 14.2 points and 10.4 boards a game to go along with 4.7 blocks. He broke records left and right, taking a backseat only when someone else was carrying the team.

I mean, the guy was a big play machine.

And where does making plays like that on a weekly basis take you?

@JayWinkKSR


WATCH: Bol Bol, Zion Williamson, and Keldon Johnson balled out at Team USA minicamp

(Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Three of Kentucky’s biggest recruits left on the board competed at the Team USA minicamp last weekend in Colorado Springs, and highlight tapes of the event are starting to trickle out.

Bol Bol somehow managed to look longer and more athletic than we’ve seen in the past. I still have yet to understand how someone so tall can do what this kid does…

Keldon Johnson showed off some impressive athleticism and proved why recruiting analysts have been so high on him as of late:

And Zion Williamson was… Zion Williamson. Here was his highlight montage with top prospect Emmitt Williams:

Here’s another montage with interviews of top recruits talking about how ridiculously talented the five-star forward is (including Immanuel Quickley)

And another mixtape from the event with ‘Jelly Fam’ Jahvon Quinerly…

Seriously… One kid played well enough that he had THREE highlight tapes made for him over just one weekend.

There’s a very good chance Kentucky lands all three of these kids, with commitments possible in the anywhere from the next couple days to the next few months.

That wouldn’t be a bad way to close out the Fall signing period, huh?

Come on down, guys.


No. 1 player in 2019 James Wiseman (left) and Jalen Johnson.

Kentucky Put on a Show for Top-Ranked Recruits

The spectacle that starts each Kentucky basketball is a significant recruiting tool for John Calipari.  Of all the recruiting nights, last one might have been Calipari’s biggest.

The biggest names from the 2018 class in attendance were Zion Williamson, Bol Bol and Darius Garland.  UK commit Immanuel Quickley planned on attending to help recruit the official visitors, but a conflict with his team prevented him from making the trip to Lexington.  Quickley still found a way to make his pitch to Zion.  He was the only recruit on the guest list who did not make it to Madness.

After watching the team practice, the recruits were at the Blue Carpet where fans shouted their names, asked for autographs and posed for pictures.

When they weren’t getting their pictures taken with fans, they were posing with Coach Cal, who struggled to open his eyes.

No. 1 player in 2019 James Wiseman (left) and Jalen Johnson.

Not long after the recruits were escorted into Rupp Arena, they were shown a message from former Wildcats.  Directed to this year’s players, it also served to remind the recruits what they could have if they choose UK.

When the pyrotechnics began, the phones went up.  The light show was a fixture on every recruit’s Instagram story.  The same thing happened when Drake entered the building (Garland and Williamson’s videos were almost identical).  Meanwhile, one Zion (freshman point guard, Harmon) was posing with the other Zion.

After the event concluded, one recruit, junior point guard Tyrese Maxey, received a scholarship offer.

Kentucky used every recruiting tool they had at last night’s Big Blue Madness, but only time will tell if last night’s star-studded recruiting pitch will produce commitments.


Kentucky Offers 2019 Point Guard After Big Blue Madness

After Tyrese Maxey witnessed the jaw-dropping Big Blue Madness spectacle, he received some jaw-dropping news from John Calipari.  Coach Cal extended a scholarship offer to the junior point guard.

Maxey is the first point guard in the 2019 class with a UK offer.  It’s just the sixth offer Calipari has made in the 2019 class.

The 6’3″ guard from Garland, Texas is the No. 3 point guard in the 247 Composite and No. 12 overall.  A quick, explosive athlete, Maxey has a pretty step-back jumper.  I will not compare the kid to John Wall, but the left-handed dunk in the video below is very John Wall-esque.

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GUEST LIST: Which recruits will be at Big Blue Madness

GUEST LIST: Which recruits will be at Big Blue Madness

Several high-profile recruits will be in Rupp Arena tonight for Big Blue Madness, none more famous than Zion Williamson, arguably the most sensational high school recruit since John Wall. Here’s a rundown of the guest list as we know it.

2018

Zion Williamson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Forward 6-7 | 230 lbs. Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg/SC Supreme
ESPN: 2 | 1 PF Top 247: 1 | 1 PF Rivals: 2 Scout: 3 | 2 SF

Williamson is in Lexington with a UK cookie cake to prove it. Immanuel Quickley wasn’t able to make the trip to join his friend on the visit, but Williamson won’t be hurting for attention. After a quiet spell, buzz for Kentucky has picked up in recent weeks. With Drake (who owns Williamson’s high school jersey) expected to be in the house tonight, I expect a lot of winking and nodding in Zion’s direction.

Bol Bol ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Center 7-2 | 220 lbs. Santa Ana, CA Mater Dei/Cal Supreme
ESPN: 4 | 1 C Top 247: 4 | 1 C Rivals: 3 Scout: 2 | 1 C

Seemingly over his snub from John Calipari’s U19 National Team, Bol will take his official visit this weekend. He’s down to Kentucky and Oregon with a decision expected soon.

Darius Garland ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Point Guard 6-2 | 170 lbs. Brentwood, TN Brentwood Academy/Bradley Beal Elite
ESPN: 11 | 2 PG Top 247: 15 | 4 PG Rivals: 15 Scout: 7 | 2 PG

Vanderbilt and Indiana are the favorites for the Nashville native, who is also considering UCLA, but if he likes Kentucky enough to share the backcourt with Immanuel Quickley and whoever comes back next season, Calipari’s shown he’s just fine taking more guards than needed. Between Garland, Quentin Grimes, and Keldon Johnson, UK will take another guard in 2018. My money’s on Johnson.

2019

 James Wiseman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Power Forward 6-11 | 216 lbs. Memphis, TN East High/Team Penny
ESPN: 1 | 1 PF Top 247: 4 | 2 PF Rivals: 2 Scout: 2 | 2 PF

Wiseman was the first 2019 player to get an offer from Kentucky and has been compared to Anthony Davis. That’s all I need to hear.

 D.J. Jeffries ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Small Forward 6-7 | 185 lbs. Olive Branch, MS Olive Branch/Team Penny
ESPN: 9 | 2 SF Top 247: 16 | 4 SF Rivals: 37 Scout: 15 | 6 SF

UK offered Jeffries, Wiseman’s EYBL teammate, last month.

 Keion Brooks ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Small Forward 6-8 | 185 lbs. Fort Wayne, IN North Side
ESPN: 21 | 5 SF Top 247: 35 | 8 SF Rivals: 35 Scout: 14 | 4 SF

Brooks picked up a scholarship offer from Kentucky a few weeks back on an unofficial visit. He enjoyed himself so much he’s back for the second time in a month for Madness.

 Tyrese Maxey ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Point Guard 6-3 | 185 lbs. Garland, Texas South Garland
ESPN: 17 | 3 PG Top 247: 12 | 2 PG Rivals: 14 Scout: 20 | 3 PG

Calipari and Kenny Payne visited Maxey on Tuesday, but SMU is the favorite, especially since they just hired his dad, Tyrone Maxey, as their director of recruiting. The fact that this is still allowed makes the NCAA even more of a joke.

Others

 Jaemyn Brakefield, PF (2020)

The Huntington Prep star already lists Kentucky as one of his favorites.

 Jalen Johnson, SF (2020)

Home state Wisconsin is an early leader for Johnson, who attended the Team USA minicamp last weekend.

 Zion Harmon, PG (2021)

Harmon, a Bowling Green, Kentucky native, may only be a freshman, but his recruitment is already one to watch. Only the second freshman to attend Madness in the Calipari era, Harmon looked right at home when he visited UK for the Florida football game a few weeks back:

Any recruit that poses with the Joe B. statue gets an automatic bump up in my book.


Immanuel Quickley not able to make it to Madness

Photo by adidas

Kentucky’s lone commitment in the 2018 class won’t be able to make it to Big Blue Madness after all. According to Kyle Tucker, Immanuel Quickley can’t make it to tonight’s event because of a team conflict.

I’m sure no one’s more disappointed about that than Quickley, especially since his buddy Zion Williamson is on his official visit (and really excited about that cookie cake). Hopefully, Kentucky can make a big enough impression without Quickley, who is already asking the Big Blue Nation to show Zion love this weekend:

I think we can do that.


Calipari also saw Quentin Grimes today

After checking on 2019 point guard Tyrese Maxey in Garland, Texas this afternoon, John Calipari swung by The Woodlands to see 2018 combo guard Quentin Grimes, per @Top100Talent.

Quentin Grimes ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shooting/Point Guard 6-4 | 185 lbs. The Woodlands, TX The Woodlands/Basketball University
ESPN: 13 | 3 SG Top 247: 17 | 5 PG Rivals: 11 Scout: 11 | 4 PG

Grimes is considered a Kansas lean, but Kentucky garnered a lot of buzz following his official visit to Lexington on September 29. Grimes also spent the past weekend in Colorado Springs with UK commit Immanuel Quickley and several UK targets. He’ll take his official visit to Kansas this weekend, which probably explains why Calipari decided to drop by.

 


John Calipari is out recruiting today

It’s a big week for John Calipari with two days of UK’s combine wrapping up yesterday, and then UK Basketball Media Day and Big Blue Madness ahead.

So what did Calipari do on Tuesday to rest up?

He fired up the jet and went out recruiting for the future. Because that’s what he does.

Calipari was spotted at South Garland High School in Texas, where he was visiting Tyrese Maxey, one of the top high school juniors in America. Maxey is the No. 3 point guard in the 2019 247SportsComposite and he plans to be at Big Blue Madness later this week.

Someone from UK, maybe Calipari, is expected to visit another 2019 prospect in North Carolina tonight when Jaelyn Withers, a 6-7 forward, hosts Kentucky outside of Charlotte. They will also meet with Withers’ high school teammate, Tristan Maxwell, who is a guard in the Class of 2020.

 


Zion Williamson’s peers (including Immanuel Quickley) on what makes him so good

The hype around Zion Williamson has gotten so ridiculous it’s natural to wonder if he can actually back it up. According to his peers at the USA Basketball minicamp, he can.

Overtime asked the top recruits at the camp what makes Zion so good. Some raved about his freak athleticism, others his high basketball IQ. Don Showalter compared him to Charles Barkley. Duke commit Cam Reddsih lobbied for him to come to Duke. Immanuel Quickley, who is working hard to get Zion to join him in Lexington, simply said, “Zion, you know what’s good. Big Blue Nation, let’s get it.”

By now you know that Zion will have a front row seat at Friday night’s Big Blue Madness festivities. As Quickley said, let’s get it.


Today on KSR: Madness guest list, Star Wars trailer, ugly Florida uniforms

Today on KSR: Madness guest list, Star Wars trailer, ugly Florida uniforms

Shoutout to these fans for repping the Cats at 10,900 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park a few weekends ago. Based on the pictures I saw on the news yesterday, that vista is probably covered up with snow right about now. Yet, it was still 85 degrees here in Nashville yesterday. Sigh.

Here’s what you can expect in the wonderful world of UK sports today…

The guest list for Madness takes shape

With football on a bye, we shift into basketball mode this week. Media Day is Thursday, and on Friday, Kentucky will host a bevy of elite recruits for Big Blue Madness. Here’s the guest list thus far:

  • 2018: Immanuel Quickley (committed), Bol Bol, Zion Williamson, Darius Garland
  • 2019: James Wiseman, D.J. Jeffries, Keion Brooks, Tyrese Maxey
  • 2020: Jaemyn Brakefield, Jalen Johnson
  • 2021: Zion Harmon

Between Bol, Zion, and James Wiseman (No. 1 player in 2019), I don’t think we can overstate how important this weekend is for recruiting. We’ll have a primer for you later this week.

Mark Stoops, Eddie Gran, and the offense will address the media

Because it’s a bye week, we didn’t get Mark Stoops’ weekly press conference yesterday, but today, he’ll join Eddie Gran and talk to reporters after practice. Check the site this evening to see what he has to say about his team after watching the Mizzou tape.

If you missed it last night, Stoops sounded optimistic that the team would be healthy by the Mississippi State game:

Mark Stoops Shares an Optimistic Injury Report

Speaking of that Mississippi State game, we found out yesterday it will kick off at 4 p.m., so make your social plans accordingly.

Hopefully they get the wildfires in wine country under control

It’s been tough to see the pictures and videos of the California wild fires this week. So far, 11 people have been killed, 1,500 structures destroyed, and over 100,000 acres burned. Wine country is some of my favorite country, so here’s hoping they get the fires under control before there’s no Pinot Noir and Cab Sauv left.

Did you see the new Star Wars trailer?

If not, you may be the only one. The new trailer was must-see TV in our house last night:

I’m nowhere near as big a Star Wars fan as my husband, but that little creature hanging with Chewbacca — a Porg, I’m told — is pretty cute.

How about the new Florida uniforms?

Just when you thought Florida couldn’t get any more Florida. All that’s missing is a pair of jean shorts. They’ll sport those monstrosities on Saturday vs. Texas A&M.

I’m recording a new episode of The OTT Podcast

Fake Barney and I will record a new podcast tonight to catch up on all the happenings the past few weeks, which reminds me, why haven’t we heard anything about the UNC final report? Surely the major fundraising event in Chapel Hill is over by now?

Radio in an hour. Until then, tackle your morning with the fierceness of the BYU cougar: