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Insider Notes: Here’s the latest with Wiseman, Carey, McDaniels as we enter signing week

Photo via Endless Motor

Photo via Endless Motor

Hey, folks. I hope everyone had a good weekend. There have been better sports weeks for Kentucky fans, but the basketball team is still going to be a contender come March and the football team is still having a great season despite a bad month. The Cats will have two five-star players sign in the coming days for next season’s basketball team and another incredibly talented four-star in-state wing will sign on Friday. It’s not all bad news despite things seemingly not going UK’s way as of late.

Five-star wing/forward Jaden McDaniels visited UK on Friday and there’s more smoke in the Wiseman recruitment. Let’s get to the notes.


The visit was GREAT (drink, drink, drink!). Despite Kentucky struggling against Southern Illinois I’m told that McDaniels and his family really enjoyed Lexington and they thought the atmosphere at Rupp Arena was impressive. Yes, really. I did hear from a friend that the second half atmosphere was solid, so while we always joke about the lower level at Rupp supposedly they did their job on Friday for the final 15-20 minutes. In that first half I was worried McDaniels may pull a Lonnie Walker and fall asleep.

I’m not sure if I’m ready to say UK leads for McDaniels, but all that I’ve heard throughout his recruitment is that his dad is the one that actively involved in the decision making process and after this weekend the biggest piece of information I have is that the dad prefers UK. Is that Jaden’s choice? I have no clue, but the relationship between UK’s staff and McDaniels’ dad is strong enough to land a commitment. Also, I don’t have confirmation from anyone I trust that the dad is pulling the strings in this recruitment, but that’s the scuttlebutt among recruiting experts. But, I do trust that the dad prefers UK. I’m told if not UK then he’d like McDaniels to stay home at Washington.

Now the big question is when will McDaniels decide? Two trusted sources told me they don’t think he signs in the fall, but one thought he would commit in the next few weeks. The other thought he would wait until January or February. He has one official left on the table and could go to UCLA, but there are currently no plans. His final five includes UK, Texas, Washington, San Diego State and UCLA. He’s officially visited the first four schools. Both guys I spoke with said they like UK’s chances regardless (one thought Washington was right there, too), but if we hear of a decision in the next week or two then UK would be the landing spot. People close to UK are unsure when he plans on committing.

Supposedly it wasn’t just the visit that pushed UK to the top, but instead all the work Kentucky’s staff has put in behind the scenes for the last two months. John Calipari visited twice and the Cats have been in constant contact. One source said this was like the Kevin Knox recruitment where no one gave UK a great chance at landing him, but in reality the Cats were putting in more work than anyone.

So, as of today (and I’m surprised typing this), UK seems to be in a great spot. I’m not sure McDaniels would be the frontcourt piece people were expecting/hoping for, but it’d give UK plenty of options for next season. Rebounding may be an issue but scoring wouldn’t.


Did you all see all the reports about how Memphis’ staff is telling boosters and media members that Wiseman is a lock to stay home? Well, it’s what we said last week. Memphis’ coaching staff is talking and talking a lot. Sometimes we’ve seen some staffs spread misinformation to try and have the public momentum push the kid in a certain direction, but I’m told this is 100 percent genuine. Memphis’ staff has reason to believe that Wiseman is staying home and playing for Memphis, per people close to Memphis’ staff.

Wiseman’s family has told me that it’s not true. They have told other reporters that it’s not true. They’re telling anyone that can listen that he’s not committed anywhere and he’s still undecided. Maybe they’re telling the truth. They probably are being honest when they say that no final decision has been made, but what else are they supposed to say? “Yup, James is going to Memphis, we’re just figuring out a commitment date?” “Yup, something crazy would have to happen for him to go elsewhere.” “Stop paying attention because this thing is over.” I did find it interesting that Wiseman’s sister went out of her way to reach out to me to tell me that a decision hasn’t been made.

I think Wiseman ends up at Memphis but the family aspect is interesting and UK doesn’t feel they have lost. They don’t think there’s been a silent commitment and they still feel like they have a chance to land Wiseman. So, if you’re looking for some optimism, there you go. Also, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports spoke directly with Wiseman’s mom about the Memphis buzz and he is still currently predicting UK.

So, I lean towards Memphis but never say never.


He officially visited Michigan State and I have no new updates on that official visit, but I did speak with someone on Friday that told me it will be Duke, Michigan State or UK. I feel like I’ve been saying that for a few weeks, but here we are. Again, like Wiseman, there’s not much of a UK buzz in this recruitment but people close to UK haven’t conceded.

In those two recruitments the Cats don’t have a lot of momentum, so if you want to give up on them no one would blame you. Obviously there’s not a great deal of information on Carey’s recruitment and I’m hoping to learn more after touching base after the MSU visit. Let’s touch back with Carey later this week.

Duke Game:

I’ve had a few people ask me if a beatdown like that can hurt recruiting. It doesn’t help, but it doesn’t hurt. What will hurt more is that Duke will be the college basketball sweethearts all season and constantly featured on ESPN. That won’t really hurt UK until maybe next year but more likely 2021 and later, but Wiseman isn’t picking Memphis because UK was smacked by Duke. Carey isn’t picking Duke over UK because the Blue Devils beat them in Indy. If those players go elsewhere that game had nothing to do with it.

Duke is the cool school again, and that will plant a seed in younger kids, but that stuff constantly changes. The Cats are still licking their wounds from Tuesday but it won’t hurt UK on the recruiting trail.

Other Options:

If UK were to miss on Wiseman, Carey and Stewart (I don’t see him ending up at Kentucky but I don’t have a great feel/connection to this recruitment) you’re probably wondering where Kentucky goes from there. Last week I mentioned that there would either be a grad-transfer or a 2020 reclassification (one UK fan Twitter follower mentioned/suggested Hunter Dickinson in 2020. He’d be physically ready) and I’m very confident in one of those two things happening. I’ve been asked if UK will get involved with Precious Achiuwa, C.J. Walker or Kofi Cockburn. I don’t believe that happens. Maybe Kentucky will send out a feeler to one of the three, or reconnect with Walker, but I doubt the Cats will be able to do enough to get into the picture.

Walker waiting until the spring was somewhat of a surprise, so maybe that means a shift in the recruitment, but the Cats were never heavily involved and my guess is that doesn’t change.

I still think UK gets Hurt.  If you get Hurt along with McDaniels then you would need to find a bruising grad-transfer big and you’d be ready to roll. I’m not sure you could find a better offensive frontcourt, but there clearly would be some questions rebounding and defensively.

In the intermediate be on the lookout for commitment decisions. The sky isn’t falling just yet and never count out Calipari.



Article written by TJ Walker

36 Comments for Insider Notes: Here’s the latest with Wiseman, Carey, McDaniels as we enter signing week

  1. Aar
    2:31 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

    TJ, how do you read Duke’s lack of 2019 commitments to date? Possible indicator of a certain coach’s impending retirement?

  2. cats646
    2:45 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink


    • JASUN74
      3:21 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink


    • recliner coach
      7:53 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

      If he could just give up that conservative approach that they r playing now, its like they r playing not to lose

    • RAGE
      9:08 am November 13, 2018 Permalink

      Lol this guy is hilarious and consistent

  3. bigblue2284
    2:49 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

    Another swing and miss for Cal, I hope I’m wrong but looks like again Uk will miss the top overall talent.

    • henderblue
      7:48 am November 13, 2018 Permalink

      Mr Positivity ^^^looking in your crystal ball??

    • bigblue2284
      12:47 pm November 13, 2018 Permalink

      Want to bet? when was the last time UK got the top overall recruit?

  4. Damien Harris was claiming no decision had been made (when we know it had) even after we saw him geek over the player committing to Bama at that all star game.

    Of course, the experts all had Knox going to Duke or FSU, so…

  5. Nickerbocker05
    3:14 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

    Is (drink!) a good thing or bad thing? I can never tell?

    • TJ Walker
      3:21 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

      It’s a running joke that every time someone visits a school we hear the visit went well.

    • bluecrowe
      1:26 am November 14, 2018 Permalink

      yes, what is not to like. They get girls, they get booze, and they get their asses kissed. They get treated as they will never again unless they go to the NBA.

  6. JASUN74
    3:16 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

    Carey, Hurt and McDaniels would be my wish, if only I hadn’t have used all three of them earlier this year on a bunch of bull mess. Haha. That would be an awesome class right there and #1 in the country. Also I think we have Quickly and or Hagens back to run the point and I believe a second year Quickly or Hagens would be fantastic working with Maxie everyday In practice. If this class happens then I will predict a very good year. Haha. Yes I said it and stand by it. Lol.

    • JASUN74
      3:17 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

      After I read my comment, I gave myself a big ‘Duuuhhh. Lol. Anyway

    • JASUN74
      3:34 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

      Tj , how far off, Or how close am I With my hopefull wish? In my opinion Carey is the most important recruit in the class. I think Maxey just fits Coach Cal like a Fox. Haha. He does remind me of him a lot , not that we can expect Foxes game right away, but he has that IT I believe that others just love to play with and be around off the court. Anyway if you could, let me know how you feel about my question. Thank you and I really appreciate what u do for us.

    • Ez21
      3:40 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

      I feel like TJ just says what UK fans wanna hear until the guys get close to choosing and he changes his tune so he isn’t wrong.

  7. ScottGreene22
    3:18 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

    Not worried about CAL and recruiting more worried about X’s and O’s and getting this team to play some ball.

    • N-UR-i
      4:56 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

      This. Our team has enough talent to go deep, but we need a coach not a recruiter to get there.

    • henderblue
      6:45 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

      So who would you hire?

    • 4everUKblue
      8:10 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

      I don’t hear anything but crickets henderblue.

    • BigolBlue
      11:02 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

      Crickets from 4 ever after the duke loss and tenn losd

    • friendsofcoal
      12:54 am November 13, 2018 Permalink

      Idea…keep Cal for recruiting and running the team and then hire Pitino to just coach the games only.

    • Cmart0907
      6:07 am November 13, 2018 Permalink

      Comment of the century!!!

    • Booby Petrino
      8:10 am November 13, 2018 Permalink

      coal, you left out the words “worst” and “ever” with Idea in between.

    • bigblue2284
      12:49 pm November 13, 2018 Permalink

      There are a bevy of better X and o coaches than Cal. I watched Kevin Ollie outreach him for a national title for goodness sake.

  8. N-UR-i
    4:54 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

    Fire Eddie Gran

  9. shelby
    6:49 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

    It’s amazing, every time a white kid i.e. Hurt, defense is mentioned as a problem. I remember booker couldn’t guard his own shadow.

  10. recliner coach
    7:56 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

    For them to be impressed with the atmosphere at Rupp, I would hate to see their current home games. Rupp is like church and bingo mixed.

    • UKantstopus
      8:08 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

      Was at the game and the last 12-15 minutes, it was pretty loud and crowd was really in to the game…

    • henderblue
      7:51 am November 13, 2018 Permalink

      That’s from his recliner. Get you surround sound and turn up the volume

  11. Just saying
    10:11 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

    Good post TJ. Not too may maybes and mights this time

  12. Rixter
    10:23 pm November 12, 2018 Permalink

    Don’t think Stoops isn’t feeling the pressure. What’s each victory worth to him? $250,000? You KNOW Mama Stoops already had the Tennessee quarter million spent!

  13. clarks
    8:28 am November 13, 2018 Permalink

    offense has been dreadful but the team has been a fun ride lets keep supporting them. if u were told we would have three losses going into last two games before season starts everyone would say hell yeah.

  14. clarks
    8:30 am November 13, 2018 Permalink

    dont think throwing sideways fooling anyone though. passes are intended to go forward not sideways.

  15. Bluebloodtoo
    2:19 pm November 13, 2018 Permalink

    RE: Wiseman… If the other to players know he isn’t going to UK, then UK is in position to get another commitment. So, holding your cards close when you know the outcome would be hurting UK is a potential strategy. That said, i don’t believe the Wiseman family is up to shenanigans like that. The Memphis staff? Well…That’s a different story…