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Insider Notes: It’s not all positive in 2019 and a closer look at the big situation

Photo via USA Today

USA Today

Hello, folks! I hope everyone had a great weekend as we inch closer to football season. Things are slowing down a bit in basketball recruiting but once colleges start across the country you’ll start to see official visits and a good chunk of the uncommitted players will pull the trigger in or before November. Obviously there will be several UK targets that wait until the spring.

As a reminder for those reading the Monday Insider Notes- the concept is simple, but here’s a refresher. I post what I’ve heard over the last week. Things can change and people I’m talking with can be wrong. I can be wrong. I don’t post these Insider Notes thinking everything I’ve typed will come into fruition, but instead give readers an idea of where things seemingly stand but more importantly what people are saying/thinking behind the scenes. I add my opinion and sometimes even disagree with things I’m hearing.

Let’s get to the notes.

Cole Anthony: One of the cool things about the Monday Insider Notes is how I will post something on Monday and by 1 or 2 p.m. I’ll have text messages from sources telling me that I’m right, and they’ll add more detailed information, but more likely one of my sources will tell me I’m wrong. That’s what happened with Anthony. I’ve heard and written about UK being in a solid spot for Anthony, but it will likely come down to how the backcourt looks in 2019-2020. If UK lost a handful of guards they would have a real chance at Anthony, but if Kentucky returned the bulk of Green, Quickley, Herro, Baker, Hagans then Anthony wouldn’t consider the Cats. That may not necessarily be the case.

Anthony isn’t going to commit anytime soon and what he’s thinking in August may not be important come March or April where he’ll still likely be uncommitted, but I was told that UK really isn’t in a great spot right now. Anthony and his family are handling their recruitment in a unique way. They’re not talking to reporters about the recruitment and they have just recently started allowing coaches to be in “constant” contact. Constant was the word used to me and I’m not sure what he meant by it. Everyday? Once a week? I’m not sure.

Regardless, supposedly UK hasn’t been in “constant” contact with Anthony and the Cats aren’t a major player as of today. I was surprised to hear this because John Calipari always wants the best of the best and Anthony may be the best high school point guard since John Wall. Calipari can sometimes handle recruitments differently than other coaches. I could see a scenario where Calipari realizes Anthony and his family want space, so he will give them space. I don’t really know what to make of that news but as of today it appears that other schools have put in more work with Anthony.

I still think we hear of Anthony setting a visit to UK at some point this fall, but if we don’t hear of anything in the next month about a visit to Lexington it would be pretty concerning. Anthony has already checked out a few schools and more visits planned, but so far nothing about UK or the Cats. Let’s hope that changes.

Wiseman: So, he’s going to high school in Memphis. The 7-foot-1, 210-pound center (who has 7-4.5 wingspan) continues to have a great deal of Memphis buzz and that didn’t change over the last week. I wish I had an update on if Wiseman is going to visit in August (this weekend) but I do find the situation interesting. I’m not having anyone tell me yes, but I’m not having anyone tell me that he is definitively not visiting this weekend. My guess is it likely happens in September, but regardless if it’s this weekend or next month, Wiseman will still return to UK’s campus at some poitn this fall. That visit needs to go well. There’s a lot of pressure on Wiseman to stay in town.

I have heard that Wiseman plans on announcing in the spring. He had previously said he’s undecided on when he will announce, but it appears it will be in 2019. This does open the window to a disastrous Memphis season possibly impacting Wiseman’s decision. I’ve been asked if Memphis stinks will Wiseman take that as a negative, and I don’t know for sure, but it certainly can’t hurt UK’s chances. If they stink it will put more pressure on him to help by staying home, but if the Tigers are good then that will make Penny’s pitch to Wiseman even easier.

Vernon Carey: There has been plenty of buzz on Carey since I said last week I wouldn’t trade UK’s spot with another school. I still feel confident about Kentucky’s chances but it’s not necessarily a popular opinion.

The folks at Rivals and Cats Illustrated don’t feel great about UK’s chances with Carey, but if you listened to my podcast, Hardly Committed, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports said he’s also hearing good things about UK’s chances. It seems like people are split about exactly where UK stands with Carey, but he’s not making a decision anytime soon. The Cats will get him on campus in October and have a chance to really pull ahead (or catch up, depending on where you think things stand).

I still think Carey is UK’s big for the 2019-2020 season.


Scottie Lewis: In the UK recruiting stock market it’s time to buy Scottie Lewis stock. I (surprisingly) heard great things about UK’s chances with Lewis over the last week. I’ve never thought too highly of UK’s chances with the duo of Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, but I’m starting to come around to the idea of Lewis and UK. Supposedly UK has done a great job in Lewis’ recruitment and I’m told that Lewis was considering making a trip to Ireland to play exhibition games with Aidan Igiehon but was advised not to make the trip. I’ve been told that it was folks in Lexington that gave him that advice.

I’m not sure what to make of the trip to Ireland. I’m not sure why UK or any other college would have an issue with Lewis traveling overseas. Maybe potential eligibility concerns? That’s the only thing I can think of, but if UK were truly concerned about Lewis messing up his eligibility then that would have to be good news about the Cats’ chances? That’s certainly one way to look at it.


R.J. Hampton: Hampton made some news over the weekend when he said that UK commit Tyrese Maxey is trying to get him to reclassify and join him in Lexington next year. One could read this and make assumptions about where UK stands with Cole Anthony, but I wouldn’t read too much into this. Both are from Texas and have played against one another several times. They’re buds. I’m told that UK is open to the idea of Hampton joining UK’s class of 2019, but it’s not something they are anticipating as of today.

I do think there will be a few guys that reclassify from 2020 to 2019 and I know the Cats would be interested in Hampton, but supposedly they’re currently looking at a big to make the jump. My guess would be N’Faly Dante but I wasn’t given a name. UK has offered Dante and also Scottie Barnes in 2020. They are currently the only two players in 2020 with an offer from the Cats.


Aidan Igiehon: UK is not recruiting Igiehon.

Kofi Cockburn: I’m told at this time that UK is not recruiting Cockburn and it’s unlikely that it picks back up at any point this fall. Some are reporting that UK is on the verge of offering Cockburn but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Oscar Tshiebwe: This is the guy. UK is very interested in Tshibwe and when we look at other options besides Carey, Wiseman and Matthew Hurt- it’s easily Oscar. Watch his game, get to know him. He’s going to become a major UK target before it’s all said and done. WVU is clearly the leader so don’t expect the Cats to waste too much time moving forward.



Article written by TJ Walker

13 Comments for Insider Notes: It’s not all positive in 2019 and a closer look at the big situation

  1. Kat4Life
    12:46 pm August 20, 2018 Permalink

    I always look forward to TJ’s updates. Of course as we have learned over the years (Knox, Zion, Reddish, Bamba) things frequently change direction quickly. We are going to be fine,

  2. Bluebloodtoo
    12:48 pm August 20, 2018 Permalink

    I just don’t understand the traction with the Memphis coaches. I know they have name recognition but they NO COLLEGE COACHING experience. Think about that car salesman who takes you into that great car on a “special” deal. That’s what this feels like.

    • UK Big Board Update
      1:50 pm August 20, 2018 Permalink

      The coaches at Memphis have had a relationship for many years.

      Wiseman has two options: come to UK and contend for a title, hurt Memphis’ feelings and still go top 5 in draft, or go to Memphis, no ones feelings are hurt, and he goes top 5 in draft.

      I think he’ll take the path of least resistance, and still go top 5 in the draft.

    • StuckinLville
      1:50 pm August 20, 2018 Permalink

      It’s the hype. Wiseman waiting will be a good thing because when Memphis is trash and people question Penny, hopefully James makes the smart business decision. Also, Oscar looks like a grown man out there.

    • Cincy Cayt
      10:35 pm August 20, 2018 Permalink

      Memphi$ is all you need to know about their appeal.

  3. UKLugo
    3:08 pm August 20, 2018 Permalink

    Sounds like another #2 recruiting class. Long ways to go though. (I know. I know. Spoiled rotten).

    3:14 pm August 20, 2018 Permalink

    Imagine what Kenny Payne could do with Tshiebwe… Love his motor plus that he tries to dunk EVERYTHING and finishes strong. Reminds me of a more agile Bam.

    • shelby
      8:34 pm August 20, 2018 Permalink

      Bbnbrian: i agree, oscar looks like a beast and he has a nice jumper to boot; love this kid’s game.

    9:14 am August 21, 2018 Permalink


  6. Jiminy Crickets
    9:49 am August 21, 2018 Permalink

    Anthony is another example of KSRs hype about “cal making him a priority”, or the inevitable “virtual lock to be a cat”. We have an incredible PG signed and all this site wants to talk about is how much better Anthony is and how Cal is making him a priority.

    • Jiminy Crickets
      9:52 am August 21, 2018 Permalink

      All we ever heard about Zion was how he was a virtual lock to come to Kentucky. And how it was between Kentucky and Clemson. When Zion announced his decision, Kentucky was not mentioned in his top four. When asked why he chose do, he mentioned Clemson, North Carolina, And South Carolina as the schools that he chose Duke over.

  7. michaelb
    3:12 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

    lol , if the back court is crowded no, if empty yes … haha that’s just pretty much common knowledge . Doesn’t even mean that’s what will happen . It’s ok to say you don’t know . I could be a recruiting report guy from my bathroom like I’m doing now . Woohoo

  8. michaelb
    3:15 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

    Not all positive … lol what a click bait . Our roster will always have studs . No matter what we’ll get the next guy or the first guy . This is lazy and uninformative