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Kentucky Basketball 2015 Recruiting Board

recruiting-board

With next year’s roster in place and looking awesome, it’s time we start getting to know UK’s 2015 targets a little better. One player, Charles Matthews, is already on board and several others list Kentucky among their favorites, so it’s lining up to be yet another blockbuster recruiting class for Coach Cal.

We took a glance at UK’s offer sheet earlier this week but the Cats have added a ninth offer since then in Cheick Diallo, Barry Rohrssen’s boy. So let’s update the board so we’re caught up on how things stand.

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COMMITTED

Charles Matthews
Shooting Guard

6’5″, 175 lbs.
Chicago, Illinois (Saint Rita)

Top247: No. 22 overall, No. 3 SG
247 Composite: No. 13 overall, No. 1 SG
Rivals: No. 15 overall, No. 4 SG
ESPN: No. 12 overall, No. 4 SG
Scout: No. 15 overall, No. 4 SG

Committed to Kentucky on February 26, 2014

Matthews committed to Kentucky a few days after meeting with John Calipari in Chicago back in February. Calipari told KSR he almost backed out of the trip at the last minute — he wasn’t feeling well — but something told him to get up and follow through with it. Little did he know at the time, Charles Matthews would commit by the end of the week. Matthews said they didn’t discuss a commitment during that visit.

After announcing his decision, Matthews said he wanted to get it over with so he could focus on the summer and his senior year of high school basketball. He said he had a “gut feeling” about Kentucky and it’s where he wants to be. “This is me,” he added.

Matthews visited Lexington for the UK alumni game on September 9th, 2013 with AAU teammate Tyler Ulis, a class of 2014 UK commit, and several other elite prospects.

CONFIRMED OFFERS

Carlton Bragg
Power Forward

6’9″, 220 lbs.
Cleveland, Ohio (Villa Angela-St. Joseph)

Top247: No. 7 overall, No. 3 PF
247 Composite: No. 9 overall, No. 3 PF
Rivals: No. 10 overall, No. 5 PF
ESPN: No. 11 overall, No. 4 PF
Scout: No. 8 overall, No. 3 PF

Bragg picked up his coveted offer from Kentucky back in January after scoring 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds against UK 2014 signee Trey Lyles in Paducah. John Calipari and his staff were in the building watching Bragg for the second time in two weeks, having seen him in West Virginia the week before. Bragg said at the time that he will wait until the fall to narrow his list and he has no plans to near a decision until his senior season.

Other notable offers: Kansas, Ohio State, Louisville, Illinois, Michigan State, UCLA, Georgetown, Texas and Indiana

Unofficial visit to Kentucky: September 29, 2013

Jaylen Brown
Small Forward

6’7″, 220 lbs.
Alpharetta, Georgia (Wheeler)

Top247: No. 6 overall, No. 2 SF
247 Composite: No. 10 overall, No. 2 SF
Rivals: No. 11 overall, No. 2 SF
ESPN: No. 13 overall, No. 1 SF
Scout: No. 9 overall, No. 1 SF

Jaylen Brown picked up an offer from Kentucky last month when he was visited by Kenny Payne on Easter Sunday. Calipari followed that up with a trip to watch Brown play in Texas the following weekend.

Other notable offers: Kansas, Louisville, Florida, Arizona, Tennessee, UCLA, Ohio State

Cheick Diallo
Power Forward/Center

6’9″, 210 lbs.
Centereach, New York (Our Savior New American)

Top247: No. 2 overall, No. 1 PF
247 Composite: No. 6 overall, No. 2 PF
Rivals: No. 8 overall, No. 3 SF
ESPN: No. 8 overall, No. 3 PF
Scout: No. 6 overall, No. 3 C

Cheick Diallo became the ninth member of the 2015 class to receive a scholarship offer from Kentucky this week. New UK assistant coach Barry Rohrssen plays a major role in his recruitment and is the main reason Pittsburgh was high on Diallo’s list. But with Rohrssen in UK blue now, Pittsburgh has slipped and it is Kentucky and Kansas leading the way.

Other notable offers: Kansas, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Iowa State, St. John’s

Derrick Jones
Small Forward

6’6″, 180 lbs.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Archbishop Carroll)

Top247: No. 18 overall, No. 4 SF
247 Composite: No. 15 overall, No. 3 SF
Rivals: No. 25 overall, No. 5 SF
ESPN: No. 22 overall, No. 5 SF
Scout: No. 13 overall, No. 2 SF

Jones was the fifth member of the 2015 class to receive a UK offer last summer when Calipari saw him in Philadelphia’s Reebok Breakout Classic in July. Kenny Payne checked in with Jones two days ago (May 4) to let him know UK will continue to follow him this summer.

The high-flying Jones had originally planned to visit Lexington during last fall’s alumni game weekend but was unable to attend.

Other notable offers: Kansas, Syracuse, UConn, Indiana, Arizon

Skal Labissiere
Power Forward/Center

6’10”, 200 lbs.
Memphis, Tennesee (Evangelical Christian)

Top247: No. 12 overall, No. 3 C
247 Composite: No. 8 overall, No. 3 C
Rivals: No. 6 overall, No. 2 PF
ESPN: No. 9 overall, No. 4 C
Scout: No. 7 overall, No. 4 C

Labissiere’s 247Sports’ Crystal Ball was 100 percent in favor of Kentucky for almost an entire year, until recently when Memphis made a strong push to overtake UK as the favorite. Jerry Meyer said a couple of weeks ago that he is hearing Labissiere is a lock for the Tigers as the Cats pursue other big men in the class. There was a time when KSR’s sources close to the recruitment were almost certain he would one day play in Lexington.

Labissiere was the first 2015 recruit to earn an offer from UK back in November of 2012, and was the only one to have an offer until Charles Matthews and Stephen Zimmerman received their offers seven months later. He is a native of Haiti, and at 13-years-old he survived an earthquake that killed 200,000 and left him buried for hours under the wreckage that was once his home. His parents sent him to the U.S. after that to pursue his basketball dreams.

Other notable offers: Kansas, Memphis, Tennessee, Georgetown

Malik Newman
Combo Guard

6’3″, 175 lbs.
Jackson, Mississippi (Callaway)

Top247: No. 1 overall, No. 1 PG
247 Composite: No. 1 overall, No. 1 PG
Rivals: No. 1 overall, No. 1 SG
ESPN: No. 2 overall, No. 1 SG
Scout: No. 2 overall, No. 1 SG

Hands down the best scorer in the class, Newman was among the best in high school basketball last season as a junior. Kentucky carries 90 percent of the vote in his Crystal Ball as most believe that’s where he’ll eventually end up.

Newman is in no hurry to figure it out, either. Last summer he admitted he isn’t really into the process and doesn’t follow college basketball, but his father said they will look for immediate playing time at a winning program with a track record of putting players in the NBA. That explains the Kentucky predictions.

Newman could wait as long as next April to make a final decision. The kid really just wants to keep improving his game and everything else is a distraction right now.

Other notable offers: Kansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Duke, Memphis

Ivan Rabb
Power Forward

6’9″, 205 lbs.
Oakland, California (Bishop O’Dowd)

Top247: No. 4 overall, No. 2 PF
247 Composite: No. 2 overall, No. 1 PF
Rivals: No. 2 overall, No. 1 PF
ESPN: No. 1 overall, No. 1 PF
Scout: No. 1 overall, No. 1 PF

Ivan Rabb is one of the best of the class, evident by his ranking, but it will be an uphill battle for the Cats to land his commitment as he is 2015’s west coast star, a title Kentucky hasn’t had any luck recruiting in recent years. Last weekend learned that UK is one of the eight schools pursuing him the most and he will trim that list in the fall after taking some visits this summer.

Rabb picked up his offer from Kentucky back in September. Calipari saw him in action as recent as two weekends ago at an EYBL event in California.

Other notable offers: Arizona, UCLA, California, Kansas, USC, North Carolina, Duke, Ohio State, Louisville

Stephen Zimmerman
Center

7’0″, 230 lbs.
Las Vegas, Nevada (Bishop Gorman)

Top247: No. 10 overall, No. 2 C
247 Composite: No. 5 overall, No. 2 C
Rivals: No. 4 overall, No. 2 C
ESPN: No. 4 overall, No. 1 C
Scout: No. 5 overall, No. 2 C

Zimmerman was the second big man to earn a UK offer and has been visited several times by John Calipari and his staff since last summer. But like Ivan Rabb, Zimmerman is a west coast kid who will be hard to pull away from the area.

The 7-footer announced his top eight last week via Instagram with Kansas, UNLV, Indiana, North Carolina, Arizona, Louisville, UCLA and Kentucky making the cut, in no particular order.

Zimmerman says his biggest factor in picking a school is finding one that helps him develop for the NBA. “Winning’s a big factor, obviously everybody loves winning, but that’s a side note to the development part,” he told the Las Vegas Sun.

Other notable offers: Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, North Carolina, UCLA, UNLV

TWO TO WATCH

With Labissiere drifting toward Memphis and Zimmerman being the dreaded west coaster, Kentucky is gaining interest in two centers as their stock rises this spring:

Diamond Stone
Center

6’10”, 240 lbs.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Dominican)

Top247: No. 8 overall, No. 1 C
247 Composite: No. 4 overall, No. 1 C
Rivals: No. 3 overall, No. 1 C
ESPN: No. 5 overall, No. 2 C
Scout: No. 3 overall, No. 1 C

Stone and Malik Newman are close and have made it clear they would like to play together in college.  We learned this week via 247Sports that six of Stone’s last seven Crystal Ball picks have favored in Kentucky, his new leader.

Doral Moore
Center

7’0″, 215 lbs.
Locust Grove, Georgia (Luella)

Top247: No. 19 overall
247 Composite: No. 16 overall
Rivals: No. 16 overall, No. 4 C
ESPN: No. 21 overall, No. 5 C
Scout: No. 22 overall, No. 8 C

Moore is another center on the rise and he said over the weekend that Kentucky is one of the five schools pursuing him the hardest. Often described as a Willie Cauley-Stein-type player, he was paid a visit by Kenny Payne this time two weeks ago in Georgia.

 

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We’ll update this board throughout the summer, adding new names and information as UK’s recruiting progresses.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

28 Comments for Kentucky Basketball 2015 Recruiting Board



  1. Casper
    8:19 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    thanks Drew for the recruiting update.



  2. BIGHEADBBN
    8:33 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Should be another dominate class that might struggle but will be a really good team at the end of the season! Look out for Thon “Highlight” Maker in the 2016 class.



  3. lol
    8:40 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    I’ll be perfectly fine with a class of Matthews, Newman, Stone, and Bragg. Come on down.



  4. UK
    9:07 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    What about the Chieck Diallo and Slice Rohrsson connection?



  5. Chris
    9:08 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Give me Bragg, Brown, Newman, and Stone to go along with Matthews!!



  6. Bradley
    9:57 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    We can still get Newman, but if Skal goes to Memphis that gives them a real shot at Newman that they wouldn’t have otherwise.



    • What?
      5:04 pm May 9, 2014 Permalink

      Where do you get that from? You can’t just fabricate the idea that if Skal goes to Memphis than that will draw or make it easier for Newman to go there? What evidence do you have to support this?



  7. TDog
    10:14 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    What about Montaque Gill-Caesar? I originally though he was a class of 2015 prospect and was thinking of reclassifying then have heard little about him since.



  8. BBNCanada
    10:47 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Thanks Drew for the recruiting update. If I were to rank some of these recruits in terms of importance, I would put Newman at the top because we need a guard with a great feel for the game, plus he gets buckets. Second would be Jaylen Brown. We’ve been lacking a true three that can create his own shots while being able to slash to the basket and demolish the rim. Third would be Stone for a big presence down low then Bragg for his energy and versatility.



  9. Michael
    10:47 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Little brother is on a lot of these recruits’ lists. Not sure why they waste their time; elite recruits don’t want to play for a coach who will do everything in his power (lie, bench) to keep you in college for 4 years.



  10. Alec
    10:50 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Just want to say good job giving information about future recruits. And great job in general with all KSR blogs. I have looked for many places to read about KY Basketball, KSR is the best.



  11. Al Pharetta
    5:50 am May 7, 2014 Permalink

    ……..In re Jaylen Brown, I see this same info in ESPN recruiting. What’s puzzling is that Wheeler H.S. is not even close to being in Alpharetta. Wheeler is in Cobb Co. Alpharetta is in Fulton Co. If Alpharetta is his ‘Hometown’, he must have moved in order to play at Wheeler.



  12. Cayts
    9:06 am May 7, 2014 Permalink

    Thanks, Drew. **Giddy**



  13. Marcus L. Owens
    9:49 am May 7, 2014 Permalink

    Rabb is the best player in this class hands down not taking anything away from Newman but Rabb is #1 overall pick good. Over the past few years Arizona has been the college of choice for top players from the Oakland Soilders AAU program (UK did get Kyle Wiltjer) including Brandon Ashley, Aaron Gordon and now Stanley Johnson. But what have they done with them? None of those guys were considered the top player in the class or considered a #1 overall pick possiblity none were college All Americans at Zona. That could change with Johnson. If Rabb wants to win BIG, play on the biggest stage and be the #1 overall pick when he comes out he has to consider programs on the East coast. Those other players were content with staying close to home playing a year or two or three (Ashley) but Rabb has much more to gain or lose depending on his college choice. I believe UK is a player in his recruitment simply because of the proven track record of winning, player development and player success on the next level. Rabb is the main player to watch in this class a long with Newman.



    • GraBeardCat
      8:36 pm May 9, 2014 Permalink

      Agree with Marcus. I have seen Rabb and Zimmerman play several times, and Rabb has the potential to be something special. He is taking an unofficial visit to Arizona, and the Arizona recruiting staff was had someone there at every game in which I saw Rabb (or Zimmerman). The Tarkanian Classic last December (Rabb and Zimmerman both played) looked like a coach’s convention. Zimmerman has made an unofficial visit to Arizona as well. So you have Zimmerman (a center) and Rabb (a power forward) both visiting Arizona, and now playing together for the Oakland Soldiers this summer. I think it will be difficult to get them away from Sean Miller. If I was recruiting Rabb, I might considering offering the point guard for Bishop O’Dowd, Paris Austin. He and Rabb have been friends for a long time, and have the lob down to a science. Austin is an excellent PG, quick and reads the floor well. Has offers from several schools. Would not be a wasted scholarship. Zimmerman has already made several unofficials – it will be interesting to see if he visits UK this summer.



  14. GetBucketsDurb
    10:49 am May 7, 2014 Permalink

    Need to keep an eye out for Ray Spalding out of Louisville, if he can get stronger than he definitely has the size to compete, being that he scores a lot. Someone Antigua has been after for a while as well.



  15. Jeffy
    11:16 am May 7, 2014 Permalink

    4 five stars (just on this list) with offers from UL. Didn’t think Pitino was interested in “that kind” of player.



  16. theWilkman
    12:05 pm May 7, 2014 Permalink

    If “everything else is a just a distraction” for Newman and he wants to just “focus on his game” I have a suggestion: go ahead and commit. If he draws it out until April then he better get used to distractions.



  17. Morehead Cat
    6:21 pm May 7, 2014 Permalink

    I think it ends up being Matthews, Newman, Diallo (via Slice), Bragg, and Stone in a frontcourt dominated class

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  19. Chris from Paducah
    11:08 am May 9, 2014 Permalink

    With all these possible guys coming in on top of who may return, we could see another great lineup for 2015. Is it basketball season yet?!



  20. UKfan
    5:57 pm May 9, 2014 Permalink

    Is it me or does Bill Self wait until Cal goes after a kid then offer them a scholarship?



  21. bbn#1
    6:13 pm May 9, 2014 Permalink

    I say calipari recruits thon maker really hard.. i dont think he stays in the 2016 class guy is already dominating as is



  22. Faux hawk says...
    7:30 pm May 9, 2014 Permalink

    Gary Parrish on his radio show today said the Lawson father had a $200k offer to be a basketball coach and that it was understood his 3 boys would follow. The oldest is currently committed to memphis and the next one (Dedric) has Memphis and uk on his list. The youngest is 13 or so and supposedly the best of the bunch. He also said it was a major conference school and that Memphis was scrambling to match the off and keep the kids in Memphis. Given the that the school was disc ribbed as gold plated and there is no love lost by gary on cal you can bet it is not uk making the offer.



  23. John Ellis
    7:55 pm May 9, 2014 Permalink

    Ah. Indiana’s trying to get some of them too. Isn’t that cute?



  24. beth
    9:21 am May 10, 2014 Permalink

    Based on names alone, I want Diamond Stone. Second choice is Carlton, so we can all do the dance.



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