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