I hope all the dads out there had a great Father’s Day! I returned from Canada last week after watching USA Basketball play a couple games north of the border. Tyrese Maxey, Cole Anthony and Matthew Hurt had a UK coach at all of their games over the last week and all three had amazing moments as the USA cruised to a gold medal. We’ll talk about those three players, Keion Brooks Ashton Hagans, Kyky Tandy and Reid Travis.
Let’s get to the notes.
Cole Anthony: Anthony put on a show for team USA over the last week and my biggest takeaway is how well Anthony would fit with Maxey at UK. When Maxey committed to Kentucky I knew that rival schools would negatively recruit against UK by saying guards shouldn’t want to play with the ball-heavy Maxey, but Anthony and Maxey made it work perfectly for Bill Self last week. Anthony is a true point guard and as good as a distributor I’ve seen at his age. Maxey can easily play the point position, but he looked just as comfortable playing off the ball. That versatility will be great for John Calipari, but it showcases that any negativing recruiting against playing with Maxey can easily be picked apart by the tapes from last week.
And the good news is I think UK has a good chance at landing Anthony. I’m not sure if they’re the leader as Anthony rarely ever talks recruiting, but UK’s staff likes their position and Maxey is actually a plus. If UK isn’t the leader my guess is they’re top two. Those two kids are good friends and talk about playing together (although Maxey doesn’t pressure Anthony). If you missed it Anthony said he’d love to play with Maxey in college (click here). Anthony wants to have the ball in his hands in college and be able to compete for a title. If the Cats were to add James Wiseman, Maxey, Brooks and Anthony, that’s a super class good enough to compete for a title regardless of who would come back for UK. Take into consideration UK should have several returning players and they would likely be the title favorites.
Matthew Hurt: I was really impressed with Hurt’s game and while I would be surprised if he ended up at Kentucky he’s definitely worth the time UK has put in recruiting him. Kansas is the favorite but UK watched every one of his games in Canada and will continue to watch him over the summer. Hurt will announce his college decision in November, take his official visits in September and October, and he will be cutting his list in July.
Expect UK to make the cut in the next month and the Cats are expected to get an official visit, but somehow the Cats will need to somehow jump the Jayhawks. Self did a great job coaching him in Canada and those two are already tight. Maybe visits will change things but the Cats are a little behind in my opinion.
Tyrese Maxey: UK fans are going to absolutely love this kid and I can’t say it enough. He always plays with a smile on his face and supposedly he went out of his way to play in the gold medal game on Saturday after a nasty ankle sprain on Tuesday. Bill Self said after the injury he didn’t expect to see Maxey back, but the UK commit did whatever he could to tolerate the pain and get out on the floor against Canada. That championship game was the only game he didn’t play great in, but he has an excuse. But besides his fun nature on the floor and his toughness, he’s an awesome basketball player. He’s as good of a scorer as Calipari will have at the point guard position and like I mentioned his versatility will allow him to play the two and even the three if he had to (although I don’t expect that to happen).
Follow him this summer at Peach Jam if you can and if you’re in Texas try to watch him during his senior season. Maybe he’ll play a high school game or two in Kentucky. But for so many fans that complain about not getting to know the team, you have well over a year to get to know Maxey. He will be a fan favorite.
Keion Brooks: Sometimes I’m repetitive and excuse me if I am here, but I expect Brooks to end up at Kentucky. I’ve heard nothing but great things about UK’s chances with Brooks, but sometimes you can read between the lines. The Cats haven’t offered another wing in the class of 2019 and it’s pretty clear that Keldon Johnson will be a one-and-done player. If the Cats aren’t panicking to bring in another three it tells us all we need to know about how they feel with Brooks.
Ashton Hagans: Hagans has arrived and that’s great news for UK. However, I was a little surprised of his rankings in the class of 2018. They’re slightly higher than I expected. I’m not sure if Hagans starts at the beginning of the season and I wouldn’t expect him to start in the Bahamas, but the only point I wanted to make is that if Hagans is truly a top 15 player in the class of 2018 then the Cats are going to be absolutely stacked, with or without Reid Travis. I’ve been told the expectation for Hagans is that he may struggle in November and December, but come January or February he will be one of the better guards in the SEC. UK can be fine if Hagans takes his time, but if in the Bahamas he’s clearly UK’s best guard then this could be an insanely fun year.
Kyky Tandy: It was reported this week that Tandy hasn’t heard from UK since his dad’s comments. While it was interesting to hear that from Tandy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’ve never spoken with Tandy’s father, and I’ve heard he’s a good guy, but what did the family think would happen after those comments? Calipari doesn’t like to play recruiting games and he definitely doesn’t like to hear parents or players think they’re entitled to playing time. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Kyky Tandy, but it’s clear he’s not going to end up at UK. It will be fun to watch the Kentuckian wherever he ends up because he’s a phenomenal scorer.
Reid Travis: He will start his visit to UK on Tuesday and we still do not have a date set for Villanova. That’s significant. Is Travis unsure if he wants to visit Villanova? Does Travis plan on committing to UK and only setting a Villanova visit if things don’t go well in Lexington? I find it interesting we don’t have a Villanova date set and I do take it as a positive for Kentucky. UK is the leader and something drastic will have to change for Travis to end up elsewhere. If he does visit Philly I still wouldn’t panic. It would make things trickier to predict, but UK is still the team to beat. I expect by the time I do my Insider Notes next week Travis will be a Wildcat.
Oh, also: I haven’t heard much about Wiseman or Carey. If I do I will post it. I still think UK leads for Wiseman and is in the hunt for Carey.