The first July live-evaluation period has come to a close and there is much to discuss. KSR was at Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., but there were other events in Atlanta and New York. We’ll discuss news from all three events.
The Monday Insider Notes will touch on nearly all of UK’s major targets in 2019 and Dontaie Allen, who may have had the best weekend of any recruiting target in the country. Allen received eight offers over the weekend and the clock is ticking for Kentucky (Read Drew Franklin’s update HERE).
Let’s get to the notes.
Wiseman: First, read KSR’s update on Wiseman switching AAU teams after Peach Jam. It doesn’t read as great news for Kentucky, but people shouldn’t freak out over Wiseman playing for a new AAU team. Peach Jam is basically the end of the AAU basketball season. Plenty of guys will play for different teams over the next month or so, and those tournaments aren’t nearly as exciting or prestigious as Peach Jam. Most likely Wiseman wanted to just continue to play basketball and this Memphis based team provided a logical and feasible option. I’m not going to pretend it’s great news for UK, it’s not, but I also don’t think it’s terrible news. It really shouldn’t make a difference.
Another rumor over the weekend was Wiseman reclassification rumors. I don’t believe he reclassifies but if he does it won’t be to Kentucky. Wiseman has a lot to figure out over the next few weeks. Is he staying in Memphis or going to a prep-school? Will he play in college next year or this year? I expect him to stay in the class of 2019. My guess is he stays in Memphis but I’m less confident about that guess, but I don’t expect a reclassifcation.
I’m slightly less confident about Wiseman ending up at Kentucky. I still think UK has a solid chance and I’m not sure if I’m even willing to put Memphis as the leader, but both schools seem to be about even. The folks I talked to at Peach Jam (some AAU coaches and some college coaches) there seemed to be more of a Memphis buzz than Kentucky, but maybe just one or two felt confident that Wiseman would end up at Memphis. The others just were “hearing” more positive news about Memphis.
I went out of my way to sit in the Bluff City fan section for three of their games. First, it’s just wild. The eRUPPtion Zone could learn a thing or two from these parents. But, I just wanted to get a feel if there were any whispers from parents or people close to Wiseman, or maybe even Wiseman’s parents. One thing I noticed on the court was the lack of interactions between teammates. We know that D.J. Jeffries is good friends with Wiseman but you wouldn’t have been able to tell on the court or on the bench. There wasn’t much interaction between the two, but there wasn’t a great deal of interaction between any of the players. After an And-1 there would be high-fives but that would be about it. Not a ton of emotion between players.
But that wasn’t the case in the stands. The parents kept raving about the chemistry between Jeffries and Wiseman. Jeffries would often go and attack the rim. Finishing is something he needs to work on, but it reminded me of drills Calipari runs. Miss your layups high so a teammate can follow it up for a slam. Wiseman followed up several of Jeffries’ misses over the first three games and the parents called it almost every time. I told a parent that those two had good chemistry and she told me that they know “every tendency” of each other’s game.
UK knew what it was doing by locking up Jeffries, but I’m not sure Kentucky even expected Jeffries to be this good this early. Both Jeffries and Wiseman could start on UK’s team together in 2019-2020. It wouldn’t just be that Jeffries would warm the bench while his buddy dominates on the floor. Jeffries and Wiseman work well together.
I think UK is still in a good spot for Wiseman, but I’m slightly less confident than I was a week ago.
Donatie Allen: Allen racked up the offers over the weekend playing in Atlanta and that was capped off by landing an offer from Louisville. I hinted at this over the weekend but I expect Allen to receive an offer from Kentucky in the next week. As we posted earlier on KSR, Allen plans on taking all five official visits and is wide open in his recruitment, but if the Cats offer then they will be the team to beat. That’s not to say Allen won’t take his visits/won’t take his time, but ultimately I would expect him to end up at Kentucky. If UK doesn’t offer in the next two weeks then that could complicate things. UK told Allen they would watch him and then possibly offer. Well, the Cats watched him all week and he dominated. If Kentucky doesn’t offer in the next week or two then that could understandably be taken as a sign of disrespect. I don’t imagine it comes to that and an offer is imminent.
One other reason UK will likely offer Allen is because he may have more potential than UK wing target Keion Brooks. Brooks didn’t have a great weekend at Peach Jam and if the Cats were all-in on the Indiana native, it may be time to look at other options. Brooks has all the tools and you can see why so many bluebloods want him, but he never put it together. His dad told KSR that he was a little off and playing injured, which I believe, but I wasn’t blown away enough to understand why only one wing has been offered in 2019. It may be a stretch to say that Allen is better today than Brooks, but it’s feasible that Allen can surpass Brooks.
We also said last week that UK was maybe fading with Brooks. I still find that to be the case.
Vernon Carey Jr.: The strange thing about UK’s 2019 class is that the Cats seem to be in a great spot with several targets, but it’s unclear if they are the clear cut leader for any of those targets. I would confidently say that UK is in the top two for Wiseman, Carey Jr., Anthony, Hurt, but I can’t say that UK is the leader for any of those players.
But yes, UK is in the top two for Carey in my opinion. Kentucky watched every one of Carey’s game last week and usually rolled two or three deep when watching Carey. They watched his games in Argentina a few weeks ago. I was told that Kentucky thinks Carey can have a DeMarcus Cousins or Julius Randle like impact (I like the Randle comparison a little better), but EVEN better. Carey can spread the floor and knockdown shots better than those two when they were in high school.
Carey Jr. may be the best college basketball player for the 2019-2020 season and with UK looking to replace its entire frontcourt after this season, my guess is Carey Jr. slides in to be the guy. And yes, I think Carey Jr. and Wiseman can play together.
Remember, I asked Carey if he had any visits planned and the first school he mentioned was UK and Big Blue Madness. The only other school he mentioned was Duke (after UK) and he didn’t know the name of their midnight madness event, which will likely feature Nickelback karaoke.
Matthew Hurt: Hurt and his adidas team played in NYC, so I wasn’t able to watch or speak to him, but after being able to watch him in Canada earlier this summer I know how great of a player he is and could be for UK. Just because he’s white many will assume he can only shoot, but that’s not the case. Hurt can put it on the floor and attack the rim and he can post up (although I didn’t see as much of his post-up game in Canada). He’s a dream as a pick-and-pop weapon and he holds his own defensively. He’s an elite, legitimate top five talent and Kentucky has continued to watch him this summer, both in Canada and in NYC.
UK has a much better chance with Hurt than people think. I get the sense that Hurt himself prefers Kentucky, but a lot of people around him are pushing some other schools. Shoe companies, family preferences, being able to play this summer for Bill Self. Those are reasons I’ve heard UK won’t land Hurt, but I know other players in the class of 2019 believe that UK may be the team to beat for Hurt.
Kentucky may have to win Hurt and his family over on the official visit, which will happen this fall. I like where things are going in this recruitment.
Tyrese Maxey/Cole Anthony: Watching these two play against one another was a lot of fun last Wednesday, but Maxey being banged up changed the dynamics of the game. However, if you missed our coverage last week let me recap: Maxey’s team was down about 10 with three minutes to play against Anthony’s team. Maxey’s ankle is still hurting from turning it in Canada last month, but decided he was going to give it a shot at Peach Jam. Maxey’s coach took him out because he wanted to give Maxey rest for the remaining games. When Maxey realized he was being taken out for the remainder of the game he put himself back in, decided to guard Anthony and helped lead his team to a dramatic come from behind win.
Maxey’s ankle would sadly only get worse during the week, but it didn’t stop him from competing and giving it his all. UK fans should already love this guy, but if you don’t get on the train now. He’s going to be a fan favorite when he gets to Lexington and is just behind Anthony as the best guard in the class. He’s actively recruiting other five-star targets to Lexington and I’m told by folks close to UK that they think Maxey has actually helped in some recruitments.
Seeing Anthony and Maxey play with each other in Canada was all I needed to see to know they could play together, but it was reiterated watching them play against one another. Anthony is more ball-dominant where Maxey is comfortable playing off the ball. Maxey would be the two and Anthony the one if both came to UK.
Anthony would “love” to play with Maxey, but I am told that if UK has too many guards return after this season it will eliminate UK’s chances. The good news is that Anthony is going to wait until the spring before making a final decision. He will see how the rosters look. If UK returns some of Quickley, Hagans, Baker, Green, then Anthony probably goes elsewhere, but having any of those players for another year would be solid, too. It will likely be somewhat of a win-win for UK, because if the Cats lose those players I think Kentucky will be in a great spot to land Anthony. If players return and Anthony goes elsewhere the Cats will miss out on an elite guard, but at least the guard position wouldn’t be a weakness for Kentucky.
Anthony’s recruitment will be mostly a mystery but I’ve never seen someone with a higher basketball IQ at his age. You all need to watch him if you get the chance.
Jalen Lecque: When I was at the Nike Peach Jam UK did not watch Lecque. That tells us all we need to know about Kentucky’s chances with Lecque. The Cats are going in another direction and it’s probably best for both sides. Lecque is a freak athlete that could be a nice college player, but it won’t be at Kentucky in my opinion.