Good morning, BBN! I hope everyone’s “warm” Monday thawed them out a bit before the Commonwealth slowly turns into Antarctica over the next day or so.
I usually post these on Monday afternoons, but I was waiting on a specific call from an individual that didn’t come until later in the evening, so the Monday notes ended up turning into a Tuesday morning update.
On that note, let’s get right to the recruiting news.
Shooting Guard | 6-5 | 215 lbs.
Atlanta, GA | Holy Spirit Preparatory School
|ESPN||No. 4 | 1 SG||Top247||No. 1 | 1 SG|
|Rivals||No. 3 | 1 SG||247 Comp.||No. 4 | 1 SG|
Quite a bit has happened in the recruiting world since last Monday’s Insider Notes post, but easily the biggest news over the last week was Kentucky hosting the No. 1 player in the class of 2019, Anthony Edwards.
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Atlanta, GA attended Kentucky’s game against Mississippi State, and to no one’s surprise, things went really well for the Wildcats.
Beyond the fun uniform pictures in the locker room, facility tours, and “Kentucky is not for everyone” pitches, I was interested to see how he would react to Kentucky’s on-court style of play and his reception to the Rupp Arena crowd on a random Tuesday night game in the middle of SEC play.
Covering the game for KSR, I luckily got to see his reactions and overall interest from behind the bench first-hand. No matter what random camera shots the television viewers caught, I genuinely don’t remember the last time I’ve seen a recruit as invested in a game at Rupp.
As the game went on, Edwards watched every single Kentucky possession I saw when I glanced over, pointing out specific plays and talking to his father in the stands about what he saw. He was standing up with the crowd, clapping for the Wildcats on big plays, shaking hands/hugging fellow Georgia product Ashton Hagans after the game, etc.
While some recruits stay on their phones the whole time or even fall asleep at games, the No. 1 prospect in the nation was envisioning himself in a Kentucky jersey and playing for head coach John Calipari.
After his trip to Lexington, the five-star guard was quick to make his next stop on the recruiting circuit, visiting the hometown Georgia Bulldogs on an unofficial this past weekend.
— Georgia Hoops Fans (@UGAHoopsBlog) January 26, 2019
After both visits, here is what I know:
Georgia had a good bit of momentum even before their visit and folks around the Bulldog program now believe he is theirs to lose. Florida State has long been seen as the runaway favorite, but I am under the assumption that Georgia may have surpassed them. He has a remarkable relationship with both coaching staffs (something he values a ton), and they each believe they are 1A and 1B here.
Kentucky’s staff, however, feels the idea of being the superstar of a blue-blood program en route to potentially becoming the No. 1 pick in 2020 NBA Draft can win out for Edwards in the end. He’s that good, and Kentucky’s ability to develop point guards into top-level NBA talent absolutely intrigues him. As I said last week, Hagans’ situation is key with Edwards (from both parties involved), both in terms of watching his growth from being a high school junior to likely NBA first round pick in the span of a season and using is possible departure as a need for the Wildcats.
We still have a while before Edwards makes a decision, so rumblings of UGA and FSU being the top options shouldn’t necessarily worry anyone yet. There are plenty of conversations and an in-home visit or two for Kentucky before then, and they like where they are.
I was told earlier in the week that Kentucky would be hosting a fairly impressive list of individuals for the Kansas game, and right up until Friday or so, that held true.
Due to some weather complications and other timing issues, some of those potential visitors unfortunately fell through (which sucks, because the environment was easily the best of the season).
Kentucky did, however, host three visitors on Saturday: 2019 signee Tyrese Maxey, 2020 five-star center Hunter Dickinson, and 2021 four-star shooting guard Randy Brady.
Maxey was officially introduced by UK at the game and given a standing ovation by the Rupp Arena crowd for the first time, which was a gesture both Maxey and his father, Tyrone, appreciated.
With the other two, it’s obviously extremely early in the recruiting process and neither have confirmed offers from the school quite yet. Dickinson, a 7-foot-1 center from Dematha Catholic, did not receive one during his visit, but one is expected during an upcoming trip on Kentucky’s side of things sooner rather than later.
Things went well and both enjoyed the environment, and we’ll certainly hear more from each of them in the future.
|Isaiah Todd (2020)
Power Forward | 6-10 | 195 lbs.Richmond, VA| Trinity Academy Of Raleigh
AAU: Team Loaded VA
|ESPN||No. 8 | 4 PF||Top247||No. 18 | 3 PF|
|Rivals||No. 15 | 2 C||247 Comp.||No. 13 | 2 PF|
We’ll also be hearing from 2020 power forward Isaiah Todd in the future, and unlike the other two names listed above, we could hear from him sooner than most people realize.
Corey Evans of Rivals.com dropped a bombshell last week that Todd was looking into reclassifying to the class of 2019 and enrolling this fall.
However, sources have told Rivals.com that an even more drastic change could be coming as Todd and his family are investigating the proper avenues for a reclassification into the 2019 class and thus, a college enrollment this fall.
Though there was serious momentum before the weekend that he would be able to visit this weekend with his eye set on potentially joining Kentucky’s 2019 class, he unfortunately was not able to make the trip. That being said, I am told there it mutual interest and one could get rescheduled in the very near future.
Those close to him cannot confirm nor deny he is officially making the jump yet, but sources tell KSR it is definitely a realistic option and there would be interest in Kentucky if he can make it happen. There is obviously a need for UK in the frontcourt next season with PJ Washington and Reid Travis both likely gone, and the 6-foot-10 forward out of Trinity Academy Of Raleigh would be an incredible addition this late in the game.
Keion Brooks Jr.
Forward | 6-8 | 185 lbs.
Fort Wayne, IN | North Side
AAU: Spiece Indy Heat
|ESPN||No. 30 | 9 PF||Top247||No. 16 | 5 SF|
|Rivals||No. 35 | 13 PF||247 Comp.||No. 22 | 6 SF|
As momentum with Todd grows, it is slowly vanishing with five-star forward Keion Brooks Jr.
After a two-week period where Indiana and Kentucky were seen as the two teams to beat in his recruitment, things have died out with the Wildcats and Michigan State has seemingly taken UK’s place.
If he were to decide today, I wouldn’t hesitate to predict Indiana, but I think Michigan State is close behind with UNC being the dark horse right below those two. After some conversations this weekend, I just don’t see Kentucky being the end choice anymore.
The Kentucky coaching staff has always loved him and felt he would fit in perfectly with the positionless/fast-paced style of play they are hoping to implement next season with so many athletes on the roster. With Kahlil Whitney playing the three, and possibly two of Matthew Hurt, Jaden McDaniels, and Isaiah Todd rotating at the four, he’s just not a major necessity and I think he knows that. He loves Kentucky, but a bigger role close to home is likely just too much to pass up.
I’m still expecting Indiana to be the final destination.
Matthew Hurt/Jaden McDaniels
Let me start off by saying there is little to no buzz out there with either of them, and we probably won’t hear of any for a while. Unless there is any sudden movement or unexpected news, discussion on Hurt and McDaniels in these notes will likely be minimal over the next couple weeks.
Kentucky likes their position with both, but neither are focused on getting into the nitty-gritty of their recruitments at all. Things should pick up again when their senior basketball seasons are over.
There was, however, a bit of speculation surrounding a post Kentucky assistant Joel Justus made on Instagram last week:
Justus in the Minneapolis Airport has to mean he was up north to see Hurt, right?
Actually, the Kentucky assistant coach was in to see 2020 four-star power forward Dawson Garcia.
In fact, I can confirm he didn’t end up seeing Hurt at all, for what it’s worth.
Garcia, a 6-foot-10, 210-pound dynamic scorer out of Prior Lake, MN, is currently averaging 30.3 points per game for his Prior Lake HS squad. Garcia is Hurt’s AAU teammate under Hurt’s father and head coach, Rich, at D1 Minnesota. Currently listed as a consensus top-35 recruit, his stock is only going to go up from here.
Check out his most recent highlight tape from a few weeks ago:
I’ll have more recruiting news throughout the week and then I’ll be back on Monday for the next round of notes.