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Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Anthony Edwards visits, Stewart recruits McDaniels to Washington

Photo: USA Today

Photo: USA Today

Good evening and happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, BBN! Another week has passed, which means it’s time for another edition of Pilgrim’s Monday Insider Notes.

For as “quiet” as things were two weeks ago, we’re reached complete chaos over the course of the last few days.

Let’s dive right in.

Anthony Edwards

Photo: Alyssa Trofort/Under Armour

Before we get into anything else, we have to discuss the biggest storyline of the day:

Kentucky is hosting the No. 1 player in the class of 2019 in point guard Anthony Edwards on an official visit starting today, with sources telling KSR the 6-foot-6 athlete arrived on campus earlier this afternoon and he will stay through the Mississippi State game tomorrow evening.

Evan Daniels of 247 Sports originally broke the news on Saturday about Edwards visiting Kentucky this week and then Kansas on Feb. 9.

The timing of the visit is interesting, but it’s absolutely massive for the program for obvious reasons. As one of the best scorers and complete players in all of high school basketball, Edwards has a chance to dominate the college basketball scene and end up as the No. 1 overall pick when the 2020 NBA Draft rolls around. Getting him on campus automatically improves Kentucky’s chances of reeling him in, even when the Wildcats’ chances seemed slim when he originally reclassified from the class of 2020.

As far as those chances specifically and why the timing is so interesting, I heard a bit of information from a source a few weeks ago that we needed to watch Ashton Hagans’ situation and his development as an NBA prospect in relation to Edwards’ recruitment. And that exact scenario is playing out.

Hagans quickly becomes a menace on both ends of the floor for the Wildcats, starts finding his way onto NBA mock drafts, and Kentucky gets Edwards in on an official visit out of the blue. I just don’t think that’s a coincidence. In short, I believe the UK staff knows Hagans is trending toward the NBA and they are looking for the No. 1 prospect in the nation to replace him next season (not too shabby of a replacement candidate, I might add).

I have been told that Edwards likes Kentucky “a whole lot, probably more than the general public realizes” and the UK coaching staff is extremely excited for the opportunity to sell him on being a Wildcat. The narrative out there is that Florida State is the team to beat with Georgia knocking on the door, but the staff feels they can swing major momentum their way while Edwards is on campus.

In an interview with Eric Bossi of, Edwards said he’s looking to build relationships and chemistry with the coaching staff during his visit.

“I’m looking at bonding, the relationship with the coach and staying there and seeing if I have chemistry with them,” he said. “They say come to UK and get a national championship.”

Memphis made some buzz with Edwards this last week, specifically with former Kentucky target James Wiseman reaching out to him, but I’m under the impression the elite point guard prospect is officially down to Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina, with the first four schools being the most likely options.

He’ll likely make a decision after the McDonald’s All-American Game in late March.

I will have an update on the site on how things went/specifics when Edwards’ visit concludes.

Isaiah Stewart

Last night, five-star power forward Isaiah Stewart committed to Washington over Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky, and Syracuse, a decision that really shocked no one in the recruiting circles.

If you’ve been following along with the notes over the past few weeks, you’d know Stewart has been leaning toward the Huskies and Kentucky was most likely out of the running. Sources told KSR that Kentucky was running fourth behind Washington, Duke, and Michigan State (in that order), and yesterday Stewart himself confirmed that.

The elite prospect out of La Porte, IN told Evan Daniels of 247 Sports that he actually decided on Washington two weeks ago, with the Blue Devils and Spartans also receiving consideration during the home stretch of his recruitment.

“I really decided that I wanted to go to Washington two weeks ago,” Stewart said. “I was bouncing around from school to school. I was strong with Duke at one point and Michigan State at one point.”

The fact of the matter is that while we usually hear of butterflies and rainbows after visits, I’ve been told Stewart’s official visit to Kentucky just didn’t click with the five-star power forward. The Wildcat coaching staff emphasized how difficult things would be in Lexington, how hard he’d have to work, minutes and shots aren’t guaranteed or promised, etc., and Stewart was more interested in going to a school where he could be the superstar in the frontcourt.

In Daniels’ interview with the elite big man, Stewart confirmed that he was looking to be “the guy” in college.

“Come out here and be the guy,” Stewart said. “39 or 36 touches is what Noah Dickerson got one game. Just getting the ball. I’m an unselfish player and I know how to play with other guys. I want to change the culture out there. When I went out there they were just bursting for someone and I just felt it.”

He’s a talented prospect, and I genuinely feel that he would have been a fantastic player in Lexington, but things just didn’t work out. While I’ve gotten optimistic feedback on the other remaining available frontcourt prospects for Kentucky, the responses I got on Stewart during the home stretch of his recruitment were mixed (at best).

On to the next…

Jaden McDaniels

Photo via Endless Motor

Over the course of the last week or so, rumors have been floating around that once Isaiah Stewart officially committed to Washington, five-star forward Jaden McDaniels would soon spurn his hometown Huskies and commit to Kentucky. I don’t know where they came from or why they’re out there, but I can say with 100 percent certainty they are not true.

In fact, it’s just the opposite. Sources tell KSR that Stewart’s commitment to Washington only strengthened the team’s chances of securing a commitment from McDaniels, not force his hand to look elsewhere.

After Stewart committed to Washington on Sunday evening, he told 247 Sports his first job as a Husky will be to convince McDaniels to join him in Seattle.

“I feel like I’m special and I feel like I deserve to go out there and I feel like they deserve a top recruit,” he said. “I’m going after Jaden McDaniels and we are trying to build something out there.”

Adam Zagoria of FloHoops interviewed McDaniels at the Hoophall Classic this afternoon, asking him of his thoughts on Stewart’s pitch and the Huskies in general.

“When [Stewart] recruits me, everything sounds good,” he said. “I feel like it would be crazy because they have Quade [Green] too, so I feel it would be something people haven’t seen before.

“[I’d be] super comfortable there,” he added. “Because everybody there I know. I’m just around them all the time so I feel that would be a good situation.”

As for Kentucky, the perceived co-favorite in his recruitment, McDaniels says he’s in contact with the Wildcat coaching staff “all the time.”

“Yeah, I talk to the all the time,” he said. “They’re shooting me texts like ‘we’re watching’ and ‘we’d love to have you,’ and stuff like that. They just tell me if you come it’s not going to be given to you, you just gotta work for everything.”

As far as a decision and his overall recruitment goes, McDaniels says he’s going to wait until the end of his season to make a decision, as KSR reported last week.

“I haven’t really been paying attention to [recruiting], honestly,” he said. “I’m just worred about my high school team and doing what we’re doing. I don’t even know [when I’ll make a decision] right now, probably toward the end of our season.”

I believe that while Kentucky feels great about their position, Washington is a legitimate threat to land the 6-foot-11 forward. The fact that McDaniels is in no rush to make a decision plays in Kentucky’s favor.

Keion Brooks Jr.

(Photo: Lopez/Nike)

Last week in the notes, I wrote about five-star forward Keion Brooks coming close to a decision, with sources telling KSR that it would likely come down to Indiana and Kentucky in the end.

Over the last few days, however, two prominent recruiting analysts reported Brooks’ decision would likely come down to two schools, but they each had different finalists (with neither including Kentucky).

Rivals’ Corey Evans said it was going to be a “battle” between IU and UNC for the La Lumiere star.

“[North Carolina’s] best chances lay with Keion Brooks and Matthew Hurt,” he said. “Brooks is much closer to his decision, and it looks to be a battle between Indiana and UNC for him.”

Brian Snow of 247 Sports, however, wrote in a recent post that he felt the decision was between Indiana and Michigan State for Brooks.

Indiana has been the go-to pick for most recruiting analysts, as he has openly discussed his satisfaction with staying home and playing in front of friends and family every night. There’s no doubt the Hoosiers will be in the conversation right up until the final announcement.

Though I have been told the Kentucky coaching staff feels good about their chances with the versatile forward, the fact that there might not be a clear-cut team up there with the Hoosiers makes me think Archie Miller and the IU coaching staff will win out in the end.

Brooks participated in the Hoophall Classic this afternoon, so quotes from his postgame interview should begin to trickle out in just a bit. He has said he is nearing a decision, and I was told that with his teammate Isaiah Stewart committing on ESPN at the event this weekend, fans should watch out for him pulling the trigger, as well.

Obviously that hasn’t happened, but we’ll see if we get a decision date sooner rather than later.

Matthew Hurt

Five-star forward Matthew Hurt completed his official visit to Duke this weekend, the third of his five anticipated officials before making a decision this spring. He started with Kentucky at the beginning of December and followed it up with a trip to North Carolina on December 14.

He’s also scheduled to visit Kansas in February and take a fifth to either Memphis or Minnesota to close things out, though nothing has been determined as of yet.

As far as his visit to Duke goes, 2019 five-star Blue Devil commit Wendell Moore joined him, where he tried to sell the elite scorer on joining him in Durham throughout the weekend.

I’ve been told that Hurt is the last target on the board (barring a reclassification) for Duke, so they sold him on being the final piece to the puzzle to close out their recruiting class that includes five-star center Vernon Carey, Moore, and four-star combo guard Boogie Ellis. Things unsurprisingly went well, though I will add that his trip didn’t change his mindset on his recruitment (i.e. he didn’t want to jump on a commitment, cut list, etc.). That’s obviously good news for Kentucky, who still feels great about their chances.

Like I said last week, this thing is going to go the distance, so nothing monumental was expected during this visit. Hurt wants to close out his senior season before focusing on cutting his list and making a final decision.

I’ll be back with more when Anthony Edwards’ visit concludes.

Go Cats.


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

22 Comments for Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Anthony Edwards visits, Stewart recruits McDaniels to Washington

  1. Smyrna_Cat
    8:08 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    Although I find this always interesting, it doesn’t feel like much of anything every changes. We all expected Stewart to go elsewhere, so hopefully we can stop talking about him now.

  2. Catsfan1715
    8:48 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    Highly doubt we get McDaniels with Nick and EJ likely coming back. Would love to get Edwards and Hurt but my guess is we end up with 1 of 2 and a transfer or 2020 reclassify big

    • BigolBlue
      9:41 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

      Help us all. Frontcourt going to be weak next year

    • bigbluebanana
      9:47 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

      Shocker to hear you say that.

    • Catsfan1715
      11:39 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

      I’d take a 3rd year nick or a 2nd year EJ over any big left on the board right now

    • mashburnfan1
      11:41 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

      McDaniels is not a kid that is going to help right away. Did you see his game today? He is values on his potential, his NBA potential. He played a good HS team today and had 6 points, fouled out and was a non factor. Recruiting gurus there even said he is rated on potential and is far from a ready product. Our teams being brand new every year need guys that can lay and help NOW. Is why we are no longer a title contender because Cal no longer gets the 3 or 5 of the most ready guys like he used to.

  3. VirginiaCat
    9:00 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    I didn’t read anything encouraging from a Kentucky point of view. The segment on Brooks was interesting. We thought we were in the hunt as recently as last week, only to learn that Brooks isn’t interested in Kentucky. Stewart going to Washington doesn’t bother me. It sounds like he has a very, very large ego that might be difficult to manage. The news on McDaniels is a bit disheartening. With respect to Hurt, my sense is that we aren’t getting him. I remember when we picked recruits, but no more.

    • bigbluebanana
      9:39 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

      You mean like once Cal got here? The first few years when we “picked” them, we didn’t get everybody. We’ll be perfectly fine and Cal knows what he’s doing, nothing to worry about. We don’t go for the ones that want to be the center of everything scoring 40 a game, ask Oklahoma, UCLA, or Washington how that worked out for them. Even at dook now, there’s a huge growing concern amongst their fans that their three headed monster is bubbling over behind the scenes. Reddish is apparently very unhappy and I’ll bet you anything that’s gonna come back to bite them at some point.

    • deputy305
      10:53 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

      I bet we don’t get anyone, kids nowadays don’t want to hear “it’s damn hard here at UK, and you have to earn it”. Cal’s recruiting pitch isn’t working anymore

    • bigbluebanana
      11:13 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

      Yep, we got no good recruits at all this year or last! Fire Cal now!

    • KYjellyRoll
      12:14 pm January 22, 2019 Permalink

      He’s just being up front and honest with them that success is earned and not given. You can’t grow if everything is given. I like cals pitch and I think a lot of kids nowadays need a person like Cal in their life.

    • Catsfan1715
      11:37 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

      Lol just the top 1-2 classes in the country every single year he’s been here. He must be losing his touch lololol I mean is this real life? At least stick to criticizing his coaching or his players first mentality, but recruiting ? Lol

  4. notFromhere
    9:18 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    You want the kids that want to work and not just get handed everything, so Stewart wasn’t going to fit. Question is whether kids that work will get time if they decide to come back or someone higher ranked is signed at their position.

  5. Luether
    9:32 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    Good post, Jack…

  6. VirginiaCat
    10:44 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    Bigbluebanana: You say there is a “huge growing concern” at Duke that things are “bubbling over behind the scenes.” I have heard no credible reports along those lines.

    • bigbluebanana
      11:18 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

      Go to college basketball subreddit, go to the dook b-ball subreddit. Literally sites populated on content from just fans. Also, I didn’t state it’s being reported by espn or anything, I said it’s a growing concern amongst fans, and those two places alone are full of discussions about this exact situation. It gets mentioned far more often today than it did even ten days ago. Take it for what it’s worth though, I have no grasp on the typical dook fan, these people could likely all be dook’s version of bigolblue, or less stupid, but still “Sky is falling” fans around here. Remember, there’s actually some fools here who want Cal fired and think he sucks and can’t get good players anymore.

  7. binarysolo
    11:07 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    “They just tell me if you come it’s not going to be given to you, you just gotta work for everything.” Oh so you’re saying it’s earned, not giv-.

  8. Truth_Hurts
    11:43 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    I really hope we get McDaniels. Guys going to be a star. He should be #1. He doesn’t get the exposure like he should being west coast.

    • JASUN74
      8:37 am January 22, 2019 Permalink

      Man I don’t know what you’re watching, but McDaniels isn’t anywhere near ready to help a college team next year. He could be a great player one day if he works on a lot of stuff but he’s not really ready now. Just like Paul B. Said today. He’ll end up being good one day but his ranking is solely based off protecting what he could become. Now Edwards is the real deal and no question the number one player. If McDaniels were ranked by this years players, he may not be top 25-50!!

  9. Brad
    12:34 am January 22, 2019 Permalink

    If we get Anthony Edward’s, hurt, and McDaniels that would be nice after missing on both zion and rj barrett last year then carey and wiseman this year

  10. CahillsCrossingNT
    6:28 am January 22, 2019 Permalink

    Ever since Ralph Sampson decided to go to Virginia 40 years ago, I’ve assumed until they say where they’re going or sign a letter of intent that Kentucky won’t get them. I’ve found that to be a more realistic approach.

  11. JASUN74
    8:43 am January 22, 2019 Permalink

    After watching the games played today and listening to Paul B. talk about the two, I’m ten to one rather have Brooks than McDaniels. He’s is head and shoulders the better player as of right now and I sure hope we can get him. Brooks really impressed me with how hard he played and how good he was. If he want to have a great NBA career, he need Cal now and get started. Lol. He’s better than I thought he was for sure. McDaniels not so much. A couple years away.