We’re still over 24 hours away from Tyrese Maxey’s decision and there isn’t a great detail of suspense surrounding the Texan’s college choice. Instead, the speculation centers around when Maxey will play college basketball.
Over a week ago, a surprise twist in Maxey’s recruitment would seem to indicate that he would be playing college basketball in November. Maxey told Ben Roberts he was just two classes shy from making the jump and it was something he was strongly considering.
But now experts are predicting that Maxey stays in the class of 2019, although no one seems to know for sure. And while folks close to Maxey may know his ultimate goals and plans, odds are Maxey hasn’t made a final decision and may not make a final call for a few months.
So, assuming the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Maxey, who’s ranked the No. 2 point guard in the class of 2019 by 247 Sports, is truly undecided let’s weigh the pros and cons of staying in 2019 and moving to 2018.
Pros of Moving to the Class of 2018:
– He gets to the pros faster. This is a big one personally for Maxey. He turns 18 in November so if he were a one-and-done he’d be turning 19 at the start of the NBA season in 2019-2020. That’s young, but it’s not crazy young. He’d physically be ready and start making millions a year earlier.
– Weak NBA PG class. Maxey could theoretically be the first point guard taken in the 2019 Draft. We still need to see who officially stays and goes for the 2018 NBA Draft, but the 2019 NBA PG class isn’t great. Darius Garland may be the first PG taken.
– UK could use him. Kentucky’s backcourt will be loaded next season, but the Cats seem to have a blend of athletic players and set-shooters. Maxey would be give UK a burst of athleticism while being able to score from anywhere. With the exception of Ashton Hagans and Jemarl Baker (injury) we know what to expect from Quade Green, Immanuel Quickley and Tyler Herro. Maxey could be a superstar for the Cats.
– Depth. UK certainly seems to have enough depth at the guard position for 2018-2019, but you truly never know what will take place during the season. Will everyone stay out of trouble? Will there be another injury? Could a player transfer out? You don’t expect any three of those things to happen but they have caused issues in previous seasons.
– Summer Trip: Summer trips are huge for player development and team building. Maxey getting to be coached by college coaches and play against grown men starting in August would be good for his overall game.
–Sending a Message: UK fans were in panic mode after Duke landed Zion Williamson a few months ago, but if the Cats had Maxey and Hagans reclassify UK would have the best class in college basketball. Calipari doesn’t like to be out shined and this would be a clear message to all of college basketball, and recruits, that he is still the best recruiter in the game.
Cons of moving to 2018:
– Loaded Backcourt: I’ve touched on this but if Maxey were to move to the class of 2018 and commit to UK he would wouldn’t just be competing for a starting spot, he would need to compete to be the first, second, or third guy off the bench. Maxey isn’t the type of kid that wants anything handed to him, but things would be crowded.
– Missing his Senior Year: While there’s no denying the college game would be better for his development, missing out on your senior year of high school is a bummer for any kid. You look forward to that moment for most of your life and it can be hard on some kids to leave town just like that.
– When Would he Arrive?: Maxey has said he’s two classes shy of being able to make the jump, but how long would those classes take? What if he it would take until August and he would miss the summer trip? If that were the case it may not be worth it for Maxey. He would be behind several other players in terms of knowing the system and physically he’d be behind, too.
– Development: While the earlier Maxey gets to UK the better for his development, he likely wouldn’t be a top five pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. However, if he continues on the path he’s on he could find himself in that position in the 2020 NBA Draft. If draft position really matters to Maxey it may be best to stay.
– When Would UK Really Need Him?: Having Maxey in 2018-2019 would be an abundance of riches for Calipari and UK, but would the Cats be better served being patient and using Maxey for the 2019-2020 season? Maxey would join D.J. Jeffries as 2019 commitments and would continue to put the full-court press on James Wiseman. Plus, having Maxey in the ears of Vernon Carey and other elite 2019 players will only help. Maxey and Jeffries could start a super class that could result in two great seasons for UK.
– Making Other Guards Unhappy: Tyler Herro had a quote saying the Cats had plenty of guards when Ashton Hagans committed and mentioned reclassifying. If the Cats added Hagans and Maxey would that rub Green, Quickley, Herro or Baker the wrong way? Could it disrupt chemistry? It only takes one player to be truly unhappy to cause locker room drama. UK will want to avoid that at all costs.
Those are some of the cases for and against Maxey joining UK for the 2018-2019 season. What is your preference?