Skal Labissiere is one UK’s top targets in the 2015 class. Memphis leads for the 6’10” power forward, but Cal has made him a priority in recent weeks, watching him play at Minnesota this past weekend and Vegas this week. Yesterday, Labissiere told CBSSports.com that he’s considering playing overseas for a year before declaring for the 2016 Draft, following in Emmanuel Mudiay’s footsteps. Earlier this week, Mudiay signed a contract with a Chinese professional team for $1.2 million. Labissiere admitted “that’s is a lot of money,” and going overseas is now one of many options on the table.
Because Calipari is the best at turning elite prospects into NBA Draft picks, there’s of course some negative recruiting going on, by both Memphis and Ole Miss. Parrish writes that Labissiere’s guardian, Gerald Hamilton, is pushing him to stay close to him–Memphis or Ole Miss–and both schools are playing that card as well:
Truth be told, Ole Miss and Memphis are both playing that card — that Labissiere enrolling at UK would separate him from Hamilton and open the way for William Wesley or Jay Z (or any number of folks, really) to swoop in and create a divide that could cost Hamilton what one industry source described as his “meal ticket” for a 501 (c) (3) organization he founded called Reach Your Dream. If avoiding such is important to Hamilton, the argument goes, then he better try to guide Labissiere away from Kentucky — not to mention UNC and Georgetown.
Memphis is a pretty heavy favorite, but never count out Cal, especially when he’s putting on the full-court press. However, the fact that Skal’s considering going overseas shows that Cal may have some international competition to go along with all the negative recruiting he’s facing these days.