Future stars visiting UK for Big Blue Madness

broberts@herald-leader.comOctober 12, 2012 

For the past couple of years, Kentucky women's basketball coach Matthew Mitchell has used his dance moves to steal some of the Big Blue Madness spotlight from men's coach John Calipari.

On Friday, Mitchell might overshadow Calipari in an area a little closer to home — with his recruiting.

The UK women's coach is expected to be host to some of the best prospects in America in Rupp Arena, including two in-state players who have already committed to UK, Makayla Epps and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers, and two other highly rated players from the class of 2013.

Mitchell's list of visitors also includes Cincinnati native Kelsey Mitchell, the No. 1 junior in the country, and three more Top 25 prospects from the class of 2014.

But don't worry about Calipari. He's doing just fine in his quest for a fifth consecutive No. 1 recruiting class.

The UK men's coach will bring in all four of the players committed to his class of 2013 — Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Derek Willis and James Young — as well as uncommitted senior forward Marcus Lee.

The No. 1 recruit from the class of 2014, Andrew Wiggins, was supposed to attend, but he'll instead head home to Canada for an extended weekend. In his place, Calipari will welcome Karl Towns, the No. 1 prospect from the class of 2015.

Add in junior standouts Cliff Alexander and JaQuan Lyle, and it's another impressive Madness haul for Calipari and his staff.

Here's some of the more high-profile visitors for both teams:

Men's recruits

Andrew Harrison
Year: Senior
Position: Point guard
Height, weight: 6-5, 210 pounds
Hometown: Houston
• The No. 1 point guard in the country committed to UK last week and will visit Big Blue Madness for the second time.


Aaron Harrison
Year: Senior
Position: Shooting guard
Height, weight: 6-5, 205
Hometown: Houston
• The top shooting guard in the country also committed to UK last week and, like his brother, is a top 5 overall recruit in 2013.


James Young
Year: Senior
Position: Small forward
Height, weight: 6-6, 200 Hometown: Rochester, Mich. • A unanimous top-10 recruit, the player who most recently committed to UK will be making his second trip to Lexington in the past few weeks.


Derek Willis
Year: Senior
Position: Forward
Height, weight: 6-9, 200
Hometown: Mt. Washington, Ky.
• UK's first player to commit, Willis will be using his official visit on this week's trip, his first to Big Blue Madness.


Marcus Lee
Year: Senior
Position: Forward
Height, weight: 6-9, 200
Hometown: Antioch, Calif.
• A versatile forward who excels on defense and is ranked as high as No. 9 overall by one service. He'll pick UK or California.


Cliff Alexander
Year: Junior
Position: Center
Height, weight: 6-9, 240
Hometown: Chicago
• A unanimous choice for top-10 status in the junior class, Alexander will likely end up at either Kentucky or Michigan State.


JaQuan Lyle
Year: Junior
Position: Point guard
Height, weight: 6-4, 185
Hometown: Evansville, Ind.
• One of the top point guards in a class loaded with them, Lyle is the only visitor who has yet to receive a UK scholarship offer.


Trey Lyles
Year: Junior
Position: Power forward
Height, weight: 6-9, 215
Hometown: Indianapolis
• After recently backing out of his commitment to Indiana, one of the top 10 players in the class has UK at the top of his list.


Karl Towns
Year: Sophomore
Position: Center
Height, weight: 6-11, 225
Hometown: Metuchen, N.J.
• Regarded as the best prospect in his class, Towns played for John Calipari over the summer with the Dominican national team.


woMen's recruits
Makayla Epps
Year: Senior
Position: Point guard
Height: 5-8
Hometown: Lebanon, Ky.
• The daughter of former UK standout Anthony Epps has already committed to UK and is ranked by ESPN as the No. 37 player in 2013.


Kyvin Goodin-Rogers
Year: Senior
Position: Forward
Height: 6-1
Hometown: Lebanon, Ky.
• Epps' teammate at Marion County has also committed to UK and is ranked by ESPN as the No. 72 player in her class.


Linnae Harper
Year: Senior
Position: Guard
Height: 5-6
Hometown: Chicago
• ESPN ranks her as the 5th-best senior in America, which would make her Matthew Mitchell's highest-rated recruit if she chooses UK.


Imani Wright
Year: Senior
Position: Guard
Height: 5-11
Hometown: Hooks, Texas
• The No. 31 player in the country, she is regarded as one of the best offensive players in the class.


Kelsey Mitchell
Year: Junior
Position: Guard
Height: 5-7
Hometown: Cincinnati
• The nation's No. 1 junior, according to ESPN, she was also recently recognized by Sports Illustrated as a "future game changer."


Chelsea Mitchell
Year: Junior
Position: Guard
Height: 5-10
Hometown: Cincinnati
• The Harrisons won't be the only twins on Friday's guest list. Chelsea is Kelsey's twin sister and longtime backcourt mate.


Alyssa Rice
Year: Junior
Position: Center
Height: 6-3
Hometown: Reynoldsburg, Ohio
• Rice is the No. 2 center and No. 12 overall player in the class of 2014, according to the ESPN.


Mychal Johnson
Year: Junior
Position: Point guard
Height: 5-8
Hometown: Huntington, W.Va.
• The type of high-energy point guard that Mitchell has had success with, Johnson is the No. 21-ranked junior in the country.


Alexa Middleton
Year: Junior
Position: Point guard
Height: 5-9
Hometown: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
• Another top point guard from the junior class, Middleton is ranked as the No. 22 overall player in 2014.


Jaycee Coe
Year: Junior
Position: Forward
Height: 6-0
Hometown: Cookeville, Tenn.
• She's not ranked in the ESPN Top 25 for 2014, but Coe is regarded as one of the best shooters in the country.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com

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