Five future Cats eligible to become McDonald's All-Americans on Wednesday

broberts@herald-leader.comJanuary 28, 2014 

Trey Lyles

Five future University of Kentucky basketball players will find out Wednesday whether they've earned a trip to this year's McDonald's All-American Games.

The selections — 24 boys and 24 girls — will be announced during a 30-minute special starting at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. All four of UK's men's basketball signees have been nominated.

Indianapolis power forward Trey Lyles and New Jersey center Karl Towns Jr. are both consensus top-10 players in the senior class and are likely to be chosen for the game.

Mississippi shooting guard Devin Booker and Chicago point guard Tyler Ulis have also been nominated and both have good shots at making the team.

Coach John Calipari has had 16 McDonald's All-Americans during his time at UK, including a record six selections in last year's game

On the women's side, Ohio post player Alyssa Rice is UK's only signee on the list of nominations. ESPN ranks Rice as the No. 20 overall prospect in the senior class.

Coach Matthew Mitchell had two players in last year's McDonald's Game: Makayla Epps and Linnae Harper.

Louisville native D'Angelo Russell also has a good chance of making the boys' game. Russell, who previously played for Central High but now attends Montverde Academy in Florida, is considered the No. 12 overall prospect in the senior class by ESPN.

Russell has signed with Ohio State.

Ballard players Quentin Snider and Kelan Martin are among the Kentucky seniors who were nominated for the game.

This year's games will be played April 2 at the United Center in Chicago.

Exum declares for NBA

Australian high school star Dante Exum announced Tuesday that he will skip college and declare for this year's NBA Draft.

Exum, a 6-foot-6 point guard, is projected as a top-five pick in the June draft and has already hired an agent.

He said last month that he was still considering playing college basketball and had narrowed his list of schools to UK, Indiana, North Carolina, Michigan and Oregon.

New rankings for 2016

ESPN unveiled its updated player rankings for the Class of 2016 on Tuesday, and 7-footer Thon Maker held on to the No. 1 spot.

Maker, who has received some early interest from UK, plays for The Carlisle School in Virginia. He was born in Sudan and moved to Australia before coming to the United States a couple of years ago.

UK has already offered scholarships to three players in the Class of 2016: North Carolina post player Harry Giles (No. 3), St. Louis wing Jayson Tatum (No. 4) and California power forward M.J. Cage, who is not ranked in ESPN's Top 25.

ESPN's rankings for the Class of 2015 will be updated Wednesday. New rankings for 2014 will be posted Thursday.

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

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