Plenty of top prospects are on John Calipari's recruiting radar

broberts@herald-leader.comJuly 8, 2014 

Summer vacation is over for Coach John Calipari and the rest of the Kentucky basketball staff.

Calipari and his assistants will be back on the recruiting trail starting Wednesday — the first day of the July recruiting period — for a final look at their top targets before the beginning of the high school season.

Nike, Reebok and Adidas will hold camps in Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Chicago, respectively, this week, and the events will feature UK recruits. The camps are likely to attract University of Kentucky coaches.

Other big events between Wednesday and the end of the recruiting period on July 27 include the Nike Peach Jam next week in South Carolina and the AAU Super Showcase the following week in Louisville.

The next three weeks provide the final off-campus opportunities this summer for college coaches to evaluate high school prospects in person.

As always, plenty of top recruits are on UK's radar.

With just one commitment for the class of 2015 — from Chicago guard Charles Matthews — Calipari will look for others to fill out what should be another top-rated recruiting class. The UK coach and his staff also will want to make positive impressions on players from the class of 2016 and beyond.

Here's a quick look at the eight recruits from the class of 2015 who have received UK scholarship offers, and the latest predictions from scouts and analysts on each player's 247Sports Crystal Ball page.

■ Cleveland power forward Carlton Bragg will make an official visit to UK for Big Blue Madness on Oct. 17.

Crystal Ball: UK leads with 39 percent of the predictions. Ohio State and Kansas are next with 27 percent each.

■ Georgia small forward Jaylen Brown is the No. 4 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings; he has said he will take an official visit to Kentucky.

Crystal Ball: UK leads with 68 percent. Georgia and Georgia Tech are next with 16 percent each.

■ New York post player Cheick Diallo took his first visit to UK during the final weekend of June.

Crystal Ball: Kentucky and Kansas share the lead with 42 percent each.

■ Philadelphia wing Derrick Jones is planning his first trip to Kentucky in August.

Crystal Ball: Syracuse leads with 75 percent. UConn is next with 19 percent.

■ Memphis post player Skal Labissiere has visited only his hometown school so far, but he told the Herald-Leader recently that he'd like to take more trips this fall.

Crystal Ball: Memphis leads with 85 percent. UK has 15 percent.

■ Mississippi guard Malik Newman has not taken many college visits and is not expected to make a decision until after his senior season.

Crystal Ball: UK leads with 78 percent. Kansas is next with 16 percent.

■ California post player Ivan Rabb — the No. 2 player in the class — lists UK among his final schools but has announced no plans for a trip to Lexington.

Crystal Ball: Arizona leads with 68 percent. North Carolina is next with 23 percent.

■ Las Vegas center Stephen Zimmerman will use an official visit for his first trip to UK for Big Blue Madness on Oct. 17.

Crystal Ball: Arizona leads with 50 percent. UNLV is next with 42 percent.

Diallo, Newman, Rabb and Zimmerman have all been playing for Nike-affiliated teams this summer (Rabb and Zimmerman are teammates with the Oakland Soldiers).

All four players have helped their teams qualify for next week's Peach Jam finals, where Calipari will make an appearance.

Bragg and Brown are on the Adidas circuit, while Jones plays for a Reebok-affiliated squad. Labissiere has competed for multiple teams this summer.

The early signing period for the class of 2015 begins Nov. 12.

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

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