UK recruiting: Top prospect Ingram ditches AAU circuit for tourney with home team

broberts@herald-leader.comJuly 20, 2014 

Brandon Ingram spent the previous weekend at a high-profile adidas showcase, where he left with most valuable player honors. He was recently offered a scholarship by UK.

KELLY KLINE

One of the few elite high school basketball prospects who didn't hit the AAU circuit this past weekend was Brandon Ingram, a class of 2015 recruit and recent recipient of a UK scholarship offer.

Instead of playing with his traveling team in the Atlanta area, Ingram decided to compete with his high school squad at an off-season event in his home state of North Carolina.

The 6-foot-8 small forward from Kinston certainly doesn't have much else to prove this summer. He has scholarship offers from UK, Duke, Kansas, Florida and North Carolina — just to name a few — and has moved to five-star status in the 2015 rankings.

[Star 2016 recruit's mom says he's not being recruited]

He spent the previous weekend at a high-profile adidas showcase in Chicago, where he left with most valuable player honors.

Scout.com analyst Evan Daniels came away impressed after seeing Ingram dominate in the adidas all-star game that closed that weekend.

"That performance really stood out in my mind," Daniels said. "He's a long, wiry combo forward that can really score. ... He was making jump shots. He was going off the bounce and hitting floaters. He showed great touch with his finishing moves around the basket.

"Physically, he's not strong. And that hurts him to a degree. But he's so long and he's really starting to get a lot more comfortable handling the ball and going off the dribble."

It's his length at the wing position that makes Ingram stand out. As Daniels noted, he's wiry at 190 pounds, but he uses that long frame — which includes a wingspan of 7-4 — to put himself in scoring positions that are nearly impossible to defend.

Ingram told the Herald-Leader that he's planning his first visit to UK for next month.

[State of Kentucky's top player, Trinity's Ray Spalding, commits to Louisville]

No surprise

UK recruiting target Dedric Lawson told reporters at the Nike Peach Jam on Sunday that he is "definitely" committed to the hometown Memphis Tigers.

That's not a surprise, given that his father — longtime Memphis high school coach Keelon Lawson — was hired as a Tigers assistant coach last week. Dedric's older brother — four-star prospect K.J. Lawson — was already committed to Memphis for the class of 2015.

Dedric Lawson — a 6-8 forward — is a top-10 prospect in the class of 2016, but his eventual commitment to the Tigers has been such a near-certainty for so long that UK was the only other school showing him any interest at all.

The Lawson brothers led Team Penny to Sunday's Peach Jam title game, which they lost to New Jersey-based Playaz Basketball Club.

Full attention

If Cheick Diallo was on the court, UK's Barry Rohrssen was in the stands at Peach Jam.

Rohrssen didn't miss a minute of any one of Diallo's seven games over the past few days. The new UK assistant coach recruited the class of 2015 power forward last year while on the staff at Pittsburgh, and he's taken over the recruitment since joining the Wildcats.

Diallo — a top-five recruit — fought through a sore back to lead Team Scan (N.Y.) to the Peach Jam semifinals, where they lost Sunday morning. Rohrssen and fellow assistant coach Kenny Payne were there for that game.

UK Coach John Calipari also watched him several times throughout the week.

Diallo — a 6-8 native of Mali — took an official visit to UK late last month. His other top schools include Kansas, St. John's, Iowa State and Pittsburgh.

Five-star class of 2016 guard Tyus Battle also plays for Team Scan and already has a scholarship offer from Kentucky.

New target

Allonzo Trier's 42-point performance Saturday was good enough for the high-scoring honors at Peach Jam. Trier — a 6-5 shooting guard originally from Oklahoma — averaged 30.8 points and made 16 three-pointers in five games at Peach Jam.

He also told reporters that UK Coach John Calipari has been in touch recently. Calipari watched Trier multiples times last week.

Trier will play his senior season at Findlay Prep in Nevada after playing last season at Montrose Christian (Md.). He was home-schooled in Oklahoma as a freshman and sophomore.

Arizona is considered a favorite in his recruitment, and Trier also holds offers from Louisville, Kansas, Georgetown and UCLA, among others.

Calipari watch

UK's head coach finished the second week of the July recruiting period in Minnesota, where he watched Skal Labissiere on Sunday.

Labissiere was the first player from the class of 2015 to receive a UK scholarship offer. The native of Haiti plays for a high school in the Memphis area, and the Tigers and Wildcats have long been considered the two favorites in his recruitment.

Memphis Coach Josh Pastner — a former Calipari assistant — was also in Minnesota to see Labissiere on Sunday.

Overheard

Oftentimes, the interactions between college coaches at events like the Peach Jam are more entertaining than the games themselves.

A contest between the Oakland Soldiers and Chicago-based Mac Irvin Fire on Friday drew a considerable amount of big names on the sidelines.

A few minutes into the game, West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins got out of his seat and — implying that he might be in over his head, recruiting-wise — made note of the company he was in: Calipari, UCLA Coach Steve Alford and North Carolina assistant Steve Robinson.

"Carolina? UCLA? Kentucky?" Huggins said, turning to one of his own assistant coaches. "We're in the wrong gym."

Huggins and the assistant then walked out to find another game.

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

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