Kentucky's top recruiting targets gather for Elite 24 game

broberts@herald-leader.comAugust 22, 2014 

  • SATURDAY

    Under Armour Elite 24

    What: High school basketball showcase

    Where: Brooklyn, N.Y.

    When: 7 p.m.

    TV: ESPNU

Many of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari's top recruiting targets have gathered in Brooklyn this weekend for the Under Armour Elite 24 game.

More than half of the 26 players invited to the summer showcase have scholarship offers from Kentucky, including the No. 1-ranked prospects in the classes of 2015 and 2016.

Saturday's game will be televised live at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. The dunk contest and skills competitions take place Friday night and will be televised Saturday at noon on ESPNU.

Georgia small forward Jaylen Brown — one of UK's biggest recruiting targets — is among the participants. He's also the new No. 1 player in the Scout.com rankings.

National analyst Evan Daniels said Brown has made "significant strides" as a shooter over the past few months, and that was part of the reason he was elevated to the top spot in the rankings.

"He has elite physical tools," Daniels told the Herald-Leader. "At 6-foot-7 and playing on the wing, he's a very strong driver and has a chance to be a lockdown perimeter defender. He can impact a basketball game in so many different ways. His ceiling is ridiculously high."

Brown recently took an unofficial visit to UCLA and is likely to return to Los Angeles for an official visit in the coming months. Official visits to Kentucky and Kansas are also in the plans.

Those schools — along with home-state Georgia and Georgia Tech — are all heavily involved in his recruitment.

"I don't think there's a leader at this point, per se," Daniels said.

St. Louis wing Jayson Tatum is the No. 1 player in 2016, and he was also the first prospect from that class to receive a scholarship offer from Kentucky.

Tatum has visited Lexington twice in the past year, including a trip to Big Blue Madness last October.

Daniels noted that he possesses an impressive amount of skill and versatility for a 6-foot-8 player.

"You can put the ball in his hands and he can run the show," he said. "He's a really good passer. He's got really good body control. I thought he had a tremendous July. Shot the ball well from mid-range and put up video game-type numbers."

Other UK recruiting targets in the game include Ivan Rabb, Malik Newman, Stephen Zimmerman, Cheick Diallo, Brandon Ingram, Antonio Blakeney and Derrick Jones from the class of 2015.

Diallo and Rabb are not expected to play because of lingering injuries.

UK targets from the class of 2016 in Saturday's game are Thon Maker, Malik Monk, Harry Giles and Tyus Battle.

Class of 2016 point guard Derryck Thornton, who is visiting UK this year for Big Blue Madness, was invited but will also miss the game with an injury.

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

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