The Marshall County Hoop Fest returns to western Kentucky this weekend, and the annual basketball showcase will once again feature several UK recruiting targets.
This year’s lineup is led — from a UK perspective — by Oak Hill Academy (Va.) standout Keldon Johnson, who signed with the Wildcats earlier this month.
Johnson — a 6-foot-6 wing — is the No. 14 overall prospect in the class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, and he was one of the top scorers on the Nike travel circuit this past summer.
He joins a long list of future UK players that have appeared at the Hoop Fest in recent years, a group that includes Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles, Aaron and Andrew Harrison, Skal Labissiere, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jarred Vanderbilt, Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis.
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Johnson will play games on Friday evening and Saturday night.
Tickets for the Hoop Fest, which starts Thursday and runs through Sunday, are $10 per session or $35 for the first four sessions (Thursday-Saturday games). Tickets for the games Sunday are also $10 for the entire session, but those games are not included in the all-session pass. All tickets can be purchased by calling the Marshall County athletics office at 270-527-6714.
UK’s top recruiting target in the class of 2019 will be the highlight of the Sunday schedule.
Memphis East (Tenn.) standout James Wiseman is ranked No. 1 overall in the 2019 class by Scout.com and ESPN, and he was the first player from that group to earn a Kentucky scholarship offer. UK Coach John Calipari was scheduled to visit with him Tuesday.
Wiseman — a 6-11 power forward — was ruled temporarily ineligible due to a transfer flap earlier this fall, but he has been granted an injunction to play through at least Dec. 7. Memphis East is one of the top teams in the country this season.
Another class of 2019 recruit with an early UK scholarship offer — Olive Branch (Miss.) small forward D.J. Jeffries — will play at the Hoop Fest on Saturday.
Other Hoop Fest participants on UK’s recruiting radar include Huntington (W.Va.) Prep sophomore Jaemyn Brakefield and Adair County freshman Zion Harmon, as well as Lexington Catholic senior Zan Payne, who has been mentioned as a possible UK walk-on for next season. Payne is the son of UK assistant coach Kenny Payne.
The Hoop Fest lineup will also include Findlay Prep (Nev.) star Bol Bol, the No. 3 player in the 2018 class and an Oregon signee; Prolific Prep (Calif.) power forward Jordan Brown, an uncommitted five-star player in the 2018 class; Oak Hill big man David McCormack, a Kansas signee for next season; Aspire Academy post player Charles Bassey, the No. 3 recruit in the junior class; and five-star St. Benedict’s (N.J.) junior forward Precious Achiuwa.
Several of the state’s top schools — according to the Herald-Leader’s preseason Top 25 rankings — will play in the Hoop Fest, including No. 8 Hopkinsville, No. 11 Lexington Catholic, No. 13 Bowling Green, No. 15 Adair County and No. 24 University Heights.
(all times Central)
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 (Session 1)
4 p.m.: Massac County (Ill.) vs. Marshall County (Girls)
5:30 p.m.: Massac County (Ill.) vs. Marshall County
7 p.m.: University Heights vs. Graves County
8:30 p.m.: Sunrise Christian (Kan.) vs. Victory Rock (Fla.)
Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 (Session 2)
4 p.m.: Oak Hill Academy (Va.) vs. Hamilton Heights, (Tenn.)
5:30 p.m.: Orangeville Prep (Ont.) vs. Findlay Prep (Nev.)
7 p.m.: Prolific Prep (Calif.) vs. Tennessee Prep (Tenn.)
8:30 p.m.: Huntington Prep (W.Va.) vs. St. Benedict’s (N.J.)
10 p.m.: Hillcrest Prep (Az.) vs. Victory Rock (Fla.)
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 (Session 3)
9 a.m.: Carterville (Ill.) vs. Marshall County (Girls)
10:30 a.m.: Columbus (Miss.) vs. Curie (Ill.)
Noon: Findlay Prep (Nev.) vs. Aspire Academy
1:30 p.m.: Hillcrest Prep (Az.) vs. St. Benedict’s (N.J.)
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 (Session 4)
3:45 p.m.: Prolific Prep (Calif.) vs. Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
5:15 p.m.: Lexington Catholic vs. Marshall County
6:45 p.m.: Adair County vs. Olive Branch (Miss.)
8:15 p.m.: Tennessee Prep (Tenn.) vs. Oak Hill Academy (Va.)
Sunday, Dec. 3 (Session 5)
10:30 a.m.: Orangeville Prep (Can.) vs. Word of God (N.C.)
Noon: Mercer County vs. Riverdale (Tenn.) (Girls)
1:30 p.m.: Aspire Academy vs. Memphis East (Tenn.)
3 p.m.: Murray vs. Tennessee Prep (Tenn.) (Girls)
4:30 p.m.: Hopkinsville vs. Bowling Green
6 p.m.: McCracken County vs. Henderson County