Following a short break in the live recruiting calendar — one featuring two five-star commitments for Kentucky — John Calipari will be back on the road Friday for another round of visits.
As of Friday morning, Calipari was confirmed to have scheduled meetings with Bryan Antoine, Vernon Carey, Scottie Lewis, Tyrese Maxey and James Wiseman, all top-15 national prospects from the 2019 class. The second part of the spring recruiting period, where coaches are permitted to have off-campus meetings with recruits, starts Friday and runs through Wednesday of next week.
Here’s the latest on the five players Calipari will definitely be seeing:
Bryan Antoine: The 6-foot-5 combo guard from New Jersey is the No. 7 overall player in the 247Sports composite rankings and is scheduled to meet with Calipari and UK assistant coach Tony Barbee on Saturday.
Antoine will also be hosting Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Villanova’s Jay Wright, Memphis’ Penny Hardaway, Florida’s Mike White and St. John’s Coach Chris Mullin over the next few days. This will be the third time in three months that Calipari has met with Antoine, though Duke has been the behind-the-scenes favorite in his recruitment for some time, and the Blue Devils go into this spring in the driver’s seat.
Vernon Carey: The No. 2 overall player in the 247Sports composite rankings, Carey is a 6-9 power forward from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the son of former Miami Hurricanes football star and NFL first-round draft pick Vernon Carey.
Carey also met with Calipari last week, and it’s interesting that the UK coach would return for a follow-up visit so quickly given the Cats have long been seen as a bit of a long shot in his recruitment. Duke has also been viewed as the favorite for Carey, with Michigan State and Miami seen as possibilities. He’s expected to cut his list to five schools this month.
Scottie Lewis: A teammate of Antoine’s on the Under Armour circuit and in high school, Lewis is the No. 6 player in the 247Sports composite rankings for the 2019 class. The 6-5 wing will meet with all of the same coaches on Antoine’s list, though his recruitment has been seen as a little more wide open than his teammate’s, and UK has been mentioned more prominently for Lewis than Antoine in recent months.
Florida and Villanova have also generated some buzz in recent weeks. Lewis — a highly athletic prospect with a reputation as a top-notch defender — is likely to be one of UK’s main focuses on the summer circuit.
Tyrese Maxey: There might not be another player in the 2019 class that has met with Calipari as much in recent months as Maxey, a 6-4 point guard from Texas who will be seeing the UK coach for the second time this month.
Maxey is the No. 2 point guard in the 2019 rankings — behind only UK commitment Ashton Hagans, who is expected to reclassify to 2018 this summer — and the Herald-Leader has been told since last fall that Lexington is Maxey’s most likely destination. The Crystal Ball finally shifted to UK’s favor Thursday.
There has been some reclassification buzz surrounding Maxey’s recruitment in recent days, but, for now, sticking in 2019 appears to be the most likely scenario.
James Wiseman: The No. 1 player in the 2019 class and the first recruit from that group to earn a UK scholarship offer will meet with Calipari on Monday.
Wiseman is Nike league teammates with DJ Jeffries, who hosted Calipari for a visit last weekend and has said he’ll be recruiting Wiseman to join him in Lexington.
A 6-11 power forward, Wiseman played this past season for Penny Hardaway, who is now head coach at Memphis. This recruitment is clearly coming down to Calipari and Hardaway, and there’s no clear leader just yet. Wiseman, like Maxey, has been the subject of reclassification rumors, but he’s expected to stick in the 2019 class. Both players are still 17 years old, and Wiseman won’t turn 18 until next March.
UK recruits on TV
Herro scored 13 points, along with five rebounds and five assists, in the Jordan Brand Classic last weekend. Johnson was sidelined from that game with a sprained ankle and his status for the Hoop Summit is also unclear.
The World Select Team at the Hoop Summit will feature, among others, Mali native N’Faly Dante, a 6-11 center in the 2020 class who already has interest from Kentucky and will be threatening for the No. 1 ranking in that group.
Top 100 watch
Former UK recruiting target Romeo Langford, the top available recruit in the 2018 class, will announce his college decision April 30, and his finalists are Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt.
The Hoosiers have picked up several prominent Crystal Ball picks for Langford — a New Albany, Ind., native — over the past few days, and his commitment would be a major recruiting coup for Archie Miller and the Indiana program.
After Langford — the No. 5 prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings — there aren’t many elite recruits in the 2018 class still undecided.
Jordan Brown is next on the list at No. 16 overall. The 6-10 power forward from California told the Herald-Leader recently that he would be open to hearing from UK, but the Cats haven’t been in contact, and — after this week’s commitment from EJ Montgomery — likely won’t be calling. Stanford has picked up some recent Crystal Ball picks for Brown.
California point guard Brandon Williams is next at No. 31 overall. Oregon hosts Williams for an official visit this weekend and has all the most recent predictions on his Crystal Ball page.
Former Louisville commitment Courtney Ramey — a point guard from Missouri — is the only other uncommitted recruit in the national top 50. Mizzou, Oklahoma State and Texas are among his most serious suitors.
California point guard James Akinjo (No. 95) and Georgia combo guard Myreon Jones (No. 97) are the only other committed players in the top 100 nationally.
Coming up next
The in-home recruiting visits end next week, and then it’ll be time for coaches and players to hit the gyms for the first weekend of shoe company ball.
The Nike and Under Armour leagues will both be in the Dallas area starting April 20, and Adidas will have regional events that weekend in Indianapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Both of UK’s two 2019 commitments will be in action, with DJ Jeffries on the Nike circuit and Ashton Hagans playing Adidas ball. James Wiseman, Tyrese Maxey, Vernon Carey and Keion Brooks will also play for Nike teams. Matthew Hurt is on the Adidas circuit, and Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis are teammates on an Under Armour squad.
All of UK’s coaches will be scouting these events, and additional scholarship offers to players in the 2019 class (and beyond) are likely to come as a result of their performances over the next few weeks.