Before leaving Las Vegas for an official visit to Kansas last week, Stephen Zimmerman and his family set their DVR to record Kentucky's pro-day combine.
The high school basketball standout wanted to make sure he saw what John Calipari had in store for NBA scouts but knew he'd be too busy in Lawrence to catch any of it live.
Turns out he was wrong. Apparently, there's no escaping the UK coach.
"It was kind of funny, because we were out to lunch with the team at Kansas and they had it on a couple of the TVs in the restaurant," said Stephen's mother, Lori. "Everybody was kind of watching it and commenting. So we saw a little bit of it, and it looked good. We want to watch the rest of it, we just haven't had a chance yet."
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Did Kansas Coach Bill Self make them change the channel?
"No, no," she said with a laugh, "he was watching it too."
Chalk up another recruiting victory for Calipari.
UK recruits Jaylen Brown, Carlton Bragg and Brandon Ingram were also visiting Kansas that weekend. All three of those players, among other stars from the class of 2015, will join Zimmerman for a trip to Big Blue Madness on Friday.
Given UK's distance from Zimmerman's home in Las Vegas, this might be the 7-footer's only chance to see Lexington before he picks a college.
The decision to come to town on this date was actually made by his parents, who have watched Big Blue Madness on television the past couple of years and wanted to see it for themselves.
The idea to visit Madness was first planted in Lori's mind by someone familiar to UK fans.
Former five-star recruit Shabazz Muhammad made the Madness trek to Lexington three years ago. At the time, Muhammad was a senior at Bishop Gorman High and the No. 1 basketball prospect in the country. Zimmerman was a freshman at the school and already getting attention from college coaches.
Bishop Gorman was playing in California that weekend, and Muhammad flew straight there from Lexington following his visit. He immediately sought out Lori Zimmerman.
"The first thing he said when he came into the gym — he came up to me and said, 'You have to take Stephen. You have to let him experience it. It's just beyond words.'"
Muhammad ultimately signed with UCLA, but his pro-UK message stuck.
Zimmerman's mother called last week's trip to Kansas "first class from the moment we landed," but this seems to be the visit with the highest expectations.
She said Calipari has done nothing to lower those expectations, telling the family that they've "never seen anything like" UK basketball.
"Kentucky just does everything over the top," Lori said. "So I guess we're just expecting over-the-top craziness and for Big Blue Madness to be such a spectacle. I've never been to Lexington, so I don't know. Stephen doesn't know. But I guess we're just expecting so much more (from this trip)."
Zimmerman is also considering Arizona, UCLA, UNLV, North Carolina and Indiana. Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN all rank him as one of the top 15 players in the senior class.
Scout.com director of recruiting Evan Daniels says he'll be an "impactful" college player as a freshman, no matter where he goes.
"Stephen's going be effective at the next level as a shot-blocker, as a rim-runner, as a guy that can score the basketball," Daniels said. "I think he can impact both ends of the court. He obviously has good size, he has good mobility, he has good touch. He's a versatile scorer. He can make jump shots, attack you off the dribble and score on the block."
Zimmerman will probably wait until after his high school season to make a college decision (Daniels says Kansas and UCLA are UK's top competition). He also won't be signing a national letter of intent. "I just don't believe that it protects the student-athlete," Lori said.
She added that one college coach kind of bristled at that decision. It wasn't Calipari.
"He didn't even blink," Lori said. "He was like, 'OK!' He said people have done it before and it was no big deal."
The reaction was emblematic of the relationship between coach and recruit. Zimmerman's mother said the two have seemingly been on the same page since the beginning of the recruitment. Perhaps that will turn into a commitment down the road.
"They hit it off from the start," Lori said. "Stephen would text him when he'd see him on TV to see how quick he would answer. They talk and have fun and it's just kind of always been like that."