McDonald’s All-American Game viewers’ guide
Wednesday, 9 p.m., ESPN
This year’s McDonald’s All-American Game features just one UK signee, but several other participants remain uncommitted and have the Wildcats on their short lists. Here’s a quick look at future UK guard Isaiah Briscoe and the seven players in Wednesday’s game who could end up in Lexington.
Isaiah Briscoe (East)
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6-3 | Point guard | Roselle, N.J.
Rivals: No. 10 Scout: No. 18
ESPN: No. 13 247Sports: No. 13
The schools: He’s signed with Kentucky
What they’re getting: The Cats have landed an ultra-competitive, ultra-talented point guard who values winning above all else. In the past year, he’s led his Nike team to the biggest league championship on the summer circuit and his high school squad to the biggest tournament victory in New Jersey. He said this week that he hopes undecided prospects Malik Newman and Jaylen Brown join him at UK. “I just want to play with a whole lot of great players. That makes it easy for us.”
Jaylen Brown (East)
6-7 | Small forward | Marietta, Ga.
Rivals: No. 2 Scout: No. 1
ESPN: No. 2 247Sports: No. 2
The schools: Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Michigan, California, North Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech
What we’re hearing: Brown has spoken this week like a player who has great respect for the UK basketball program, but one who is unlikely to end up with the Wildcats. He has added Michigan, California and North Carolina to his list in recent months, and his strong ties to the Adidas circuit make Kansas and UCLA potential favorites. It’s possible that he’ll wait until current college players make their decisions, but there’s not much reason to give UK frontrunner status at this point.
Thomas Bryant (East)
6-10 | Forward/Center | Rochester, N.Y.
Rivals: No. 33 Scout: No. 33
ESPN: No. 22 247Sports: No. 30
The schools: Kentucky, Indiana, Syracuse, Missouri
What we’re hearing: Bryant told the Herald-Leader this week that he has had little contact with UK since January, though he remains highly interested in the Wildcats. He said the same thing about Syracuse, long perceived to be the favorite in his recruitment. That leaves Indiana as the consensus favorite for Bryant, who has been one of the most impressive players during the McDonald’s practice sessions. He could announce his decision at any time, and it sounds more likely that it could come in the next couple of weeks.
Cheick Diallo (East)
6-9 | Power forward | Centereach, N.Y.
Rivals: No. 7 Scout: No. 10
ESPN: No. 11 247Sports: No. 3
The schools: Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa State, St. John’s, Pittsburgh
What we’re hearing: Diallo and those in his circle indicated at the beginning of the season that they would say little about his recruitment. They’ve stuck to their word, and there’s still not much to report. Diallo said Tuesday that he likes all five schools on his list, though the buzz indicates Kansas and Iowa State might be the favorites. Iowa State could be hurt by the loss of Diallo’s lead recruiter, Matt Abdelmassih, who is joining in the new staff at St. John’s. Expect a late April decision.
Brandon Ingram (West)
6-8 | Small forward | Kinston, N.C.
Rivals: No. 19 Scout: No. 13
ESPN: No. 12 247Sports: No. 7
The schools: Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, UCLA
What we’re hearing: Ingram claims that all six programs on his list are even, and he told the Herald-Leader that he will definitely wait until college players announce their NBA decisions before he picks a school. John Calipari already has an in-home visit set up with Ingram after the NCAA Tournament, but UK doesn’t seem to be at the top of his list. As has been the case for his entire recruitment, Ingram sounds likely to stay in his home state. If he leaves, Kansas is probably the choice.
Malik Newman (West)
6-3 | Shooting guard | Jackson, Miss.
Rivals: No. 3 Scout: No. 8
ESPN: No. 4 247Sports: No. 4
The schools: Kentucky, Kansas, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, North Carolina State
What we’re hearing: Newman will likely wait until all of UK’s current players announce their NBA intentions before he makes his own college decision. The gifted scorer has said that he wants to be a point guard at the college level, and UK is already loaded at the position. Still, Newman is a tremendous player off the ball and has a great relationship with UK Coach John Calipari. If the Harrison twins head to the pros after this season, there’s a very good chance Newman will be a Wildcat.
Stephen Zimmerman (West)
7-0 | Center | Las Vegas
Rivals: No. 11 Scout: No. 9
ESPN: No. 10 247Sports: No. 11
The schools: Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas, UCLA, UNLV
What we’re hearing: Zimmerman and his family have done a great job of keeping his “favorites” list under wraps. That said, if it looks like there will be room in Kentucky’s frontcourt for the big man from Vegas, expect him to be a Wildcat. He and his parents have formed a close bond with John Calipari, and the UK coach has obviously made him a recruiting priority in this class. It sounds like he’ll hold off his decision until later this month, when 2015-16 rosters should be more clear.
Caleb Swanigan (West)
6-8 | Center | Fort Wayne, Ind.
Rivals: No. 17 Scout: No. 11
ESPN: No. 8 247Sports: No. 20
The schools: Kentucky, Michigan State, Duke, California, Purdue, Arizona, Chicago State
What we’re hearing: Swanigan just recently trimmed his list to seven schools, though he told the Herald-Leader on Sunday night that he feels like he’s getting close to a decision and might not take any more campus visits. If that’s the case, UK seems unlikely. Michigan State has been there from the beginning, and Duke has come on strong in recent months. Don’t count out California as a wild-card pick for Swanigan, who could team up in Berkeley with friend and fellow five-star post player Ivan Rabb.