CHICAGO — Five-star center Stephen Zimmerman has had the same five schools on his recruiting list for months now.
There's still not a clear picture of which of those programs should be considered the favorite.
"I think me and my parents have done a really good job keeping it neutral," Zimmerman told the Herald-Leader with a smile this week.
The schools are Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas, UCLA and UNLV. He took his official visits to those places months ago, but there haven't been many breaks in his recruitment since.
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Zimmerman — the nation's No. 9 prospect, according to Scout.com — says he's genuinely torn on which program to pick.
"I still think about it every day," he said. "I have days where I'm in love with one school, and then days when I'm in love with another school.
"I'm still not going to try to rush it. I'm taking my time."
When given the opportunity to admit if there are indeed one or two schools standing out without actually naming those schools, Zimmerman thought about it for a few seconds.
"I don't think so," he concluded.
It's clear that UK Coach John Calipari has made Zimmerman a recruiting priority, maybe more so than any of the other uncommitted post players he's pursuing. There have been numerous visits to Zimmerman's hometown of Las Vegas by Calipari and his assistants, many other trips to see him play at other locales.
Coach Cal has also made an impression on his family.
"Him and my mom love each other, so they talk all the time," Zimmerman said. "She never shuts up about him."
But, he acknowledged, his mother has her "own person" at every school that she feels connects well with the family. The five programs on Zimmerman's list have been recruiting him for so long that they're beginning to feel like families themselves, he said.
He knows that'll have to change soon.
His decision might not come until after the roster situation at each school becomes clearer, which could mean another month or so of mulling it over.
"I can see myself being successful at any of the five schools on my list," he said. "I really trust all the coaches, that they're going to help me and get me better. It's just about making that decision."
UK freshman point guard Tyler Ulis could've given No. 1 high school point guard Isaiah Briscoe the cold shoulder during the latter's official visit to UK last fall and avoided some legitimate competition for playing time next season.
Ulis did the exact opposite, and Briscoe ultimately signed with the Cats.
"Oh, Tyler. He's like a big brother to me," Briscoe told the Herald-Leader. "When I went on my visit, I was with him and Devin Booker. And it's all love. He wasn't there saying like, 'Oh, don't come here.' He wanted me there just as bad as I wanted to go there. Tyler and Devin Booker just made me feel like family when I was there. That played a big part in me committing to Kentucky."
Swanigan sets date
Five-star center Caleb Swanigan said Wednesday that he will announce his college decision while he is in Portland, Ore., for the Nike Hoop Summit, which will be played April 11.
Swanigan recently narrowed his list to Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State, Arizona, Purdue, California and Chicago State, the first school to offer him a scholarship.
The 6-8 prospect from Fort Wayne, Ind., is ranked No. 8 in the class of 2015 by Scout.com. He has taken two unofficial visits to Kentucky, but his only official visits so far have been to Duke and California.
Swanigan is in Chicago this week for the McDonald's All-American Game. He spoke to the Herald-Leader on Sunday night and was asked whether he would wait for current college players to announce their NBA intentions before picking a school.
"Not really, because toward the end of the season — about this time — you know which guys are most likely going to go," he said. "Even if they don't, it's really not a huge factor of where I want to choose to go."
More recruits on TV
A day after the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago, which took place Wednesday night, the Dick's Sporting Goods national tournament tips off in New York City.
This year's eight-team field includes three major UK recruiting targets, as well as one basketball player who has already signed to play football for the Wildcats.
The event begins Thursday with four games starting at noon on ESPNU. The first pits Blanche Ely (Fla.) — led by future UK wide receiver Therrell Gosier — against Findlay Prep (Nev.), which features class of 2016 point guard Derryck Thornton.
Thornton is considering UK, Duke, Louisville and several others. Some recruiting services regard him as the No. 1 point guard in the class of 2016.
The 2 p.m. game will showcase Jaylen Brown and Wheeler (Ga.) against Thomas Bryant and Huntington (W.Va.) Prep. Brown and Bryant will be heading to New York straight from the McDonald's Game.
The semifinals will be played Friday at 3 and 5 p.m. on ESPN2.
The championship game is set for Saturday at noon on ESPN, and it will be played in Madison Square Garden.