University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari needs to fill roster spots, and several of the nation's top high school players need a place to play next season.
In past years, the solution would be simple.
This year, it's unclear if UK will land any of its remaining targets from the class of 2015.
Late Thursday night, five-star center Stephen Zimmerman — a player many thought UK had a good chance of landing — announced his commitment to UNLV. That leaves Jaylen Brown, Cheick Diallo, Brandon Ingram and Malik Newman as the McDonald's All-Americans who have not yet made a college decision.
Never miss a local story.
Calipari has been recruiting all of them for more than a year. Will any of those four be Wildcats?
"History says they're going to get somebody," said Scout.com director of recruiting Evan Daniels. "I can't point to that person now, but I would assume they're going to get someone. But, I don't know. I think it is telling that they're recruiting other guys and trying to cover all of their bases.
"I don't think some of these kids have an idea — I mean, they have an idea — but I don't think they know where they want to go yet. And that's kind of leaving these coaches in the dark."
In recent days, Calipari has reached out to Charlotte graduate transfer Mike Thorne, a 6-foot-11 post player who will visit UK next weekend, and junior-college shooting guard Mychal Mulder, who is also setting up a visit to Lexington.
Daniels, who spoke to the Herald-Leader a few hours before Zimmerman's announcement, said it's "not out of the realm of possibility" that UK strikes out on its remaining targets from the high school ranks.
"But it's also not out of the realm of possibility that they get two of them," he said.
Ingram was to host Calipari for an in-home visit Friday night, but he also hosted coaches from Duke on Friday morning, and many consider the Blue Devils the favorite.
Newman has long been at the top of Kentucky's list, though the recent buzz around his recruitment has centered on Mississippi State, his father's alma mater.
Diallo hasn't said much of anything about his recruitment in recent weeks, only that he plans to make a decision sometime this month. UK is battling Kansas, St. John's, Iowa State and Pittsburgh for his commitment.
And Brown, the No. 1 player in the Scout.com rankings, is a mystery to just about everyone.
"A guy like Jaylen Brown, he's got eight schools on his list," Daniels said. "Just get an eight-sided dice, put a school on each side and roll it. And that's about as good of an answer as you're going to get out of me."
The wait continues.
Bright future for Briscoe
One elite recruit who will definitely be a Wildcat next season is New Jersey native Isaiah Briscoe, who signed with UK back in November.
Briscoe, like many of his peers, has been busy on the all-star circuit this month with stops at the McDonald's All-American Game, Nike Hoop Summit and Jordan Brand Classic.
The 6-3 prospect started his high school career as a shooting guard, though he has slowly transitioned to point guard in the past couple of seasons. Daniels wasn't sure how that would work at first.
Briscoe's play in these all-star practices — particularly the ones at the Hoop Summit — changed the recruiting analyst's way of thinking.
"I'll be the first to tell you I've never really been a believer in him as a point guard," Daniels said. "And he kind of won me over out there. He just played such an unselfish brand of ball and really created for his teammates and made good decisions. He put his passes on time and on target. His mentality just was different. I thought he looked tremendous out there."
Briscoe's next challenge will be to mesh with returning UK point guard Tyler Ulis. Daniels expects positive results.
"I think it'll be good," he said. "They're very different players than John Wall and Eric Bledsoe were, but I'm sure that they're going to try to utilize the two-guard system and play those guys together. I don't think you're taking Tyler Ulis off the ball, but when he needs a rest you're going to slide Isaiah Briscoe over, put the ball in his hands, and I think he's equipped to handle that pretty well."
No slouch on 'D'
Vincennes University sophomore Mychal Mulder has emerged in recent days as a serious candidate to take a roster spot at Kentucky next season.
There's no arguing his offensive game: Mulder made 88 three-pointers and shot 45 percent from long range this past season, leading the junior-college powerhouse with 15.7 points per game.
Vincennes assistant coach Brian Davis says Mulder is also a serviceable defender.
"He's not going to get abused," Davis said. "He's not Tony Allen, locking people down. But he's OK defensively."
The coach compared Mulder's defensive ability to former UK guard Doron Lamb. He also said that Calipari has been impressed with Mulder's athleticism, and Davis expects him to add to his 185-pound frame once he gets into a major-college strength and conditioning program.
"He's really improved a lot in the last two years, and he's one that hasn't maxed out his ability," Davis said. "As he goes from 185 to 195 and continues to develop, he's got a chance to be pretty good."
Alabama lands recruit
Four-star combo guard Dazon Ingram announced his commitment to Alabama on Friday afternoon.
Ingram — a 6-foot-5 prospect from Theodore, Ala. — said that he received a phone call from UK Coach John Calipari last weekend and that led him to postpone his planned announcement from Monday to Friday.
Calipari never offered Ingram a scholarship, but he still named UK and Alabama his two finalists going into Friday's announcement.
Texas interested in Goodin
New Texas assistant coach Darrin Horn was at Taylor County High School on Friday to see four-star guard Quentin Goodin, one of the early favorites for next year's Mr. Basketball honor.
Taylor County Coach Rich Gatewood told the Herald-Leader that Goodin does not yet have a scholarship offer from the Longhorns. New head coach Shaka Smart wants to see him in person before an offer is extended.
Goodin, who will be a senior next season, already has offers from Louisville, Florida, Michigan, Indiana and several others. UK has not been as active in his recruitment in recent months.
An odd mix at the top
With Stephen Zimmerman's announcement, six of the top 10 players in Scout.com's class of 2015 rankings have now picked a college.
Kentucky (Skal Labissiere's destination) is the only blue blood on that list, which also includes Louisiana State (Ben Simmons), Maryland (Diamond Stone), California (Ivan Rabb), Marquette (Henry Ellenson) and UNLV (Zimmerman).
No Duke. No Kansas. No North Carolina. And no Arizona, a school that has had six top-10 commitments in the past three classes.