UK Men's Basketball

Top point guard prospect Trae Young ‘feels really good about the situation’ at Kentucky

Trae Young is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 22 overall prospect in the class of 2017. He has been Kentucky’s top point guard target for more than a year.
Trae Young is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 22 overall prospect in the class of 2017. He has been Kentucky’s top point guard target for more than a year.

The in-home visit Saturday in Oklahoma between Kentucky Coach John Calipari and the family of five-star point guard Trae Young was a productive one, stretching much longer that the planned one hour, and seemingly putting the Wildcats in as good a shape as ever in what might be their most important recruitment in the 2017 cycle.

“It went really well,” Trae’s father, Ray Young, told the Herald-Leader. “Trae asked some tough questions. My wife and I had some tough questions. And they answered them, and that’s all you can ask for. When you’re really interested in a school like Trae’s really interested in Kentucky, you want to make sure you have all of your questions answered. So we feel really good about the situation and what’s going on within the recruitment between Trae and Kentucky.

“That’s what we got out of it.”

Young — a 6-foot-2 prospect from Norman, Okla. — is still listing a handful of schools as college possibilities, but, by most accounts, he’s really down to two choices: National powerhouse Kentucky, with its recent track record of NBA-caliber point guards under Calipari, or hometown Oklahoma, which advanced to its first Final Four in 14 years last season and has doggedly recruited Young to stay home and continue that success.

Head coaches from Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech (Ray Young’s alma mater) have also been by for in-home visits since the fall recruiting period began Friday, but, according to recruiting analysts, Young is likely to pick either UK or Oklahoma.

Once we get down there for Big Blue Madness, that’ll be his second time. Plus, I don’t think there’s anything more that can be said from what was said during our home visit.

Ray Young, father of star point guard Trae Young

The Sooners are set to host Young for the first official visit of his recruitment this weekend. His second official visit is scheduled around Big Blue Madness, which he also attended last year, on the weekend of Oct. 14.

Young recently mentioned the possibility of another trip to Lexington — an unofficial visit — that could take place in the weeks leading up to Madness.

Ray Young said such a trip could happen, but the meeting with Calipari and UK assistant coach Kenny Payne over the weekend made it less necessary.

“I think (Trae) feels really good about the situation and how the recruiting is going,” he said. “And he’s already been down there once. So once we get down there for Big Blue Madness, that’ll be his second time. Plus, I don’t think there’s anything more that can be said from what was said during our home visit.”

In the days following that in-home visit, two of the most accurate recruiting prognosticators at 247Sports — Jerry Meyer and Andrew Slater — changed their “Crystal Ball” picks for Young from Oklahoma to Kentucky.

On Tuesday morning, Young tweeted “Success is the Only Option,” which happens to be the title of Calipari’s next book, due to hit bookstands in November, about a week after the early signing period begins.

Ray Young said that his son is still planning to announce a commitment sometime in November or December, noting that he’d like to watch some of the teams on his list play this season before finalizing the life-changing decision.

Still, an announcement could come sooner.

“I wouldn’t anticipate anything before November or December,” he said. “But things could change.”

Tracking Calipari

John Calipari has been burning up the recruiting trail again this week.

The UK coach is stationed in the northeast, where he met with five-star shooting guard Hamidou Diallo in Connecticut on Monday, five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker (in Reading, Pa.) and four-star point guard Tremont Waters (in New Haven, Conn.) on Tuesday, and five-star point guard Quade Green in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Calipari is scheduled to see five-star center Nick Richards in New Jersey on Thursday, which will be his 10th in-home visit with a member of the 2017 recruiting class since the fall recruiting period began Friday.

Last week, Calipari visited Mohamed Bamba (in West Chester, Pa.), Kevin Knox (in Tampa, Fla.) and John Petty (in Huntsville, Ala.) on Friday, then met with Trae Young (in Norman, Okla.) and P.J. Washington (in Las Vegas) on Saturday.

▪  UK assistant coach Kenny Payne had an in-home visit with another standout player from the 2017 class — five-star small forward Jarred Vanderbilt — in Texas on Tuesday night. Texas Christian — where his first cousin is now an assistant coach — appears to have the inside track in Vanderbilt’s recruitment.

Future Topper is top five

The folks at 247Sports updated their 2017 recruiting rankings this week, and Western Kentucky commitment Mitchell Robinson is now considered the No. 4 overall prospect in the country.

Robinson — a 7-footer and shot-blocking extraordinaire from Louisiana — committed to the Hilltoppers in June, not long after new WKU coach Rick Stansbury hired Robinson’s godfather, Shammond Williams, as an assistant coach.

The major UK targets who were included in the new 247Sports rankings are Mohamed Bamba (No. 3 overall), Hamidou Diallo (No. 9), Kevin Knox (No. 13), Nick Richards (No. 15), P.J. Washington (No. 16), Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 19), Trae Young (No. 22), Lonnie Walker (No. 23), John Petty (No. 28), Quade Green (No. 31) and Tremont Waters (No. 58).

Washington commitment Michael Porter Jr. remains the No. 1 overall player in the 247Sports rankings. Arizona commitment DeAndre Ayton is No. 2.

Ben Roberts: 859-231-3216, @NextCats

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