UK Men's Basketball

Five-star basketball recruit coming to Kentucky for official visit

P.J. Washington is one of the top forwards in the 2017 recruiting class. He is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 14 overall player in the class.
P.J. Washington is one of the top forwards in the 2017 recruiting class. He is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 14 overall player in the class.

In another sign that the 2017 basketball recruiting cycle is heating up, the first player from that group will be on UK’s campus for an official visit this weekend.

P.J. Washington — a 6-foot-8 forward from Texas, now entering his senior year at Findlay Prep (Nev.) — is scheduled to arrive in Lexington on Friday for the first official visit of his recruitment.

Washington is also seriously considering Arizona, North Carolina and Texas, and he has official visits scheduled to those schools, too. The versatile prospect was born in Louisville, and he and his father have formed a close relationship with UK coaches John Calipari and Kenny Payne over the past few months.

Calipari and Payne were in the Las Vegas area Saturday night for an in-home visit with Washington, who was one of the first recruits to get a meeting with the UK coach after the beginning of the fall recruiting period last Friday.

Washington averaged 17.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game over the summer for Team Penny, playing alongside fellow UK recruiting target John Petty. Scout.com ranks him as the No. 14 overall prospect in the class of 2017.

An ESPN Insider story posted Thursday listed UK as the favorite in Washington’s recruitment, and he does seem to be one of the 2017 prospects that the Wildcats have the best shot at landing.

▪  Four-star point guard Tremont Waters is also expected to be on UK’s campus for a visit this weekend, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog. Waters — a 5-11 prospect from New Haven, Conn. — hosted John Calipari for an in-home visit Tuesday night. Though he’s been seen as a backup point guard option for UK in the 2017 class, the Wildcats are still seriously recruiting him and might try to convince him to join a five-star point guard like Trae Young. Scout.com ranks Waters as the No. 36 overall player and No. 10 point guard in the class of 2017.

▪  Trae Young — the only other class of 2017 prospect who has scheduled an official visit to UK so far — will be at Oklahoma this weekend for the first official visit of his recruitment. Young — a 6-2 point guard and the Wildcats’ top target at the position — is coming to Lexington on Oct. 14 (the weekend of Big Blue Madness) for his UK official visit. The Wildcats and Sooners are considered co-favorites for the Norman, Okla., native.

▪  Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt is expected to be on Texas Christian’s campus for an unofficial visit this weekend. Vanderbilt hosted UK assistant coach Kenny Payne for an in-home visit Tuesday night, but TCU has recently emerged as a possible favorite in his recruitment. Vanderbilt’s cousin was hired as an assistant coach by the Horned Frogs this summer. Scout.com ranks the 6-7 forward as the No. 15 player in the class of 2017.

▪  Five-star shooting guard Romeo Langford — one of the few class of 2018 prospects with a UK scholarship offer — is expected to be at Louisville for an unofficial visit Saturday. Langford — a 6-4 guard — is from New Albany, Ind., which is right across the river from Louisville. UK, U of L, Indiana and Duke are considered to be the schools at the top of his list during the early stages of his recruitment.

Ben Roberts: 859-231-3216, @NextCats

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