UK Men's Basketball

UK basketball recruits will be all over ESPN this weekend

Mohamed Bamba, one of UK’s top recruiting targets in the class of 2017, will play on ESPN on Friday night.
Mohamed Bamba, one of UK’s top recruiting targets in the class of 2017, will play on ESPN on Friday night.

A busy weekend of basketball recruiting coverage is coming up on the ESPN family of networks, and some future Kentucky Wildcats will be prominently featured.

The three-day run of recruiting shows begins Saturday with a game on ESPN pitting Mohamed Bamba, Cameron Reddish and Westtown School (Pa.) against DeAndre Ayton and Hillcrest Prep (Ariz.).

UK Coach John Calipari was in Pennsylvania on Wednesday to see Bamba and Reddish, two of the Wildcats’ top recruiting targets.

Bamba, the No. 2 overall prospect in the class of 2017, was on UK’s campus for Big Blue Madness weekend in October, and he has taken official visits to Michigan and Texas. Recent UK signee Hamidou Diallo referred to Bamba as “the missing piece” in UK’s 2017 class during an interview on recruiting analyst Evan Daniels’ podcast this week. The 7-footer from Harlem, N.Y., is not expected to make a college decision until the spring.

Reddish — a 6-7 small forward from Norristown, Pa. — is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 4 overall player in the 2018 class, and he already has a scholarship offer from UK. He also visited Lexington for Big Blue Madness in the fall.

Ayton — an Arizona signee and the No. 1 player in the Scout.com 2017 rankings — is a 7-footer from the Bahamas, and Friday’s matchup will pit him against Bamba in a battle of the top two post prospects in the country.

This year’s McDonald’s All-American teams will be announced Sunday at 10:30 p.m., during a half-hour selection show on ESPNU. UK commitments Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Quade Green, Nick Richards, Jarred Vanderbilt and PJ Washington have all been nominated for the game, and all five future Wildcats appear to have a legitimate shot of being chosen.

UK recruit Shai Gilgeous-Alexander talks about the experience of playing in Kentucky at the Marshall County Hoop Fest.

The McDonald’s Game will be played March 29 in Chicago.

ESPNU will offer a quadruple-header of high-profile high school games from the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., on Monday, starting with a showdown between UK signee Nick Richards and Duke signee Wendell Carter — both five-star post players — at 11 a.m.

Washington signee Michael Porter Jr. — the No. 1 senior in the Rivals and 247Sports rankings — faces perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (Va.) at 1 p.m., and No. 1-ranked sophomore R.J. Barrett leads Montverde (Fla). against Bishop Montgomery (Calif.) at 3 p.m.

Top UK recruiting target Marvin Bagley — the No. 1 player in the class of 2018 — leads Sierra Canyon (Calif.) against national powerhouse La Lumiere (Ind.) in the finale at 5 p.m.

Calipari was expected to watch Bagley and Barrett play Thursday night in Missouri.

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