It’s the second weekend of the live recruiting period for college basketball, and the Herald-Leader will be providing coverage from the Nike and Under Armour games in the Indianapolis area.
The first stop Friday night will be the Nike EYBL circuit, which features five-star UK targets such as Marvin Bagley, Cameron Reddish, Javonte Smart and RJ Barrett.
Check this page starting at around 6:30 p.m. Friday for updates on how the players are playing, what they’re saying about UK, and which college coaches are in attendance.
Calipari moves to Nike
UK Coach John Calipari moved from the Under Armour event to the Nike circuit for the final group of games Friday night. Calipari started by watching a game featuring class of 2018 recruits Cameron Reddish and Louis King against fellow 2018 star Bol Bol, the son of Manute Bol.
Reddish has an early scholarship offer from the Wildcats. He’s also a high school teammate of top UK recruiting target Mohamed Bamba.
In the meantime Friday night, Kenny Payne was watching No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley.
Latest on Garland
247Sports ranks Darius Garland as the No. 2 point guard in the class of 2018, but he isn’t hearing much from UK. John Calipari did see him play once during the high school season, and UK’s coaches have called Garland’s coach a couple of times, but that’s been the extent of the contact.
“Nothing really,” Garland. “They have all the guards that they need. They have great, great guards, actually.”
Garland, who had great things to say about UK’s program, specifically mentioned Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as big-time future players for the Wildcats, who have also offered class of 2018 point guards Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes.
Barrett playing it by ear
RJ Barrett — the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2019 — could be moving to the class of 2018 later this year, a transition that would make him a senior in high school next season and bring college basketball one year closer.
The 6-foot-7 shooting guard said Friday night that he won’t make a decision on that until August. He also said he’s not concentrating on his recruitment just yet.
“I haven’t even really looked at any schools right now,” Barrett said. “I’m just trying to get better as a basketball player, and wherever I end up, I end up.”
Kentucky will be one of many options for the Canadian star.
Payne watching Nike players
UK assistant coach Kenny Payne was at the Nike event here in Westfield, Ind., where he watched 2018 point guard Darius Garland and 2019 power forward James Wiseman of Brad Beal Elite to start Friday night.
The final slate of Nike games late Friday night includes top UK targets Marvin Bagley and Cameron Reddish, who both have scholarship offers from the Wildcats, as well as 2018 stars Javonte Smart and Louis King, who are possibilities for UK offers in the future.
Calipari at Under Armour
UK Coach John Calipari started out his weekend at the Under Armour event in Fishers, Ind. The Kentucky targets on that circuit this summer include 2018 post players Moses Brown and Naz Reid — Calipari visited both players recently — and class of 2019 teammates Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, both five-star recruits.
▪ UK assistant coach Joel Justus was at the Adidas event in Atlanta on Friday night. This year’s Adidas circuit includes five-star perimeter players Quentin Grimes, Romeo Langford, Immanuel Quickley and Zion Williamson, who have all received early scholarship offers from Kentucky. Calipari spent two days on the Adidas circuit watching those prospects last weekend.
Crowd for Barrett
RJ Barrett — the No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class — played in the first game of the Nike session Friday night, and those courtside for him included Arizona Coach Sean Miller, Texas Coach Shaka Smart, Kansas assistant Kurtis Townsend and Duke assistant Jeff Capel.
Kentucky is expected to be among the major players in Barrett’s recruitment.
Pitino in Atlanta
Louisville Coach Rick Pitino started this weekend’s live period in Atlanta, where the Adidas circuit is being played. Not only is U of L an Adidas-affiliated program, but the Cardinals’ top target – local shooting guard Romeo Langford – is one of the star players on the Adidas circuit this summer.
Langford — a 6-foot-5 prospect from New Albany, Ind. — attended a few Louisville home games this past season, and there has been some recent buzz around the Cardinals in his recruitment. UK, Duke, Indiana and several others are also recruiting him hard, however, and UK Coach John Calipari checked in with him for an in-home visit earlier this month.
Langford, the No. 3 recruit in the class of 2018, is expected to have one of the most hotly-contested recruitments in the country over the next few months, and don’t expect Calipari or Pitino to give up until the very end.
▪ Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski was also at the Adidas event in Atlanta on Friday night.