‘A little tease for Kentucky fans’: D.J. Jeffries stars at Hoop Fest
D.J. Jeffries is going to add a little something extra to the first week of March Madness on Monday.
Jeffries — a 6-foot-7 small forward from Olive Branch, Miss. — announced Sunday that he will reveal his college decision at about 8 p.m. Monday, and the finalists are Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi State.
UK went into the weekend as a heavy favorite on Jeffries’ 247Sports Crystal Ball page, and Wildcats Coach John Calipari has visited with him or seen him play three times in the past three months, a rare amount of attention for a player who’s not yet a senior in high school. Calipari’s most recent visit — to see Jeffries play in the state playoffs — came last week.
The Memphis-area standout led his team to a Mississippi state championship Saturday night, and now he’s ready to make his college decision known.
Jeffries was the second player in the class of 2019 to earn a scholarship offer from Calipari, getting one just a couple of hours after No. 1-ranked recruit James Wiseman received his last fall. Wiseman and Jeffries are teammates with Team Penny on the Nike circuit. UK freshman PJ Washington also played for that club.
The timing of Jeffries’ announcement is also interesting considering all of the buzz surrounding his travel coach, Penny Hardaway, and the Memphis coaching job. Many recruiting analysts have speculated that Jeffries might follow Hardaway to Memphis if the Tigers replaced current coach Tubby Smith with the hometown here.
Though Jeffries’ commitment Monday night will not be binding — he can’t sign a national letter of intent until November — it’s notable that he’s going to go ahead and make that decision, and that Memphis isn’t among the finalists.
Jeffries — the No. 26 overall prospect in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings — hasn’t been shy about his love for Calipari and the UK program. He played in front of Calipari, Kenny Payne and a pro-Wildcats crowd at the Marshall County Hoop Fest in December.
“I tried to put on a good show for the fans, because they might see me in a couple years,” he said after the game.
UK doesn’t have any commitments from the class of 2019.