UK Men's Basketball

Recruiting wrap-up: UK target Trae Young had a big weekend, and other notes

Trae Young averaged 25.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists over the weekend for Mokan Elite, which is now 10-1 on the Nike circuit this spring. Young is one of UK’s top recruiting targets in the class of 2017.
Trae Young averaged 25.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists over the weekend for Mokan Elite, which is now 10-1 on the Nike circuit this spring. Young is one of UK’s top recruiting targets in the class of 2017.

The Nike Elite Youth Basketball League moved to Virginia for its third regular-season session this past weekend, and UK recruiting target Trae Young was among the top statistical performers at the event.

Young — a 6-foot-2 point guard from Norman, Okla. — averaged 25.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists over four games, all victories for his Mokan Elite squad. UK’s top point guard target for the class of 2017 turned in a triple-double (19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) in Saturday night’s game and followed that up with 36 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in Sunday’s weekend finale. Young was 5-for-10 from three-point range in the latter game.

MORE: Latest information and recruiting buzz on all of UK’s top targets in the class of 2017

UK Coach John Calipari extended an early scholarship offer to Young and visited him in Oklahoma just before the beginning of the April evaluation period.

Young told Scout.com over the weekend that Kentucky, Kansas and Oklahoma are the three schools recruiting him the hardest right now.

Washington might also become a major player in his recruitment following the Huskies’ recent hire of Michael Porter Sr. as an assistant coach. Porter is the father of Young’s friend and AAU teammate Michael Porter Jr., and the two class of 2017 stars have often talked about playing together at the college level.

Through 11 games on the Nike circuit this spring, Young is fifth in the league in scoring (20.8 points per game) and second with 7.2 assists per game. His team has a 10-1 record.

One more to watch

John Calipari has already extended scholarship offers to 14 players from the class of 2017, and a new name emerged over the weekend as another possible UK target.

Mitchell Robinson — a 7-foot center from Chalmette, La. — decommitted from Texas A&M last month and told 247Sports national analyst Jerry Meyer on Saturday that he would like to hear from the Wildcats. Robinson is averaging 13.4 points, 10.7 rebounds and a league-high 4.2 blocks per game for Texas-based Pro Skills Elite, the same Nike program that produced UK target Marques Bolden.

Currently ranked No. 40 in the class of 2017 by 247Sports, Meyer said over the weekend that Robinson will be a top-10 player in the next update.

Louisiana State and North Carolina are among the schools recruiting him the hardest.

Double-double machine

Five-star forward P.J. Washington told the Herald-Leader recently that UK has really ramped up its recruitment of him over the past few weeks, and he’s been playing like one of the best prospects in the country so far this spring.

Washington — a 6-foot-8 prospect from Findlay Prep (Nev.) — logged double-doubles in all four of his games on the Nike circuit over the weekend, giving him double-doubles in seven consecutive games. He had 29 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in Sunday’s victory, going 15-for-21 from the free-throw line in that contest.

Washington is averaging 19.7 points and 11.4 rebounds through the first 11 games of the season. He is planning to visit UK for Big Blue Madness in October.

New mock draft

DraftExpress.com released its first post-Combine mock draft Sunday afternoon, and it included Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere and Tyler Ulis among the first 20 picks.

Murray is the top Cat on the board at No. 6 overall, Labissiere is No. 9 and Ulis is No. 19.

UK’s Alex Poythress, Marcus Lee and Isaiah Briscoe were not listed among the 60 selections. Lee and Briscoe have until May 25 to withdraw from the draft and retain their college eligibility.

There was more bad news for Lee on Sunday: Another DraftExpress.com post designated him as the “the worst performer at the NBA Combine” statistically.

Other notes ...

▪  UK target Mohamed Bamba missed the entire weekend session on the Nike circuit with a sprained ankle. He is not expected to be sidelined long.

▪  John Petty averaged 15.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his first four games with Team Penny this past weekend after playing the first two sessions of the Nike circuit with We All Can Go. Petty — the first 2017 recruit to land a UK offer — teamed up with fellow UK target P.J. Washington to lead Team Penny to a 4-0 record on the weekend. He was also 55.9 percent on his field goal attempts this weekend after shooting 29.7 percent in seven games with We All Can Go.

▪  UK target Gary Trent Jr. turned in a 46-point performance Saturday morning, and his Howard Pulley Panthers are now 11-0 and the only undefeated team on the Nike circuit. Trent, who will visit UK for Big Blue Madness, is second in the league in scoring with 23.2 points per game.

▪  Former Ohio State post player Daniel Giddens announced Sunday that he is transferring to Alabama. Giddens was a top-50 recruit out of Oak Hill Academy (Va.) in the class of 2015. He will have three seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2017.

▪  There’s nothing new to report on the recruitment of No. 1 center Marques Bolden, who still has not confirmed a date for his college announcement despite speculation that his decision could come sometime this week. Bolden is expected to choose either UK or Duke, and whichever program lands his commitment will end up with the No. 1 recruiting class for 2016.

Ben Roberts: 859-231-3216, @NextCats

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