UK Men's Basketball

Calipari starts July recruiting period watching prospects on the Nike circuit

UK assistants Joel Justus, top left, Tony Barbee, center, and Kenny Payne, top right, are joining head coach John Calipari on the recruiting trail this week.
UK assistants Joel Justus, top left, Tony Barbee, center, and Kenny Payne, top right, are joining head coach John Calipari on the recruiting trail this week.

UK Coach John Calipari started the July live recruiting period at the Nike Peach Jam finals in North Augusta, S.C., where nearly all of his top targets will be playing this week.

Calipari watched class of 2017 standouts Mohamed Bamba and Quade Green in the opening game of the Peach Jam on Wednesday night.

Bamba — a 7-footer from Harlem, N.Y., and a top-five recruit in the country — missed the final two sessions of the Nike regular season with a sprained ankle and managed 21 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots in his return Wednesday night. His PSA Cardinals squad defeated Nike South Beach, 89-79.

Green – a five-star point guard from Philadelphia who picked up a UK scholarship offer last week – had 15 points, seven assists and six steals in the victory.

Calipari was joined at Peach Jam by UK assistant coaches Kenny Payne and Tony Barbee. UK assistant Joel Justus, who is filling in for John Robic on the recruiting trail, was in Charlotte on Wednesday for the Under Armour All-American camp, which featured possible UK targets Paul Scruggs, Kris Wilkes, Devon Dotson and Naz Reid.

Some notable stats for top UK targets from the opening night of Peach Jam:

▪  P.J. Washington (15 points, six rebounds) and John Petty (nine points, nine rebounds) led Team Penny to a victory over Phoenix Phamily and top 2018 target Marvin Bagley, who had 18 points, 11 rebounds and was 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. Bagley was 4-for-17 from the field.

▪  Gary Trent Jr. had 22 points and 13 rebounds in the Howard Pulley Panthers’ 68-55 victory over the Las Vegas Prospects. Trent was 3-for-14 from three-point range.

▪  Trae Young had 26 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals in Mokan Elite’s 105-74 victory over the King James Shooting Stars.

▪  Hamidou Diallo scored 23 points and hit a game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer of regulation in the New York Rens’ 91-84 overtime victory over Each1Teach1. Fellow UK target Kevin Knox had 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks for E1T1.

▪  Nick Richards and Tremont Waters teamed up to lead Expressions Elite to a 74-71 victory over Team Takeover. Richards had 16 points (8-for-8 from the floor), 17 rebounds and four blocks, while Waters had 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

▪  DeAndre Ayton had 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in California Supreme’s 75-56 victory over the Albany City Rocks.

▪  Players at the Peach Jam were not available for interviews Wednesday night, but they will be made available to the media Thursday morning. Check Kentucky.com and the Next Cats recruiting blog throughout the day Thursday for the latest on UK’s top recruiting targets.

Ben Roberts: 859-231-3216, @NextCats

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