Last week, the Herald-Leader took a closer look at all of the uncommitted prospects in the class of 2019 who have received early scholarship offers from Kentucky.
A little has changed since then.
First, Maxey — one of the top point guards in the 2019 class — has announced that he will reveal his college decision Wednesday afternoon. That choice is widely predicted to be Kentucky, and it’s also expected that Maxey will announce whether he’ll make a move to the 2018 class. At this time last week, all indications were that Maxey would indeed reclassify, but the latest buzz in recruiting circles is that he now might be more likely to stay put for another year of high school. We should find out for sure Wednesday.
Another recent development: a new UK scholarship offer for Jalen Lecque, another five-star guard in the 2019 class who has openly discussed reclassification to 2018.
Lecque — the No. 9 overall prospect in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings — is originally from Brooklyn but has been playing his high school ball in North Carolina, where local powers Duke and UNC are also recruiting him. He declined interviews at the recent Nike league stop in Indianapolis, but the recruiting chatter all season has been that the Wildcats would be in a good spot in his recruitment if they ever did offer. Now that they have, he’ll be a prospect to watch closely over the next few weeks and months.
So, who else could join Lecque and the rest on John Calipari’s offer list?
Past history says a few more from this 2019 class will land UK scholarship offers down the road, and the Wildcats’ coaching staff has already been watching several prospective players.
Here’s a closer look at six such prospects — four top-50 recruits and two in-state standouts — and the latest in their recruitments, as well as a few notes on some others that have been on UK’s radar in the past or might pop up there in the future:
The 6-foot-7 wing from Pendleton County has had a great spring so far, finishing up the second evaluation period last week in front of Louisville Coach Chris Mack, Xavier Coach Travis Steele and others.
Allen averaged 31.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game as a junior this past season, shooting 40 percent from three-point range. He’s not going to wow recruiters with his athleticism, but he’s a highly skilled player and a great outside shooter who is likely to accumulate some big scholarship offers throughout the summer.
UK assistant coach Joel Justus visited Allen last month, and the feedback from that trip was positive. Allen is expected to visit UK next month, and the Cats will definitely continue to monitor his recruitment.
He’s currently ranked as the No. 214 overall prospect nationally by 247Sports, though that standing could improve in the next update. Calipari has signed only two non-Top 100 recruits in his nine years at UK, but both were in-state players (Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis).
The son of former NBA player and ex-UNLV star Greg Anthony is one of the best prospects in the 2019 class — ranked No. 5 in the 247Sports composite — and is another recruit off to stellar start on the spring circuit.
Anthony is the leading scorer in Nike league play — averaging 24.0 points per game so far — to go along with 8.1 rebounds (a crazy number for a 6-3 guard), 3.0 assists and a 42.9 percent clip from three-point range.
Little is known about his recruitment — he and his family have been as tight-lipped about it as any high-level prospect in the class — and he didn’t take part in any of the three interview sessions at the Nike league event in Indianapolis last week.
Still, UK assistant coach Tony Barbee was keeping an eye on his games, and the Wildcats appear to be interested. He’s likely to have many of the top programs in the country pursuing his commitment, and Duke, Kansas and Louisville are among those that have already extended scholarship offers.
A newer name to UK’s watch list, Igiehon is a native of Ireland and a teammate of Kentucky targets Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis on the Under Armour circuit.
The highly athletic, high-motor, 6-10 power forward jumped up 10 spots in the most recent Rivals.com rankings update, and he’s now the No. 23 player nationally on that list. Louisville has made him a major priority — Chris Mack was recruiting him at Xavier — and UK and Duke are now among those showing interest. Tony Barbee has been in contact and watched him play this spring.
Igiehon said last week that he’s also been in touch with former UK post player Bam Adebayo, who UK coaches have likened his game to.
Technically, Hampton isn’t a class of 2019 recruit … yet.
The 6-4 prospect from Little Elm, Texas is, for now, in the class of 2020, where he’s ranked No. 3 nationally by 247Sports and was recently referred to as the best point guard in high school basketball, regardless of class, by Rivals.com national analyst Eric Bossi.
Hampton is on this list because — as we’ve seen in recent years — a handful of top players are reclassifying up every year, and he has been one of the most-talked-about candidates for such a move. If Hampton does jump to the 2019 class, he’d be one of the most-recruited prospects in the country.
Duke recently extended a scholarship offer. So did Penny Hardaway at Memphis. He’s had offers from Kansas and Texas for more than a year.
UK’s coaches have been watching him on the Under Armour circuit — he’s leading that league with 24.6 points per game — and the Herald-Leader has been told that the Cats would be among the favorites if they extend an offer, which is almost certainly coming at some point.
Already a well-regarded prospect, Lewis was one of the breakout stars of the two April evaluation periods.
The 6-3 guard from Alabama is averaging 21.8 points — sixth in the Nike league in scoring — and 3.4 assists per game while shooting nearly 40 percent from three-point range. He mentioned Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Iowa State and Tennessee as a few of the schools recruiting him hardest heading into the spring, and he’s picked up new offers from Kansas, Indiana, Pittsburgh, UConn and several others over the past couple of weeks.
UK assistant coach Kenny Payne also reached out after the Cats watched him during the first evaluation period, and Lewis said Payne told him he shared some of the same traits as John Wall and De’Aaron Fox.
“It’s a guards’ school,” Lewis said of UK. “They just let their guards play fast, up-tempo, and it’s great hearing for them.”
247Sports now ranks him as the No. 48 prospect in the class, and he’s on the way up.
One of the early frontrunners for Mr. Basketball honors in Kentucky next year, Tandy has continued to play well on the Under Armour circuit after averaging 30.5 points per game and shooting 47.6 percent from three-point range at University Heights this past season.
The 6-1 guard told the Herald-Leader that Cincinnati, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Tennessee have been the four schools recruiting him the hardest recently. New Louisville coach Chris Mack recruited Tandy at Xavier and is continuing to keep tabs on him, while UK has hosted him for an unofficial visit and is also staying in touch.
Whether the Cats or Cards offer Tandy, who has jumped to No. 83 in the national Rivals.com rankings, will be one of the biggest in-state recruiting storylines to watch.
▪ Canadian guard AJ Lawson (No. 39 in the 247 rankings) has been mentioned in connection with UK in the past, but there have been no recent developments.
▪ New York center Kofi Cockburn (No. 55), a Nike teammate of Jalen Lecque, specifically told FloHoops last week that he’d like to hear from Kentucky. He was among the standouts at the Nike session in Indianapolis.
▪ Alabama forward Trendon Watford (No. 13) has been recruited by UK in the past, but others are pursuing him more seriously at this juncture.
▪ New York forward Precious Achiuwa (No. 5) has established himself as one of the best prospects in the class, but there has been no indication of any interest on Kentucky’s end.
▪ New York natives Isaiah Stewart (No. 23) and Joe Girard (No. 164), teammates on the Nike circuit, both told the Herald-Leader last week that they would listen to pitches from UK, but there’s not expected to be any movement there. Duke leads on the Crystal Ball pages of both players.
▪ North Carolina forward Jaelyn Withers (unranked by 247Sports but a Top 100 recruit on Rivals.com) has drawn some UK interest in the past and has picked up recent offers from Louisville, Texas, Xavier, UConn and Tennessee (all in the past two weeks).
▪ Louisville Trinity guard David Johnson (No. 40) is the highest-rated prospect in Kentucky and has visited UK in the past, but there hasn’t been any interest from the Cats in a while, and U of L is considered the leader in his recruitment.