With Nike’s signature Peach Jam event scheduled to start Wednesday night and major Adidas and Under Armour showcases also taking place this week, there’s no better time to take a look at what the recruiting analysts are thinking about UK’s top basketball targets.
This week marks the first evaluation period of July, and college coaches will be out on the trail for summer evaluations (and, in many cases, simply to be seen courtside by those they’re recruiting the hardest).
Quite a bit is likely to change over the next few weeks — as programs prioritize their targets and players narrow their lists — but, in the meantime, here’s a look at where Kentucky is thought to stand with its top priorities in the 2019 class:
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The New Jersey shooting guard has set official visits to Duke (Sept. 29), Florida (Sept. 15), Kentucky (Sept. 22) and Villanova (Nov. 3). The Blue Devils remain the heavy favorite, with 93 percent of his Crystal Ball picks, including predictions in their favor from national analysts Evan Daniels, Jerry Meyer, Andrew Slater and several others.
Rivals.com lead analyst Eric Bossi also picked Antoine to Duke in that website’s predictions roundup last week, though fellow Rivals national analyst Corey Evans offered up a Villanova prediction.
Kentucky has been perceived as a major underdog for a while.
The Indiana forward is down to 10 schools, but UK, Michigan State and local choice IU have been getting the most attention as favorites in recent weeks. The Spartans narrowly lead Indiana on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page, though the Hoosiers have picked up recent predictions from Meyer, Bossi and Evans and appear to have the most momentum.
There are no national picks in UK’s favor … yet. The Cats should remain in the thick of this one heading into Brooks’ official visits, which have not yet been scheduled, and Maxey recently told the Herald-Leader that he’s recruiting Brooks harder than anyone else in the 2019 class. That could mean a lot come decision time.
The Florida forward is the No. 1 overall prospect in the Rivals.com rankings, and he’s narrowed his list to Duke, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan State and North Carolina, with an official visit to Lexington planned for this fall.
The Blue Devils lead on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page, but no new predictions have been logged since last year. Bossi and Evans also picked Duke for Carey in last week’s Rivals roundup.
Carey — the son of a former Miami football star — has been quiet with relevant info about his recruitment, however, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him land at any of the five schools left on his list, including UK.
The Minnesota forward is looking at a sizable list of schools, though Kansas is continuing to gain steam as his most likely landing spot. The Jayhawks are the leaders on his Crystal Ball page — Meyer and Slater are among those picking KU — and Rivals.com’s Bossi and Evans also predicted the Jayhawks for him last week.
With UK, Duke, North Carolina, home-state Minnesota (where his brother plays) and a host of others in the mix, it’ll probably take a few official visits for him to reach a decision. But the Jayhawks look to be in a better spot than anyone as he wraps up his career on the Adidas circuit this summer. (He also won a gold medal playing for KU Coach Bill Self with the USA Basketball U18 team in Canada last month).
The New York combo guard — now playing for a high school in North Carolina — might have the toughest recruitment to handicap among prospects on this list. Lecque hasn’t written off the possibility of a late jump to the 2018 class, though he’s told the Herald-Leader and others that he’s planning to stay in 2019.
There are only three predictions on his Crystal Ball page — one each for UK, North Carolina and Oregon — and he wasn’t among the players the Rivals.com team offered predictions on last week. It’s too early to tell with Lecque, who could pair nicely with the versatile Maxey in the Cats’ recruiting class if he does stick in the 2019 class.
The New Jersey wing has a list of seven finalists: Kentucky, Duke, Florida, Harvard, St. John’s, Stanford and Villanova, and he told the Herald-Leader recently that he’s in no hurry to make a college choice, hinting at a possible spring decision.
Of those finalists, Florida, St. John’s, Villanova, and — to a bit of a lesser extent — UK have been mentioned most as possible leaders. Florida is the favorite on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page and also the alma mater of his Under Armour team director Brian Klatsky, who is considered a friend of Lewis’ family. Bossi and Evans are also predicting the Gators for Lewis (though their Rivals colleague, Krysten Peek, went with UK as her pick last week).
Lewis and Antoine are close friends, as well as high school and Under Armour league teammates, but they’ve made it clear they won’t necessarily be going to the same college.
The post player from Tennessee — originally Nashville and now Memphis — has talked about several possibilities for college, but his recruitment is still shaping up as a straight battle between Kentucky and Memphis.
The Tigers have taken the lead on his Crystal Ball page — Meyer and Slater are among many picking Memphis — but Bossi and Evans both went with UK last week, and Evan Daniels has yet to change his Kentucky prediction despite months of Memphis buzz. No one seems to have anything close to a high degree of confidence.
“I think everyone’s guessing right now,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader on Monday. “I think there’s a ways to go.”
Any relevant intel on Wiseman’s recruitment will likely be difficult to come by between now and his — as of yet, unannounced — decision date.
▪ Top-ranked guard Cole Anthony is also firmly on UK’s radar, though he doesn’t talk openly about his recruitment or even which schools have extended scholarship offers. He won’t make a decision until the spring. Any possible favorites remain a mystery.
▪ UK would likely be in a great spot for top-50 guard Kira Lewis if the Cats extend an offer, and that could come after the coaches get to see more of him at this month’s recruiting events. For now, home-state Alabama has the lead on his Crystal Ball page.
▪ There has also been a lot of buzz surrounding UK and top-five prospect Jaden McDaniels in recent weeks, though there still hasn’t been any substantial contact between the two sides (something that could change after the July evaluation periods). Bossi even logged a prediction in favor Kentucky last week, and Evans told the Herald-Leader the Cats would be in a great spot if they do offer.
▪ Top-10 post player Isaiah Stewart recently narrowed his list to 10 — Duke and Michigan State are thought to be in good shape — but he’s another player that could see more interest, and a possible offer, from Kentucky in the near future. Other major schools have been recruiting him hard for much longer, however, so that could be an uphill climb for the Cats. Daniels has logged a Crystal Ball pick for the Blue Devils.
▪ Pendleton County wing Dontaie Allen remains the most likely in-state addition for UK in 2019. The Wildcats’ coaching staff will be keeping an eye on him this month and during the upcoming high school season. If he waits around for that scholarship offer, Kentucky would likely be considered the favorite.