UK Recruiting

Top basketball recruits will be coming to town for their UK visits soon

Vernon Carey is one of the top basketball recruits in the class of 2019.
Vernon Carey is one of the top basketball recruits in the class of 2019.

The fall recruiting period for college basketball starts in a couple of weeks, and that will see John Calipari and his coaching peers traveling across the country to meet with prospects and their families.

In many cases, the players will be returning the favor to the schools recruiting them.

With the summer finished and the high school season still a few weeks away, September usually signals the start of official visits for prospects in the rising senior class.

Most of UK’s top targets in the 2019 class have indeed scheduled their official visits — or, at least, publicly stated which schools they plan to see in person — and the Wildcats’ coaching staff will clearly be keeping busy over the next several weeks.

UK has already hosted Chicago wing Kahlil Whitney for his official visit — Whitney committed to the Cats a few days later — and fellow commitments Dontaie Allen and Tyrese Maxey will also be back in town between now and the start of their college careers next year.

Allen’s father, Tony Thomas, told the Herald-Leader on Monday night that the family would be in Lexington for Big Blue Madness weekend in October, and that will serve as Allen’s official visit. Maxey said Monday night that he’s not yet sure when he’ll make his official visit.

Here’s a look at what UK’s uncommitted targets have planned for this fall:

Bryan Antoine

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from New Jersey cut his list to five schools — UK, Duke, Florida, Kansas and Villanova — a few months ago, and he’s had official visits scheduled for most of those campuses for several weeks now.

Antoine will be in Lexington on the weekend of Sept. 22 — the football Wildcats play nationally ranked Mississippi State that Saturday — though UK is not thought to be at the top of his recruiting list. Duke, which he’s set to visit Sept. 29, has long been seen as the leader.

Florida will host Antoine on Sept. 15, and Villanova will get an official visit Nov. 3. His other finalist is Kansas, though there’s no confirmed date for that trip.

Antoine has said that he will sign in November.

Sept. 15Sept. 22Sept. 29Nov. 3TBA

Keion Brooks

The 6-7 small forward from Fort Wayne, Ind., will get things started this weekend with an official visit to UCLA.

The only other confirmed date on Brooks’ schedule is a trip to home-state Indiana on Sept. 29 (the night of its Hoosier Hysteria event), but he has said that UK, Michigan State and North Carolina are likely to get his other three official visits.

Brooks’ father also confirmed to the Herald-Leader last month that Kentucky will get one of those visits. Big Blue Madness on Oct. 12 has been mentioned as a possible date, though nothing has been finalized.

He has no timetable for a college decision.

UCLAIndianaKentuckyMichigan StateNorth Carolina
Sept. 1Sept. 29TBATBATBA

Vernon Carey

One five-star recruit who will definitely be in Rupp Arena for Big Blue Madness on Oct. 12 is Carey, a 6-10 power forward from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the No. 1 overall prospect in the rankings.

Carey took his first official visit to Michigan State back in February, and he’s also scheduled to be at Duke’s midnight madness event for an official visit on Oct. 19. (The Blue Devils always have a big crowd for that one).

His other two finalists are Miami and North Carolina, and Carey told the Herald-Leader recently that those two programs are likely to get official visits in November, leaving open the possibility that he signs with a school early.

All five of his finalists appear to have a legitimate shot in his recruitment.

Michigan StateKentuckyDukeMiamiNorth Carolina
Feb. 12Oct. 12Oct. 19TBATBA

Matthew Hurt

The 6-9 forward from Rochester, Minn., is being recruited by every blue-blood program in the country, and he’s likely to be a busy traveler this fall.

Hurt is still considering the likes of UK, Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Indiana, Memphis, UCLA and Minnesota — where his older brother emerged as a starter last season — and he has made it clear that he expects to take all five of his official visits, plus some unofficial visits, before making a college decision. No specific visit dates have been announced, however.

He’s also targeting the early signing period (Nov. 14-21) to make a commitment official, so Hurt will be taking trips to several campuses over the next few weeks if he sticks to that plan.

Kansas has been viewed as the favorite in his recruitment, though there’s still time for others to make a move.

Scottie Lewis

The 6-5 wing from New Jersey narrowed his list to UK, Duke, Florida, St. John’s, Stanford and Villanova earlier this summer, and he’s in the process of finalizing his visit plans.

So far, Lewis has official visits scheduled for Florida (Sept. 8), Kentucky (Sept. 15) and St. John’s (Oct. 5). He is friends and teammates with Antoine, who will be in Lexington a week after Lewis on the weekend of Sept. 22.

Florida, St. John’s and Villanova have been getting the most buzz in Lewis’ recruitment this summer. He told the Herald-Leader recently that he’s most likely to wait until the spring to sign with a school.

FloridaKentuckySt. John’sTBATBA
Sept. 8Sept. 15Oct. 5

Oscar Tshiebwe

There’s been no confirmation of a UK scholarship offer for Tshiebwe yet, but it’s clear that Calipari and his coaching staff are moving forward in a serious manner with the 6-9, 230-pound center from Congo.

Tshiebwe had a terrific summer — moving up 53 spots to the No. 19 overall position in the 247Sports rankings — and he cut his list to UK, Baylor Illinois and West Virginia on Sunday. He has also set official visits to all of those schools, with the Baylor trip scheduled for this weekend, Illinois the following weekend, UK on Sept. 29 and WVU the weekend after that.

The Mountaineers have long been seen as the leader in Tshiebwe’s recruitment — his ties to that program run deep — but a major push by Kentucky could turn the tables. Tshiebwe, who plays his high school ball in Pennsylvania, will sign with a school in November.

BaylorIllinoisKentuckyWest Virginia
Sept. 1Sept. 8Sept. 29Oct. 5

James Wiseman

The No. 1 overall recruit in the 247Sports and ESPN rankings is starting to make his official visit plans.

247Sports analyst Evan Daniels confirmed with Wiseman’s mother, Donzaleigh Artis, on Tuesday that the top prospect will be at Kentucky on Sept. 7, Kansas on Sept. 28 and Vanderbilt on Oct. 5. All three of those trips will be official visits, and a date for a fourth official visit to Florida State is expected soon. His list also includes Arizona, Memphis, North Carolina and Texas.

Wiseman’s recruitment is widely expected to come down to UK and Memphis, where the Nashville native attends high school.

Wiseman — a 7-foot power forward — attended UK’s Big Blue Madness event last year. His mother also told Daniels on Tuesday that the plan is to wait until after the high school season to make a college decision.

KentuckyKansasVanderbiltFlorida StateTBA
Sept. 7Sept. 28Oct. 5TBA

And … Cole Anthony

The No. 2 recruit in the 247Sports rankings, Anthony is the best backcourt player in the country, but he has said almost nothing about the particulars of his recruitment.

The 6-3 guard from New York City did, however, release a list of schools for the first time Monday night, and Kentucky is among those in contention. Anthony, who started practice with his new Oak Hill Academy (Va.) squad this week, has said numerous times that he won’t sign with a school until the spring.

Five-star point guard Cole Anthony talks about his recruitment and the possibility of teaming up with Tyrese Maxey at Kentucky.