UK Recruiting

Longtime UK basketball recruiting target commits to SEC rival Florida

Scottie Lewis was one of the first recruits in the class of 2019 to land a UK scholarship offer.
Scottie Lewis was one of the first recruits in the class of 2019 to land a UK scholarship offer. Under Armour

Five-star basketball recruit Scottie Lewis committed to Florida on Tuesday night.

Lewis — a 6-foot-5 wing from Hazlet, N.J. — was one of the first players in the class of 2019 to receive a UK scholarship offer and emerged early in this recruiting cycle as one of the Wildcats’ top targets.

Instead, he’ll play his college basketball for one Kentucky’s biggest rivals.

The Gators landed Lewis’ commitment not long after hosting him for the first official visit of his recruitment, and just a couple weeks after Lewis took an official visit to UK and trimmed his list to those two schools. Lewis was accompanied on the Florida trip by his high school and Under Armour league teammate Alex Klatsky, a class of 2019 shooting guard who was also taking an official visit to Gainesville.

Klatsky announced his own commitment to Florida three weeks ago. His father, Florida alum Brian Klatsky, is Lewis’ Under Armour team director and a major fan of the Gators.

Five-star recruit Bryan Antoine, another friend and teammate of Lewis and Klatsky who played for the same Under Armour program, committed to Villanova last month. Antoine and Lewis both landed UK scholarship offers on the same day last fall.

Lewis is the No. 11 overall recruit in the class of 2019, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. His previous list of finalists included Duke, St. John’s, Stanford and Villanova.

“What sticks out to me about Scottie Lewis is his energy, his impressive athletic ability, and the potential he has on the defensive side of things,” 247Sports national analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “This is a kid that excels in transition. He excels as a slasher. And he has a lot of potential to be a multi-positional defender at the next level. Those are the things that really excite me about his game.”

Lewis averaged 10.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks in 11 games on the Under Armour circuit this past summer.

“Some guys games are predicated on their ability to score and put up big numbers. Scottie Lewis’ is not,” Daniels said. “His is predicated on his energy, his athletic ability, and the tools that he brings from a defensive standpoint and a rebounding standpoint. He can impact the game in so many other ways than just scoring.”

Florida also has commitments from five-star point guard Tre Mann and top-50 prospect Omar Payne, one of the best frontcourt players in the 2019 class. As a result of Lewis’ commitment, the Gators will now have the No. 4 class nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings behind Southern Cal, Louisville and Kentucky.

UK has three commitments for the class of 2019 so far: five-star point guard Tyrese Maxey, five-star wing Kahlil Whitney and four-star wing Dontaie Allen.

The bulk of the Cats’ remaining 2019 recruiting efforts will be focused on the frontcourt, where top targets include five-star players James Wiseman, Vernon Carey, Isaiah Stewart, Oscar Tshiebwe and Matthew Hurt.