The biggest recruiting weekend of the fall might turn out to be the one where John Calipari doesn’t host any official visits.
Dozens of the top high school prospects in the country are scheduled to attend the USA Basketball junior national team mini-camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., a three-day hoops summit that begins Friday and will feature on-court instruction and off-the-court advice for top recruits.
All of that talent in Colorado means Kentucky won’t have any top prospects on campus.
That might turn out OK for the Cats.
Among the players at the USA Basketball camp will be UK commitment Tyrese Maxey — known as one of the most personable players in the 2019 class — and UK commitment Kahlil Whitney, a fast-rising recruit who other competitors would likely enjoy teaming up with.
Also among the players at this weekend’s USA Basketball camp: most of the Cats’ top remaining targets in the class of 2019, and several younger players on Kentucky’s radar.
There will be some recruiting going on.
The camp roster features James Wiseman, Vernon Carey, Matthew Hurt, Isaiah Stewart and Keion Brooks — five players with confirmed UK scholarship offers. The list also includes Cole Anthony and Jaden McDaniels, two of the top five prospects in the 2019 class and a pair of players that have been tight-lipped about their recruitments but still have Kentucky on their school lists.
Maxey is already friends with most of those prospects and has openly talked about helping Calipari bring them to Kentucky for next season. Wiseman and Stewart have already taken official visits to UK this fall; Carey and Brooks are due on campus later this month; and Anthony, Hurt and McDaniels could all visit in the near future.
It will be an important weekend for Maxey and Whitney to continue to build relationships with those players.
The USA Basketball guest list also features Scottie Barnes, Sharife Cooper, Jalen Green and RJ Hampton, four players from the 2020 class that have already received UK scholarship offers.
Off the radar?
The Herald-Leader was told this week that UK did not have a visit with four-star center Aidan Igiehon on Wednesday, despite reports that such a meeting was scheduled.
Igiehon — the No. 44 overall prospect in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings — doesn’t appear to be a realistic option for the Wildcats at this stage. He currently lists UK as one of his four finalists, along with Louisville, Oregon and St. John’s.
U of L hosted Igiehon for an official visit last weekend and is still seen as the most likely option. The Herald-Leader was recently told that Oregon was most likely the Cards’ top competition in that recruitment. Igiehon postponed an official visit to St. John’s that was set for this weekend.
Kentucky has continued to prioritize other post players in the class of 2019, including James Wiseman, Vernon Carey, Matthew Hurt, Isaiah Stewart and Oscar Tshiebwe.
With the recent commitments of Scottie Lewis (Florida) and Josh Green (Arizona), nearly half of the 26 five-star players in the 247Sports composite rankings for the 2019 class have now pledged to a college.
UK remains in the mix for eight of the 14 remaining prospects in that group.
The undecided recruits on the Wildcats’ radar are James Wiseman (No. 1), Vernon Carey (No. 2), Cole Anthony (No. 3), Jaden McDaniels (No. 4), Isaiah Stewart (No. 5), Matthew Hurt (No. 6), Keion Brooks (No. 21) and Oscar Tshiebwe (No. 22).
The others are Precious Achiuwa (No. 8), Trayce Jackson-Davis (No. 15), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (No. 18), Will Baker (No. 20), Wendell Moore (No. 23) and Trendon Watford (No. 26). Moore will announce his college decision next week, and Duke is the favorite.
Others schools with multiple five-star commitments are Arizona (Green and Nico Mannion), Southern Cal (Isaiah Mobley and Onyeka Okongwu) and Florida (Lewis and Tre Mann).