UK Recruiting

Son of Kentucky basketball great Jamal Mashburn has made his college decision

The son of one of the greatest players in UK basketball history has made his own college decision, and he’ll be playing for a familiar name.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. — a top-100 recruit in the class of 2020 — announced his commitment to Minnesota on Monday, a decision that will lead to an interesting father-son dynamic. Mashburn’s dad, of course, was a star player for Rick Pitino at Kentucky in the early ’90s, leading the Wildcats to a Final Four in 1993 before going on to a lengthy career in the NBA.

Mashburn Jr. will play his college ball for Pitino’s son, Richard Pitino, who is entering his seventh season at Minnesota and has led the Golden Gophers to the NCAA Tournament in two of the past three years.

Richard Pitino has made Mashburn Jr. a recruiting priority for years, and the coach’s and player’s famous fathers remained close even after Jamal Mashburn left Kentucky for the pros.

“There’s an obvious relationship between Richard Pitino and the Mashburn family. The families are still extremely close,” said 247Sports national analyst Evan Daniels. “I think that relationship factor certainly played a role in this. And Jamal fits how Richard plays. He’s a kid that can really score the basketball and is really effective attacking, shooting, scoring. I think he fits Minnesota’s program extremely well.”

Mashburn is entering his senior year at Brewster Academy (N.H.) — where he plays alongside five-star Kentucky commitment Terrence Clarke — and 247Sports ranks him as the No. 85 overall prospect in the 2020 class.

California also hosted Mashburn for an official visit before his college decision, and he had several other scholarship offers from high-major schools.

The younger Mashburn — listed at 6 feet tall and 160 pounds — has a different game than his father, who was a versatile 6-8, 240-pound forward and Pitino’s first major recruit at UK.

Jamal Jr. averaged 17.2 points per game and shot 40.4 percent from three-point range on the Nike travel circuit this past spring and summer.

“He’s aggressive,” Daniels said. “And he’s a kid that can play with or without the ball. He’s a really gifted scorer, especially breaking down guys off the bounce and pulling up, or just knocking down shots. So I think he’ll bring a pretty good scoring punch to the table at Minnesota.”

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Ben Roberts covers UK basketball, football and other sports for the Lexington Herald-Leader and has specialized in UK basketball recruiting for the past several years. He also maintains the Next Cats recruiting blog, which features the latest news on the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts.
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