UK Recruiting

UK notes: Point guard Purvis says no hard feelings after Cats took Harrow

Johnson, right, who played at Sayre as a midde-schooler two seasons ago, was a freshman teammate of UK recruit Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at St. Patrick's this past season.
Dakari Johnson, right, who played at Sayre as a midde-schooler two seasons ago, was a freshman teammate of UK recruit Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at St. Patrick's this past season. LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

AKRON, Ohio — Now rated as the best point guard in the class of 2012, Rodney Purvis figured to be the latest in a long line of standout floor leaders to play for John Calipari.

That Purvis is also close to fellow Raleigh, N.C., product John Wall made a commitment to Kentucky seem a mere formality.

Then Kentucky accepted point guard Ryan Harrow as a transfer from North Carolina State earlier this year.

"That kind of did it," Purvis said Friday at the LeBron James Skills Academy.

Purvis did not speak in anger. A bright smile returned to his face frequently in the conversation. He noted that UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua notified his family when the Cats accepted Harrow.

"He said, if anything changed, they'd recruit me again." Purvis said.

When asked his reaction to Kentucky taking Harrow, Purvis said in a soft voice, "It's never good when somebody feels they've got what they need and don't need you. ... I'll recover from it."

With N.C. State in Raleigh, Purvis was familiar with Harrow.

"We're kind of the same, but I think he shoots it a little better than I do," a generous Purvis said. "With speed, we're about the same. I feel I'm much stronger."

Purvis has narrowed his college choices to Duke, Missouri and N.C. State. The hiring of former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried had a "huge impact" in N.C. State getting involved, Purvis said. Besides Kentucky, Memphis and Louisville exited from Purvis' options.

As for Wall, the former UK All-American is too close a friend to try to pressure Purvis to consider Kentucky, the player said.

"He's like my brother," Purvis said.

The two talk every other day or so, Purvis said. But they don't talk about Kentucky as a destination for Purvis and don't figure to ever do so.

'Lost connection'

L.J. Rose, a point guard prospect from Houston, acknowledged that Ryan Harrow's transfer to Kentucky from North Carolina State had an impact on his decision, too, to scratch UK from his list.

Or perhaps UK scratched Rose.

"We just kind of lost connection," the player said. "We just go from there."

Rose said UCLA and Texas were his favorites.

He's also considering Kansas, Memphis, Virginia, Georgetown and Baylor.

Remember him?

Dakari Johnson, once a middle school athlete at Lexington's Sayre School, was one of eight players who just finished his freshman year of high school this spring.

Despite that tender age, it's apparently never too early to begin a recruiting effort. Johnson, now listed at 6-foot-11, said he's already heard from Kentucky, Syracuse, Xavier, Georgetown, Ohio State, Villanova and St. John's.

Johnson averaged about 10 points and nine rebounds playing alongside UK freshman-to-be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at St. Patrick's, a high school powerhouse in Elizabeth, N.J.

"He really pushed me," Johnson said of Kidd-Gilchrist. "We'd talk smack to each other."

When asked which player got the best of the friendly practice competitions, Johnson said, "He got the better of me. I went at him a couple times. But when he got it going, I couldn't stop him."

Yes, Kidd-Gilchrist has lobbied on UK's behalf.

"He'll joke around (saying) 'You're a Wildcat,' " Johnson said. "He's my brother. I listen. But he won't persuade me."

For a player who'll be a sophomore next season, a college choice is a far off decision.

"I'm not going to pay attention until my junior or senior year," Johnson said.

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