UK Recruiting

Kentucky in line to land six top-20 recruits in 2015, analyst says

Guard Malik Newman (14), one of the top scorers at the high school level, is UK Coach John Calipari's No. 1 recruiting target.
Guard Malik Newman (14), one of the top scorers at the high school level, is UK Coach John Calipari's No. 1 recruiting target. AP

It'll be a couple of years before basketball recruits from the class of 2015 start showing up on college campuses, but national analyst Jerry Meyer is already predicting another stellar class for Kentucky.

So far, UK has offered six players from the junior class. Meyer is predicting that four of those prospects will end up in Lexington, as well as two others who have not yet been offered by the Cats.

The 24/7 Sports analyst spoke to the Herald-Leader earlier this week about his company's "Crystal Ball" feature, which allows recruiting observers to predict the colleges they think top prospects will attend.

For the class of 2015, Meyer has No. 1 overall player Malik Newman and fellow top-20 recruits Skal Labissiere, Charles Matthews, Luke Kennard, Carlton Bragg and Danjel Purifoy headed to UK.

John Calipari hasn't offered the latter two, and Purifoy might be a name that UK fans are unfamiliar with.

While 24/7 Sports considers the 6-foot-6 forward to be a top-20 prospect, no other major service has him in their overall rankings.

"His story is he loves Kentucky and he's dying for them to offer him," Meyer told the Herald-Leader. "If they do, he's going to end up there. I think, at the end of the day, he's Kentucky good. I think he eventually gets that offer."

The Centreville, Ala., native has offers from several Southeastern Conference schools, including Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. More will come in the near future.

"He's an athletic small forward who can play some power forward," Meyer said. "He's strong, physically mature. Decent skill set — it's just not very refined right now. I think he's still in the process of improving, skill-wise."

UK has also offered Las Vegas big man Stephen Zimmerman and Philadelphia wing Derrick Jones from the class of 2015. Meyer is predicting Zimmerman to Arizona. He does not have a Crystal Ball pick for Jones.

UK contacts 2014 guard

Tyler Ulis — a 5-foot-8 prospect from Chicago — heard from Kentucky for the first time this week following the close of the July live recruiting period.

John Calipari and his assistants saw Ulis play several times over the summer with teammate Charles Matthews, a 2015 guard who already has a scholarship offer from UK.

Meanstreets Coach Terrence Wilburn acknowledged that Ulis is smaller than past Calipari point guards, but he thinks his player is good enough to follow them at Kentucky.

"You have to question his size, because he is small. But he's one of the toughest little buggers I've ever seen," Wilburn told the Herald-Leader. "The kid can flat out score against anybody. And he takes it personally when a 6-2, 6-3 kid tries to back him down. The kid's a player. He fits in anywhere he goes."

Ulis recently trimmed his list to seven schools: DePaul, Florida State, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue and Southern Cal. But UK is among several others that have inquired over the past few weeks.

He played particularly well at last month's Nike Peach Jam, which included a matchup with Tyus Jones, considered by many analysts to be the No. 1 point guard in the country.

Jones' team won that game, but Ulis had 22 points, 17 assists and just four turnovers.

Calipari has already offered two 2014 point guards — Jones and Emmanuel Mudiay. Josh Perkins is also on UK's radar, but the Colorado native is scheduled to make his college announcement later this month and he still doesn't have an offer from the Cats.

Ulis is considered a top-50 overall recruit by ESPN (38th), (41st) and (49th).