UK Recruiting

Big recruiting day on tap for Kentucky basketball

Isaiah Briscoe during the 2014 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League tournament in Dallas.
Isaiah Briscoe during the 2014 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League tournament in Dallas. Nike

The first day of college basketball's early signing period brought a dose of bad news for the University of Louisville.

The second day could be a big one for the University of Kentucky.

Five-star prospects Isaiah Briscoe and Skal Labissiere will announce their college commitments Thursday during a one-hour special starting at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

Scout.com director of recruiting Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader on Monday that "all signs are pointing toward Kentucky" in Labissiere's recruitment. Daniels said that was still the case as of Wednesday evening.

UK's chances with Briscoe weren't as clear early in the week, but Daniels updated the Herald-Leader with his take on that recruitment Wednesday night.

"I like Kentucky's chances to land Isaiah Briscoe on Thursday," he said.

Briscoe — a New Jersey native widely considered the No. 1 point guard in the class of 2015 — has narrowed his list to UK, St. John's and UConn, though the Huskies seem to no longer have a chance at his commitment.

Labissiere — a native of Haiti — is the No. 3 overall prospect in the class of 2015, according to Scout.com. He is also considering Memphis, North Carolina, Baylor, Georgetown and Tennessee.

His recruitment has taken several turns in the past year, the latest being a CBSSports.com report Wednesday questioning the motives of his guardian, Gerald Hamilton.

Labissiere has lived with Hamilton's family in the Memphis area since coming to the United States in 2010 following the devastating earthquake in his home country.

He had been a student at Evangelical Christian School until transferring to Lausanne Collegiate School for his senior year. The governing body of Tennessee high school athletics ruled him ineligible because of the timing of the transfer, so Hamilton has set up his own traveling team that would allow Labissiere to play this season.

The CBS report quotes an AAU coach recalling Hamilton asking how he could "make money" off of a top basketball prospect.

The questions surrounding Labissiere's situation probably will draw attention from the NCAA before he ever plays a college game, though the high schools he's attended are legitimate and no one has disputed his academic status.

Hamilton has not returned multiple phone calls in recent days.

UK currently has one commitment for the class of 2015: Chicago guard Charles Matthews, who is expected to officially sign with the Wildcats on Friday.

If UK adds Briscoe and Labissiere, its class would be ranked No. 2 by Scout.com, according to Daniels.

Arizona has the No. 1 class for 2015.

Dozier picks Gamecocks

Four-star prospect P.J. Dozier announced his commitment to South Carolina on Wednesday, picking the hometown Gamecocks over Louisville, which was perceived to be the favorite going into the final day of his recruitment.

Scout.com ranks Dozier as the No. 33 overall prospect in the class of 2015.

He's listed as a point guard but has the skill set to be effective from any position on the perimeter.

"At 6-foot-6, he has very good size for a guy that can play with the ball in his hands," Daniels told the Herald-Leader. "I think he's really developed as a point guard. He's skilled. He's got good vision. And he's improved as a scorer too, especially from behind the three-point stripe."

Dozier was Louisville's top remaining target after losing a commitment from five-star shooting guard Antonio Blakeney earlier this fall.

The Cards already have commitments from top-50 players Deng Adel, Donovan Mitchell and Ray Spalding.

Derrick Jones is ready

High-flying Philadelphia prospect Derrick Jones will also reveal his college decision on Thursday's ESPNU special.

Jones earned a scholarship offer from Kentucky last year but has not had much recent contact with the Wildcats' coaching staff.

The 6-foot-6 small forward will choose from a list of three finalists: Auburn, UConn and UNLV.

LSU signs No. 1 recruit

Australia power forward Ben Simmons officially signed with Louisiana State on Wednesday after being committed to the Tigers for more than a year.

Simmons — a native of Australia who now plays for Montverde Academy in Florida — is widely considered the No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2015.

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