Another five-star basketball recruit from the class of 2015 is ready to make his college decision, and Kentucky is once again one of three finalists.
Cleveland standout Carlton Bragg will reveal his college choice Thursday afternoon at his high school. He has narrowed his list to UK, Kansas and Illinois, and the announcement is expected to happen at 2:45 p.m.
UK Coach John Calipari, UK assistant Barry "Slice" Rohrssen and Illinois assistant Dustin Ford all watched Bragg play in the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W.Va., on Friday. Kansas coaches Bill Self and Norm Roberts were supposed to attend that game but were prevented from traveling due to weather issues.
Self and Illinois Coach John Groce watched Bragg last month at the Marshall County Hoop Fest in Kentucky.
Bragg had also been considering UCLA, but the Bruins are no longer on his list.
The 6-foot-8 forward spoke to the Herald-Leader after Friday's game but gave no indication at that time that he was ready to make a decision. He had previously planned to wait until after his senior season.
Bragg is one of nine uncommitted prospects in the class of 2015 with a scholarship offer from Kentucky, a group that decreased by one after five-star shooting guard Antonio Blakeney announced his commitment to Louisiana State on Friday.
247Sports national analyst Jerry Meyer is currently predicting that none of those players will end up at Kentucky. (He also correctly predicted Blakeney to LSU).
Meyer spoke to the Herald-Leader on Wednesday about his picks. He said he doubts that UK will miss out on all nine of its current targets and explained that his predictions are a snapshot of where he thinks each recruitment stands as of right now.
"Do I necessarily think they'll all end up that way? No, because dominoes will fall and things will happen," he said. "And I know that I will have to adjust some picks."
Meyer specifically mentioned Bragg first when contemplating who he might switch to the UK category.
"A guy like Carlton Bragg comes to mind," he said. "I think Kentucky is in a great spot with him, and that might be one that I could possibly change."
That said, Meyer was sticking with his Bragg-to-Kansas prediction as of Sunday night.
In addition to watching Bragg on Friday, Calipari made trips to see Malik Newman, Stephen Zimmerman and Jaylen Brown last week with no UK games on the schedule.
Meyer is predicting Zimmerman to UCLA, but noted that the 7-footer from Las Vegas is a difficult read.
"I will say that if I didn't have UCLA picked, I would probably have Kentucky picked," Meyer said. "I think Kentucky is very strong in this situation."
Newman — a 6-3 combo guard from Mississippi — has been on Calipari's radar for as long as anyone in the class. Meyer is currently predicting Newman to Mississippi State — his father's alma mater — but that recruitment is a long way from finished.
"I think they have a good chance," Meyer said of UK. "They have to convince Malik that it would be good for him to play with Isaiah Briscoe and Tyler Ulis. I think that's the big challenge, because I do think Malik really wants to have the ball in his hands a lot and be the point guard.
"They'll try to explain to him how being at Kentucky would benefit him for his whole development as a player, and to not just be hung up on being the point guard."
UK already has backcourt commitments from Briscoe and Charles Matthews, while freshmen Ulis and Devin Booker and sophomore Dominique Hawkins are likely to return to Lexington next season.
Even if the Cats miss on Newman and Aaron and Andrew Harrison go pro, Meyer says UK has enough at the guard spot to be a top-five team.
"That's a good backcourt," he said. "You might not be doing the platoon system, because I think some of those players are better than others. But, yeah, I think that's a great backcourt. I would think most schools would be willing to trade for that backcourt."
And even if UK misses on Bragg, there are plenty of other options in the frontcourt.
Skal Labissiere — a 6-11 forward — is getting mentions as possibly the best player in the class, and he has already committed to Kentucky.
UK has also offered scholarships to small forwards Brown and Brandon Ingram, and post players Thomas Bryant, Cheick Diallo, Ivan Rabb, Caleb Swanigan and Zimmerman.
Meyer's current predictions on those players: Brown (Kansas), Bryant (Syracuse), Diallo (Kansas), Ingram (Duke), Rabb (California), Swanigan (Michigan State) and Zimmerman (UCLA).
Another prediction: Some of those picks will change in the coming weeks.
"I doubt Kentucky is going to get shut out," Meyer said. "You don't bet against Kentucky in recruiting. At least not a landslide bet against them."