A "great motor" and an eagerness to play solid, stingy defense are just two of the qualities that have attracted college basketball coaches to Alabama high school star John Petty.
Count University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari among the fans of Petty's game.
The athletic, 6-foot-6 wing was the first player from the class of 2017 to earn a scholarship offer from UK, though none of the major recruiting services had him pegged as a top-20 recruit at the time that Calipari reached out.
The early scholarship offer last month came as a bit of a surprise.
"It was a great feeling," Petty said. "I was excited and I was proud of myself.
"They kind of watched me early on. They saw me (last summer) and they just told me how much I improved, how hard I played and how much work I gotta do."
It was Petty's performances at the Nike league event in Lexington that led to the UK scholarship offer. Calipari and assistant Kenny Payne watched him multiple times that weekend in April, and the UK coach saw a player who would fit well with his style.
That's been just one of the high points in a breakout summer for Petty, who played last week at the NBPA Top 100 Camp and is now ranked by ESPN as the No. 5 overall player in the class of 2017.
Petty mentioned Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn and Georgia as other schools that have been in contact recently — all have offered scholarships — though he said proximity to his hometown of Huntsville would not be a major factor in his recruitment.
He didn't get to see much of UK while he was in town with his Nike team earlier this year, but he's looking forward to a return trip.
"Oh, most definitely," Petty said. "If they ask me to come back up for a visit, I'd most definitely go. ... What I know about the program is they develop a lot of great athletes into the NBA, which is my dream to go to the NBA. So I know Coach Cal and the coaching staff can get me to my dream or where I want to go if I went there."
The college route
He's two years away from his high school graduation, but there's already talk in recruiting circles that class of 2017 star DeAndre Ayton could skip college altogether and play one season of pro ball before entering the NBA Draft.
Ayton — the No. 1 player in his class — recently suffered a patella injury that forced him to miss the first part of the AAU season and is still limiting his mobility.
He said that led him to think about his path to the pros.
"The way I've grown up since I've been in the United States, education is first," Ayton said. "You gotta have something to fall back on if basketball doesn't work out. And that's really on my mind. I just got off an injury ... and that really got me thinking. I spent two or three months thinking about what I'm going to fall back on if this is a serious, serious injury."
UK reached out to Ayton last week with a scholarship offer. Scout.com ranks the 7-footer as the No. 1 prospect in all of high school basketball, regardless of age.
Long on talent
One of the most intriguing prospects at last week's NBPA Top 100 Camp was Mohamed Bamba, a 6-11 post player from Harlem who plays his high school ball in Pennsylvania.
The affable big man was recently measured with an absurd 7-8 wingspan and 9-5 standing reach, and those numbers passed the look test.
During Friday's session at the Top 100 Camp, he managed to score a putback basket in traffic without leaving his feet. On the next possession, he gracefully ran the floor and finished off an alley-oop with a two-handed dunk. He barely had to jump to do that.
Calipari reached out to Bamba — a top-10 player in the class of 2017 — with a scholarship offer earlier in the week.
"It was a great gesture," he said. "I was excited. My family was excited."
The Towns effect
Class of 2017 big man Nick Richards said he doesn't really follow college basketball. He's more of an NBA guy.
Still, he has a scholarship offer from Kentucky, and he knows at least one thing about the Wildcats.
"They did pretty well with Karl-Anthony Towns," he said. "His game — he wasn't even really a post player, and to see what they did with him was really great."
The 6-11 center plays his high school ball in New Jersey — like Towns — and is considered a top-25 player by all of the major recruiting services. He mentioned Kansas, Syracuse and Villanova among the schools recruiting him the hardest.
Richards has also heard one other thing about UK.
"Everybody says Kentucky only offers pros," he said. "So they must think I'm a pro or something."
Most recent offer
Miami 7-footer Zach Brown told reporters at the Top 100 Camp that he picked up a scholarship offer from Kentucky on Thursday. Scout.com ranks him as the No. 4 overall player in the class of 2017, and he also has offers from North Carolina, UCLA, Ohio State and several others.
Brown averaged 19.3 points, 17.0 rebounds and 8.6 blocks per game this past season and was named to MaxPreps.com's sophomore All-America team.
Next on the schedule
The next major recruiting event will be Nike's annual Peach Jam finals July 8-12 in North Augusta, S.C.
The showcase will feature some of UK's top recruiting targets for the class of 2016, including Harry Giles, Malik Monk and Jayson Tatum. Class of 2017 star Wendell Carter will also be there as a member of the Georgia Stars.
Carter — a 6-10 post player from Atlanta — is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 3 prospect in his class, and he was one of the first 2017 recruits to earn a UK scholarship offer.
Duke and Kansas are among his other early offers.