Most Recent Posts
- Baylor’s Austin: “Drew is just as great a coach as coach Calipari” and UK isn’t “any better than us”
- UK TV Video: Coach John Calipari pre-Baylor press conference
- Calipari on Floreal: “I had a football coach come in and say he could play in the NFL”
- Calipari: “I really don’t care that people play a zone … it makes us come together.”
- Jon Hood did not make trip to Baylor with Wildcats
- Video: Former UK football player David Hopewell talks about his hopes for the future of the program
- Matthew Mitchell on Calipari: “He’s been so supportive of our program from the very first time he got here.”
- Donte Rumph on 2014: “You know it’s going to be a special year for UK next year”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Not only is he regarded as one of the best shooters in the country, but Moss Point (Miss.) guard Devin Booker is also a University of Kentucky signee — and coach Mico Cotton knows what kind of attention that will attract Saturday when his team plays Ballard in the Marshall County Hoop Fest in Benton.
“We will do as much as we can to accommodate fans,” said Cotton. “We won’t be there but just one night, so I am not sure how much time we will have for him to sign autographs and things like that. We play one of our biggest rival games Friday, and then we will load up the bus and come to Kentucky.
“The Kentucky every is very, very large for us. We had a taste of it in a tournament in Missouri last year. Devin will handle it well. But our whole team is excited. Based on how Devin has improved, he’s liable to have a game with 40 or 50 points this year, and we may need it against Ballard. But we know this is going to be a special trip for us.”
Indianapolis Arsenal Tech — led by UK signee 6-9 Trey Lyles (one of the country’s top 10 players) — plays Ballard on Friday and then takes on Huntington (W.Va.) Prep on Saturday.
“Fans are going to see a team that plays together. The core of our team has been together three years and won our first sectional title since 1978,” Tech coach Jason Delaney said. “We are so honored and blessed to be invited to the Marshall County Hoop Fest. Three years ago no one could have imagined we would be in this position.
“We are a public high school and to battle teams like Ballard and Huntington Prep will be great. Our sectional is one of the toughest in Indiana and we want to be tested. And it will be great for UK fans to get an early look at Trey.”
Huntington Prep features possible UK target Montaque Gill-Caesar, a 6-6 junior swingman; 6-10 junior center Thomas Bryant, a dominating low post player; sophomore Miles Bridges, another possible UK target; point guard Josh Perkins, a Gonzaga signee; and JaQuan Lyle, a former Louisville commit with offers from Kansas, Indiana and Connecticut.; and Providence signee Jalen Lindsey, a former UK target.
Another potential UK target is freshman Braxton Blackwell of Christ Presbyterian Academy in Tennessee, who has offers from Florida and Indiana already.
A definite UK target, Skal Labissiere, won’t play because of a stress fracture. He was the first player in the 2015 recruiting class to get an offer from Kentucky.
Two other players to watch will be point guard Emmanuel Mudiay of Dallas Prime Prep, the nation’s No. 1 player at his position who picked SMU over Kentucky, and Ballard point guard Quentin Snider, who signed with Louisville.
Here is the complete Hoop Fest schedule (all times CST):
- Thursday4 p.m.: Marshall Co. vs. Massac Co. (Ill.) (girls)5:30 p.m.: Graves Co. vs. Massac Co. (Ill.)
7 p.m.: Marshall Co. vs. Dyersburg (Tenn.)
8:30 p.m.: Henderson Co. vs. St. Mary
4 p.m.: Curie (Ill.) vs. Evangelical Christian (Tenn.)
5:30 p.m.: Huntington (W.Va.) Prep vs. Atlanta (Ga.) Sports Academy
7 p.m.: Oak Hill (Va.) Academy vs. Whitehaven (Tenn.)
8:30 p.m.: Ballard vs. Arsenal Tech
10 p.m.: Prime Prep (Texas) vs. Quality Education (N.C.)
9 a.m.: Warren Central vs. Wilson Central (Tenn.)
10:30 a.m.: Marshall Co. vs. Mount Carmel (Ill.) (girls)
Noon: Hopkinsville vs. Evansville (Ind.) Bosse
1:30 p.m.: McCracken Co. vs. South Fulton
3 p.m.: Marshall Co. vs. Carbondale (Ill.)
5 p.m.: Ballard vs. Moss Point (Miss.)
6:30 p.m.: Huntington (W.Va.) Prep vs. Arsenal Tech (Ind.)
8 p.m.: Oak Hill (Va.) Academy vs. Christ Presbyterian (Tenn.)
9:30 p.m.: Prime Prep (Texas) vs. White Station (Tenn.)
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari said today that Kentucky “probably needs to sign about two more (players)” to go with the four players already in the 2014 recruiting class.
“We are involved with some kids that we want to be involved with. You are going after kids that want you and want this. Walk out and you are judged from the third game. Throw in the second highest rated game in the history of ESPN for a non-conference game (Kentucky-Michigan State on Tuesday). That’s your third game of your career and Magic (Johnson) and all these people are watching,” Calipari said. “You’ve got to want that.
“Then every player is coming after you personally. You have got to want that. If you don’t want that, you don’t come here. We don’t get everybody we want. Kids go other places. I think it has always been that way.”
However, Calipari likes the four players — Karl Towns Jr., Tyler Ulis, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker — that UK did sign.
“The four we got area all skilled. Great students. Maybe the best students I have recruited in all my years of coaching,” Calipari said. “Really skilled. They have got size. But we’ve got to finish the class. A coach telling you he has got four (signees) and he has got to finish the class is not normal, not traditional. But that’s the way it is here.”
LEXINGTON. – The Kentucky men’s basketball team has added four of the top signees from the Class of 2014 in the early signing period, receiving National Letters of Intent from Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Karl Towns and Tyler Ulis, UK head coach John Calipari announced Thursday.
“I’m really proud of this group as far as where they are academically, what type of people they are and their basketball ability,” Calipari said. “All four of these guys are skilled for their position and they have the ability to score. We’re happy to announce they will be joining us next fall.”
Booker, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Moss Point, Miss., was named Mississippi’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior in 2012-13, averaging 29.7 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game. Booker is rated No. 18 in the 2014 ESPN 100, No. 30 in the Rivals 150 and No. 31 according to Scout. The shooting guard was named the Sun Herald Player of the Year and enters his senior year as a member of the Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen, ranking Mississippi’s top high school basketball players.
“Devin is a scoring machine,” Calipari said. “At nearly 6-6, he can play three different positions. He’s got great range, which should help us spread the floor a bit when he’s playing. What I like most about him is his confidence.”
A 6-10 forward from Indianapolis, Ind., Lyles averaged 17.9 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 blocks en route to being named Indianapolis City Player of the Year for a second consecutive year as a junior at Arsenal Technical High School. Playing for Team Canada in the 2013 U19 World Championships, Lyles averaged 20.3 points per game. The forward is rated No. 7 by ESPN, while Rivals and Scout place him eighth in the class of 2014. Lyles enters his senior season 42 points shy of the Arsenal Technical all-time scoring record.
“At 6-10, Trey can play both inside and outside,” Calipari said. “He has the skills to score in both areas. He’s seen what some of our former guys are doing in the pros right now and has said he wants to follow in their path. My hope is he’s our next beast.”
Towns, a 7-0 forward from St. Joseph’s in Metuchen, N.J., was named the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year in 2012-13. Averaging 21.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game, Towns was named First Team All-State and Player of the Year by The Star-Ledger in New Jersey. Entering his senior year, Towns has led his St. Joseph’s team to two consecutive state championships in New Jersey. ESPN ranks him as the No. 6 prospect in the 2014 class, while Scout and Rivals rate him the 11th-best prospect in the class. ESPN ranks Towns No. 3 at his position in the class, with Scout ranking him No. 4 at his position. Towns played under Calipari and UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua on the Dominican Republic National Team in the previous two offseasons.
“Karl, at 7 feet tall, brings great versatility,” Calipari said. “He can obviously score it inside, but his ability to shoot and handle it like he’s a guard will spread defenses out. His growth from his first stint with the Dominican team until now has been unbelievable, and I’m looking forward to working with him on the collegiate level.”
Ulis is a 5-8 point guard from Chicago Heights, Ill., who averaged 21.9 points, 4.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game as a junior for Marian Catholic. Ulis is ranked 29th nationally by Scout and 33rd by Rivals and ESPN. The latest in a line of highly ranked point guards to sign with Kentucky under Coach Calipari, Ulis ranks as the No. 4 point guard in the country by ESPN and No. 6 at his position according to Scout.
“Tyler is the ultimate competitor,” Calipari said. “His heart and his ability to make people better set him apart from his peers. He can score in bunches, and like every point guard I’ve had, he brings a little something different to the table.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Coach Jason Delaney knew “what a weight” 6-9 Trey Lyles had on him during his recruitment before the (Indianapolis) Arsenal Tech star finally announced on ESPNU Tuesday that he was going to Kentucky.
Not only did Lyles, a top 10 consensus player, make the announcement on national TV at his high school, but he picked UK over Louisville. Plus, remember he originally was committed to home-state Indiana before de-committing and eventually narrowing his choices to Kentucky and Louisville.
That’s three passionate fan bases — and Indiana fans were not the least bit happy with the process even before he picked UK.
“I know in a lot of ways for him it is a relief to have this over,” said Delaney Wednesday. “It’s been like a roller coaster ride for him with the ups and downs. It was a special day for him and his family. We wanted to make sure it was the best day possible with ESPN involved. It was a big thing, something you only go through once. It was big for the Arsenal Tech faculty, students and his teammates. But I also know what a weight he had on him these last few months.”
Lyles is regarded as one of nation’s most highly skilled big men. Delaney says he has a variety of post moves and the ability to finish at the basket, but he can also face the hoop and score.
Lyles is ranked as the nation’s No. nation’s No. 7 prospect by ESPN.com, No. 8 by Rivals.com and Scout.com and No. 17 by 247Sports.com. He also had considered Florida, Butler, UCLA and Duke during his recruitment.
Getting Lyles was a sign that UK coach John Calipari has not lost his golden recruiting touch even though UK missed on point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who was thought to be a Kentucky lock before picking SMU; perimeter player Kelly Oubre who chose Kansas; and James Blackmon, also thought to be a UK lean who instead recommitted to Indiana. Plus, Calipari quit recruiting Chicago big man Cliff Alexander and highly-touted center Jahlil Okafor opted to look elsewhere.
Now Lyles joins five-star center Karl Towns Jr. of New Jersey, four-star shooting guard Devin Booker of Moss Point, Miss., and four-star point guard Tyler Ulis of Chicago in what Scout.com currently has as the nation’s No. 1 class.
Delaney knows fans of Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville all followed everything Lyles did and said in recent months.
“Indiana fans did not like that he de-committed,” Delaney said. “They are the most passionate and loyal fans around. IU basketball is a big deal here. Kentucky is like that, too. I went to Big Blue Madness with him and the Kentucky fan base is special and the spectacle of that night was unbelievable and neat to see. But he had a lot of fans saying things and doing things the last few months that put a lot of pressure on him.”
It didn’t show on ESPN even when he was asked about Indiana specifically and recruiting overall. He handled it with maturity well beyond his 18 years — Tuesday was his birthday.
“I am so proud of him for that,” Delaney said. “He answered all the questions very well. All our kids go through media training. We train our guys, but his parents have done a great job with Trey. He did a couple of local radio interviews Tuesday and showed just how humble he is. He’s a bright kid, but it was nice to see him smiling again after what he’s gone through in the last year.
“Now he can go to football games with his teammates again. He can be like a normal high school kid again. Making this decision takes a lot of pressure off him. “
Delaney says there won’t be pressure on him when the team plays in the Marshall County Hoop Fest Dec. 6-7 or McCracken County Festival of Hoops Jan. 11. Arsenal Tech likely will have four other Division I signees and is anxious to face some of the best teams in both events.
Delaney has been told by event organizer Dan Hudson how excited fans are to see Lyles play.
“We feel blessed to be part of something like this,” Delaney said. “We are going to compete like heck against some really good teams, but we want to play the best. We are looking forward to seeing the great Kentucky high school basketball fans. I would not want to coach anywhere but Indiana, but I know how Kentucky basketball fans are.
“Trey will like seeing the UK fans. He’s so good with fans. He’ll always taken time to sign autographs or take pictures, especially with kids. It’s not like it takes that long and he understands he can be a role model and he wants to do it. He has a very caring heart and the fans at those places will see that along with just how special he is on the basketball court.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Trey Lyles, the No. 7 prospect in the ESPN 100 and No. 8 in the Scout.com rankings, said UK’s other commitments all tried to recruit him after he announced today he would play for Kentucky, not Louisville. He’s played with Tyler Ulis and we “know each others game” and he’s played against Devin Booker. He has never played with Karl Towns, but he says all three were “recruiting me really hard.”
While UK coach John Calipari is known for developing point guard Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose, John Wall, Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague into first-round NBA draft picks, Lyles said he was impressed with the way Calipari has developed big players and noted the success DeMarcus Cousins is having in the NBA or how Julius Randle is already playing this season.
“That is where I want to be (in the NBA),” Lyles said. “Those 20 players (UK has in the NBA) just gives me more incentive to be there if I do everything I can do in my one year of college. His (Calipari’s) track record and percentage of big guys in the NBA made a difference.”
Lyles, who turned 18 Tuesday, called the recruiting process “a great experience” because of coaches and players it exposed him to. He originally committed to Indiana as a freshman, but changed his mind and thought it would be best to consider other options.
“At times it was hard going through the de-commitment and fans coming at me from different angles. Staying humble got me through it,” Lyles said. “I learned that you need to tak your time with things like that. I was only about 14 when I committed. I really did not have the knowledge I needed.”
He said both Calipari and Louisville coach Rick Pitino basically made the same recruiting pitch about helping him get to where he wanted to be — the NBA. However, Calipari’s recent success putting so many players into the league influenced Lyles’ most.
He thanked God, his parents, coaches and teammates for their sacrifices for him before telling a live ESPNU audience that “next year I will play for the University of Kentucky” after he took several seconds to find the blue UK hat to put on under the podium.
“Trey is a quiet kid. He is very loyal. Once you have that relationship with him, he will do anything you ask him to do. We have to get on him about shooting more. He doubled his assists last year and led our team in assists, rebounds, scoring and blocked shots. He led in every category and yet he sacrificed to make sure his teammates stay involved,” Arsenal Tech coach Jason Delaney said.
Lyles came to UK’s Big Blue Madness in 2012 and 2013 and also attended several UK games last season.
Lyles, a Canadian, averaged 20.3 points and 10 rebounds per game in the FIBA Under 19 World Championships in Prague last summer when Canada finished sixth. He also help his team win the 2013 adidas Nations in Long Beach, Calif., when he had 10 points in the title game against an all-star cast. The second-place team included UK recruiting targets Jahlil Okafor and Stanley Johnson, who had a game-high 17 points.
Delaney said Lyles could not have made a bad choice.
“Those two schools won the last two national championships. You have great coaches at both places. He doesn’t want anything to be given to him. He wants to earn his playing time, and he will,” Delaney said. Trey is a special talent, a phenomenal talent. I have no doubt he will be in the NBA because he is mentally strong and has the work ethic and talent to go with it.”
Lyles and Arsenal Tech will play three times in Kentucky this season. They will play Ballard at 9:30 p.m. EST Dec. 6 in the Marshall County Hoop Fest and take on Huntington Prep at 7:30 p.m. EST Dec. 7 in the same event. They will be at the McCracken Festival of Hoops Jan. 11 to play against Villa Angela St. Joseph (Ohio) at 8:30 p.m. EST.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky added another five-star player to its 2014 recruiting class when Indianapolis forward Trey Lyles picked the Wildcats over Louisville today.
The 6-9 Lyles averaged 17.5 points, 14 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game last year for Arsenal Tech High School. .
“He could score a lot more, but he’s big on getting his teammates involved. He’s become our school’s all-time leading scorer, which has been around since 1970, early in the season and will also be the all-time leading rebounder before he leaves,” Arsenal Tech coach Jason Delaney said. “He’s constantly working on his game. He watches film all the time. Everything he has accomplished, he’s earned.”
FOXSports recruiting analyst Evan Daniels says one thing jumps out about Lyles.
“His offensive skill set is what sticks out. He’s impressive on that end of the floor, as he can score both facing the rim and with his back to the basket. He’s arguably the best scoring threat from the power forward position in the 2014 class,” Daniels said.
His commitment to Kentucky did not surprise Daniels.
“I think since he decommitted from Indiana that Kentucky was the leader and I’m not sure they ever relinquished their lead. Louisville certainly poised a threat, but Kentucky did a great job throughout his recruitment,” Daniels said. “With the addition of Lyles, Kentucky moves up to No. 1 overall in our 2014 recruiting class rankings. They now have two five-star post players (Lyles and Karl Towns) and two guards (Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis) that can help them immediately but likely aren’t one and done.”
On Tuesday, Trey Lyles, the No. 7 basketball recruit in the ESPN 100, will make his college commitment live on ESPNU at 12:55 p.m. ET leading into CFB Daily: The Experts.
Lyles is the No. 2 power forward in the country and plays at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis.
He is deciding between Louisville and Kentucky.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky point guard target Tyler Ulis — who will announce his college choice tonight — and Marian Catholic High School (Chicago Heights, Ill.) have been added to the first McCracken County Festival of Hoops field.
“I had a couple of friends I talked to and had been down there (to the Marshall County Hoop Fest) and told me what a great atmosphere and great experience it is for the kids,” said Marian coach Mike Taylor. “I just thought it would be a great experience for our team.”
Marian will play The Carlisle School (Virginia) at 4:30 CST On Jan. 11.
Other players in the 2014 recruiting class ranked in the top 50 by Rivals.com in the field include Emmanuel Mudiay, Cliff Alexander, Trey Lyles, Jalen Lindsey, Angel Delgado and Josh Perkins. Top 50 players in the 2015 class will be Skal Labiessiere, Cheick Diallo, Elijah Thomas, Carlton Bragg and Montaque Gill-Caesar.
Marian Catholic set a school record for wins by going 29-4 last year and reached its first Class 4A supersectional.
“We have every starter back. We lost one kid that graduated, but the nucleus of our team is back,” Taylor said. “It is a small, fast team. They are really fun to watch play. They are all good friends who play well together. I think fans will enjoy seeing them.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari obviously is an all-out recruiting mode now as he visits top prospects and he even gave out a scholarship offer to Texas 7-footer Myles Turner this week.
The good thing about Turner is that he could easily play with Karl Towns, UK’s only commit in the 2014 class — even though that could change tonight when Chicago point guard Tyler Ulis picks his school.
Turner shot up the recruiting rankings this summer and is now a five-star prospect. Scout.com recently elevated him to the No. 2 player in the 2014 class.
Turner has rocketed up the recruiting rankings in recent weeks following a dominant showing on the summer circuit. Scout.com ranks him as the No. 2 overall prospect in the Class of 2014.
He could make a visit to UK for Big Blue Madness on Oct. 18 along with top targets Stanley Johnson, Trey Lyles and Kelly Oubre. Turner also plans to visit Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Kansas. Other schools on his list include Duke, Louisville, Texas and Arizona.
Kentucky is also actively involved with 2014 big men Cliff Alexander and Jahlil Okafor.
Pairings for the first McCracken County Festival of Hoops patterned after the successful Marshall County Hoop Fest have been released and include an appearance by UK point guard target Tyler Ulis of Marian Catholic in Chicago who will make his college announcement Friday. Other UK targets in the field include Trey Lyles, Cliff Alexander, Skal Labissiere, Elijah Thomas and
McCracken County Festival of Hoops
Thursday Jan 9, 2014
4:30 Tilghman v Union City (girls)
6:00 McCracken v TBA (girls)
7:30 McCracken v Goreville
Friday Jan 10, 2014
5:00 Chicago Currie v Villa Angela St. Joseph OH
6:30 Dallas Prime Prep TXv Sunrise Christian Academy KS
8:00 Huntington Prep WVv Our Savior New American NY
9:30 The Carlisle School VA v Chicago Orr
Saturday Jan 11, 2014
9:00 Marshall v Goreville (girls)
10:30 McCracken v Massac (girls)
12:00 Marshall v Massac
1:30 Murray v Graves (girls)
3:00 McCracken v Covington Holmes
4:30 Marian Catholic High School IL v The Carlisle School VA
6:00 Huntington Prep VA v Sunrise Christian Academy KS
7:30 Arsenal Tech IN v Villa Angela St. Joseph OH
9:00 Dallas Prime Prep v Evangelical Christian TN
10:30 Lausanne Collegiate Academy v Our Savior New American NY
Notable Players according to Rivals.com
Class of 2014
#2 Emmanuel Mudiay
#4 Cliff Alexander
#5 Trey Lyles
#15 Jalen Lindsey
#33 Tyler Ulis
#44 Angel Delgado
#46 Josh Perkins
Class of 2015
#6 Skal Labissiere
#7 Cheick Diallo
#8 Elijah Thomas
#11 Carlton Bragg
#18 Montaque Gill-Caesar
Class of 2016
#4 Thon Maker