With Kentucky adding to its 2013 recruiting class on a weekly basis, the Cats could soon reach the point where prospects look elsewhere to avoid a logjam at their position.
New Jersey native Tyler Roberson apparently isn’t there yet.
Roberson, a 6-foot-7 small forward from New Jersey, still plans to visit Kentucky next month despite the recent commitments of James Young and Marcus Lee.
“Oh yeah. Absolutely,” Roselle Catholic coach Dave Boff said Friday night when asked if his player was still interested in UK. Roberson, who ESPN ranks as the No. 25 recruit in 2013, is scheduled to take an official visit to Lexington on the first weekend in November.
“I think the one thing that Coach Calipari has sold to Tyler, and sold to a lot of kids, is that you can’t win national championships by yourself,” Boff said. “So you’re going to be surrounded by a lot of good people no matter where you go if you want to win.”
Along with UK, Roberson’s list consists of Syracuse, Rutgers, Kansas, Villanova and SMU.
He has already taken unofficial visits to SMU and Syracuse.
“He said that he liked both of the visits so far,” Boff said. “He didn’t really give me any inclination as to if he liked one better than the other. When I spoke to him after each visit he just said that he enjoyed it and he was looking forward to the next one. I think, as of right now, he’s trying to get through each of the visits and then he’ll sit down with his family and try to either narrow the list down to two or possibly make a final decision.”
Roberson flew out Friday afternoon for an official visit to Kansas. He’ll be at Villanova for an official visit next week. Boff said Roberson has already taken several unofficial visits to nearby Rutgers.
Some reports have said that Syracuse and Rutgers are in the best shape for Roberson, but Boff said that information likely hasn’t come from anyone around the star recruit.
“The best advice you can give to them is to keep the majority of the conversations between themselves and their family, so that nobody feels like they’ve been lied to if you end up changing your mind at some point,” he said.
UK was later to Roberson’s recruitment than the other schools on his list. Assistant coach Orlando Antigua visited for an open gym shortly after the fall contact period began, but Roberson had tweaked his ankle and struggled through the workout. John Calipari accompanied Antigua to New Jersey the next week, and the UK coaches extended a scholarship offer.
Boff said Roberson has completely healed from the ankle injury and will be ready to go when the team officially begins practice in late November.
He could also be done with his recruitment by then. The UK visit will be his last, and the plan has always been to make a fall decision and sign in November. The early signing period is set for Nov. 14-21.
One question could be how comfortable Roberson will be leaving home for college.
Rutgers is less than 20 miles away, Villanova is an hour-and-half drive, and Syracuse is about four hours. Kentucky, Kansas and SMU are obviously much longer treks.
“I’d be surprised if travel like that was not a factor for any kid that was going to be going far away to school,” Boff said. “I just think most kids and parents have to see how the distance affects them. So I would imagine it’s a factor. But it’s not anything that he or his parents have told me directly.”
The main objective of these visits is for Roberson to “get a real feel for what the school is like, and what the program is like,” the coach said.
Those who follow college basketball got a good look at what life is like for a UK player earlier this week with the first episode of ESPN’s All-Access Kentucky.
Boff wasn’t sure if Roberson had seen the show, but the coach made a point to tune in.
“I certainly did. I thought it was obviously very cool,” he said. “You got a feel for how special it is to be a Kentucky basketball player. We actually just had a coaches’ meeting and it came up — you know, what a nice job ESPN did with that little special. It certainly projected (UK) in a very positive light and would be intriguing for any kid that (UK) was considering.
“I think any time you’re able to do things like that, it should have a positive impact on recruiting.”