While we were gone: Big stories from last week

 Posted by at 12:54 AM on December 24, 2012
Dec 242012

Next Cats is back from furlough, and it was a relatively quiet week for UK recruiting.

But that doesn’t mean there was no important news.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest stories from the past few days …

Dakari’s down to three

Dakari Johnson, one of UK’s four remaining targets from the class of 2013, announced at the City of Palms Classic that he will decide between Kentucky, Syracuse and Georgetown. The 6-11 center eliminated Florida, Ohio State and others, and said he does not expect to make a final decision until the spring.

Johnson attended middle school in Lexington and still has close friends and family in the city.

The New York City native was also named the MVP of the prestigious City of Palms event after leading Montverde Academy to the championship.

Parker picks Duke

Jabari Parker — who Sports Illustrated called “The best high school basketball player since LeBron James — made his much-anticipated announcement Thursday. The senior forward out of Chicago picked Duke, choosing the Blue Devils over Michigan State and several others.

Parker and Kentucky went their separate ways over the summer, so the Cats were no longer involved in his recruitment once the big day arrived.

He was quickly introduced to his future archrival when North Carolina fans (among others) taunted him via Twitter. Even a hometown columnist criticized the hoopla surrounding Parker’s decision, calling it a “day of suspenseful silliness.”

But Parker and Duke fans were happy. With the commitment of the No. 2 player in the class, the Blue Devils rose to the No. 2 position in the Scout.com team rankings — behind only Kentucky.

Harrison helps with Randle?

UK target Julius Randle is still sidelined with a broken foot and was not able to participate at City of Palms. But he has had some time to think about his recruitment and talked to ESPN’s Dave Telep about his upcoming decision.

Randle, who won’t make an announcement until the spring, told Telep that the one player he would most like to play with at the college level is UK signee Andrew Harrison.

That’s a great sign for Kentucky, but most of the buzz still has Florida and Texas as the co-leaders for Randle. We’ll have to wait a few more months to find out for sure.

Jones on the mend

Tyus Jones, who has been visited twice by John Calipari in recent weeks, left Tuesday’s game with back spasms and his coach is not sure when he’ll return to action. “I’m not going to bring him back now until he’s 100 percent healthy,” Apple Valley coach Zach Goring told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Jones is generally regarded as the No. 1 point guard in the class of 2014 and many services rank him as the No. 1 overall player. He has narrowed his list to Kentucky and seven other schools.

New offer for Lyle

Florida was the latest school to offer 2014 guard JaQuan Lyle, despite the fact that he narrowed his list earlier this year and didn’t include the Gators.

Kentucky is on Lyle’s list of 10 schools, though UK is the only one of those programs that has not offered him a scholarship. Scout.com ranks Lyle as the No. 13 overall player in the class of 2014.

A few new videos

Andrew Wiggins had a big game at City of Palms on Thursday, scoring 31 points in front of Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton.

Several highlights of James Young from the Battle of the Best earlier this week.

— UK commitment Karl Towns talks to KSTV about his life after the college decision and looking forward to wearing blue at Kentucky.


  9 Responses to “While we were gone: Big stories from last week”

  1. Good to see you back Ben and also great to read more things concerning the Cats recruiting activities. The interview that Telep had with Randle was encouraging. I dont know why the pundiffs are saying that Texas and Fla. are the leaders with Randle. Randles most recent blog was also encouraging in that Randle spoke about what the coaches had to say to him after and about his injury. Randle was quite impressed by what Cal had to say and said that he felt Cal cared a lot about him and his future. Texas Longhorns HC Barnes said”he was still going to recruit Randle” which to me lacks empathy and warmness. But Texas is close to home and Randle is familiar with the campus and coaches but do they really have a chance to win the NC next year, I say no way. If he wants a NC next year he needs to be in Lexington in 2013-14.

  2. …if you want to play with Andrew Harrison, and you know Calipari has your best interest at heart then you sign with UK; simple. If your friends and family are in Lex and UK is Top 3, then come on home; sign with UK. I really liked what I saw from Aaron Gordon’s motor and skill set recently. I’m hopeful we’re serious about him. Wiggins is this year’s Shabazz; look for him to go elsewhere than Kentucky. He seems to be a loner, quiet, maybe even sympathetic… thus goes to Fla State to rejuvinate Leonard Hamilton’s future. Merry Christmas and grateful for your site and work. Go Cats!

  3. Im glad another poster mentioned the fact that Wiggins may go elsewhere b/c I have felt he would choose FSU although UK has a chance to get him still. Most of these top guys say that they want to win the NC then some go to prgrams that dont have a chance to win it not even close and thats the situation with Wiggins going to FSU. UK is the place to be if you really want the best chance to win the whole thing. There are legit reasons why Wiggins may choose FSU over the Cats and they include family ties to FSU and his friend and teammate Rathan-Mayes signed with FSU for next year and he has a very good relationship with Hamiltom. He is a quiet unassuming kid and may enjoy going to a place that he wont be in the spotlight as much as he would be at KY.

  4. Randle is Texas bound, time to move on because that ship has sailed.

  5. I say Cal knows what he is doing when it comes to recruiting good players and good citizens. I say take Randle, Gordon, Wiggins, or Johnson as the first to accept the offer. We couldn’t go wrong with either one. Wiggins may be the most skilled, but sulks. Randle has the weight at 250 to really play in the SEC. Johnson would be a great addition to the Wildcats and a step up on #9. Gordon would be a fan favorite and could really benefit from Andrew feeding him the ball on the break. Of the four I say take Randle, Johnson, Wiggins, or Gordon in that order.
    Go Cats.

  6. after watching 5000 people applauding his every move at Hoop Fest, when Wiggins faked a dunked on a break a way and shot a two handed layup, as to say ” please be quiet” I got the feeling he is going elsewhere. Most of my friends are 100% sure he is coming to UK but I just don’t think so. I see the same family influence that sent Henry to Kansas a few years ago coming into play. He is definitely the best I have seen come through Hoop Fest, and there have been some “great” ones. What impressed me was when he asked to guard Nick King from Memphis who had scored 14 points in the first half and talking smack to Wiggins the whole time. He then blocked 3 of King’s jump shots and held him to 2 points and in the process shut King up.

  7. I would take all 4

  8. Im not sure that it will come down to just the 1st player to commit will be the only 1 to come to UK. I believe Dakari Johnson is a lock to come to KY if just 1 thing happens and that is that WCS puts his name into the NBA draft because Noel will certainly do so. If WCS goes then Johnson comes its as simple as that IMO. I also think if Johnson commits 1st it will have zero effect on whether another of the other 3 players commit or not b/c Johnson is a true center and the other 3 play the 3 or 4 spot so getting 2 of the 4 is possible but the 1 that is the most likely to wind up at UK is Johnson, no doubt.

  9. UK needs to sign more than what we have. I would like to think we will get back a couple of players from this year but I dont think Lamb and Teague were ready to go last year. They left. Calipari can not take a chance on being short handed next year. I hope he gets at least 2 more. Any combination will do.

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