Wrapping up the biggest storylines of the weekend …
First, if you haven’t read it yet make sure you check out our Recruiting Predictions article from Sunday night. Several top national recruiting writers were kind enough to give us their thoughts on where Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon will end up. (My predictions are in there too).
UK didn’t get a chance to see Dominique Hawkins over the weekend. The 2013 guard played games Friday and Saturday night in Richmond, and the Cats’ road contest in Arkansas meant no one from the UK staff could attend. After the Friday game, Hawkins told the Herald-Leader: “Since I was a little kid — I grew up as a Kentucky fan. It’s been my dream school.” UK will have no excuse for missing him this week. Hawkins and Madison Central play Wayne County at noon Wednesday in the first game of the Sweet Sixteen in Rupp Arena. UK’s next game isn’t until Thursday night at Georgia.
Louisville commitment Quentin Snider will also play in Rupp for the first time this week. The junior guard led No. 2 Ballard past top-ranked Trinity in Saturday’s region final, and the Bruins will be the favorites to win the state championship. Snider and Ballard will face Johnson Central and 2014 forward Shane Hall at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
One in-state prospect who won’t be in Rupp is Cordia point guard Emmanuel Owootoah. The 2013 recruit — who was recently scouted by Orlando Antigua — lost in the 14th Region semifinals Friday night, ending his season.
Andrew Wiggins played the final regular-season game of his high school career Saturday at Boyd County Middle School in Ashland. Wiggins poured in 40 points in a blowout victory over a team from Canada. After the game, Wiggins spoke briefly with Cats Illustrated about his midweek visit to Kentucky. “We’ve been close for a while, but it’s getting even better,” he said of his relationship with John Calipari. Wiggins headed west for his official visit with Kansas on Sunday morning. His final official will be to North Carolina on Friday.
When Julius Randle went down with a broken foot during the second game of the season, it appeared that his high school career might be over. On Saturday night, Randle scored 34 points and led Prestonwood Christian to its third state title in four years. After the victory, Randle tweeted “I’m still so hyped lol !! I’m ready to commit right now lol.” He didn’t commit, of course, but an announcement could come soon. The 2013 forward is expected to make his plans known sometime later this month.
UK signees Andrew and Aaron Harrison will go for a state title next. The Texas twins helped Travis High knock off its biggest rival Saturday night. Andrew scored 17 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter of the region championship. He was also 21-for-23 on free throws. Aaron had 14 points in the victory.
UK signee Marcus Lee had another huge game Friday night and led Deer Valley to the North Coast Section Division I title for the first time in school history. The San Jose Mercury News had Lee with 22 points, 17 rebounds and nine blocks in the deciding game. Others, including Lee’s brother, had him with 22 points, 22 rebounds, 14 blocks and eight assists. Either way, that’s another epic stat line from the future Wildcat.
Some bad news in the world of UK recruiting … 2014 forward Trey Lyles went down with a knee injury in Friday’s playoff game and was sidelined for his team’s loss in the sectional championship Saturday. Lyles tweeted Sunday night that he will undergo and MRI on Monday.
2014 forward Cliff Alexander took an unofficial visit to Illinois on Saturday.