Kentucky released its non-conference schedule Wednesday afternoon, and next season’s slate features several marquee games. Here’s a look at some of the top recruits from the class of 2013 who the Cats will be facing:
Nov. 12 — vs. MICHIGAN STATE in Chicago
Tom Izzo has only two recruits in his 2013 class — three-star forwards Gavin Schilling and Alvin Ellis. Schilling is a 6-9 power forward out of Findlay Prep (Nev.) who is considered the No. 125 overall player in the class by Rivals.com. Ellis is a 6-5 small forward from Chicago. Kentucky fans will also have an opportunity to see shooting guard Gary Harris, who chose the Spartans over UK and will return for his sophomore season.
Dec. 1 — vs. PROVIDENCE in Brooklyn
The star of the Friars’ recruiting class is small forward Brandon Austin, who Scout.com considers the No. 38 overall prospect in the class. Austin — a 6-6 native of Philadelphia — originally committed to Penn State before backing out of that pledge. Highly touted 2012 point guard Kris Dunn will return for his sophomore season after being hobbled by injuries for much of his first year with the Friars. UK fans won’t get to see former Calipari target Ricardo Ledo, who opted for the NBA Draft after being ineligible for his first season at Providence.
Dec. 6 — vs. BAYLOR in Cowboys Stadium
Kentucky fans might have already seen one of the Bears’ top recruits — four-star big man Dominic Woodson, who played his senior season alongside Andrew Wiggins at Huntington Prep. Woodson, a 6-10, 290-pound center, made an unofficial visit to UK last fall but the Cats never offered a scholarship. Scout.com considers him the No. 88 overall player in the class. Small forward Ishmail Wainright is Baylor’s highest-rated recruit at No. 63 in the Scout rankings.
Dec. 14 — at NORTH CAROLINA
The Tar Heels will bring in two McDonald’s All-Americans — Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks — and at least one other highly touted recruit. Meeks is a nearly 300-pound center who drew some late interest from John Calipari (and said he got a UK offer) before going with his home-state school. Scout.com ranks him as the No. 50 overall player in the class. Hicks, a 6-8 power forward, is UNC’s highest-rated player in the Scout rankings at No. 20 overall and is expected to contribute right away. Roy Williams’ class also includes Oak Hill Academy point guard Nate Britt, a three-star recruit. The Tar Heels are in the running for No. 1 overall prospect Andrew Wiggins, who is expected to announce a college decision by May 15.
Dec. 28 — vs. LOUISVILLE
The defending national champions will return several key players, but Rick Pitino will also welcome four highly touted prospects to Louisville next season. Hargrave Military Academy’s Terry Rozier is considered the No. 15 overall player in the class by Scout.com. The 6-1 guard was the MVP of last year’s Derby Festival Classic and scored 68 points in a high school game in Louisville earlier this year. His Hargrave teammate — shooting guard Anton Gill — won the dunk contest at this year’s Derby Festival Classic. He’s No. 46 on the Scout.com board. Next comes Nebraska power forward Akoy Agau, who is considered the No. 75 player in the class by ESPN. The versatile big man had offers from Florida, Georgetown, UConn, Missouri and several other major programs. Rounding out the class is junior college player of the year Chris Jones, who originally committed to Tennessee as one of the top point guards in the class of 2011. He could start for the Cards next season in place of departing senior Peyton Siva.
Note: UK’s conference schedule will be released at a later date. The SEC had a strong recruiting year with 20 commitments from prospects in the final ESPN 100, which was posted earlier Wednesday. Nine SEC schools have at least one Top 100 signee.