The recruiting focus at Monday night’s Alumni Game will be on a trio of 2014 prospects in town for their official visits. But they won’t be UK’s only guests.
Three players from the Class of 2015 — Derrick Jones, Luke Kennard and Charles Matthews — also made plans to visit UK in conjunction with the Alumni Game festivities.
All three prospects have scholarship offers from Kentucky.
Matthews tweeted Sunday that he had a “great time” on his visit to Lexington. Several former UK stars now playing in the NBA were on campus over the weekend in preparation of Monday night’s game in Rupp Arena.
John Calipari visited Matthews at his Chicago high school last spring and watched the 6-foot-4 combo guard play several times on the summer circuit. Matthews’ high school coach is Gary DeCesare, who coached UK assistant Orlando Antigua when he was a high schooler in the Bronx.
Scout.com ranks Matthews as the No. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2015.
“Kentucky has really prioritized Charles,” Scout analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “They’ve been on him from the jump. I love Charles’ athleticism, speed and versatility. He can play on and off the ball. He’s starting to develop into a scorer from mid-range. He can pass. He really defends the ball well too. There’s a lot to like about Charles Matthews.”
Kennard — a 6-4 shooting guard from Franklin, Ohio — has visited UK’s campus twice since receiving a scholarship offer in July. His father told the Herald-Leader on Sunday night that the family was planning to come for a third unofficial visit for Monday’s game.
Scout.com considers Kennard the No. 15 overall recruit in the junior class. He already has offers from UK, Duke, Louisville, Michigan State, Indiana and several other major programs. Kennard is planning to make a college decision before next summer.
Jones — 6-6 small forward from Philadelphia — is the No. 14 prospect in the Scout.com rankings. Syracuse, Kansas and Maryland are among the other schools that have already extended scholarship offers.
Jones is known as one of the best dunkers in high school basketball.
“His upside is tremendous,” Daniels said. “At 6-6, he has this long, lanky frame. He’s a very good athlete. He’s developing his ball skills. He’s a guy with a lot of upside and a lot of athleticism. Two or three years from now, Derrick Jones is going to be a high-, high-level player. And he already is now. But … his best basketball days are definitely ahead of him.”
Class of 2014 recruits Jahlil Okafor, Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker were all scheduled to arrive in Lexington on Sunday for their official visits to UK.
The Alumni Game will be played Monday at 7 p.m. in Rupp Arena. A fantasy game featuring several other former Wildcats is slated to begin at 5:15 p.m.