Class of 2015 star Carlton Bragg hasn’t yet visited the University of Kentucky, but he already has an opinion about the Wildcats program.
“Oh, I like everything about Kentucky,” Bragg said with a big smile.
The 6-foot-8 prospect is in Louisville this weekend for the John Lucas Midwest Invitational, which features some of the best players nationally from the 2015, 2016 and 2017 classes.
Scout.com ranks Bragg as the No. 9 overall prospect in the Class of 2015, and he looked the part Saturday. The Cleveland native is comfortable away from the basket, has nice touch on his jump shot and moves well with or without the ball. His athleticism made him one of the standouts during Day 1 of the camp.
Bragg is also using the weekend to learn a little more about two of the highest-profile schools on his list.
He arrived in town Friday and immediately headed over to Louisville’s campus for his second unofficial visit to the school. Freshman guard Terry Rozier showed Bragg around, and he then met with some of the other players and Cardinals assistant coach Kevin Keatts.
On Sunday, he’ll take his first unofficial visit to Kentucky.
The Wildcats staff is already familiar with the 2015 recruit. John Robic has been to Cleveland twice in the past few days to see Bragg play in open gyms. Bragg said Orlando Antigua attended most of his AAU games over the summer.
Michael Graves — Bragg’s mentor — is handling the player’s recruitment and doing most of the communicating with the coaches recruiting him. Graves said he hasn’t spoken yet with Calipari, though that will probably change Sunday.
Bragg’s mentor has spoken with Robic about the recruitment.
“He said he’s very interested in Carlton and they like his style of play,” Graves said. “He said they’re anxious to get him down on campus and to start the recruiting process. It’s fun, and it’s fun for the other kids at our school. Every open gym, we have eight or nine (college) coaches there.”
Graves is a former assistant coach at Bragg’s high school — Villa Angela-St. Joseph — and won a state title there in the early ’90s. When it became apparent that Bragg would be going through a busy recruitment, his family enlisted Graves to help handle all of the inquiries.
So far, there have been plenty.
Kansas, Ohio State, UCLA, Georgetown, Illinois and Indiana are among the schools that have already offered scholarships. Several other major programs have expressed interest.
Graves mentioned style of play, coaching mentality and academic environment as factors Bragg would consider when making his college decision. He also mentioned something else that might interest Kentucky fans.
“The point guard situation — that’s something we’ve been talking about lately,” Graves said. “He wants at least a sophomore or junior point guard, a veteran point guard. … Just so everybody isn’t a freshman.”
Current freshman Dominique Hawkins will be a junior by the time Bragg makes his college debut. And UK recently picked up a commitment from 5-9 point guard Tyler Ulis for the Class of 2014. Ulis is likely to be at UK for three or four years and will be a sophomore when Bragg is a freshman.
Graves said Bragg has crossed paths with Ulis at various camps and likes his game.
“The point guard situation is going to be very important,” he reiterated.
Graves said UK hasn’t mentioned anything about a scholarship offer and he and Bragg aren’t necessarily expecting one Sunday. There’s also no rush — Graves said his player isn’t likely to make a decision until his senior season.
Right now, Bragg is simply looking forward to his first visit to the Lexington campus.
“I like how they develop players,” he said. “They develop everybody to be NBA prospects. And they’ve developed a lot of people there.”