Devin Booker, other top UK targets look elsewhere

 Posted by at 1:35 AM on October 21, 2013
Oct 212013
Jahlil Okafor took an official visit to UK last month for the school

Jahlil Okafor took an official visit to UK last month for the school’s Alumni Game.
Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune

Big Blue Madness was a big draw for elite prospects again this year, but it wasn’t the only destination for UK’s top recruiting targets.

Devin Booker, Jahlil Okafor, Myles Turner and Charles Matthews all took visits to other schools over the weekend.

Booker — one of the top shooting guards in the senior class — was at Missouri for the fourth and final official visit of his recruitment. The 6-foot-5 prospect watched the Mizzou football team stay undefeated with an upset victory over Florida. A fan brought a sign to the game that read, “Welcome to the Zou, Devin.” Missouri is the alma mater of Booker’s father, who starred for the Tigers in the early 1990s.

Booker had already taken official visits to his other three finalists: Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State. His high school coach told the Herald-Leader earlier this month that Booker is planning to reveal his college decision Oct. 31 during a ceremony at the school, but that date has not been officially announced.

While Booker was taking his final official visit, fellow UK target Myles Turner was taking his first.

Turner — the No. 2 overall prospect in the Class of 2014 — traveled to Ohio State on Friday and told ESPN that he was impressed with the visit. He is also considering Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma State.

The 7-footer from Texas has not scheduled any other official visits, but he has said in the past that Kansas will definitely get one of those trips. He is not expected to sign with a school until April.

Kansas also had a couple of big visitors on campus this weekend.

The Jayhawks hosted No. 1 overall prospect Jahlil Okafor and top point guard Tyus Jones for their official visits, and KU Coach Bill Self scheduled a special practice that was open to the public in conjunction with the trips.

Okafor and Jones reportedly received a standing ovation when they arrived at the practice. They were also popular among the autograph seekers in the crowd.

On his way out of town, Okafor tweeted, “Had a great time in Lawrence, appreciate all the love from everyone on campus. #RockChalk”

The Chicago big man has cut his list to Kansas, UK, Duke and Baylor. He took official visits to UK and Baylor earlier this year and he and Jones will travel to Duke this weekend. Jones recently cut UK from consideration.

Okafor is expected to make a college decision soon, but he’s also expected to attend the same school as Jones. If that happens, UK will not be an option.

Class of 2015 guard Charles Matthews took an unofficial visit to Michigan State over the weekend. “Loved it down here,” he tweeted Saturday.

Matthews was one of the first players in his class to receive a scholarship offer from Kentucky. He took an unofficial visit to Lexington last month. Kansas, Illinois and Ohio State are among the other schools on his list.

Matthews is an AAU teammate of UK commitment Tyler Ulis.


  2 Responses to “Devin Booker, other top UK targets look elsewhere”

  1. Hey Ben, do you think UK will look at Torain Graham again if they miss out on either Devin Booker or James Blackmon Jr?

  2. There’s been no indication yet that UK has any interest in revisiting Torian Graham. But I wouldn’t rule out anything in this class, especially if they miss on one of the two players you mentioned. UK will need three really good guards in 2014-15 if James Young goes pro, which I expect him to do.


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