Kentucky seems to be in a pretty good spot with Cleveland forward Carlton Bragg, but a quick end to his recruitment looks unlikely.
Bragg said Saturday that he has already made the first cut to his list of schools, though he’s only narrowed his choices to 11 programs and has no plans to reveal them until September.
UK will certainly be one of the schools on that list.
Bragg — a 6-foot-8 prospect in the class of 2015 — openly lobbied for a scholarship offer from the Wildcats and finally landed one in January following a stellar performance against UK signee Trey Lyles in a game that John Calipari attended. On the night of the national championship game, he tweeted a photo of himself wearing a UK hooded sweatshirt and said Saturday that he had been rooting for the Cats to win the title.
UK’s coaching staff has also seen him this spring with the Ohio Basketball Club.
“They’re coming at me pretty hard,” Bragg said. “They want me to take another visit and see the campus life. Get to know me better.”
He visited Lexington for the first time last fall and reflected on that “awesome” trip over the weekend while playing in the Adidas Gauntlet event in Indianapolis. There’s a good chance that his next visit will be centered around Big Blue Madness in October.
Ohio State, Kansas, Illinois and Arizona are among the other schools pursuing Bragg, considered the No. 8 rising senior in the country by Scout.com.
The offer from UK was the last big one he was looking for.
“It made me work harder as a player and as a student,” Bragg said. “Because once you go to Kentucky, all it is is success. (Even) if you’re one and done, you can come back in four years and get your degree.”
Bragg struggled with foul trouble for much of the weekend but left the event on a high note: 35 points, seven rebounds, four blocked shots and four steals in a victory Sunday morning.
He showed his ability to play away from the basket and said that most of the schools on his list are recruiting him as a “three” or a “stretch four.” Bragg has also clearly put on some muscle over the past few months.
He said he’s now at 220 pounds, more than 40 pounds heavier than he was at the beginning of his junior season. Bragg said the weight gain has been the result of a lot of protein shakes and a healthier diet.
“I was just eating snacks (before),” he said. “It was pretty bad for me.”
Bragg said he’d like to add another 10 or 15 pounds before he gets to college.
The timing of that college decision is still up in the air, and the recruitment could stretch all the way until he finishes his senior season of high school next spring.
UK’s lone commitment for the class of 2015 — Chicago guard Charles Matthews — is already going after Bragg on the Cats’ behalf. Bragg said the two five-star recruits are “pretty good friends,” smiling when his name was mentioned Saturday.
“He told me to commit with him,” Bragg said. “I told him, ‘We’ll see about that.'”