UK’s top recruits for 2015

Charles
Matthews

Carlton
Bragg

Jaylen
Brown

Cheick
Diallo

Malik
Newman

Stephen
Zimmerman


OTHERS TO WATCH FOR 2015

Antonio Blakeney

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
Kentucky offered Blakeney in July amid a stellar showing on the summer circuit. The 6-4 guard from Orlando is one of the best scorers in the class and has a knack for getting to the basket. He’s also a good shooter. Former NBA coach John Lucas called him “the most explosive scorer in the 2015 class” during the LeBron James Skills Academy. Blakeney has long been one of Louisville’s top targets, and Kansas and Florida are among the other schools heavily involved in his recruitment.

Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-4
Weight: 170
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
High school: Oak Ridge
Rivals ranking: No. 16
Scout ranking: No. 20
ESPN ranking: No. 16
24/7 ranking: No. 13
Other leaders: Louisville, Florida, Kansas, Florida State, North Carolina, Missouri, Oregon.
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Carlton Bragg

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
Bragg is a versatile forward who has established himself as one of the best inside-out players in the class. He’s usually listed as a power forward, but he has said that many schools are looking at him as a “stretch-4″ that can play on the perimeter. Bragg gained around 40 pounds from the summer before his junior year to the current AAU season — and that will help him in the post against more physical opponents in college. When he’s playing with energy, he’s incredibly difficult to stop. Bragg will cut his list to six schools Sept. 1 and has already planned an official visit to UK for Big Blue Madness in October.

Position: Forward
Height: 6-9
Weight: 220
Hometown: Cleveland
High school: St. Joseph
Rivals ranking: No. 9
Scout ranking: No. 11
ESPN ranking: No. 14
24/7 ranking: No. 11
Other leaders: Kansas, Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, West Virginia, UCLA
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Jaylen Brown

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
Brown’s game has undergone an impressive transformation over the past few months, and it’s landed him in the discussion for the No. 1 overall ranking in the 2015 class. It also earned him a UK scholarship offer in April. The explosive and hard-working wing has added a reliable jump shot, which had been his main weakness for the past couple of years. “Jaylen Brown is on the rise,” Scout.com’s Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “We have him No. 4 now, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up higher than that.” Brown has said that he will use two of his official visits on trips to Kentucky and UCLA.

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 220
Hometown: Marietta, Ga.
High school: Wheeler
Rivals ranking: No. 3
Scout ranking: No. 4
ESPN ranking: No. 8
24/7 ranking: No. 2
Other leaders: Kansas, UCLA, Louisville, Arizona, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, N.C. State, Texas
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Eric Davis

The Michigan native received early offers from such big-time programs as Michigan State and Ohio State by showcasing his ability to score from the point guard position. Kentucky has stayed in contact with Davis — who visited for Big Blue Madness in 2013 — and John Calipari has compared him to former Wildcats guard Doron Lamb. “It’s not really me to be a natural, true point guard,” Davis told the Herald-Leader. “I just score the ball so well in a variety of ways.”

Position: Guard
Height: 6-3
Weight: 160
Hometown: Saginaw, Mich.
High school: Arthur Hill
Rivals ranking: No. 39
Scout ranking: No. 32
ESPN ranking: No. 35
24/7 ranking: No. 39
Other leaders: Michigan, Michigan State, Kansas, Florida, UCLA, Ohio State, Illinois.
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Cheick Diallo

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
Nobody plays harder than Diallo, a native of Mali who is arguably the best rebounder and post defender in the class. He was named the most valuable player at last year’s NBPA Top 100 Camp despite being a year younger than many of the top players in attendance. He nearly repeated that honor at the 2014 edition of that event. “He has the highest motor in high school basketball, and I don’t think it’s even close,” Scout.com’s Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. Diallo visited Kentucky for the first time in late June and could be ready to make a college decision before the end of the calendar year. He also developed a good relationship with UK assistant coach Barry “Slice” Rohrssen when Rohrssen was an assistant at Pitt.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-9
Weight: 220
Home country: Mali
High school: Our Savior New American (N.Y.)
Rivals ranking: No. 5
Scout ranking: No. 5
ESPN ranking: No. 7
24/7 ranking: No. 3
Other leaders: Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Kansas, Syracuse, Arizona, Louisville
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P.J. Dozier

Dozier has long been ranked as one of the top prospects in this class, but most scouts and analysts didn’t know he was actually playing on a torn ACL for several years before getting knee surgery before his junior season. He’s now back and rounding into shape as many of nation’s top programs continue to recruit him. Kentucky is a newcomer to the pursuit, but Dozier and his father told the Herald-Leader in June that the Wildcats will remain under strong consideration, especially if John Calipari extends a scholarship offer. The 6-7 prospect can play every position 1-4 and excels with the ball in his hands. His court vision is among the best in the class.

Position: Guard/forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 185
Hometown: Columbia, S.C.
High school: Spring Valley
Rivals ranking: No. 40
Scout ranking: No. 51
ESPN ranking: No. 29
24/7 ranking: No. 21
Other leaders: North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan, Georgetown, Indiana, Ohio State, South Carolina, Clemson
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Henry Ellenson

One of the fastest-rising players in the class of 2015, Ellenson is now considered a top-10 prospect by Scout.com and ESPN. The 6-10 forward from Wisconsin has a 7-2 wingspan and is a solid scorer in the post. Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky all sent scholarship offers during his breakout summer, but a couple of the local schools will have a good shot too. Wisconsin is considered one of his favorites, and his older brother recently transferred to Marquette, which could have a major impact on his recruitment.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-10
Weight: 230
Hometown: Rice Lake, Wis.
High school: Rice Lake
Rivals ranking: No. 17
Scout ranking: No. 7
ESPN ranking: No. 5
24/7 ranking: No. 14
Other leaders: Marquette, Wisconsin, Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Iowa State, Creighton, Northwestern
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Brandon Ingram

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
Ingram’s length allows him to be an effective defender and rebounder for his position. UK came late to his recruitment, but Calipari came through with an offer during the July recruiting period and should be a major player moving forward. North Carolina, Duke and Louisville are also heavily involved. Ingram is expected to cut his list of schools sometime in August, and he told the Herald-Leader that he will also visit UK for the first time during that month.

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-8
Weight: 190
Hometown: Kinston, N.C.
High school: Kinston
Rivals ranking: No. 25
Scout ranking: No. 26
ESPN ranking: No. 12
24/7 ranking: No. 18
Other leaders: Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Florida, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Louisville
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Derrick Jones

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
The high-flying prospect from Philadelphia might be the best dunker in the Class of 2015. Jones has wowed observers with his above-the-rim game, but he still needs to work on his fundamentals and overall basketball skills. He was one of the first players in the class to earn an offer from Kentucky. Jones will take a visit to UK later this summer and seems to be in no rush on making a college decision.

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 190
Hometown: Philadelphia
High school: Archbishop Carroll
Rivals ranking: No. 33
Scout ranking: No. 43
ESPN ranking: No. 27
24/7 ranking: No. 20
Other leaders: Syracuse, UConn, Kansas, Indiana, Villanova, Louisville, Maryland
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Skal Labissiere

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
Labissiere was the first player from the class to get a UK scholarship offer, and he remained the only 2015 prospect to have one for several months. He moved to the United States shortly after his homeland of Haiti was devastated by the 2010 earthquake. The near 7-footer is still raw, but his upside is undeniable. Terry Tippett, a Hall of Fame coach in Tennessee, recalled the first time he saw Labissiere. “He shot the ball and I said, ‘Oh, man!’” Tippett recalled in an interview with the Herald-Leader. “It came out of his hands so soft. Jump hooks. He went right and left. He can really do anything with the ball.” Labissiere has not started taking college visits, though he would like to make a decision by the end of the year. Memphis is the favorite in his recruitment.

Position: Forward/Center
Height: 6-10
Weight: 200
Home country: Haiti
High school: Evangelical Christian (Tenn.)
Rivals ranking: No. 14
Scout ranking: No. 10
ESPN ranking: No. 11
24/7 ranking: No. 49
Other leaders: Memphis, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida
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Doral Moore

UK will have three 7-footers on the 2014-15 roster, and the Cats could look to add another for the following season. Moore doesn’t have a UK offer yet, but he still included the Wildcats among five finalists when cutting his list in June. The Georgia star has already had an in-home visit with assistant coach Kenny Payne, and he told ZagsBlog in April that UK’s Willie Cauley-Stein is the player he tries to emulate on the court.

Position: Center
Height: 7-0
Weight: 225
Hometown: Stockbridge, Ga.
High school: Luella
Rivals ranking: No. 38
Scout ranking: No. 35
ESPN ranking: No. 36
24/7 ranking: No. 50
Other leaders: Florida, Illinois, Ohio State, Wake Forest
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Malik Newman

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
Newman is arguably the best scorer in high school basketball, and he’s generally regarded as the best backcourt player in the class. He’s also the only uncommitted guard in 2015 with a scholarship offer from John Calipari. Newman uses his strength and a quick first step to get past defenders on the perimeter and create easy buckets for himself around the rim. He’s also effective from three-point range. Newman has admittedly not been paying much attention to the recruiting process, but he has told the Herald-Leader that will change heading into his senior season. Kentucky, Kansas and UConn are thought to be the favorites, though he doesn’t plan on announcing a decision until the spring.

Position: Guard
Height: 6-4
Weight: 180
Hometown: Jackson, Miss.
High school: Callaway
Rivals ranking: No. 2
Scout ranking: No. 6
ESPN ranking: No. 3
24/7 ranking: No. 4
Other leaders: Kansas, UConn, North Carolina, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Baylor, Memphis, LSU, N.C. State
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Ivan Rabb

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
Rabb is one of the most well-rounded post players in the class. He’s one of the best rebounders in the country and also an effective post scorer and defender. He plays in the Oakland Soldiers AAU program, which has sent several top players to Arizona over the past few years. Those Wildcats are thought to be a favorite in his recruitment, and Kentucky doesn’t seem to be near the top of his list despite an early scholarship offer from John Calipari.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-10
Weight: 220
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
High school: Bishop O’Dowd
Rivals ranking: No. 4
Scout ranking: No. 3
ESPN ranking: No. 1
24/7 ranking: No. 5
Other leaders: Arizona, California, Duke, UCLA, Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, Southern Cal.
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Diamond Stone

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
The big man from Milwaukee expressed interest in Kentucky early in his high school career and confirmed in July that the Wildcats had offered a scholarship and were recruiting him hard. Scout.com made him their No. 1 overall player in June, and he’s been a terror on the Under Armour summer circuit. “He’s gotten in shape,” Scout’s Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “He’s more mobile, he’s getting off the ground better and he’s really affecting the game on the defensive end more than I’ve ever seen him before. And to go with that, he is a terrific scorer.” Stone and Malik Newman have publicly discussed a “package deal” recruitment.

Position: Center
Height: 6-10
Weight: 255
Hometown: Milwaukee
High school: Dominican
Rivals ranking: No. 6
Scout ranking: No. 1
ESPN ranking: No. 4
24/7 ranking: No. 15
Other leaders: Duke, North Carolina, Connecticut, Kansas, Wisconsin, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Marquette
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Caleb Swanigan

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
Swanigan is a big but versatile post player from Indiana. He was actually part of the class of 2016 until recently, when he decided to reclassify and get a head start on college. The 6-9 power forward has good shooting range and is surprisingly nimble. New UK assistant coach Barry “Slice” Rohrssen recruited Swanigan while he was on staff at Pittsburgh and stayed in contact with the top prospect when he took the job at Kentucky. He was evaluated by John Calipari during the July recruiting period and earned a UK scholarship offer following a solid Peach Jam performance.

Position: Forward/center
Height: 6-9
Weight: 265
Hometown: Fort Wayne, Ind.
High school: Homestead
Rivals ranking: No. 20
Scout ranking: No. 12
ESPN ranking: No. 17
24/7 ranking: No. 29
Other leaders: Michigan State, Louisville, Indiana, Arizona, Georgetown, Kansas, N.C. State, Pittsburgh
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Allonzo Trier

Trier is one of the best scoring guards in the country and has now caught Kentucky’s attention. He turned in a 42-point performance at the Nike Peach Jam in July, averaging 30.8 points over five games at the event. Arizona is considered the favorite for Trier’s commitment, and Louisville as long been near the top of his list. He was home-schooled in Oklahoma City for his first two years of high school before transferring to Montrose Christian (Md.) for his junior season. He’ll finish his high school career at powerhouse Findlay Prep.

Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-4
Weight: 190
Hometown: Oklahoma City
High school: Findlay Prep (Nev.)
Rivals ranking: No. 12
Scout ranking: No. 15
ESPN ranking: No. 19
24/7 ranking: No. 8
Other leaders: Arizona, Louisville, UCLA, UConn, Washington, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
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Stephen Zimmerman

*CONFIRMED UK OFFER*
Zimmerman was one of the first players from the class to get an offer from Kentucky, and it’s become clear that he is one of the Cats’ top frontcourt targets in the 2015 cycle. “It’s an honor,” Zimmerman said when UK first reached out to him. “They’re an amazing team, and they obviously have an amazing coaching staff.” He possesses great offensive skills around the basket and has a good jump shot that can extend out to the three-point line. He’s also shown the ability to be an above-average passer. Zimmerman has scheduled official visits to Louisville (in September) and Kentucky (for Big Blue Madness in October).

Position: Center
Height: 7-0
Weight: 240
Hometown: Las Vegas
High school: Bishop Gorman
Rivals ranking: No. 7
Scout ranking: No. 8
ESPN ranking: No. 6
24/7 ranking: No. 16
Other leaders: Arizona, North Carolina, UCLA, UNLV, Kansas, Indiana
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