UK’s top recruiting targets in the class of 2019

Cole Anthony

The son of former UNLV star and longtime NBA guard Greg Anthony is widely considered to be the best backcourt prospect in the country, and national analyst Jerry Meyer has told the Herald-Leader that Anthony is the best recruit in the class, regardless of position: “He can score from anywhere. He’s extremely athletic. He’s competitive. He’s got pedigree. He’s got genetics. He rebounds. He can pass the ball. Basically, he can do everything. He’s really, really good. And it’s a point guard’s world.” Anthony was the defensive player of the year on the highly competitive Nike circuit as a rising junior, and he led the Nike league in scoring this past spring, winning MVP honors. Little of substance is known about his recruitment, but he did tell the Herald-Leader that UK would be one of the schools he considers.

Position: Point guard
Height: 6-2
Weight: 180
Hometown: New York City
High school: Oak Hill (Va.)
Travel team: PSA Cardinals (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 2
ESPN ranking: No. 3
247 ranking: No. 2
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Bryan Antoine

***CONFIRMED UK SCHOLARSHIP OFFER***
Antoine is one of two five-star recruits from New Jersey’s Ranney School — along with small forward Scottie Lewis — and John Calipari has already watched the duo multiple times, extending offers to both players during the fall recruiting period last year. Antoine is one of the top shooters in the class and has narrowed his list to Kentucky, Duke, Florida, Kansas and Villanova, with the Blue Devils considered by many to be the favorites. He’s expected to take his official visits this summer and fall and then make a college decision before the start of his senior season, in time to sign with the school of his choice in November.

Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-4
Weight: 180
Hometown: Tinton Falls, N.J.
High school: Ranney School
Travel team: Team Rio (Under Armour)
Rivals ranking: No. 12
ESPN ranking: No. 9
247 ranking: No. 10
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Keion Brooks

***CONFIRMED UK SCHOLARSHIP OFFER***
Brooks was one of the first players in the class to land a scholarship offer from Calipari, despite not being a high-ranked, five-star prospect at that time. His standing in the rankings has steadily risen since, and Brooks was undoubtedly one of the top players on the Nike circuit this past spring. The versatile forward from Indiana is also the No. 1 recruiting target of UK commitment Tyrese Maxey, who has known his 2019 classmate since grade school, even though they live in different states. UK appears to have a great shot with Brooks, who is also considering Georgetown, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Purdue, Texas and UCLA. The Hoosiers and Spartans might be UK’s top competition for Brooks’ commitment.

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 185
Hometown: Fort Wayne, Ind.
High school: North Side
Travel team: Indy Heat (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 15
ESPN ranking: No. 25
247 ranking: No. 9
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Vernon Carey

***CONFIRMED UK SCHOLARSHIP OFFER***
Carey is the son of the former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman of the same name, a longtime professional football player who played for the Miami Hurricanes before being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The younger Carey has emerged as one of the very best players in the basketball class of 2019 — possibly the best — and he visited UK two years ago for Big Blue Madness. Carey, who keeps in contact with former UK big man Bam Adebayo, is a big-bodied post player who can also play away from the basket and looks to be one of the best rebounders in the class. He’s narrowed his list to UK, Duke, Miami, Michigan State and North Carolina. Carey is expected to take his official visit to Kentucky this fall, and it really wouldn’t be a surprise to see him ultimately land at any of the five schools remaining on his list.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-10
Weight: 240
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
High school: University School
Travel team: Nike Team Florida (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 1
ESPN ranking: No. 2
247 ranking: No. 3
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Kofi Cockburn

A native of Jamaica, Cockburn moved to the United States about three years ago and has developed into one of the best big men in the 2019 class. He’s certainly one of the most physically imposing frontcourt players in the country and dominated the paint during the Nike season this past spring, leading the circuit in rebounding. UK has remained in contact, and the Cats could be major players for Cockburn if they ultimately extend a scholarship offer. “They’ve had some good bigs come through there, and they think I model my game after most of them,” he said in July. “So that’s a good feeling.”

Position: Center
Height: 6-11
Weight: 250
Home country: Jamaica
High school: Oak Hill (Va.)
Travel team: New York Rens (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 24
ESPN ranking: No. 23
247 ranking: No. 39
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Matthew Hurt

***CONFIRMED UK SCHOLARSHIP OFFER***
Hurt is one of the most highly recruited players in the 2019 class, and there was a very early show of mutual interest between the talented forward and Kentucky’s coaching staff. Hurt is 6-10 and highly effective in the post, but he’s being groomed as a perimeter player at the college level, and he has the ability to shoot the ball from three-point range and defend multiple positions. His offensive footwork is outstanding for a player of his age. UK’s coaches have watched him on the Adidas circuit the past two summers, and John Calipari extended a scholarship offer in December. Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Memphis, Indiana, UCLA and Minnesota — where is brother is currently on the team — are among the many other major programs recruiting him.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-9
Weight: 215
Hometown: Rochester, Minn.
High school: John Marshall
Travel team: D1 Minnesota (Adidas)
Rivals ranking: No. 5
ESPN ranking: No. 6
247 ranking: No. 7
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Jalen Lecque

***CONFIRMED UK SCHOLARSHIP OFFER***
The New York native moved to North Carolina for his junior season of high school and has developed into one of the best guards in the 2019 class. UK assistant coach Joel Justus started recruiting Lecque in the fall, and John Calipari came through with an offer in the spring. He’s a quick, athletic guard with plenty of size if he can make the transition to the point guard spot, which is his desired position at the next level. Kansas, Maryland and Syracuse are among the many major programs that have already extended scholarship offers to Lecque had considered reclassifying back to 2018 and playing college basketball next season, but he’ll play his senior year for Brewster Academy in New Hampshire instead. He could be a nice complement to early commitment Tyrese Maxey, another versatile guard.

Position: Combo guard
Height: 6-4
Weight: 190
Hometown: Teaneck, N.J.
High school: Brewster Academy (N.H.)
Travel team: New York Rens (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 18
ESPN ranking: No. 11
247 ranking: No. 15
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Scottie Lewis

***CONFIRMED UK SCHOLARSHIP OFFER***
Lewis is a teammate of fellow UK target Bryan Antoine and has already been seen multiple times by the Wildcats’ coaches. John Calipari extended a scholarship offer during the early recruiting period, and Lewis and Antoine both visited UK last May and are expected back this summer. “Scottie is a ridiculous athlete,” national analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “He plays the game so hard, and he’s got good size and length. He’s really good in transition. He has the potential to be a really good defender and defend multiple spots.” Lewis has always spoken highly of Calipari and UK’s program, though his recruitment has been somewhat difficult to handicap, and it includes many of the best programs in the country. His current list is down to UK, Duke, Florida, Harvard, St. John’s, Stanford and Villanova. Lewis will be a tremendous team-first addition for whichever program lands him.

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-5
Weight: 185
Hometown: Tinton Falls, N.J.
High school: Ranney School
Travel team: Team Rio (Under Armour)
Rivals ranking: No. 13
ESPN ranking: No. 10
247 ranking: No. 8
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Jaden McDaniels

McDaniels has the ability and upside to ultimately become the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2019 class, and he has said that Kentucky was his “dream school” growing up. The Seattle native has great size and length for the wing position and was one of the most productive players on the Nike circuit this spring, drawing attention from just about every major program in the country. “If he turns into a knockdown shooter and continues to develop his footwork and offensive ability, we’re looking at a guy with the upside of a No. 1-type prospect in the class. I think his ceiling is that high,” Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader in July.

Position: Forward
Height: 6-10
Weight: 185
Hometown: Seattle
High school: Federal Way
Travel team: Seattle Rotary (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 4
ESPN ranking: No. 4
247 ranking: No. 5
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Oscar Tshiebwe

Tshiebwe had a favorable showing against No. 1-ranked recruit James Wiseman late in the summer and boosted his stock throughout the July evaluation period, proving himself as one of the best big men in the 2019 class. “He is a tough, physical specimen. He plays with endless energy,” Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “He competes. He’s a terrific rebounder. He’s an athlete. I’ll be honest with you, I think Oscar plays as hard as any player I’ve ever evaluated.” Following the July period, Tshiebwe released a list of eight schools: West Virginia, Baylor, Ole Miss, Kansas, Illinois, Georgetown, Kentucky and Virginia

Position: Center
Height: 6-9
Weight: 230
Home country: Congo
High school: Kennedy Catholic (Pa.)
Travel team: ITPS Wildcats (Adidas)
Rivals ranking: No. 45
ESPN ranking: No. 54
247 ranking: No. 72
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James Wiseman

***CONFIRMED UK SCHOLARSHIP OFFER***
An athletic 7-footer with a 7-6 wingspan and unlimited potential, Wiseman has emerged as the No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class. He was the first player in that group to earn a scholarship offer from UK — assistant coach Joel Justus started recruiting him early in his high school career — and Wiseman’s recruitment will almost certainly come down to Kentucky and Memphis, where his mentor and former coach, Penny Hardaway, is now the head coach. Others are obviously pursuing Wiseman, but this should be a UK-Memphis battle for the rest of the way. Early UK commitment Tyrese Maxey has already been recruiting Wiseman hard to join him in college. Wiseman has also said he’d love to play alongside Maxey at the next level.

Position: Power forward
Height: 7-0
Weight: 220
Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
High school: Memphis East
Travel team: Bluff City Legends (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 3
ESPN ranking: No. 1
247 ranking: No. 1
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