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Apr 172014
 
Tommy Mainord

Tommy Mainord

UK wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord talked to the Herald-Leader on national signing day about the five wide receivers who will join the Wildcats this season — regarded as the program’s best haul at the position in the modern recruiting era.

Mainord and offensive coordinator Neal Brown are excited about the five newcomers, and you can read more about how those players will fit in with UK’s returning receivers right here. Mainord also broke down each player in more detail. Here are his thoughts on the five freshmen:

On Dorian Baker: “Very explosive. Vince (Marrow) had gone and seen him in spring ball. I didn’t have a chance to see him until summer camp. I was really impressed with his ‘get-off’ — he was really quick off the ball and really surprised you when he took off. He came back this fall and he’s grown another inch. He’s going to be a big, physical kid for us that can run. So we’re really excited about him. I think he’s got a lot of upside, because he’s going to put on some good weight and because he has breakaway speed.

“He’s explosive and he can do some things with the ball. He’s one we’re excited about, no doubt.”

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Apr 092014
 
Karl Towns

Karl Towns

All four of UK’s basketball signees for the class of 2014 were honored as All-Americans by USA Today on Wednesday.

Karl Towns Jr. and Trey Lyles were both selected to the second team, and Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis made the third team.

Louisville native and Ohio State signee D’Angelo Russell was also a second-team selection.

Of the 15 players honored, 13 were seniors. The only juniors to be recognized were top Kentucky target Malik Newman and Louisiana State commitment Ben Simmons, both on the third team.

Duke signee Jahlil Okafor was named the national player of the year.

MORE: Full list of USA Today All-Americans

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Apr 092014
 
Trey Lyles

Trey Lyles

The final class of 2014 rankings from ESPN are in, and Trey Lyles is the most highly touted player in Kentucky’s recruiting class.

The power forward from Indianapolis is No. 6 overall in the last batch of 2014 rankings from ESPN, which had him in the same spot in the previous update.

Karl Towns Jr. is the next Wildcat at No. 9 overall, followed by Devin Booker at No. 18 and Tyler Ulis at No. 25. Booker and Ulis fell one spot each, and Towns’ ranking stayed the same.

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Apr 052014
 
Devin Booker

Devin Booker

A few hours after Kentucky defeated Michigan last Sunday to secure its spot in the Final Four, a video of UK’s four signees celebrating the victory started making the rounds online.

The short video was taken right at the moment of Aaron Harrison’s game-winning three-pointer. Trey Lyles — wearing a UK hat — and Devin Booker immediately started bouncing up and down. Then Tyler Ulis and Karl Towns Jr. jumped into the frame and high-fives were exchanged.

The video of the high school seniors “going crazy” — as Towns put it Tuesday — was taken at a McDonald’s in downtown Chicago, where the players had gathered as part of their involvement in this week’s McDonald’s All-American Game.

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Apr 042014
 

Montaque Gill-Caesar and Huntington Prep will be back at Madison Square Garden on Friday for the semifinals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods national high school basketball tournament.

Gill-Caesar — a possible UK recruit for the class of 2014 — scored 20 points in Thursday’s victory over La Lumiere School (Ind.).

Huntington Prep plays top-seeded and defending national champion Montverde Academy (Fla.) on Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET in a game that will be shown on ESPN2. UK underclassmen targets Thomas Bryant and Miles Bridges also play for Huntington Prep. Montverde’s roster includes Louisville native D’Angelo Russell — an Ohio State signee — and 2015 star Ben Simmons, who has committed to Louisiana State.

The other semifinal pits Findlay Prep (Nev.) against Oak Hill Academy (Va.) at 2:30 p.m., also on ESPN2. UK has been evaluating Findlay sophomore Derryck Thornton, though he sat out Thursday’s game with an injury. Former UK recruits Rashad Vaughn, Kelly Oubre and Craig Victor also play for Findlay.

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Mar 212014
 

Buzz Williams made a surprising move Friday, leaving Marquette to take the head coaching job at Virginia Tech.

Williams led the Golden Eagles to five consecutive NCAA Tournaments before missing out on the Big Dance for the first time this season. He also leaves behind a highly rated recruiting class for 2014.

Shooting guards Ahmed Hill and Sandy Cohen are both considered Top 100 national prospects. That will be a position of need for UK in the case that Andrew and Aaron Harrison leave after this season for the NBA Draft.

UK was not involved in the recruitment of either player before they committed to Marquette, but the Cats could show interest if they ask for a release from their letter of intent.

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Mar 212014
 
Trey Lyles

Trey Lyles

Several University of Kentucky basketball recruits were honored with Gatorade state player of the year awards Friday.

UK men’s signees Trey Lyles (Indiana) and Karl Towns Jr. (New Jersey) were chosen as the best boys’ basketball players in their state for the 2013-14 season. The award is based on “athletic achievement, academic excellence and exemplary character.” UK women’s signee Alexis Jennings was the girls’ winner for the state of Alabama.

Lyles is averaging 23.9 points and 13.0 rebounds for Arsenal Tech, which plays in the state semifinals Saturday night with a chance to advance to next week’s state title game. Towns is averaging 21.5 points, 13.7 rebounds and 6.4 blocks per game and will play for the New Jersey Tournament of Champions next week. Both future Wildcats have near a 3.7 grade-point average, according to the release from Gatorade.

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Mar 192014
 

The recruitment of Scott County senior guard Trent Gilbert is likely to pick up if he turns in more performances like the one Wednesday night.

Gilbert tallied 30 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Cardinals’ 77-66 victory over Fleming County to advance to the Sweet Sixteen quarterfinals Friday.

Several college coaches were in Rupp Arena to see the game. Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford wasn’t among them, but he did stop by Georgetown earlier this month to pay Gilbert a visit.

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Mar 182014
 
Isaac Brekken | AP Photo

Isaac Brekken | AP Photo

Kentucky might not be finished with its recruiting class of 2014.

UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua called the head coach of the Compton Magic AAU program Monday night to inquire about Bryce Dejean-Jones, who will graduate from UNLV this spring and intends to transfer to another school for his senior season of college. Dejean-Jones — a 6-foot-5 guard — was the Runnin’ Rebels’ leading scorer this season.

Compton Magic Coach Etop Udo-Ema told the Herald-Leader that UCLA, Cincinnati, Florida State and Arizona State have also called about Dejean-Jones.

“My phone is out of control right now,” he said.

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Mar 172014
 

Virginia Tech coach James Johnson has been fired after two seasons on the job, according to a report by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman on Monday.

Though the Hokies have struggled, Virginia Tech did have two top shooting guard recruits signed for the class of 2014.

Justin Bibbs — a 6-foot-4 prospect — is considered a four-star shooting guard by ESPN and Scout.com. He committed to the Hokies in August over scholarship offers from Cincinnati and Xavier, among others. The Dayton, Ohio, native plays for Coach Kevin Boyle at national powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida, where he was teammates last season with UK freshman Dakari Johnson.

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