The Magnificent Seven: UK’s recruiting class of 2013

 Posted by at 1:30 PM on March 20, 2013  Comments Off on The Magnificent Seven: UK’s recruiting class of 2013
Mar 202013

With the addition of Julius Randle, UK’s recruiting class of 2013 now consists of seven players — six of whom are McDonald’s All-Americans.

Here’s a closer look at the next wave of Wildcats:

UK’s recruiting class of 2013
Player Pos Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 24/7
Aaron Harrison SG 6-5 205 Houston, Texas 4 4 7 3
Andrew Harrison PG 6-5 205 Houston, Texas 5 3 5 4
Dakari Johnson C 6-11 250 New York City 13 18 11 13
Marcus Lee F 6-9 200 Antioch, Calif. 18 21 18 9
Julius Randle PF 6-8 240 Plano, Texas 2 5 3 2
Derek Willis SF 6-9 200 Mt. Washington, Ky. 129 64
James Young G/F 6-6 200 Rochester, Mich. 10 10 6 11

Weekend recap: Hawkins, Snider going to Rupp Arena

 Posted by at 12:21 AM on March 4, 2013  Comments Off on Weekend recap: Hawkins, Snider going to Rupp Arena
Mar 042013
UK recruit Julius Randle tweeted this photo of him kissing the state championship trophy after Saturday

UK recruit Julius Randle tweeted a photo of himself kissing the state championship trophy Saturday. Randle scored 34 points in the title game.

Wrapping up the biggest storylines of the weekend …

First, if you haven’t read it yet make sure you check out our Recruiting Predictions article from Sunday night. Several top national recruiting writers were kind enough to give us their thoughts on where Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon will end up. (My predictions are in there too).

UK didn’t get a chance to see Dominique Hawkins over the weekend. The 2013 guard played games Friday and Saturday night in Richmond, and the Cats’ road contest in Arkansas meant no one from the UK staff could attend. After the Friday game, Hawkins told the Herald-Leader: “Since I was a little kid — I grew up as a Kentucky fan. It’s been my dream school.” UK will have no excuse for missing him this week. Hawkins and Madison Central play Wayne County at noon Wednesday in the first game of the Sweet Sixteen in Rupp Arena. UK’s next game isn’t until Thursday night at Georgia.

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A record five UK commitments named to Jordan game

 Posted by at 12:16 PM on February 12, 2013  4 Responses »
Feb 122013

Andrew Harrison is one of five UK commitments who will play in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 13.
Photo: Houston Chronicle

Kentucky set a Jordan Brand Classic record Tuesday when five future Wildcats were selected for this year’s game.

UK could even add to that record in the coming weeks.

Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee and James Young were all chosen to participate in the 2013 Jordan Brand Classic, to be played April 13 in Brooklyn, N.Y. It’s the first time five recruits from one school have been named to the event.

Three prospects whom UK is still recruiting — Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins — also were selected. They are the only uncommitted players in the game.

Kentucky has had 23 Jordan Brand selections since the game’s inception in 2002. Eighteen of those have come since John Calipari arrived in Lexington in 2009.

EAST ROSTER: Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), Aaron Harrison (Kentucky), Kasey Hill (Florida), Kuran Iverson (Memphis), Rondae Jefferson (Arizona), Kennedy Meeks (North Carolina), Bobby Portis (Arkansas), Julius Randle (uncommitted), Wayne Selden (Kansas), Chris Walker (Florida), Andrew Wiggins (uncommitted).

WEST ROSTER: Joel Embiid (Kansas), Aaron Gordon (uncommitted), Andrew Harrison (Kentucky), Dakari Johnson (Kentucky), Matt Jones (Duke), Marcus Lee (Kentucky), Jabari Parker (Duke), Noah Vonleh (Indiana), Troy Williams (Indiana), Nigel Williams-Goss (Washington), James Young (Kentucky)

Feb 072013
Marcus Lee moved up to the No. 21 spot in the latest rankings released last week.

There’s no doubt that Marcus Lee‘s stock is on the rise. The question is: How high will it go?

The Kentucky signee jumped to No. 21 overall (up 18 spots) in the latest rankings released last week, which means yet another major recruiting service considers him a five-star prospect.

Lee, a 6-foot-9 post player from California, is averaging about 18 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks per game for Deer Valley this season. national analyst Evan Daniels pointed out that those are similar numbers to what he averaged as a junior.

“He’s really talented,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “I think he can impact the game on the defensive end and impact the game with his ability to rebound. I think those are probably the things that really spurred his move.”

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Lee invited to McDonald’s All-American Game

 Posted by at 1:59 PM on January 31, 2013  Comments Off on Lee invited to McDonald’s All-American Game
Jan 312013

UK signee Marcus Lee has been selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Photo: San Jose Mercury News

UK signee Marcus Lee has been selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game, his high school coach told the Herald-Leader on Thursday.

Lee, a 6-foot-9 senior from California, is averaging about 18 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks per game this season.

Deer Valley Coach LeChet Phillips shared the news with Lee’s family Thursday morning.

“They’re excited — extremely excited,” Phillips said. “It’s been a heck of a journey for him and this was one of his goals. And to achieve it, that says a lot.”

Lee moved up 18 spots in the updated player rankings earlier this week and is now rated as the No. 21 overall prospect in the class of 2013. He was billed as more of a project when he first committed to Kentucky, but Lee has shown considerable improvement over the past few months.

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Friday’s roundup: Willis has big game in Missouri

 Posted by at 8:51 PM on January 18, 2013  Comments Off on Friday’s roundup: Willis has big game in Missouri
Jan 182013

UK signee Derek Willis had 19 points and nine rebounds in Bullitt East’s victory Friday night in Missouri.
File photo: Jonathan Palmer

UK signee Derek Willis had 19 points and nine rebounds in Bullitt East’s 68-58 victory over Little Rock Hall (Ark.) on Friday night at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo.

Willis added six assists and six blocked shots for the Chargers, who improved to 15-4 on the season. Elliot Young had 20 points and seven rebounds, and Rusty Troutman chipped in with 14 points for Bullitt East.

Arkansas signee Bobby Portis led Little Rock Hall with 18 points and eight rebounds. Portis, a 6-foot-9 forward ranked by ESPN as the No. 11 overall senior in the country, was held to just three points in the first half.

Bullitt East will play Hillcrest (Mo.) on Saturday.

Montverde (Fla.) 78, Nixa (Mo.) 61: UK commitment Dakari Johnson had 18 points and seven rebounds in limited action during Friday’s rout in the the semifinals of the Bass Pro tournament in Springfield, Mo.

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Updated stats: Catching up with the future Cats

 Posted by at 4:29 PM on December 30, 2012  1 Response »
Dec 302012

James Young is averaging 23.6 points per game and has Rochester High (Mich.) out to a 5-1 start.
Photo: Ricardo Thomas

Individual game-by-game statistics for 10 recruits have been updated on their respective player pages.

You can view each player’s page by clicking on the links below:

UK signees
Aaron Harrison: The Travis High shooting guard is averaging 30.0 points in 10 games since Dec. 7, when his brother Andrew was sidelined with an injury.
Andrew Harrison: UK’s future point guard has been hampered by a hamstring injury for the last three weeks, and his stats have suffered as a result.
Marcus Lee: Some eye-popping stats are being reported for Lee, who already has three games with 25 or more rebounds.
Derek Willis: The Bullitt East star had his best game of the season Saturday, scoring 30 points and hitting the game-winning three-pointer.
James Young: The Detroit-area wing is averaging 23.6 points through six games and had a season-high 33 points Saturday night.

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Nov 162012

James Young was one of five 2013 recruits to sign with UK this week.
Ricardo Thomas/Detroit News

It didn’t take long for James Young to know he would feel right at home in Lexington.

The UK signee committed to Kentucky the day before Big Blue Madness, and he arrived in town the following night to meet his future teammates, most of them for the first time.

It was an instant bonding experience.

“There was a lot of interaction, a lot of dialogue, a lot of humor, a lot of excitement around the possibility of what this team could look like,” Young’s godfather, Sean Mahone, told the Herald-Leader. “And I give the most credit to Coach Calipari, because that’s the environment that he’s facilitating. It’s about the team. It’s about the Kentucky family.

“It’s about team accomplishments, not necessarily individual accomplishments. Some programs, you can see it’s a lot of hype. But you know when you get on that campus and get within that program, that it’s not hype.”

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Nov 152012

UK commitment Marcus Lee averaged 9.1 blocked shots per game as a junior for Deer Valley High School last season.
Photo: San Jose Mercury News

Marcus Lee lives more than 2,000 miles away, but there’s no questioning his school spirit when it comes to the University of Kentucky.

Lee woke up early Wednesday to send in his letter of intent before school started, becoming the first member of UK’s top-ranked recruiting class to formalize his commitment to the Cats.

Anyone who follows the 6-foot-9 forward from California on Twitter knows he has already fully embraced being a Wildcat. He tweets words of encouragement during games, interacts with UK fans and seems to hang on every play.

He’s the ultimate team player, and he’s not even on the team yet.

LeChet Phillips, Lee’s coach at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, Calif., says Marcus has the same attitude on the court: Whatever is best for the team is best for him.

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Video of Marcus Lee’s commitment to Kentucky

 Posted by at 8:40 PM on October 18, 2012  6 Responses »
Oct 182012

“For the next four years, I will be going to the University of Kentucky.”

That big announcement from Marcus Lee was not shown live on television or the Internet on Wednesday, a rarity these days for UK basketball recruits.

So, since you didn’t get to see it when it happened, you can watch it now.