JORDAN BRAND CLASSIC
Saturday, April 14 | 7 p.m. | ESPN/ESPN3 | Charlotte, N.C.
They’re not teammates just yet, but Saturday night will be the first chance for UK fans to watch Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress on the same court since Noel’s big signing day announcement. Those three might not be the only future Cats in the game, as Anthony Bennett is still undecided with Kentucky high on his list of schools.
With John Calipari coming off a national championship and all but locking up his fourth consecutive No. 1 recruiting class at UK, it’s safe to expect another Lexington love fest from the ESPN announce team Saturday.
Check below for full game rosters, ESPN rankings and UK-related notes. Click on the links for official Jordan Brand player capsules for each participant, and hit the photos above to see the Next Cats player pages for the UK recruits.
As always, follow NextCats on Twitter for all the latest news leading up to Saturday night’s game in Charlotte and beyond.
|Gary Harris||SG||6-4||195||11||Michigan State|
|Brice Johnson||PF||6-9||210||34||North Carolina|
|Rodney Purvis||SG||6-4||190||20||N.C. State|
|J.P. Tokoto||SF||6-6||195||70||North Carolina|
|Marcus Paige||PG||6-1||160||22||North Carolina|
Future Kentucky center Nerlens Noel didn’t get a chance to show off his skills at the McDonald’s All-American Game, but he’ll be expected to put on a show at Saturday’s Jordan Brand Classic.
Noel should get plenty of quality competition. He’ll be going up against Pittsburgh signee Steven Adams and Baylor signee Isaiah Austin, both post players who are ranked in the top 5 in the country by ESPN.
It will be the Noel’s first game since announcing his intentions to play for the Cats, but he won’t be catching alley-oops from his future teammates just yet. The big man will be on the opposite side as fellow UK signees Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress, as well as Kentucky recruiting target Anthony Bennett.
Welcome to the show
Noel won’t be the only participant who didn’t play in last month’s McDonald’s game. Other newcomers to the prime-time all-star circuit include Adams, Jerami Grant, Brice Johnson, Ricardo Ledo, Kaleb Tarczewski, J.P. Tokoto and Danuel House.
All about Bennett
Kentucky is still in the mix for a few players in this recruiting cycle, but John Calipari’s biggest target is Anthony Bennett. The five-star power forward joins former UK target Tony Parker as the only two undecided recruits in this game.
Bennett has narrowed his list to UK, Florida, UNLV, Oregon and Washington, with the Cats and Gators thought to be the two favorites. He has said that he plans to visit all five schools before making his decision. Bennett told the Sporting News on Thursday that he hoped to be done with the recruiting process “by May.”
One point in the Cats’ favor: UK is the only team on Bennett’s list that has players in Saturday’s game. You can bet Poythress, Goodwin and Noel have spent a fair amount of time trying to sell him on a season (or more) in Lexington.
Shabazz Muhammad broke Enes Kanter‘s scoring record at last week’s Nike Hoop Summit. Will any milestones be made in Saturday’s Jordan Classic?
LeBron James holds the mark for the most points scored in a Jordan game. James scored 34 points in the 2003 contest, a couple of months before being taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. UK star Anthony Davis has the second-most points (29 in last year’s game).
Other Jordan Classic records are Amare Stoudemire‘s 17 rebounds in 2002, and Brandon Jennings‘ 14 assists in 2008. Patrick Patterson (12 rebounds in 2007) and John Wall and Brandon Knight (6 assists in 2009-10) have the highest totals among future UK players.
West is best?
Like the McDonald’s Game, the West looks to have the best team on paper. Five West players are ranked in the top 10 by ESPN, and all but one are ranked in the top 20. The East has only three players in the top 10 and four players outside of the top 25.
Shabazz Muhammad led the West Team to a 106-102 victory in the McDonald’s Game. The East’s leading scorer in that one was Alex Poythress, who will suit up for the West this time around.
Watch the Next Cats
Check out the video below to see highlights of all four UK signees for the class of 2012 …