Kentucky coach John Calipari was in Indianapolis on Monday to visit with one of the elite prospects in the Class of 2014.
The Wildcat boss attended a workout for five-star forward Trey Lyles, who originally gave a verbal commitment to Indiana but re-opened his recruitment in August. Combined with a dominant showing on the AAU circuit this spring and summer, he has experienced a wave of new interest from major programs across the country.
"It was a really good visit," said the player's father, Tom Lyles. "It was definitely nice to have coach Calipari here and to see Trey in his comfort zone playing in his own gym, doing some five-on-five stuff with his team.
"They got to chat a little bit, too. It was a good talk. I know Trey was really excited about the opportunity to speak with him and get to know him a little better."
Calipari was also flanked by assistants Orlando Antigua and Kenny Payne at the workout, sending a clear message that the 6-foot-10, 243-pound Lyles will be a priority target for the Wildcats.
Lyles is currently ranked the No. 8 player in the Class of 2014 by Scout. He is the No. 2 power forward prospect behind only Noah Vonleh of New Hampshire.
"Lyles is one of the top junior post players in the country," said Scout national basketball analyst Evan Daniels. "He's advanced offensively and is a prospect that can not only score on the block, but also by facing the rim. His hands, touch and feel offensively are impressive for such a young big man."
"They say they like him because he's got so many facets to his game," Lyles said of his conversations with the UK staff. "As a kid who's 6-10 and 243 pounds now, he can do so many different things. He can play the 2, 3 or 4 if you asked him to, and possibly defend the 5. It makes for an extremely tough matchup.
"(Calipari) called him a ‘hybrid big' or a ‘point forward.' He said he's kind of a Michael Gilchrist type, only a little bigger and maybe a better shooter. That's a very nice compliment."
According to his father, Kentucky has now offered a scholarship. He is also hearing from programs like Butler, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Florida, Texas, Georgetown, UCLA and Stanford. A few of those programs were also on hand for his workout Monday at Arsenal Technical High School.
The Wildcats have long been an appealing team to his son, Tom Lyles said, even before they made contact.
"Growing up, there were a few schools that interested him, and Kentucky was always one of them," Lyles said. "I think the tradition and the success of the program over the years combined with their style of play now under coach Calipari is very appealing to him. I know he also likes the way he treats his players. Their kids really seem to enjoy playing for him and have a great relationship.
"When he decided to re-open his recruitment, he was very excited to hear that Kentucky was interested. I also give kudos to the coaches because they were very respectful of Trey while he was committed to Indiana. They continued to watch him on the circuit, but they didn't contact him until he decided that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and he really wasn't ready to commit."
The Hoosiers are not likely an option for Lyles any longer.
"I think they've kind of taken themselves out of it now," Lyles said. "I haven't had any contact with them over the last month or so after being in constant contact with them previously. I think if they were still interested, they would have been there today."
An unofficial visit to UK could be coming up soon.
"We actually talked about that a little bit today," Lyles said. "We don't have an exact date yet, but it should be sometime in the next few weeks. Trey is looking forward to going down there and seeing what it's like.
"Kentucky looks really good to him right now. It's been very nice getting to know their coaches and building a relationship. As this thing plays out, hopefully things will work out and maybe he'll be wearing Kentucky blue."
Lyles excited about visit from Calipari
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