In this KentuckyScout feature, we recap the major basketball recruiting news from the past week and how it affects the Wildcats.
Leading off, five-star Texas forward Julius Randle made an official visit to Lexington as part of the Alumni Charity Game weekend. It was the first official visit for the player ranked No. 4 nationally by Scout in the Class of 2013.
Early reports suggest that the visit went very well, although Randle apparently did not give John Calipari any kind of verbal commitment while he was in town. (Efforts to reach Randle on Sunday for comment were unsuccessful.)
A source close to the program tells us that Randle seemed to bond well with the current Wildcats, and that UK feels even stronger about its chances of landing the Lone Star stud now. However, that's become a fairly common sentiment any time a player visits. Very rarely do you hear of a visit going poorly or a school thinking it blew its chances, so I wouldn't read too much into that other than Randle was not disappointed. Far from it.
So the lack of a verbal commitment was not a surprise, even though UK rolled out the proverbial "blue carpet" for his visit, including spending time with a slew of NBA Wildcats and a celebrity coaching appearance from hip-hop artist Drake.
Randle has consistently said that he'll take his recruitment into the spring before announcing his final decision. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound prospect is also considering Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Florida and Texas.
Young's In-Home Visit with UK
Five star 2013 Michigan swingman James Young played host to Calipari for an in-home visit in the early part of the week. Among the many revelations to come from Scout's interview with Young's godfather, Sean Mahone, was that the UK coach is pitching the opportunity to be surrounded by other great players and pursue individual success through team success.
Sound familiar? It should. That's the blueprint Calipari laid out for the 2011-12 team prior to its national championship season. Six players from that squad wound up being selected in the NBA Draft.
That's a key selling point when it comes to Young because the Cats are also pursuing five-star Texas shooting guard Aaron Harrison and five-star Canadian small forward Andrew Wiggins (provided he reclassifies to 2013) on the wings. As I've frequently pointed out, that's a lot of "Alpha dogs" and only one ball, but this is Coach Cal we're talking about.
"He said he believes that if you guys adhere to my plan that chemistry will not be an issue," Mahone told Scout's Evan Daniels. "There's an opportunity for everybody to have individual success. He said if they put the team first that individual success will come out for it."
The battle for the 6-6 Young is expected to revolve around Kentucky and Michigan State, although Kansas, Syracuse and Arizona are also in the mix.
Speaking of the Harrison Twins…
Five-star Texas twin guard Andrew and Aaron Harrison have trimmed their list to three – Kentucky, Maryland and SMU – according to Aaron Harrison Sr. Baylor and Villanova were dropped from their previous top five.
It remains unclear if the twins will make an official visit to Lexington this fall. Harrison Sr. has been quoted in some interviews as saying his sons have seen all they need to see of UK. They made an unofficial visit to Big Blue Madness last October.
The Harrisons, who are rated No. 2 and No. 3 nationally by Scout, may visit Maryland for the Terrapins' version of Midnight Madness on Oct. 12.
Another In-Home Visit for Calipari
As Scout's Brian Snow first reported, 2013 North Carolina big man Kennedy Meeks received an in-home visit from Calipari earlier in the week to go along with visits from N.C. State and Georgetown.
"It was exciting," said Meeks, who says he now holds a scholarship offer from the Cats. "Coach Cal basically told me that I should come to Kentucky, and that it is a great place. He was real cool and told me what Kentucky could bring to me. It was just a great experience to meet with him."
Meeks is an unique prospect and somewhat bucks the trend of many Calipari big men. He is 6-foot-9 and tips the scales at close to 300 pounds, but has a terrific skill set and shooting touch that extends out beyond the 3-point arc.
He is also hearing from Indiana, Ohio State and North Carolina.
New Jersey Forward Works Out for Cats
Tyler Roberson is a somewhat new addition to UK's potential 2013 recruiting board. The Cats reportedly liked what they saw from the 6-7, 190-pound combo forward this summer on the AAU circuit and have jumped into the mix.
On Thursday, UK and Kansas were on hand at Roselle Catholic to watch Roberson work out. Assistant coach Orlando Antigua represented the Wildcats.
"We didn't get to talk all that much, but he did tell me that they'd be coming back for an in-home visit next week. I think it will be on Tuesday," Roberson told KentuckyScout.
According to Roberson, the UK staff likes "all aspects of my game, but especially how hard I play on both ends of the floor."
He is currently rated No. 46 in the Class of 2013 by Scout. SMU, Syracuse, Kansas, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Villanova, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina are also involved. Roberson plans to make an official visit for the Jayhawks' Midnight Madness on Oct. 12.
Lee Down To Three
Four-star California center/forward Marcus Lee announced early in the week that he's down to three schools: Kentucky, Louisville and Cal. Duke and Indiana had previously been on his list, but the Blue Devils and Hoosiers were dropped.
The 6-9 Lee, who is rated No. 37 in the Class of 2013 by Scout, is one of the better defenders and rebounders in the nation. He is expected to make an official visit to Lexington on Oct. 12 for Big Blue Madness.
Barber, Kingsley Commmit
In a decision that doesn't directly affect the Kentucky's 2013 class but could have an impact on future matchups for the Wildcats, Anthony Barber gave a verbal commitment to N.C. State.
The dynamic Virginia point guard had previously considered Alabama, Kansas and Louisville. It had once appeared that the Cardinals could land Barber and his AAU teammate, one-time UK target Troy Williams, as part of the often-rumored but seldom seen "package deal."
Meanwhile, another Louisville target, Moses Kingsley, may be battling the Cats in SEC play. The Huntington (W.Va.) Prep big man gave his verbal to Arkansas.
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