Cats' 2015 priorities coming into focus

For what seemed like an eternity, Skal Labissiere was the lone player in the Class of 2015 to receive a scholarship offer from Kentucky. Now he's got some company.

The lonely days are done for Skal Labissiere.

For what seemed like an eternity, the Haitian big man currently living in Memphis was the lone player in the Class of 2015 to sport a coveted scholarship offer from Kentucky.

As the ever-important summer evaluation period draws closer, however, John Calipari & Co. have begun to add a few names to their big board.

Three Top 10 prospects in Scout's 2015 rankings have joined Labissiere on the Wildcats' offer sheet: Nevada center Stephen Zimmerman, Chicago combo guard Charles Matthews and Mississippi shooting guard Malik Newman.

Zimmerman (7-0, 220) is rated the No. 5 prospect in his class and the No. 2 center behind only Diamond Stone, but some feel he may be able to challenge the Milwaukee big man for that honor this summer.

Zimmerman is coming off a strong showing in last week's NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va. The exceptionally-skilled lefty showed the ability to score around the basket, hit mid-range jumpers and even extended his range beyond the arc at times to sink 3-point shots.

Kentucky, Arizona, Duke, Michigan, Kansas, Michigan State, Notre Dame, UNLV, USC and UCLA are among the top programs in the mix with Zimmerman.

"They're pretty awesome," Zimmerman said of UK during the NBPA Top 100 Camp. "They know how to win."

Matthews (6-4, 190) is rated the No. 6 junior. The long-bodied guard in the Derek Rose mold has long seemed like a natural fit for Calipari's system at UK. He's a versatile athlete who plays hard at both ends of the court and could be an elite defender.

"Anthony (Davis) played for my AAU team, so I have a good relationship with the coaches, and they let me know that Calipari is a good move and that Anthony Davis had a great time there," Matthews told KentuckyScout during the NBPA Top 100 Camp.

"And I like seeing what he did with Derek Rose as well. You can just look at any one of those Kentucky guys and see what Coach Cal did with them."

Matthews' list includes programs like UK, Arizona, Kansas, Illinois, DePaul, Michigan State, Marquette, SMU, Providence, Miami and Wisconsin.

Newman (6-4, 195) is the No. 9 prospect for 2015, but could be due for a bump after dominating the recent EYBL circuit and helping lead the USA to a gold medal last week in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Regarded by almost every scouting service as the top shooting guard in the class, Newman led the USA squad at over 16 points per game in the event.

Some of the early schools on his list include UK, Florida, Florida State, Georgetown, Kansas, Memphis, LSU, Mississippi State, North Carolina State and Tennessee.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Other prospects (with ranking) who could wind up on UK's offer sheet in the future include Stone (1), Ivan Rabb (2), Daniel Giddens (7), Elijah Thomas (12), Jaylen Brown (13), Carlton Bragg (20), Cheick Diallo (26) and Eric Davis (27).

Diallo, who also shined in the NBPA Top 100 Camp, is one of the fastest-rising prospects in his class and could wind up being an elite target.

CLICK HERE to see the complete Class of 2015 player rankings.


AllWildcats Top Stories