Notes and tidbits from this week on the basketball recruiting scene and the Kentucky Wildcats:
Transfer On The Market: Kentucky was mentioned as one of the schools that expressed interest in West Virginia's Eron Harris as soon as it was announced that he had been granted his release from the Mountaineers. It's an intriguing situation because UK has one open scholarship remaining and Harris, who averaged 17.2 points and shot 42 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore, may be viewed as a nice ready-to-play replacement for Aaron Harrison if he makes the expected jump to the pro ranks after the 2014-15 season. According to Scout national basketball analyst Brian Snow, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois, Notre Dame, Purdue, Louisville, UCLA, Butler and New Mexico are some of the major programs expected to be in the mix. The 6-foot-3 Harris, a native of Indiana, has expressed a desire to play closer to home and be in a system with a coach that will allow him to play more to his "natural instincts."
Justin Simon and Aaron Holiday, have committed to Arizona and UCLA, respectively, and three of the top four shooting guards are already off the board in Tyler Dorsey (Arizona), Luke Kennard (Duke) and Charles Matthews (UK). The Cats' activity will always be closely watched when it comes to point guards, thanks to John Calipari's reputation with the position, but it doesn't appear that the UK boss has his eye on anyone at this time. Perhaps that played a role in the Cats' making a hard push for Tyler Ulis in the 2014 class, a player who is expected to be in Lexington for more than one year. Kentucky remains firmly in the mix for the No. 1 shooting guard, Malik Newman out of Jackson, Miss., who has frequently played a combo role on his AAU teams similar to the one Archie Goodwin played during his time at UK. Duke, Kansas, North Carolina and Mississippi State are among a long list of challengers to the Wildcats in his recruitment.
Speaking of Newman… There have been some rumblings that he may be part of a "package deal" with 2015's top center, Wisconsin's Diamond Stone. Although such arrangements are rare and often more fun to talk about than realistic possibilities (an exception was Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor to Duke this year) this one bears watching. The two have grown close over the last couple of years and are starting to publicly discuss the potential for a college tandem. That could certainly spark more interest from UK, which has been leaning more toward big men like Stephen Zimmerman, Ivan Rabb and Cheick Diallo so far in the junior class. The 6-10 Stone was dominant during the Jayhawk Invitational, averaging 28 points and 13 rebounds per game in his first two outings on the Under Armor circuit. Wisconsin, Marquette, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, UConn, North Carolina and UCLA frequently come up on lists for Stone, but he has yet to narrow things down much at this time.
Moore Continues To Impress: It was another good showing for Georgia center Doral Moore at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. The 6-foot-11 center is "just scratching the surface," according to Scout national basketball analyst Evan Daniels. Kentucky fans, ask yourself who this sounds like at the same point in his development: "High ceiling. Tremendous upside. Runs the floor with ease, protects the rim and appears to be gaining athleticism as he matures." A young Willie Cauley-Stein, perhaps?
Cats Scouting Michigan Standout: Four-star Saginaw (Mich.) Arthur Hills guard Eric Davis noticed a few prominent figures watching his first games on the AAU circuit this spring, including the UK boss. "Coach Calipari came to a game or two. UNC was there as well, but the schools that I saw the most at my games were Coach (Steve) Alford from UCLA, Coach (Dave) Rice from UNLV and then (Michigan coach John) Beilein and (Michigan State coach Tom) Izzo as well," he told Scout's Brian Snow. Davis, who is rated the no. 8 shooting guard in the Class of 2015 and No. 32 overall, said he's in the process of planning official visits for the summer. He has one set, June 7 at Florida. He said UCLA and UNLV are also highly likely stops among his five. He came to Lexington for an unofficial visit last year and plays for the AAU program, The Family, that produced UK's James Young.
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