UK Basketball Recruiting Roundtable

In this AllWildcats feature, Scout national basketball analysts Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Rob Harrington weigh in on three hot topics surrounding Kentucky’s basketball recruiting efforts for 2015 and beyond.

How do you feel about Kentucky's current 2015 class of Isaiah Briscoe, Charles Matthews and Skal Labissiere? Is there anything that stands out about them, either as a group or individually, and how do they fit what Calipari likes to do?

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EVAN DANIELS:

This is a great start and I think it's evident that Kentucky isn't done. The gem of this group is Labissiere. I think he has tremendous upside and maybe as much as anyone in the 2015 class with his combination of size, length, athleticism and the tools he possesses on both ends of the floor. Briscoe and Matthews will certainly boost their perimeter. Briscoe is an elite scorer off the bounce, while Matthews can impact things on the defensive end and with his ability to slice to the rim.

BRIAN SNOW:

I think obviously it is a really good class. Briscoe is one of the toughest guards in the class, Labissiere has enormous upside, and Matthews is a four-year player with versatility. Overall it is an excellent class with likely more additions.

ROB HARRINGTON:

Actually, though Labissiere ranks highest and is my choice as top prospect in the class, to me Briscoe projects to have the best career *at Kentucky*. I think he'll need two years and, like Doron Lamb, as a sophomore he'll become a critical and cold-blooded shot-maker. Labissiere will ensure that the club's overall talent level remains very high, of course, while Matthews can develop into a solid rotational player over his likely four seasons in Lexington.

Kentucky is expected to sign at least three more players in this 2015 class. Who would be good fits with what they have in this class already and to fill likely departures in the spring? Any predictions on who might be most likely to join the group?

EVAN DANIELS:

I think all of the guys they are still pursuing in the 2015 class would fit into Kentucky. I don't think they would be pursuing them if they wouldn't. As far as who may join, that's a great question. All of the remaining elite players in 2015, such as Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Malik Newman and Stephen Zimmerman, are holding their cards close to the vest and aren't showing their hand. They'll get one or two of these guys, but which ones is tough to pinpoint at this time.

BRIAN SNOW:

The guys they are in on are all elite talents, making them good fits in any system. Tough to know exactly who they will land, but I am sure they will get a couple of the top players left out there.

ROB HARRINGTON:

It's tough for me to handicap this until we know who goes pro. With so many moving parts, the priorities could change drastically between now and spring. They'll definitely need some skilled size, but of course they already have that with Labissiere. As usual at UK, best overall talent seems to work out very well for them.

How is 2016 unfolding, and are there some guys Kentucky is already in strong position with? Could UK benefit from the EYBL making a stop in Lexington?

EVAN DANIELS:

It's still very early with 2016, but it appears they are off to a solid start with the Wynyard. I've yet to see Wynyard outside of some brief video, but from those I've talked to that have seen him, he's a solid post player that can help them inside. They are involved with the nation's elite again. Guys like Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Malik Monk and Derryck Thornton are at the top of their wish list. Any time you can get kids by your campus it's a benefit and I'm sure UK will utilize the EYBL to get unofficial visits from kids before or after the event. But lets be realistic, with the way Kentucky has recruited the past few years they are going to get players whether the EYBL is in Lexington or Beijing.

BRIAN SNOW:

I think the benefit will be largely minimal for the EYBL stop. I mean in reality one visit to campus where you can't talk to the coaches isn't going to tip the scales in anybody's favor in a recruitment. Word is UK is already in a solid position with kids like Derryck Thornton, Jayson Tatum, and Harry Giles. Not the leader or anything like that for those three, but already in a good solid position.

ROB HARRINGTON:

In 2016, of course the temptation is tick down the list of top 5-7 prospects and assume UK will be involved. My guess is No. 1 Harry Giles ultimately opts to stay in his home state of North Carolina, but it certainly wouldn't shock me if Kentucky can make that happen. They might loom large in the end for Malik Monk as well.


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