Kentucky showing interest in Shawn Kemp, Jr.

Twenty years ago the Kentucky Wildcats pursued and signed Shawn Kemp in the class of 1988. In 2008 the current Wildcat staff is now pursuing Kemp's son, Shawn Jr. Kentucky Sports Report spoke to the class of 2009 power forward to find out where he is in the recruiting process, and to find out what he thinks of the Wildcats.

It's been a long time since the University of Kentucky recruited a burgeoning young star power forward named Shawn Kemp. That Shawn Kemp, of course, went on to become an NBA superstar. A couple of decades later, the Wildcats staff has its eyes on another one – Shawn Kemp Jr.

Kemp Jr., the son of the former Seattle Sonics star, is a junior power forward at Cherokee High in Canton, Ga. Though he doesn't have a UK offer yet – or any offers for that matter – the staff has shown serious interest.

"I talked to one of their coaches a little while ago. They have a good program," said Kemp, a 6-foot-9, 230-pounder who is averaging 13 points -- on nearly 70 percent shooting -- and 10 rebounds for Cherokee.

As anyone who watched his father play might suspect, Kemp has great athleticism.

"I get a few [dunks]," he said, laughing.

College coaches see him as an intriguing prospect at the ‘4' because of his size and ability to rebound and score inside. He's also expected to grow several more inches, which, of course, adds quite a bit to his potential and his value as a high-major recruit. But he knows he has some rough edges to work on before he can be considered a can't-miss caliber prospect.

"I need to work on my defense and get stronger. Sometimes guys can back me down and score over me," he said.

Kemp Jr. has grown up in the shadow of his father, hearing endless stories of the elder Kemp's greatness and comparisons between their respective games.

"I'm used to it. It used to bother me when I was younger, but now it doesn't," he said. "Compared to my dad, I've got to work a little bit harder to be as good as he was."

In the final game of the regular-season, Kemp had his best outing of the season, a 20-point, 15-rebound performance.

Kemp, who is also being recruited by Washington, Nebraska and Florida, hasn't delved into recruiting much. He plans to take some visits this summer, including one to UK, and eventually make a decision when the time feels right. He's unconcerned with location and prestige, though he did admit UK's tradition-rich program is attractive.

"They have a great program and I know the coach, and he's a really good coach," he said of Billy Gillispie. "I'm looking for a good coach and a good school and a good atmosphere."

This spring and summer could go a long way in determining how highly sought Kemp will be by major programs. He played AAU ball with the Atlanta Celtics last year, but is contemplating a switch to a different program. Either way, he's certainly one to keep an eye on.

Stay tuned to Kentucky Sports Report and for the latest on Shawn Kemp Jr.

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