By CHIP MILLER & ADAM ZAGORIAPADUCAH, Ky. – Carlton Bragg has a slew of high-major Division 1 offers, but there are two he still wants to land.
Kentucky and Syracuse.
“I’m playing my butt off, I don’t know what else to do. They keep saying they’re working on 2014,” the 6-foot-8 Bragg said in reference to Kentucky after going for 18 points and 13 rebounds as Villa Angela St. Joseph’s lost to Chicago Curie, 66-63, Friday night in the Mustang Madness showcase.
Asked if Kentucky was the one offer he wanted, Bragg said, “Yes.”
Asked what other offers he wants, Bragg said, “Syracuse. I wanted to go there but I guess they’re not interested in me.”
Meantime, Illinois head coach John Groce and Kansas assistant Kurtis Townsend were in the stands watching Bragg and Kansas pledge Cliff Alexander, who went off for 25 points, 17 boards and 4 blocks in the win.
“He’s a monster,” Bragg said of Alexander. “It was pretty tough. It was hard to box him out when he gets the rebound. He’s well coached. He’s tough to play against. He’s a monster, actually.”
Bragg is a high priority for many schools in the Class of 2015 and has now squared off and lost to fellow 2015 big men Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter, as well as 2014’s Alexander in the span of a week.
Kentucky coach John Calipari watched Bragg last week, when his team lost to Bishop Gorman in Wheeling, W.V.
“Yes. I could have played a lot harder than that,” he said. “I wasn’t making shots.”
Calipari is expected on Saturday when Bragg’s team plays again.
Asked what it would mean if Kentucky were to offer, Bragg said, “Keep working hard. I would love it. I would just keep working hard. I would love to have it though.”
As for what he likes about Kentucky, “They draft players to the NBA,” he said.
Kentucky’s arch-rival Louisville is also in the mix. Bragg said he texts with head coach Rick Pitino and assistant Kevin Keatts.
“I like their style of play,” he said. “They get up and down. I love the coaching staff.”
Ohio State is also working hard and is the home-state school.
“No pressure,” he said. “I know it’s my hometown and some want you to stay at home and represent the hometown, but there’s really not that much.”
Arizona also recently offered and is a player in his recruitment.
Meantime, he plans to cut his list in September.
“He’s going to narrow it down in September and then work from there,” mentor Michael Graves said.
Photo: 247 Sports
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.