Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kentucky pulled out all the stops for Tobias Harris on his unofficial visit Wednesday — including a meeting with University President Lee T. Todd Jr. — and the school is now in contention to land the 6-foot-8 forward from Long Island.
“It was good, I liked the visit a lot,” Tobias said Thursday by phone. “The school was good and everything was pretty cool.
“They’re one of the schools I’m considering right now. I’m just going to keep evaluating other schools and trim the list by the end of August.”
Harris stopped at Kentucky on his way to Portland, Ore. for the Nike Global Challenge. He has had a tremendous summer on the recruiting circuit, with one Big East assistant telling me he’s “the story of the summer.”
Harris has more than a dozen schools on his list and his father admitted that trimming it down later this month, after the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event in New York, would be tough.
“We’re working on it, but honestly it’s extremely tough to cut the list down,” Torrel Harris said.
Harris has also tripped to Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Tennessee this summer.
At Kentucky, Torrel and Tobias met with UK coach John Calipari, who explained that Harris would fit perfectly into his dribble-drive offense.
“He just said he would play him and he would feature him here,” Torrel said of Calipari. “He fits perfect in his offense with his versatility.
“They have a videotape of his game that he played on ESPNU [with the Albany City Rocks]. They reviewed his game. They broke down his tape, how he plays. They showed how the offense that Tobias’ team played is the same offense as the Memphis offense. He was showing the things that he was doing in the offense and how it will work in the way [Calipari] utilized his offense. He showed him how he fit in and how he’d be effective.”
Torrel said Calipari told them they have four scholarships for 2010 and are looking at bringing in at least one point guard, at least one wing like Harris and one big guy.
That is consistent with what Calipari told me last week, that he’d like to land at least one guard from the group of Joe Jackson, Kyrie Irving, Doron Lamb and Josh Selby.
“He’s looking for another point guard,” Torrel said of Calipari. “John Wall’s gonna go. He is not gonna be there after this year and then Eric Bledsoe may surprise a lot of people too, so he may be gone in two years.
“If he can get one or two of those guys [point guard recruits], another big and then Tobias, he has four ships for 2010,” Torrel said.
Tobias also met with President Todd Jr. It was his second visit with a University president, following his visit with the Tennessee president.
“No. 1, he was just talking about when you get a degree from Kentucky, the degree is gonna help you throughout life,” Torrel said. “The network that Kentucky has can help their graduates in life. That’s one of the things he stressed. He also stressed that they’re putting in a good infrastructure. They encourage the players who go to the NBA to come back and get their degrees.
“No. 2, he stressed that he wanted to get Kentucky back on the elite level where the tradition is known as Kentucky basketball and that’s why they brought in Coach Calipari.
“And they wanted to bring in good, high-character kids and that’s why your son is here, Tobias.”
(Photo courtesy Kelly Kline/NIKE)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.