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 Now Has ESPN’s No. 1 Recruiting Class; Updated Recruiting Board
By ADAM ZAGORIA & CHRIS RUSSELL
With the additions Thursday of Isaiah Briscoe and Skal Labissiere, Kentucky now has the No. 1 recruiting class for 2015, according to ESPN.com.
The Wildcats are followed by No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 Syracuse and No. 5 Marquette.
The Wildcats are also No. 1 in the preseason polls.
Not a bad life.
Kentucky remains in the mix for many top prospects, almost all of whom will sign in the spring, including ESPN’s No. 2 Jaylen Brown, No. 3 Malik Newman, No. 5 Ivan Rabb, No. 7 Cheick Diallo, No. 8 Caleb Swanigan, No. 10 Stephen Zimmerman, No. 12 Brandon Ingram, No. 14 Antonio Blakeney and No. 18 Carlton Bragg.
Also, keep in mind that after landing New Jersey’s No. 1 player in the Class of 2015, Kentucky is also squarely in the mix for the No. 1 player in 2016 in Tyus Battle. Watch his story here.
And here’s an updated look at their Recruiting Board.
KENTUCKY RECRUITING BOARD
—- 2014 2015 2016
Signed (SG Devin Booker 6-5 180 Moss Point, MS)
Signed (PG Tyler Ulis 5-8 150 Chicago, IL)
Committed ( SG Charles Matthews 6-5 180 Chicago, Ill)
• Likely to leave in 2015:Karl Anthony-Towns (No. 3, 2015 DraftExpress.com), Willie Cauley-Stein (No. 10), Dakari Johnson (No. 19), Andrew Harrison (No. 26), Aaron Harrison (No. 28), Alex Poythress (No. 32)
• Likely to leave in 2016:Marcus Lee (No. 17, 2016 DraftExpress.com), Devin Booker (No. 19, 2016), Trey Lyles (No. 21, 2016 )
• Short Term Needs: With Towns and Cauley-Stein projected as lottery picks, and Johnson a mid-late 1st rounder, the Cats will need several bigs. They added one on Thursday in Skal Labissiere, who needs to add weight and strength, but is a skilled face-up man. The Cats remain in the mix for numerous other big men, including Stephen Zimmerman, Caleb Swanigan, Ivan Rabb, Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo but have stiff competition for all of them. Jaylen Brown, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2015 according to Scout, would be an appealing replacement at small forward, but is considering UCLA, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina and others, too. By adding Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky has brought in a scoring combo guard who has been compared to Deron Williams. Briscoe should be able to play on or off the ball in a backcourt with Tyler Ulis. Kentucky remains in it for Malik Newman and Antonio Blakeney and it will be interesting to see if Briscoe’s decision affects them one way or another. Briscoe and Blakeney are tight.
• Long Term Needs: With Cal’s system of pushing players to the NBA, the Cats will have to recruit for all five positions. The 2016 class looks to be promising with big targets: Thon Maker, Harry Giles, Tyus Battle, Malik Monk, Derryck Thornton, V.J. King and others.
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.