Skal Labissiere Recruiting Newman, Brown & Zimmerman to Kentucky | Zagsblog
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Saturday / September 30.
  • Skal Labissiere Recruiting Newman, Brown & Zimmerman to Kentucky

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    2014top100-451NEW YORK — For the next three days, Kentucky-bound big man Skal Labissiere will be doing his best to get the uncommitted guys in the Jordan Brand Classic to join him next year in Lexington.

    That group includes Malik Newman, Jaylen Brown and Stephen Zimmerman — all of whom have yet to declare their college plans.

    “I talked to [Zimmerman] a little bit [Tuesday],” the 7-foot Labissiere told Wednesday at the Jordan Brand Classic practice. “I talk to Jaylen a lot, talked to Malik a little bit but Jaylen Brown I talk to him the most.”

    Labissiere and fellow Kentucky pledges Isaiah Briscoe and Charles Matthews are on the East Team here alongside Brown, while Newman and Zimmerman are on the West Team.

    The 6-7 Brown did not address the media on Wednesday. He is considering eight schools, including Kentucky.

    “I’ve got about eight schools I’m looking at right now and this week and next week I’ll probably be praying a lot and thinking about what I don’t want and what I do,” Brown told last week.

    Ivan Rabb also told he’s recruiting Brown to Cal.

    The 6-4 Newman is considering six schools, including Kentucky, and won’t sign a National Letter of Intent.

    “Skal, he’s been on me since the Hoop Summit,” Newman told

    Labissiere would love to play with Newman.

    “[He would bring] scoring, obviously,” Labissiere said. “He’s just so fearless and tenacious so I think he will help us a lot. If he wants to come we will have one of the best backcourts in the country, if not the best, him and Briscoe and Tyler [Ulis], so whatever he does I wish him the best. If he decides to come, I will be happy.”

    The 7-foot Zimmerman — who has Kentucky among his five schools — also told Labissiere has been recruiting him.

    Asked what Zimmerman could bring to Kentucky, Labissiere said, “Oh, a lot. Versatility, us playing together I think we would be really lethal because we both can pass, we are both unselfish, both are skilled and run the floor really well. So I think if he comes, we will be really good.”

    Meantime, Kentucky lost seven guys to the NBA, including four bigs, opening up immediate playing time for Labissiere alongside returning big men Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee.

    “They are ready for me, they are very excited,” Labissiere said. “Obviously, me too, I’m excited. They are going to push me to the best of my abilities and I just can’t wait to get up there.”

    With his strong play at the Nike Hoop Summit — where he went for 21 points, 6 rebounds and 6 blocks in the World Team’s 103-101 win over Newman, Briscoe, Brown and the U.S., Labissiere vaulted himself into the No. 1 projected pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

    But he’s not letting it get to his head.

    “It is [surreal] but at the same time I understand I still have a whole another year and I’m going to have to work a lot,” he said, “so I still got a lot more work to do, a lot more to show, so I have to keep improving.”

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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.

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