April 17, 2013

Pre-AAU hotboard loaded with Five-Star talent

Kentucky Wildcats Recruiting Hotboard

2014 Top Targets



Karl Towns�- PF/C

7-0, 245 lbs

Metuchen (N.J.) Saint Joseph's

Five Star - #11 Overall


Corey's Call:�Kentucky's lone commit in 2014 so far has not only grown to seven feet tall to excite UK staff, he's also going to be an easy commit to deal with, as Towns has decided not to play in any live AAU events in April; freeing the staff to focus on available players instead of babysitting a committed prospect. Despite not playing AAU, Towns won't get rusty as he'll particpate in several elite camps and should stay on the national radar as a top post prospect with verstility in his class.�

Jahlil Okafor - C

6-10, 280 lbs

Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young

Five Star - #1 Overall

Corey's Call:�One of the best big man prospects to emerge in recent memory, Okafor is not only an elite talent, he's also an elite recruiter (as he's been adamant about teaming up with five-star Tyus Jones in college). Michigan State and Duke are the probable leaders right now for Okafor, although North Carolina, Ohio State and Kentucky are all major threats. Okafor plays in the EYBL with the Mac Irvin Fire, and should attract more staffs than any other prospect that will play in the April period.�

Emmanuel Mudiay�- PG

6-4, 180 lbs

Dallas (Tex.) Prime Prep

Five Star - #2 Overall

Corey's Call:�A truly elite point guard built in the Rajon Rondo mold, Mudiay might be the player in the 2014 class who is most compatible with the Kentucky system under Calipari. Mudiay has an offer from the Wildcats already, and Calipari has been focused in on visiting the point guard often. Mudiay is still undecided as to who he'll run with on the AAU circuit, but expect UK coaches to follow closely. Kansas and Baylor are likely among other leaders, but Mudiay keeps things quiet.�

Tyus Jones�- PG

6-1, 170 lbs

Apple Valley (Minn.) High School

Five Star - #3 Overall

Corey's Call:�As we said already, it's likely that Jones will suit up with Okafor in college; making him an even more important target than he already was for Calipari. Kentucky likely sits in third place in the Jones recruitment, trailing Michigan State and Duke for his services; although North Carolina and Ohio State are potential players as well. Jones has a Kentucky offer, and Calipari will surely follow him around in the Nike EYBL with the Howard Pulley Panthers in hopes of gaining the lead.�

Trey Lyles - PF

6-10, 240 lbs

Indianapolis (Ind.) Aresenal Tech

Five Star - #4 Overall�

Corey's Call:�Of every available prospect on this list, Lyles is the most likely to end up suiting up for Kentucky in the future. The former Indiana commit clearly favors UK, although Louisville and Duke might be gaining some momentum. Expect Calipari to be following Lyles closely in the Nike EYBL with Spiece Indy Heat, where the coach will continue to be impressed with Lyles size, skill, versatility and motor. Lyles has an offer from the Wildcats already, and could decide sooner than later.�

Cliff Alexander�- PF/C

6-9, 240 lbs

Chicago (Ill.) Curie

Five Star - #5 Overall

Corey's Call:�Based on information given to Cats Illustrated, we believe that Alexander isn't a real Kentucky taget anymore, as Alexander seems focused on Michigan State and Illinois, while Kentucky seems focused on Jahlil Okafor and Trey Lyles. Nevertheless, we'll include the athletic big man with great physical talent, because should Alexander want to come to Lexington, there's no way that Calipari is saying no to the elite post player (who has been offered by the Wildcats).�

Rashad Vaughn�- SG/SF

6-5, 200 lbs

Minneapolis (Minn.) Cooper

Five Star - #6 Overall

Corey's Call:�Vaughn is a prospect that Calipari has spent a lot of time evaluating in his junior season, as the wing guard continues to make a name for himself as an elite national prospect in the 2014 class.�A pure scorer with next level size and game, Vaughn is the top wing target of Kentucky; as well as North Carolina, several other top programs and the new Minnesota staff. Despite reports, UK hasn't offered Vaughn yet, but he's likely to be the next 2014 prospect that Calipari does offer.�

Kevon Looney - SF/PF

6-8, 190 lbs

Milwaukee (Wisc.) Hamilton

Five Star - #8 Overall

Corey's Call:�For being a consensus top ten prospect, Looney isn't a name that followers of Wildcats recruiting have heard a ton about. Most of that is because Kentucky has only recently (last six weeks or so) been reported to show much of a real interest in Looney. An Under Armour AAU prospect with the Milwaukee Runnin' Rebels, Calipari or a staffer could get a live evaluation of him in April; but for now, the Big Ten and schools from the more Northern states in the Midwest seem to lead.

Stanley Johnson�- SF/PF

6-6, 200 lbs

Santa Ana (Cal.) Mater Dei

Five Star - #12 Overall

Corey's Call:�Johnson is a hardworking forward who doesn't have a true position, but is a flat out winner who would fit perfectly into Calipari's system and style of play. A great team player, Johnson earned an offer from the Wildcats in the fall, after having a great AAU season with the Nike EYBL champions the Oakland Soldiers. Arizona likely leads for Johnson, while new USC and UCLA staffs will make him a top priority, but Calipari seems intent to fight the good fight in this recruitment.�

Theo Pinson�- SG/SF

6-5, 170 lbs

Greensboro (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian

Five Star - #15 Overall

Corey's Call:�Pinson is a high scoring guard, with the ability to put in the bucket from all three levels on the floor, that will play this AAU season with the Nike program Chris Paul All-Stars (also known as just CP3). Calipari went to visit Pinson not too long ago in North Carolina, and reportedly liked what he saw with Pinson's length, shooting ability and basketball IQ. He'll be tough to get away from Duke, North Carolina State and Indiana, but Kentucky seems to have legit interest in him.�

Leron Black - SF/PF

6-7, 185 lbs

Memphis (Tenn.) White Station

Five Star - #16 Overall

Corey's Call:�A former Baylor commit who runs with the newest Under Armour team, Team Thad, Black is a hardworking and versatile forward with a mean streak. His athleticism is what Calipari loves in a wing player, and his motor makes him a player who resembles a poor-man's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Kentucky has reached out to Black since he re-opened his recruitment, but other schools like Tennessee, Memphis, Missouri and Florida have been much more invovled than UK in the recent months.

Isaiah Whitehead�- SG

6-4, 180 lbs

Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln

Five Star - #19 Overall

Corey's Call:�The next great prospect out of the famed Lincoln HS in Brooklyn, Whitehead is the top scorer in The Big Apple, and has both size and strength to take his game to the next level. It seemed like UK had cooled on Whitehead some during the winter, but staff has been in contact with him since the high school season ended, and should follow him on the Under Armour circuit with the Juice All-Stars. Syracuse, St. John's, Louisville, Kansas and Florida are among his expected leaders.

D'Angelo Russell�- PG/SG

6-4, 180 lbs

Montverde (Fla.) Academy

Four Star - #22 Overall�

Corey's Call:�An instate guard going to prep school in Florida, the versatile utility guard can really defend and makes plays as a scorer or distributor with the ball. Kentucky has shown only mild interest in Russell so far; with North Carolina, Ohio State, Florida and Missouri being some of the schools who have intrigued Russell the most so far. If Calipari turns up the heat, including watching Russell with the Nike EYBL's Each-1-Teach-1, then UK can land Russell easily should they extend an offer.�

Devin Booker - PG/SG

6-3, 180 lbs

Moss Point (Mo.) High School

Four Star - #23 Overall

Corey's Call:�A prolific scorer that can score from anywhere inside halfcourt, Booker went from a good to great prospect in his junior year, earning himself interest from Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke and Kansas among others. Suiting up with Nike EYBL team Alabama Challenge, expect Booker to be one of the most talked about players in the April evaluation period; as he is likely to be among the league's top scorers with his range and shotmaking ability.�

Craig Victor�- PF

6-8, 200 lbs

New Orleans (La.) Saint Augustine�

Four Star - #24 Overall

Corey's Call:�Another talented prospect that has floated under the radar despite top twenty five status, Calipari has recently shown interest in this skilled and powerful forward. Coaches from UK went down to evaluate the junior in March, and should continue to follow him in April with New Orleans Elite, an Adidas team. Instate LSU is probably the early favorite for Victor, but reports say that Georgetown and Baylor are among other programs that have made a mark on Victor.�

Jalen Lindsey�- SG/SF

6-6, 180 lbs

Nashville (Tenn.) Christ Presbyterian Academy

Four Star - #31 Overall

Corey's Call:�An athletic wing with scoring abilities, Lindsey sparked the interest of Kentucky staff during his junior high school season. Calipari went to watch him while at the SEC tournament, and reportedly was intrigued by Lindsey's size and leaping ability on the wing. Lindsey is being recruited by just about every high major in the country, with Kentucky and Kansas being the only ones yet to offer. Calipari could track Lindsey in the Nike EYBL with the Southern Stampede.�

Goodluck Okonoboh - C

6-9, 220 lbs

Boston (Mass.) Wilbraham & Monson

Four Star - #34 Overall

Corey's Call: In a class full of talent big men, Okonoboh is one of the nation's top shotblocking threats; which is the primary reason why Calipari has spent so much time evaluating and recruiting him. Suiting up on the Adidas circuit for Mass Rivals, expect someone from UK's staff to continue to monitor Okonoboh's progress. He last visited Lexington in February, and is also being recruited by schools such as UConn, Syracuse and Indiana; all but Kentucky have already offered.�

**The opinions of this piece in no way reflect those of the University of Kentucky or any of its employees. This content is exclusive property of Rivals.com and Cats Illustrated and should not be copied or posted on to any other sites without written permission.**

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