One of the country’s most interesting recruitments could be coming to a close as early as this week.
Tyler Ulis, a 5-foot-8 point guard out of Chicago, finished up his final official visit on Monday night, attending Kentucky’s Alumni Game down in Lexington. His father told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Tyler will be making a decision between Kentucky, Michigan State and Iowa soon, possibly this week.
“Tyler and I had a good conversation last night on the drive home,” the elder Ulis told the Herald-Leader. “We’re going to talk again later today or early tomorrow. I know it’s coming. … I think he’s ready for it to be over.”
Ulis’ recruitment took off this summer, as he played some terrific basketball on the EYBL circuit and proved himself to be, pound-for-pound, one of the toughest players in the country. He’s cracked the top 40 on some recruiting lists, and is widely considered to be a four-star recruit. Ulis is not a one-and-done player and he’s not the kind of point guard that can take over a game, but he’s a floor general in every sense, he can create off of the dribble and he’s an excellent defender.
Iowa and Michigan State were initially the favorites, but with Emmanuel Mudiay picking SMU and Tyus Jones appearing to be a Duke lean, Kentucky came on late and offered Ulis a scholarship.
With the lack of available talent at the point guard spot, Ulis has become a priority recruit for both Tom Izzo and John Calipari.
His skill set probably fits in with the Spartans more than the Wildcats, but the allure of Big Blue Nation and the pipeline of Coach Cal’s point guards to the NBA will be hard to pass up.
Kentucky freshman Hamidou Diallo declares for NBA Draft
Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo is declaring for the NBA Draft, although he is not signing with an agent to retain his collegiate eligibility.
Diallo was originally a member of the Class of 2017, but he spent half of last season at a prep school and enrolled at Kentucky in January as a redshirt. Being a year removed from his high school graduation and 19 years old, he is allowed to declare for the draft.
“When I decided to enroll in school in January, my plan was to come to Kentucky to work on my game and to focus on school,” Diallo said. “At the end of the season, I knew I wanted to see where I was in the draft process and go through that so I could get a proper evaluation.”
“That plan hasn’t changed and that’s why I am declaring for the NBA Draft. I want to see where my game is and explore my options.”
Diallo, a top ten player in the class, is as explosive of an athlete as you are going to find. He should be an elite defender, but he will be drafted based mostly on his potential offensively.
Since Diallo is not signing with an agent, he will be able to return to school without penalty. He’s currently projected as a late second round pick in the 2018 draft, but he’s likely a second round pick in a deeper draft this year.
Reports: Duke’s Frank Jackson to declare for draft
Previous reports had indicated that Jackson “planned” to return to school, and that still may end up proving true. But the combination of Trevon Duval potentially enrolling at Duke combined with the fact that there is zero downside to going through the draft process, it makes sense for Jackson to declare.
Jackson averaged 10.9 points and shot 39.5 percent from three. He’s projected as a mid-first round pick in 2018 by Draft Express, but at 6-foot-3, he’s too small to play the two in the NBA and has yet to prove he can be a point guard.
Jackson is the fourth Duke player to declare, following Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles III and Luke Kennard. All three signed with an agent. Grayson Allen and Marques Bolden are both returning to school.
VIDEO: Top 2018 recruits Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford go head-to-head at adidas
This weekend is the first live evaluation period of the spring recruiting calendar as college coaches from all over the country are scouting (and babysitting) the top recruits in the Class of 2018 and 2019.
Friday night the adidas Gauntlet in Dallas opened with a marquee matchup of two star players as five-star forward Zion Williamson and five-star guard Romeo Langford went head-to-head in what should be one of the best games of the spring.
Most scouting services have Williamson and Langford as the No. 2 and No. 3 overall prospects in the Class of 2018 as the duo didn’t disappoint in front of the huge crowd in Fort Worth.
Williamson helped his team to a win with 26 points and seven rebounds while Langford had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. You’ll be hearing plenty about both of these guys over the next few months as both are still wide open in the recruting process.
(H/t: Ball is Life)
Report: Coppin State hires Juan Dixon as new head coach
The 38-year-old Dixon is best known for leading Maryland to the 2002 national championship as he was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four that year. Now Dixon will have a chance to lead a Division I program for the first time.
Dixon spent seven years in the NBA and also played professionally in Europe before joining the Maryland coaching staff in 2013 as a special assistant to head coach Mark Turgeon. Not retained by Maryland after the 2015-16 season, Dixon took the head coaching job for the women’s team at the University of the District of Columbia last season as the Division II program finished only 3-25.
Coppin State finished last season with an 8-24 record after losing its first 12 games of the season. While Dixon will generate some positive local buzz given his background, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to rebuild that program.
Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen
Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.
The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.
A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.
Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.