De’Aaron Fox

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Kentucky lands five-star 2016 guard De’Aaron Fox

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Kentucky and head coach John Calipari landed their point guard of the future on Thursday as five-star Class of 2016 guard De’Aaron Fox pledged to the Wildcats during a televised announcement.

The 6-foot-3 Fox was one of the breakout players of the spring and summer on the grassroots circuit and many believe he’s the best guard prospect in a loaded Class of 2016. A native of Katy, Texas, Fox selected Kentucky over his other finalists of Kansas, Louisville and LSU. Fox took official visits to all four schools during the recruiting process.

A dynamic athlete who excels on both ends of the floor, Fox is one of the premier perimeter defenders in the class and he’s also made tremendous strides to become a complete guard over the last year. Equipped with a pull-up jumper and good range, Fox has also improved his ability to play point guard, as he led the Nike EYBL in assists this spring at 5.4 per game.

By adding a guard like Fox, the Wildcats will be okay if Jamal Murray, Isaiah Briscoe or Tyler Ulis opt to turn pro because it’s likely that Fox is a starter from the opening game. In 21 games this spring and summer with Houston Hoops, Fox averaged 17.5 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. Fox also averaged 2.7 steals per game and will be an impact playing passing lanes as well.

Regarded as the No. 5 overall prospect in the national class, Fox joins five-star big men Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones in Kentucky’s 2016 class. Getting Fox also puts Kentucky squarely in the conversation for the No. 1 class in the country, especially since the Wildcats are pursuing a lot of other five-star options that are still available.

Five-star 2016 point guard sets four official visits

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A couple weeks after cutting his list of schools down to seven, one of the top players in the Class of 2016 is ready to begin taking official visits.

As reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com, five-star guard De’Aaron Fox has scheduled four official visits for this fall with LSU having the honor of hosting him first. Fox will visit LSU the weekend of September 18, with that being followed by trips to Louisville (September 26), Kansas (October 10) and Kentucky (October 17).

The visits to Kansas and Kentucky will be on important recruiting weekends for both programs, with Kansas hosting its annual “Late Night in the Phog” festivities and Kentucky having “Big Blue Madness.”

That schedule leaves Fox with one available official visit remaining, and it remains to be seen which of the other three schools on his list will win out for that trip (or if he uses it at all). Per Scout.com, Fox also has home visits set up with LSU, Kansas, Arizona, NC State and Kentucky before he takes his first official visit.

In mid-August Fox announced that he’d narrowed his list to Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, NC State and North Carolina.

Five-star guard De’Aaron Fox cuts list to seven schools

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Five-star Class of 2016 guard De’Aaron Fox cut his list to seven schools on Friday, sources confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 6-foot-3 Fox is one of the best two-way guards in the class and he has the ability to change the game on both ends of the floor.

After a huge month of July, Fox is down to Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, North Carolina and N.C. State.

During this spring and summer with Houston Hoops in the Nike EYBL, Fox played in 23 games and averaged 17.5 points, 5.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game. Regarded as the No. 9 overall prospect, according to Rivals, Fox is a major impact recruit who could play a little bit of both guard spots at the next level.

While Fox has shown a comfort level off the ball as a scorer in the past, he showcased an ability to play point guard this spring by leading the EYBL in assists.

Fox has only visited Kansas on an unofficial among the schools left on his list, so things appears pretty wide open in the recruiting process.

Friday Las Vegas Recap: De’Aaron Fox, Charlie Moore have monster games

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LAS VEGAS — CBT spent a good portion of Friday at the Las Vegas Classic at Rancho High School as a pair of Class of 2016 lead guards put together signature performances on Friday night.

De’Aaron Fox states his case as top guard in the class: For the first two days in Las Vegas, CBT has been spending time watching matchups between five-star Class of 2016 point guards at the adidas Uprising Summer Championships. While Dennis Smith, Frank Jackson, Kobi Simmons and Lonzo Ball all faced each other at the adidas event, Houston native and 6-foot-3 guard De’Aaron Fox was over at the Las Vegas Classic playing with Houston Hoops. Fox has always been in the same conversation as the other four guards, but he made his case for No. 1 loud and clear with a 35-point performance on Friday night in a win over AZ Power Black.

Besides the scoring outburst — during which he had numerous deep 3-pointers and tough finishes around the basket — Fox also showed his trademark intensity on the defensive end of the floor. Fox separates himself from the aforementioned group of elite point guards with his relentless approach to defense. That trait — along with Fox’s supreme athleticism — was made abundantly clear when he pinned an opponent’s shot against the glass with both hands around the middle of the square on the backboard.

Known as more of a shot hunter last summer, Fox has refined his approach to the offensive end of the floor during this grassroots season and he’s shown good vision in the open floor. Fox has focused so much on getting others involved at times with Houston Hoops the last few months that he probably hasn’t shot the ball enough. In the monster outing on Friday night, Fox found a perfect mixture of how to be an effective scorer and distributor and he turned in one of the marquee performances of July. (SP)

2017 guard Nick Weatherspoon open despite brother’s cajoling: While there are cases of fathers getting to coach their sons at the college level, there have also been situations in which a younger brother has gone on to play with a sibling in college. That’s a possibility for 2017 guard Nick Weatherspoon, who’s played well for MBA Hoops at the adidas Uprising Summer Championships.

His older brother is Quinndary Weatherspoon, who along with Malik Newman is expected to be an impact newcomer for first-year head coach Ben Howland at Mississippi State. And according to the younger Weatherspoon, the older brother has remained in his ear about the possibility of the two playing on the same team in college.

“He’s been trying to talk to me about it, but it won’t have an effect on my decision,” Nick told NBC Sports. “We talk about it a lot. He wants me to come because we play well together and have good chemistry.”

When asked which other schools are in the running at present time, Nick mentioned LSU, UConn, Florida State, Miami and Ole Miss. With his ability to play either on of off the basketball, not to mention the fact that he’ll only be a junior this coming year, Nick Weatherspoon should be on the receiving end of even more recruiting interest. (RJ)

Charlie in charge: Another lead guard delivering a signature performance on Friday night was Class of 2016 Chicago native Charlie Moore.

In a matchup against Team CP3 in The Eight, Moore delivered a 31-point performance in an upset win as he soundly outplayed UConn commit Alterique Gilbert for the last half of the game.

Knocking down NBA-range 3-pointers to set up his drive game, Moore played the most complete offensive game he’s had all summer, as he also set up teammates like forward Miles Bridges and shooting guard Zach Norvell for big outings of their own.

Over the past few years, Moore has been reckless at times making questionable decisions and rushing some shots, but he put together a tremendous all-around effort on Friday night.

Moore is currently being courted hard by Cal, Illinois, Iowa, Memphis, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh and VCU while Georgetown, Penn State and Saint Louis are showing interest.

Illinois is likely to receive an official visit during the next few months and Iowa has also been present at every one of Moore’s games during July. Hailing from Chicago Public League powerhouse Morgan Park, Moore already earned a state championship as a starting point guard as a sophomore and made it back downstate to the final four this past season as a junior.

With a winning pedigree and an ability to spray shots from all over the floor, Moore is currently coveted by a number of high-major programs.

Two-sport athlete hoping to focus on one in college: While five-star big man Harry Giles and UConn commit Alterique Gilbert are the headliners on the CP3 All-Stars, another of their starters is a shooting guard capable of playing either football or basketball at the college level. That would be Ian Boyd, whose recruitment on the court has picked up during the month of July.

“Things have picked up a lot [recruiting-wise] this month compared to the last couple of years, because colleges are seeing what I can do on the basketball court,” Boyd told NBC Sports.

Already holding offers from the likes of East Carolina and Virginia Tech as a wide receiver, the North Carolina native stated that programs such as George Mason, Radford, Western Carolina and Campbell have reached out and offered him a basketball scholarship in recent weeks. And in regards to when he could possibly decide which sport he’ll play, Boyd doesn’t foresee a decision coming any time soon.

“I have no idea,” Boyd said when asked if he had a timeline in mind, but he reiterated his desire to focus on one sport at the next level. With that being the case, the upcoming football and basketball seasons will be important for the rising senior and the programs looking to land him. (RJ)

Four players stay atop the latest Rivals 2016 rankings

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The first of three live periods begins on July 8 at 5 p.m.

In preparation for the July live period, Rivals released an updated version of the Class of 2016 rankings. However, there was no movement through the top-4. Josh Jackson (Prolific Prep), Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian), Jayson Tatum (Chaminade High) and Dennis Smith (Trinity Christian) remain as the top-4 prospects, in that order.

If you’ve watched Jackson, Giles and Tatum play in the FIBA U19 World Championships, or what Smith did to his fellow participants at Steph Curry’s SC30 Select Camp in the Bay Area this week, it’s easy to see why they retained their respective positions in the Class of 2016.

UCLA commit Lonzo Ball, the only player in the top-10 to give his verbal commitment at this point, checks in at No. 5 while Malik Monk, Edrice Adebayo and De’Aaron Fox stay in the bottom half of the top-10. After shining at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Lone Peak High (Utah) point guard Frank Jackson checks in at No. 10, jumping 21 spots.

The full, updated list can be seen here.

Minneapolis EYBL Day 1: Harry Giles continues impressive spring, Dennis Smith and De’Aaron Fox battle

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Nike EYBL is playing its final spring session this weekend as the league’s teams fight for a spot in Peach Jam in July. Elite Class of 2016 forward Harry Giles continued a dominant spring while 2016’s best point guard, Dennis Smith, battled 2016’s best perimeter defender, De’Aaron Fox.

Harry Giles continues productive spring

As he attempts to play for the No. 1 spot in the Class of 2016, power forward and North Carolina native Harry Giles is continuing to put up monster numbers in the EYBL. Playing again with Team CP3, the 6-foot-10 Giles had 22 points, 13 rebounds and two steals in a close loss to the New York Lightning and it felt like he was even more productive than that.

Giles followed that loss up with 16 points and 10 rebounds in a win over the Jackson Tigers. While Giles has been consistently productive and great around the basket all spring, he’s continuing to work on his skill level away from the basket. Giles is starting to look more comfortable taking face-up jumpers and he’s showcased more-and-more moves as the spring has gone along.

Once he starts refining his interior floaters where he’s actually using his wrist and not trying to shot-put it into the basket, he’ll be even better.

De’Aaron Fox battles Dennis Smith

It’s always fun to compare and contrast players at the same position who are both All-American caliber players in the same class. When Team Penny and 2016’s top point guard, Dennis Smith, battled Houston Hoops and 2016’s top perimeter defender, De’Aaron Fox it gave a chance to see how they would fare against each other.

The head-to-head battle between the two five-star guards was fun to witness because they guarded each other most of the time they were on the floor. While Smith did a great job of operating high ball screens and making plays to the tune of 17 points, five rebounds and four rebounds, it was Fox who made more plays in overtime as he tallied 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals.

The head-to-head battle was closer to a draw than a win for either side, but Fox did as good of a job of containing Smith as anyone has all spring.

Also playing well in the game were a pair of Class of 2017 top-100 forwards in Penny’s P.J. Washington and Houston’s Jarred Vanderbilt. The five-star Vanderbilt had 21 points and 10 rebounds and also defended all five positions while the four-star Washington had 24 points and 18 rebounds.