Getty Images

Kentucky’s P.J. Washington, Wenyen Gabriel, Jarred Vanderbilt make NBA Draft decisions

Leave a comment

Kentucky’s deep-and-talented roster is officially taking shape on Wednesday afternoon as forward P.J. Washington announced that he will return for his sophomore season while Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt will stay in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The return of the 6-foot-7 Washington gives the Wildcats their most consistent frontcourt player from last season. Putting up 10.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game, the springy forward has a chance to make a major leap during his sophomore season in Lexington.

Gabriel, a 6-foot-9 big man who just completed with sophomore season, is staying in the draft after an up-and-down career with Kentucky. A reserve for most of the past two seasons, Gabriel averaged 6.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 23.1 minutes per game last season. A former five-star prospect, Gabriel was never a consistent presence with the Wildcats, but he does have some tantalizing pro tools, including an ability to stretch the floor (39 percent three-point shooting this season).

After an injury-plagued freshman season, the 6-foot-8 Vanderbilt is also staying in the NBA draft. Playing only 14 games during the season, Vanderbilt averaged 5.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game for the Wildcats. Never fully finding a comfortable role in Kentucky’s already-established mid-season rotation, Vanderbilt officially ended his season before Kentucky started its postseason. With a history of injuries, and a crowded froncourt at Kentucky looming, leaving for the pro ranks might be the best option for Vanderbilt if he wants to maximize his potential career.

The major question becomes who Washington might play with in Kentucky’s potentially crowded frontcourt? Stanford graduate transfer forward Reid Travis is rumored to also be potentially going to Kentucky after pulling out of the NBA draft.

When you also factor in the Wildcats bringing in five-star freshman big man E.J. Montgomery, and the return of sophomore big man Nick Richards, and that makes for some intriguing lineup possibilities for head coach John Calipari in the frontcourt.

One interesting wrinkle for Washington could be his ability to play smaller, at the three, since Kentucky has so many potential big men. Although Washington only shot 23 percent from three-point range last season, he is quick enough to stick with some bigger wings while also providing plus rebounding from the position.

We’ll have to wait-and-see what happens with Travis and his transfer decision, but at the very least, Kentucky has Montgomery, Richards and Washington already in the fold for 2018-19.

Louisville lands local four-star 2019 guard

Getty Images
1 Comment

Louisville continued its hot stretch on the recruiting trail on Saturday as local four-star Class of 2019 guard David Johnson pledged to the Cardinals.

Johnson is the third top-100 prospect to commit to Louisville in the past two weeks as he joins a four-man 2019 recruiting class that should be among the best groups in the country. The 6-foot-4 Johnson is regarded as the No. 98 overall prospect in the Rivals Class of 2019 national rankings as he comes from nearby Trinity High School.

Previously committed to the old staff at Louisville, head coach Chris Mack and his staff were able to retain Johnson’s commitment, as he joins a potentially loaded recruiting class. With an ability to play both perimeter spots, Johnson should be able to get others involved when he’s playing on the ball while also being able to pick his own spots as a scorer.

Johnson joins four-star guard Josh Nickelberry, four-star wing Samuell Williamson and four-star forward Jae’lyn Withers in the Louisville Class of 2019 recruiting haul. With Mack and his staff getting three top-100 prospects in the past two weeks, Louisville is currently one of the hottest programs in the country when it comes to landing quality commitments.

And even though Louisville has been in the midst of recruiting scandals over the past few years, they still have all of the necessary check marks for a school to consistently recruit elite players. Now that Mack is providing stability at head coach, Louisville plays in an elite conference with elite facilities with one of the best fanbases in the country. We’re quickly finding out that recruits only care about what will help them over the next few years.

Virginia lands early 2021 commitment from prized perimeter recruit

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Virginia got its Class of 2021 recruiting efforts off to a positive start on Friday night as North Carolina native and guard Carson McCorkle pledged to the Cavaliers.

The 6-foot-3 McCorkle is a highly-regarded young perimeter prospect, as he’s been invited to USA Basketball events and recognized as a potential top-100 prospect. He’s also the first 2021 prospect that Virginia offered a scholarship.

That means Virginia is doing a great job of looking ahead on the recruiting board, as a Class of 2021 commitment gives them more time to close out 2019 and 2020. McCorkle visited Virginia for an unofficial visit in August and he evidently came away impressed enough to commit before his sophomore season. The early commitment from McCorkle could also give the young guard, and Virginia, time to potentially reclassify him up a grade if the Cavaliers wanted him a year early.

Of course, McCorkle (and Virginia) have plenty of time to change their minds over the next few years. But landing McCorkle early is also a positive sign for Virginia’s future recruiting as they’ve locked up a key target as an underclassman.

Miami dismisses guard from program

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Miami announced on Friday afternoon that Miles Wilson has been dismissed from the program for “not meeting team expectations.”

The school provided no other comment or explanation for the dismissal.

Wilson, a 6-foot-2 combo guard, averaged 11.8 points and 3.9 boards as a freshman at Mount St. Mary’s before opting to transfer out of the program. He sat out the 2017-18 season in Coral Gables as his mandatory redshirt season.

“Miles comes to the U after a very successful year at Mount St. Mary’s, where he helped them reach the NCAA tournament,” Jim Larrañaga said in a statement at the time Wilson committed to the Hurricanes. “Miles has the size, length and athletic ability to be an outstanding defender; in addition, he has the shooting and ball handling skills to be a real threat at the offensive end.”

VIDEO: Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton jumped out of a plane

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Leave a comment

Don’t worry.

He was skydiving.

USC adds to top 2019 class with four-star recruit Kyle Sturdivant

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Andy Enfield’s 2019 recruiting haul already includes two five-star, top-20 recruits along with a pair of additional four-star prospects in the top-100. It’s good enough, right now, for USC to own the best class in the country.

And on Thursday, the Trojans added to it.

Kyle Sturdivant, a top-100 recruit out of Georgia, has committed to the Trojans.

The 6-foot-3 point guard previously committed to his home-state Bulldogs and new coach Tom Crean, but backed off that pledge last month. He also had offers from Cal, Clemson, Auburn and Florida, among others.

Sturdivant put up 16.2 points, 5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game last season while playing alongside top-five recruit Vernon Carey on Team Takeover Florida.

His commitment gives Enfield a point guard in an already loaded class. The Trojans previously received commitments from five-stars Isaiah Mobley and Onyeka Okongwu and four-stars Max Agbonkpolo and Drake London, giving them the consensus top class in the country this fall.

The Trojans’ continued success keeps the trend alive of schools who were caught up in the FBI corruption investigation simply shaking it off and landing more top talent.

The kings stay the kings.