Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: James Young Lobbies for Kentucky Interest

Looking for the next batch of Cats; could one be knocking on the front door?


One of the better players in the start of summer league basketball has been James Young, a five-star wing player from Troy, Michigan. Young has shone during AAU season, and is expected to rise in the next iteration of the 2013 rankings from a fringe five-star to top 10 (or even top 5) status. Previously not a factor on Kentucky's 2013 big board, Young has essentially lobbied the Kentucky coaching staff to look into recruiting him. Glenn briefly touched on Young in this post; I'm here to expand.

A Michigan native, Young was thought to be a Michigan St. Spartans lean. However, his coming out party this past April has led to a lot of media attention. In interviews, Young has expressed interest in nationwide schools like Ohio State, Kansas, Arizona and--in particular--Kentucky. That interest has certainly piqued the interest of recruitniks and left Spartans fans understandably concerned. This past weekend at the Spiece Run N' Slam, Young told 247 Sports' Steve Helwagen that he plans to visit Kentucky ($) sometime this summer.

Getting Young on campus would be a great first step towards an eventual commitment. What's in it for Kentucky? Per Helwagen:

"[Young's] versatility is the key," Troy coach Gary Fralick told the Detroit Free Press. "He plays all five positions and he plays them well, and that's a big plus. Everything ran through James. All the little things he does really well -- he's one of the best passers in the state and always finds the open man. We want him to get bigger and stronger in order for him to be a good player at the next level."

Sounds like a player to me.

Earlier this year, it looked like Kentucky was in good position with two five-star wing players, Troy Williams (Phoebus / Hampton, VA) and Aaron Harrison (Travis / Fort Bend, TX), with dreams of landing both. However, Williams, who was slated to announce last Friday but has since pushed back his decision, has been rumored to be leaning towards North Carolina. Meanwhile, if the shoe wars theory of AAU basketball is to be believed, Kentucky may end up losing Harrison to UnderArmour school Maryland when all is said and done.

I'm not saying that Kentucky is definitively out with either player; the Wildcats certainly have more than a puncher's chance with both. However, recruiting Young would give the Kentucky coaching staff a third elite option to pursue while hedging the risk of striking out on one or both of their initial primary targets.

On the one hand, publicly stumping for Kentucky interest isn't a guarantee of recruitment. Power forward Chris Walker (Holmes County / Bonifay, FL) has long been outspoken on Twitter about his interest in Kentucky, but Calipari has shown moderate to little interest in the five-star big man. Along those same lines, it's unclear how much communication has occurred between Young and the Kentucky coaching staff this spring. It should be noted that Kentucky head coach John Calipari has watched him play. Further, Rivals' Eric Bossi noted on Twitter than Young does not yet have a Kentucky offer.

Personally, I'd be surprised if Kentucky continued to ignore this talented prospect. If Young does follow through on a visit to Lexington, expect Calipari to put on the full-court press to get Young the heck out of Dodge Michigan.

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