Kentucky Wildcats assistant coach Joel Justus is packing his bags and heading to Argentina to take a look at some possible future Wildcats.
The USA U16 team is headed to compete in Argentina this week and Justus will be there, looking at recruits for the 2019 and 2020 class while trying to form some early relationships, according to Ben Roberts at the Herald-Leader.
Since Justus became a full-time assistant before last season, one of his primary recruiting responsibilities has been connecting with young players early on to create strong relationships that could lead to a commitment later on.
“Putting Joel in a position to really attack and establish us with some young kids — at least have our presence known with young kids — I thought was important,” Calipari said last year.
The U16 squad has some intriguing talent on the roster that Justus will be paying particular attention to.
From the 2019 class, power forward Vernon Carey will receive a lot of attention. The 6’10 forward from Fort Lauderdale, Florida is seen as a heavy Miami lean right now, but Duke, Arizona, Kansas, and Kentucky have yet to offer, and as those offers come rolling in, Carey may be tempted to leave his home state.
His 247 Sports Composite ranks him as the second-ranked player in the class.
Another 2019 forward Justus will likely be keeping an eye on is James Wiseman. Wiseman, who is from Nashville, does not yet have a Kentucky offer, but one could be coming his way as several programs such as Kansas, Indiana, and Texas have offered.
Here are a few highlights of Wiseman in action.
According to Roberts, North Carolina forward Wendell Moore, a four-star prospect, has started to drum up some interest from UK. Moore already holds a scholarship from the in-state North Carolina Tar Heels, but interest from Kentucky could continue to rise with a strong showing.
Several 2020 prospects will be on the U16 roster, including potential top prospect Isaiah Todd, who already stands at 6’10 and 200 pounds at the age of 15 and has offers from Baylor, Miami, and Virginia, among others.
Other 2020 prospects to keep an eye on are point guards Jalen Suggs (Offers from Baylor, UNLV, Minnesota, and Iowa State) and R.J. Hampton , both considered to be among the top five point guards in the class.
These players still have a lot of developing to do and many will see their stocks rise and fall, but identifying particular players and developing relationships early will be key for Justus as the Wildcats continue to bring in top-ranked recruiting classes.