The summer circuit has started for the Class of 2019 and beyond, and with that, Kentucky’s targets in the class are beginning to take shape. Kentucky already has two commitments in the class, point guard Ashton Hagans (although he may reclassify to 2018) and wing D.J. Jeffries.
Here’s a look at the players the Kentucky Wildcats are targeting in the Class of 2019.
Note: Player rankings are based off of the 247 Sports Composite, which compiles multiple rankings together
- Tyrese Maxey (5 star, 13th overall) South Garland High School (Garland, TX) Offered
- Bryan Antoine (5 star, 7th overall) Ranney School (Eatontown, NJ) Offered
- Jalen Lecque (5 star, 9th overall) Christ School (Arden, NC)
- KyKy Tandy (4 star, 147th overall) University Heights Academy (Hopkinsville, KY)
- Dontaie Allen (3 star, 240th overall) Pendleton County High School (Falmouth, KY)
The guard class in 2019 for Kentucky may be the most intriguing for multiple reasons. First, we are still unsure of who will remain in the 2019 class. As mentioned earlier, Kentucky already has a commitment from point guard Ashton Hagans, the top point guard in the class and 10th overall.
But when it comes to Maxey and Lecque, both have been mentioned as possible candidates for reclassification. Maxey is a heavy Kentucky lean and it is believed that John Calipari would take him in either the 2018 or 2019 class.
Lecque has received interest from Kentucky, but landing him at Kentucky isn’t a certainty. The 6’4 combo guard has received a lot of attention from home state UNC and is also considering Oregon. Lecque could also possibly transfer to 2018. He has the ability to play both guard positions and could even possibly play the 3 in smaller lineups. His athleticism is something to behold, drawing comparisons to Russell Westbrook.
Neither could reclassify, one could, or both and those decisions will play a huge part in how Kentucky recruits the 2019 class.
But aside from reclassification, the guard class is interesting because of the presence of two in-state players on the list. Dekeyvan “KyKy” Tandy has been a popular choice for Wildcats fans after leading his University Heights team to the Kentucky Sweet 16 by averaging 30.5 points per game.
Tandy, a 4-star guard, already has offers from Florida, Tennessee, Kansas State, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, and Western Kentucky. The Wildcats haven’t offered yet, but John Calipari and Joel Justus did travel to Henderson, KY to watch him compete in the 2nd Region Championship last month.
One spot ahead of Tandy on the leading scorers list was Pendleton County guard Dontaie Allen, averaging 31.8 points per game and more than 11 rebounds. Joel Justus visited Pendleton County to watch Allen work out and invited him to take an unofficial visit in June. His high school coach also told the Herald-Leader that Kentucky is his dream school.
Finally, maybe the best player in that guard group is Bryan Antoine. Calipari has been on Antoine and his high school and AAU teammate Scottie Lewis (more on him below) for quite a while and extended offers to both last fall.
It is not yet clear if the two will play together in college, but as of now, it seems Duke is the favorite for Antoine. Antoine may be the best scoring guard in the class and scouts love his jump shot. Evan Daniels even compared him to Ray Allen.
Duke, Villanova, Florida, and Kentucky seem to be the major players in Antoine’s recruitment.
- Keion Brooks (5 star, 28th overall) North Side High School (Fort Wayne, IN) Offered
- Scottie Lewis (5 star, 8th overall) Ranney School (Eatontown, NJ) Offered
Kentucky already has a commitment from D.J. Jeffries, the 32nd overall player in the class and AAU teammate to James Wiseman, but outside of Jeffries, Kentucky hasn’t cast its net very far in wings for 2019.
Keion Brooks has been a priority for the coaching staff, as they love his size (6’9”) and scoring ability. Brooks, who is from Indiana, seems to be essentially down to Michigan State, Indiana, and Kentucky. IU head coach Archie Miller has been on him since taking the job and pitching the idea of staying home. It also helps that one of Brooks’ teammates, Trayce Jackson-Davis, is a heavy Indiana lean.
However, it’s hard to count Calipari out when he prioritizes a player and as evidenced by being one of the first five players to receive a visit from Calipari in this class, Kentucky is going to heavily pursue Brooks.
Lewis is a top-10 player in the class along with his teammate Bryan Antoine. Lewis projects to play more at the small forward position in college, but he does have some flexibility to play the shooting guard as well. He’s a super athlete that plays above the rim as well as anyone in the class and projects as a strong defender in college.
Kentucky may actually be in better shape with Lewis than they are with Antoine, so it will be interesting to see how the talented duo approach the college selection process.
As of now, Kentucky will have to make sure to keep Jeffries in the fold, as he played on Penny Hardaway’s AAU team and has a strong relationship with the now-Memphis coach.
- James Wiseman (5 star, 1st overall) Memphis East High School (Memphis, TN) Offered
- Vernon Carey Jr. (5 star, 2nd overall) University School (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) Offered
- Matthew Hurt (5 star, 4th overall) John Marshall Senior High (Rochester, MN) Offered
Wiseman has long been Kentucky’s top priority in the class and continues to be... for good reason. He’s the #1 or #2 player in the class, depending on which service you’re looking at, and his talent (and upside) are evident.
A near 7-footer, Wiseman excels on both ends of the floor, being able to score from multiple spots on the floor and using his length to block and alter shots on the other end. He also has excellent athleticism and can run the floor with smaller players.
Kentucky is the favorite in Wiseman’s recruitment, but like Jeffries, he played under Penny Hardaway on the AAU Circuit and on Penny’s high school team. Memphis is probably the only threat standing between a Kentucky-Wiseman union, which should make for an interesting battle in the next few months.
The player in competition with Wiseman for the top spot in the class is Vernon Carey, Jr., a 6’10” forward from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. UK assistant Kenny Payne recently told him he could model his game after DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.
Carey is skilled and can play inside and out on offense, and is probably the best rebounder in the class. Kentucky is pitching the idea of Carey and Wiseman playing in the same frontcourt together in Lexington, which would be the best frontcourt in the nation, hands down.
However, that is easier said than done, as Duke is seen as the favorite for Carey, along with Miami (FL.), where his father was a standout football player before being drafted in the first round in the NFL.
The last remaining big man that is a major target for Kentucky is the 4th ranked player in the class, 6’9 Matthew Hurt. Hurt projects as a stretch four in college because of his ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter.
Calipari extended him an offer in December, and has the ability to be a true inside-out threat. There is some mutual interest between Kentucky and Hurt, although Kansas and home-state Minnesota (he lives only about 80 miles from Minnesota’s campus).
Hurt fits in with Calipari’s new-found desire to bring in players that can shoot from multiple positions, so expect that recruitment to continue throughout the process.
- Ashton Hagans (5 star, 10th overall) Newton High School (Covington, GA)
- D.J. Jeffries (4 star, 32nd overall) Olive Branch High School (Olive Branch, MS)
Stay tuned here as we bring you more updates from the recruiting trail for the Class of 2019.