Finally, the Kentucky Wildcats are back on the board for the 2023-24 college basketball season.
Several weeks ago, Joey Hart was set to join the UCF Knights this fall. After an impressive senior season and with teams searching for shooters, Hart began to receive interest from more prestigious programs, such as Indiana, Texas, and Kentucky.
As interest in Hart grew, he realized his opportunities and decommitted from UCF to reopen his recruitment. Since then, Hart’s recruitment has been seen as a two-horse race between Kentucky and Indiana.
After taking the time to visit and talk with both programs, Hart chose to be a Kentucky Wildcat, as announced on Saturday.
The commitment was actually spoiled earlier in the morning, as it was revealed Hart already has a spot in the Kentucky Basketball locker room.
2023 three-star shooting guard Joey Hart, a former UCF signee, tells me he’s committed to Kentucky.— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) June 17, 2023
Becomes the seventh incoming freshman for UK’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class. https://t.co/nkmTBnTjNY pic.twitter.com/vYodqAaGU5
“I’m excited to get started at Kentucky,” Hart said in a press release. “I chose UK because of Coach Calipari, the supportive fan base and Kentucky’s ability to develop players. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to compete and play in the NCAA Tournament.”
A three-star guard ranked 197th overall in the 2023 class via 247 Sports, Hart is not typically the caliber of player that John Calipari typically goes after, at least on paper.
Playing in the Under Armor grassroots circuit, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Hart was the leading scorer through their two sessions and Under Armor Top 60 Camp last summer.
“Joey can really shoot the basketball but also brings a tremendous all-around game to this class,” head coach John Calipari said in a press release. “His best days of basketball are ahead of him and I look forward to watching him develop alongside the rest of the class. I’m excited to get Joey on campus so he can continue to improve at this next level.”
As a senior for Linton-Stockton H.S., Hart led them to the Class 2A State Finals while averaging 23.6 points and shooting 41% from three. Looked at as a three-point specialist, Hart is also 6-foot-5 and is sneaky athletic. He held additional offers from Wichita State, Northwestern, Illinois State, Drake, and Loyola-Chicago, among others.
While Hart certainly isn’t the answer for Kentucky's shorthanded roster, he can be a part of the answer and develop into a very good player for the Wildcats in the future. That’s especially true if Antonio Reeves opts to leave the team via the transfer portal or to play overseas.
Even if Reeves returns, Hart can definitely earn minutes on a Kentucky team that has very little experience coming back next season. And with the injury to Aaron Bradshaw, who could miss the start of the season with a foot injury, that could force Kentucky to slide Justin Edwards and/or Adou Thiero down to the 4 spot, which would open up more minutes for Hart at the 3.
Now, check out some highlights of the newest Cat!
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