Phillip Hawkins | April 14, 2017
The Jordan Brand Classic is a showcase for the top upcoming recruits in men’s high school basketball. A year after the former Cats, Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox won co-MVP of last year’s game, UK was well represented again this year.
In this year’s game there were four signees who represented UK; guard Quade Green, forward PJ Washington, forward Jarred Vanderbilt, and Center Nick Richards. They are just four of the seven incoming players UK has gotten to commit to their number one recruiting class in the nation.
At 6’1” Green is a shifty guard who is highly intelligent and a phenomenal passer. All of those skills were on display in the Jordan Brand Classic as Green finished the game with six points and a game-high 10 assists.
He showed his skills as he threw a few alley-oop and no look passes and also knocked down some tough jumpers. Green will be a nice floor general for the Cats next season as they prepare for another tournament run.
Washington is a tough power forward down-low. He has the ability to stretch out and take jumpers but also go in the paint and bang with the big guys. Washington, at 6’8” is going to be a nice hybrid forward for the team next season. His talent will be something John Calipari will utilize as soon as Washington gets to Lexington. He finished the game with 11 points while also snagging a game-high six steals, making his presence felt on the defensive end.
Standing at 6’8” Vanderbilt is a forward who has the skills of a guard. He is a unique player for his size and stature. He showed flashes of his abilities during the game as he scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. In the final 40 seconds of the game, however, Vanderbilt went down with an apparent ankle injury causing Big Blue Nation to hold their breath. Baring anything serious he will be a valuable player on the roster next season.
Richards, the 11th ranked player in the nation, is the next incoming big man for Calipari. The 6’11” center has the length to be a good shot-blocker and showcased his athleticism by throwing down a few monster dunks in the classic. Richards finished the game with 10 points.
The Cats are also still targeting two recruits for next season who also played in the Jordan Brand Classic this year, Kevin Knox and Mohamed Bamba. Knox, a 6’8” small forward, showed a lot of promise in the game scoring 12 points.
Bamba at 6’11” with a 7’8” wingspan, scored only six points on the game but he pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds. Both are undecided and are supposed to make their decisions in the coming months as Cats fans hope they can land at least one of them.
Watching the Jordan Brand Classic should definitely get Big Blue Nation excited for next season’s incoming class. UK’s recruits showed a lot of promise. Once again it is going to be a season of high hopes for Calipari and the Cats.