Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Latest Updates on Wildcats' Top 2015 Targets

Bobby ReaganFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2014

Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Latest Updates on Wildcats' Top 2015 Targets

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    Gareth Patterson/Associated Press

    The 2013-14 Kentucky basketball team is in the midst of a crazy season filled with peaks such as the victory over archrival Louisville and valleys which include the losses to Arkansas and LSU. 

    Next season's recruiting class has four McDonald's All-Americans in Tyler Ulis, Karl Towns, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker. However, that doesn't mean it's too early to take a look at what the next crop of John Calipari recruits looks like.

    In fact Kentucky's coaching class has already began heavily recruiting players in the class of 2015, which include players across the entire country. This slideshow will take a look at those recruits highest on Calipari's wish list and how they are currently preforming. 


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    Malik Newman (Jackson, MS)—Malik Newman is a dynamic scoring 6'3" point guard from Jackson, Mississippi. He is the No. 1 recruit in the country, according to 247sports. Kentucky is one of several schools Newman is seriously considering and one of four SEC schools. Also in the mix for Newman is Kansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Arizona, UCLA, Southern Mississippi, Duke and North Carolina. During his sophomore season, which saw a state championship victory, Newman averaged 23 points and five rebounds per game.  


    Luke Kennard (Franklin, Ohio)—Kennard is the No. 12 recruit in the country and the No. 2 shooting guard, according to 247sports. He has been a heavy target for Kentucky's coaching staff, which has been able to see Kennard play thanks in part to his proximity to Lexington. The 6'5" guard recently trimmed his list to Kentucky, Duke, Ohio State, Michigan, Louisville, North Carolina and Florida. He has been on a scoring tear this season, averaging close to 40 points per game, including a school-record 53 points in a game, according to Steve Jones of The Courier-Journal. Kennard has made four unofficial visits to Kentucky, including attending Kentucky's victory over Eastern Michigan earlier this season. 


    Charles Matthews (Chicago)—Matthews is the No. 11 recruit and only shooting guard ranked higher than Kennard, according to 247sports. Matthews is viewed as a near-lock for Kentucky, with 247sports' crystal ball having the Wildcats as a 93 percent favorite to land Matthews over Illinois. Matthews is a combo guard who resembles a young Penny Hardaway. At 6'6" he provides the size to overpower other point guards but has the ability to score like a shooting guard. Much like James Young and Aaron Harrison have started together this season, don't be surprised to see a commit by either Matthews or Kennard to deter the other from signing with Kentucky. 


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    Carlton Bragg

    Carlton Bragg (Cleveland, Ohio)—Bragg is a 6'9" power forward who is the No. 9 overall recruit, according to 247sports. The crystal ball by 247sports has Kentucky as a 62 percent favorite to land Bragg, with Ohio State at 35 percent and Illinois at 4 percent. Bragg recently suffered a setback though; he broke his toe and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season and possibly the postseason as well. Bragg has averaged 19.2 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game this season until he suffered his injury. 


    Derrick Jones (Wayne, PA)—Jones is a 6'6" small forward who can also play the shooting guard position. Kentucky faces an uphill battle for the No. 14 recruit, according to 247sports, who is projecting Syracuse to land Jones over Kentucky. Jones has built a tight-knit relationship with Syracuse's assistant coach and former star Gerry McNamara, who also hails from Pennsylvania. While Jones is thinly built, he plays tough for his size. 


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    Stephen Zimmerman

    Stephen Zimmerman (Las Vegas, Nevada)—Zimmerman is looked at to be the crown jewel in the class of 2015. 247sports has him ranked as the No. 2 overall player in the country, but a combination of size and skill set could make him the best overall prospect. Zimmer stands at 7'0" and has the ability to step away from the lane and hit jumpers. He also has a unique skill in being a great passer for his size. Despite being slender, Zimmerman is a dominant rebounder, thanks in part to his length. Zimmerman has yet to trim his list, and according to ESPN he holds offers from 15 schools, which include the Wildcats, Arizona, UCLA, North Carolina and Kansas, among others. 


    Ivan Rabb (Oakland, Calif.)—Rabb is a 6'10" power forward/center who is ranked as the No. 3 overall player by 247sports. While it's still a year away until he enters college, 247sports has him as a lock to go to Arizona, with the crystal ball reporting 100 percent chance he picks Arizona. However, that won't stop John Calipari from recruiting Rabb. The California native is an explosive dunker with long arms and is a prolific shot-blocker. He runs the floor well and handles the ball extremely well for his size and like Zimmerman, has the ability to hit a mid-range jumper.