Kentucky Wildcats Morning Headlines: Cats close in on Isaiah Briscoe

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Jul 18, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Team USA East player Isaiah Briscoe (9) dribbles the ball as Team France player Valentin Estienne (5) defends during the Nike Global Challenge at Trinity University in Washington, DC. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps one of the more interesting recruiting stories lately has been the pursuit of Isaiah Briscoe. For quite a while, it was assumed that Kentucky would not go after a PG in the 2015 class and that they are set at the position with Tyler Ulis. I still think Ulis will be the point guard but with Dominique Hawkins backing him up, it’s just a natural tendency that Calipari go after depth and Briscoe.

Much has been made about the general weakness of the 2015 class as a whole, and there are very few top-notch point guards in this class, but Briscoe is one of the best and his stock has soared over the summer to where some sites have him as the best PG in the class. Kentuck was not even on Briscoe’s radar when he originally cut his list to five, but as is the case, John Calipari changes things.

"Kentucky wasn’t even thought to be an option until news broke last week that Calipari would travel to Jersey on Thursday for a visit with the five-star recruit. Calipari’s plans didn’t surprise Briscoe or his coach, who said UK had been showing “significant interest” since the middle of the summer. “Isaiah was excited,” Boff said. “I think that any time Kentucky is coming in, it’s exciting, because of the track record they’ve had recently of winning games and developing players. “But I don’t think it came out of the blue as much to Isaiah, his family or us as maybe it did to some other people.” By the end of the day Thursday, Calipari will have had in-home visits with 13 players from the class of 2015 since the fall recruiting period began Sept. 9. Briscoe is the only one of those prospects who does not have a scholarship offer from the Wildcats. “Certainly I would hope to see an offer extended to him during the visit, but I don’t want to speculate,” Boff said. “We’re excited to sit down with Coach Cal and the Kentucky staff. If an offer comes at that time, that’d be great. If not, we’ll hear what they have to say anyway.” Even if there’s no immediate offer, UK will likely remain in contention."

Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Probably one of the biggest questions for basketball recruiting is if Kentucky will get a commitment for the November period. As of now, Charles Matthews is the only commit and he may still be alone headed into the spring. That is not a bad thing because it seems as though a lot of players Kentucky is involved with are waiting till the Spring to commit.

"In the five-star range alone Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Cheick Diallo, Caleb Swanigan, Carlton Bragg, and Isaiah Briscoe all seem more likely to be spring decisions than fall decisions. Add in a few other players such as Brandon Sampson and Derrick Jones who could also very easily be spring decisions, and it is becoming apparent that college coaches are going to have a long wait for some of their top prospects. In general I do not feel that these cases are all that related to one another, none of the kids mentioned are especially close and it isn’t like they are waiting to see what one another do, but it does seem that this year the decision has been made to wait things out more so than in year’s past for many of the top targets."

You can pretty much call this the Kentucky effect as it appears these players are seeing who will advance to the NBA and who will stay at Kentucky after this year.

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It has been almost 30 years since Mars Blackmon asked Michael Jordan about the shoes and apparently, it is still all about Nike for basketball recruits. At least that is what they are saying about Antonio Blakeney decommitting from Louisville. Even though there is no official statement that it was shoes related, 24/7’s Jerry Meyer has created the buzz saying that this was the case.

"What was the basis for the tweet about Blakeney’s decision being based on shoe company affiliation? Facts. I knew this was gonna happen last week. I just didn’t know it was gonna happen so soon. I’d been told it was gonna happen and why it would happen. The kid, I mean, he was looking at not being in the Jordan game, not being in the [Nike] Hoop Summit. This isn’t the first time it’s happened. I don’t understand why everyone’s tripping; I guess because it’s Kentucky and Louisville. But I mean, this is nothing new. I just know it for a fact in this situation, but yeah, looking at not playing in the Jordan Game, the Hoop Summit, everyone surrounding you, the infrastructure of people who helped him get to where he is. It’s Nike. He’s been heavily involved with Nike and Antonio committed to Louisville before visiting other schools and you know that didn’t go over well. And for some weird reason, everyone on the internet yesterday assumed this meant that John Calipari was paying Blakeney to go to UK."

Oh, I love you UK/UL rivalry, but you can get tiresome.