ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Just hours after the Dominican Republic lost to Team USA Thursday night in Las Vegas, Kentucky coach John Calipari is back on the recruiting trail.
Calipari — and just about every other high-major coach in the nation as well as 15 NBA scouts — are here at the Nike Global Challenge, a three-day event that features many of the best young players from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico, China and Lithuania.
“Yeah, I kind of was [surprised to see him] so I appreciate for the love,” 2013 shooting guard James Young said after scoring a team-best 19 points on 7-for-19 shooting as USA Midwest beat USA West, 87-77, at Episcopal High School.
The 6-foot-6 Troy, Mich., native is one of several Kentucky targets here, along with Kuran Iverson, Beejay Anya, Troy Williams, JaQuan Lyle, Wayne Selden, JaJuan Johnson and Kennedy Meeks of the U.S. and Andrew Wiggins of Canada, among others.
Young said he’s considering the Wildcats along with Kansas, Ohio State and Michigan State, and it should be mentioned that Bill Self of Kansas and Tom Izzo of Michigan State were also present.
“I just came here to play,” Young said. “I try to think less about the coaches and more about the game so I can get the win.”
Young recently told Scout.com that Kentucky was the “team to beat,” and he reiterated what he likes.
“Great coaching staff, great players and a good facility,” he said.
KING LIKES FOUR
2013 Memphis small forward Nick King had 14 points and 8 rebounds for USA Midwest.
He said Memphis, Texas, Vanderbilt and Tennessee are schools ”that I want to go visit. I’m looking for the fifth right now.”
Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes has said he will help recruit Memphis stars like King to Tennessee, and King said that could be a factor.
“Jarnell Stokes is a great player,” King said. “He could possibly tell what’s the real truth behind Tennessee so that will help out if we can learn the truth about schools.”
Moses Kingsley, a 6-9 big man originally from Nigeria who will play with Wiggins at Huntington (W.V.) Prep, had 5 points and 3 rebounds for USA Midwest.
He lists Louisville, Arkansas, Alabama Florida and N.C. State, among others.
“I have no plans [to take visits] but maybe after the July period,” he said. “Probably [in the fall].”
Montverde (Fla.) Academy 2014 big man Dakari Johnson has a sprained MCL. He is out for the Global Challenge and the Peach Jam, per his mom. Johnson is being courted by Kentucky, Syracuse and Georgetown, among others..For USA Midwest, Rondae Jefferson had 12 points and Arkansas commit Bobby Portis and Wes Clark had 10 apiece. Villanova, Temple, St. John’s and Rutgers were some of the schools watching Jefferson, a 6-7 wing from Chester (Pa.). High. Washington commit Nigel Williams-Goss led all scorers with 24 points on 11-for-16 shooting with UW coach Lorenzo Romar watching. Marcus Lee, a 6-10 2013 forward from Antioch, Calif., was especially energized and athletic, adding 14 points and 9 rebounds. Selden added 12 points for USA West….Other head coaches of note: Bill Self, Rick Pitino, Roy Williams, Tom Izzo, Sean Miller, Jim Calhoun, John Thompson III, Dana Altman, Frank Martin, Scott Drew, Anthony Grant, Tubby Smith, Tony Bennett, Fred Hoiberg, Buzz Williams, Jamie Dixon, Kevin Willard, Mike Rice….Syracuse, Seton Hall and St. John’s have assistants here.