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BB Recruiting

2022 Nike EYBL Louisville Session Interview: Tre Johnson

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Photo By Tristan Pharis

While John Calipari does not like to show much interest until the summer of a recruit going from their junior to senior year, however, Tre Johnson is a top-five recruit in 2024 that Kentucky has expressed a lot of interest in.

Johnson has created a reputation as a pure shooting guard and an elite shooter, something that Kentucky will always welcome. With such a beautiful and fluid shooting form, it is easy to see why.

On the weekend, Johnson was one of the leading scorers of the Louisville Nike EYBL session, averaging 19.6 points on an efficient 48% shooting from the field and 47% shooting from three, while also averaging nearly 4 made threes per game.

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To add to that, Johnson is also comfortable utilizing his mid-range game. As for areas of improvement, Johnson does need to become a more confident ball handler and assist-maker, which will round out his all-around game.

Johnson has called Kentucky his “dream school”, and looks up to former UK guard, Tyrese Maxey, which puts Kentucky in the mix off principle this early on. Let’s recap what Johnson had to say about Kentucky and more in my interview with him.

You’ve said that Kentucky is one of the schools that you have been hearing a lot from lately. What have those communications been like?

“It’s been good just knowing that Kentucky is reaching out. They are saying that I am a player that can fit their style of play. It’s also good knowing that I can go to a place like Kentucky and be effective.”

How has the departure of Jai Lucas affected your recruitment? Who has taken over?

“No, but that is who I was mainly talking to. When he left, I started talking to another assistant coach, but I am not sure who it was, my dad didn’t tell me that.”

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You’ve called Kentucky your “dream school”, why is that and what makes it so attractive?

“That was my favorite school when I was younger. I always wanted to go to Kentucky when I was younger. Then, Tyrese Maxey, we are from the same place, and I just looked up to him and wanted to go where he went. Right now, I am open to anywhere.”

Are you close with Tyrese (Maxey)? Has he talked to you about Kentucky?

“We don’t talk a lot, but we talk on occasion. He hasn’t said anything, we try not to get into that.”

You have said that you would rather receive constructive criticism than to be praised for how good you are, so what are you working to improve on?

Improving on my team defense. Helping rebound, even when our big man is there or is not there.

What factors are you looking at to help you make a decision?

“A place where they give their guards freedom. Let their guards play and let them do what they do in practice. A place that plays winning basketball, a team that wants to win.”

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Does NIL play a large factor in your recruitment?

“No, not really. NIL is not the big picture. The big picture to me is to go to the NBA.”


Get up to speed with this breakdown on Kentucky’s latest target, Tre Johnson.

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BB Recruiting

Rex Chapman Claims State Politics Cost Kentucky Two NBA All-Stars

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Twitter/Rex Chapman

Before this Spring when Calipari and Co started regaining traction on the recruiting trail, much of the Big Blue Nation was not satisfied with basketball recruiting.

Much of this was a result of some misfortune. Some of that misfortune is due to unique situations such as family/high school coach hires – as was the case with Cade Cunningham and James Wiseman – but some was due to the reluctance to adapt to the current recruiting landscape.

However, former Kentucky basketball great Rex Chapman tweeted something interesting earlier this month, hinting at another reason, Kentucky politics.

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Chapman didn’t name any names, leaving it unclear who these recruits may have been, but still an interesting take by the former Wildcat.

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Top Remaining 2022 Prospect Ugonna Kingsley Commits to Kentucky

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UK Athletics

The Kentucky Wildcats have recruiting momentum in both the football and basketball programs, but today John Calipari and Co were the ones to receive the latest commitment, five-star center Ugonna Kingsley.

Kingsley’s commitment comes off the heels of a visit to Kentucky back in July, where all of his boxes were checked and he felt at home in Lexington. Kingsley chose Kentucky over the Kansas Jayhawks, Memphis Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, and others.

Kingsley is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the country, first appearing in recruiting rankings back in late May. Two months later, Kingsley was ranked as a top-25 prospect and one of the best centers in the 2023 class.

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With that said, Kingsley is no longer with the 2023 class, he would reclassify in late July. With his reclassification, Kingsley now stands No. 39 in the 2022 247 Sports prospect rankings and pushes Kentucky nine spots to No. 2 in the team rankings behind only Duke.

Due to the Shaedon Sharpe saga, the Big Blue Nation is likely to be a little wary – understandably so – of Kingsley’s reclassification, but this is a different situation.

While Kingsley is very talented, he does not yet possess the talent level of a projected top-10 pick coming out of high school. With that assurance, Kingsley’s reclassification is a benefit for himself and the Kentucky basketball program.

In his first year in Lexington, Kingsley will be allowed sit and develop behind reigning National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe, then take over in 2023-24 when Tshiebwe is expected to be in the NBA Draft. Kingsley’s early arrival will also give Kentucky some insurance if a frontcourt player were to go down with an injury.

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Despite both of his parents being under six feet in height, the Nigerian native possesses a 6-foot-11, 195-pound frame, and an impressive 7-foot-5 wingspan. Given his physical gifts, Kingsley is a natural on the defensive end and is a high-level rim protector. Overall, he is one of the best defenders in high school basketball, but his lack of strength can hurt him at times in the post.

On the offensive end, Kingsley has impressive footwork and shows the ability to score consistently around the basket. Outside of that, shooting, passing, and dribbling are all areas in need of improvement.

In early June, Kingsley admitted to On3’s Jamie Shaw, “I have been wanting to go to Kentucky all my life, even before coming to the states.”

Now, Kingsley has made his dream a reality and Kentucky is bringing in one of the best rim protectors they have had in recent memory.

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*Also posted on A Sea of Blue

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Reed Sheppard Shines in High-Profile ESPN Televised Game

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UK Athletics

In the last two months, Kentucky has secured commitments from top-10 recruits Justin Edwards (No. 3) and Robert Dillingham (No. 6) in the 2023 class. However, on Tuesday night Kentucky’s first commitment in the class, Reed Sheppard, was the one to make a statement.

In a high-profile game televised on ESPN, Sheppard faced off against Strive for Greatness, a grassroots team who featured top-five prospects Mookie Cook and Mackenzie Mgbako, Bronny James (LeBron James’ son), and his future teammate Dillingham.

Out of all the stars on the floor, Sheppard shined the brightest, going for 16 points, nine rebounds, and four assists to help lead Midwest Basketball Club to a 78-67 victory over the star-filled Strive for Greatness.

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Sheppard is a five-star in his own right but ranks between 20th to 40th depending on which service you look at, but showed that he may be better than his ranking indicates.

Sheppard is the highest-ranked recruit from the State of Kentucky since former Louisville player Chane Behanan (Bowling Green, KY). Furthermore, he will be the highest-ranked recruit from the state of Kentucky to play for the University of Kentucky since Rex Chapman.

Check out this short highlight video of Sheppard’s performance!

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