Three Kentucky men’s basketball signees are adding a little more substance to their already budding prep résumés.
Wildcats BJ Boston and Terrence Clarke are among 10 semifinalists for the 2020 Naismith High School Trophy. They will also join fellow signee Lance Ware in the 2020 Iverson Roundball Classic.
Boston and Clarke have already been named 2020 McDonald’s All American Game participants and are in the midst of superb senior seasons.
Five finalists will be named for the Naismith Trophy for the nation’s player of the year on Feb. 18 before the Atlanta Tipoff Club unveils the winner on March 10.
Ware will join Boston and Clarke for the 2020 Allen Iverson Roundball Classic on April 24 in Philadelphia at the 76ers Fieldhouse.
The players will be divided into two teams, Loyalty and Honor, each coached by an NBA legend. The game has been in existence since 2017 and is run by NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson.
Other Wildcats who have participated in the Iverson Classic are Keion Brooks Jr., Tyler Herro, Immanuel Quickley, Jarred Vanderbilt, PJ Washington and Kahlil Whitney.
UK’s current signing haul, which also includes Devin Askew, Cam’Ron Fletcher and Isaiah Jackson, is in the mix for one of the top classes in the nation yet again. ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports currently rank UK’s class No. 1.
In every season in the Calipari era, the Wildcats have signed a top-three recruiting class according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, which tallies major recruiting rankings and plugs them into a formula to calculate a consensus ranking. With the fall additions, Kentucky has signed 59 top-50 recruits, 46 top-25 players and 25 top-10 players (according to Rivals) in what will now be Calipari’s 12 recruiting classes at Kentucky.
UK can only comment on prospects who have signed official paperwork with the university. The spring signing period begins April 15.
Rosters for the annual Jordan Brand Classic, another elite all-star circuit game, have not been announced yet.
At 6-7, 185 pounds, Boston is a consensus five-star prospect who is playing at Sierra Canyon High School (Chatsworth, California) for his senior season. Over the summer, playing alongside and against some of the best players in the country, Boston averaged 22.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game in the Nike EYBL circuit.
“BJ is one of the best basketball players in the country,” Calipari said in the fall. “He can score from anywhere on the floor with his length and his athleticism and he finishes really well in traffic. He’s versatile enough to play two or three positions. On top of BJ’s basketball ability, what I love about him is he wants to play with other great players. He’s already doing that on the high school level and wanted the challenge of competing with and against the best every day in practice here.”
Boston is considered one of the top shooting guards in the class and is ranked as high as No. 4 overall by Rivals. He earned 2018-19 MaxPreps Boys Basketball Junior All-American Team Honorable Mention distinction after averaging 18.4 points, 5.4 rebounds 1.9 steals while leading his previous high school in Norcross, Georgia, to the state semifinals last season. He’s a 2019-20 All-USA Preseason High School Boys Basketball Team selection.
Like Boston, Clarke is 6-7 and 185 pounds. The consensus five-star prospect from Boston is playing his high school ball at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire and enjoyed a sensational summer season. Playing in the Nike EYBL, Clarke showed he’s one of the game’s best young scorers with a 16.2 average to go along with 5.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Not only will he be an early favorite to score the basketball for Kentucky next season, but he also has the tools to be a shutdown defender.
“Terrence is one of the most talented basketball players in the country regardless of class,” Calipari said after Clarke’s signing. “He has a toughness to him that the Big Blue Nation is going to really love. When he came on his visit, he saw firsthand the type of effort and work we expect of our players and immediately decided this was the type of environment he wanted to be in. Terrence has all the tools you look for in a kid: length, athleticism, toughness and a high basketball IQ. I’m looking forward to coaching him.”
247 Sports rates Clarke as the No. 4 overall prospect in the class with Rivals assigning him the No. 5 overall rating. USA Today named him to its All-USA Preseason High School Boys Basketball Team.
Ware, a 6-9, 215-pound forward is coming off a big-time summer. He averaged 11.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game during Nike EYBL play, but he played particularly well at the Peach Jam tournament. In five games in North Augusta, Georgia, Ware averaged 14.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
“Every team needs a guy that will do things that help you win – those winning basketball plays. Lance does those,” Calipari said during the fall signing period. “Lance has the ingredients to get a team over the hump. He’s skilled, he’s tough, he rebounds and he finishes around the basket. Lance knows what his strengths are and plays to them. He’s going to have a tremendous career here at Kentucky.”
Ware, from Camden High School in Camden, New Jersey, is comfortable with the ball in his hands from just about anywhere from 15 feet and in. He’s ascended in the rankings and is tabbed as high as No. 32 by Rivals.
The current Wildcats return to action on Saturday when they travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, with a date against the Volunteers of Tennessee. Tip is set for 1 p.m. on CBS.
‑ GO CATS –
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