Uncommitted prospects discuss options
NEW YORK -- With Ray McCallum, Brandon Knight and Josh Selby committing within the past week, most of the point guard dominoes have fallen. Cory Joseph is the last remaining elite backcourt prospect still considering his college options.
Joseph's list of finalists includes Connecticut, Minnesota, UNLV, Texas and Villanova. The scuttlebutt has Texas and Villanova out front, but don't count UConn out. Joseph has family in the area and has spent time in the state.
"It would be good to go stay with my family [in Connecticut], but they want what's best for me as well," Joseph said after Saturday's Jordan Brand Classic at Madison Square Garden.
As far as Texas is concerned, the Longhorns have a few familiar faces working in their favor.
Tristan Thompson, Joseph's club and high school teammate at Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), has committed to Texas, as has 2011 prospect Myck Kabongo, who also plays on the Grassroots Canada AAU team. When approached about the possibility of reuniting with Kabongo at the college level, Joseph said he felt the duo could continue to be productive.
Thompson has opined that he would like for Joseph to join him in Austin, but he is giving his running mate the time and space necessary to make the decision.
"He wants me to play with him," Joseph said. "He has said a couple words to me a couple times, but at the same time he respects my decision and respects my thoughts. You know, we talk about it, but he tries not to say too much or say too little. He gives me his opinion but he doesn't try to force me to do anything."
Joseph plans to make his choice in the "next week or two." He isn't giving any indication about which way he is leaning.
"There's a lot of factors when it comes down to it, obviously playing time [and] relationship with the coaches," he said. "Relationship with the players is a big one, because not only am I going to play basketball there, I'm going to spend the majority of my time there. Just going in there and making sure the school feels right."
Kentucky's next catch?After landing a pair of elite guards -- Knight and Doron Lamb -- Kentucky has done well to fill most of the voids from the rash of departures the Wildcats endured (with five players declaring for the NBA draft) after the season.
The last piece of the puzzle might be high-flying wing C.J. Leslie. Leslie's athletic ability makes him a good fit for John Calipari's system on both ends of the court. Though he lacks the height and bulk of DeMarcus Cousins, he has no problems compensating for it with his athletic ability.
Calipari did what he needed to show Leslie he was one of UK's top targets when he visited Leslie's home on the first day of the April contact period.
"It shows that he's really coming after me hard," Leslie said. "For him to be the first coach to come visit, and I think I was the first player he visited, it really says a lot."
Leslie has been one of the toughest prospects to read in this class. He is down to UConn, Florida, Kentucky and NC State, where he was once committed. Most have speculated that NC State is in the lead, but that is far from a certainty.
For the time being, it sounds as if Leslie's done with visits.
"I'm still weighing my options right now," he said. "I was currently supposed to be taking a visit to Florida right after [the Jordan game] but I just thought about it and I will not be taking that visit."
Leslie was not specific about when he will make a decision.
Jones decision nearingLeslie isn't the only frontcourt prospect deep in the decision-making process. In fact, Oregon prospect Terrence Jones ranks as the nation's top unsigned recruit. Jones plans to announce either April 23 or 30. (He will do so in tandem with Terrence Ross.) He currently lists his finalists as Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Kentucky and Kansas.
The belief is that Jones will stay on the West Coast. He says he still is going through the decision process.
"I'm not planning on making a decision or even getting down or writing the pros and cons until all my high school games are over."
Jones has kept Oregon and Oklahoma on his list, despite some uncertainty at both programs.
"It's tough to make a decision like this when a school [Oregon] doesn't have a coach. So I just try to do what I can."
As long as Jeff Capel is at Oklahoma, the Sooners will be near the top of Jones' list.
"Coach Capel was the one who attracted me there, so I just stick with them in my top five because I love him as a coach."
Brendan Murphy is an editor for ESPN Recruiting.
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