LEXINGTON, Ky. – It appears there will be no happy resolution between the Kentucky basketball program and former class of 2019 commitment DJ Jeffries.
One day after Jeffries announced he was reopening his recruitment, his father, Corey Jeffries, ripped Kentucky coaches in a Memphis radio interview for how they handled the news.
“They kind of shocked me,” Corey told the Jason & John Show on 92.9 FM in Memphis. “They were kind of unprofessional. So, if they come (back), they come. If they don’t, we’re fine with that too.
“They didn’t handle it the way I expected them to handle it, being professionals. I thought it would be handled better, but we’re not going to get into a mud-slinging contest with them. We’ll take the high road. That’s the way we were raised.”
Following DJ’s decommitment, speculation on social media immediately pointed to Memphis, where Jeffries’ former AAU coach Penny Hardaway now coaches, as the likely future destination for the 6-foot-8 forward from Olive Branch, Mississippi.
Corey acknowledged Hardaway, who was hired just more than a week after DJ initially committed to UK in March, played a role in the decision but said Mississippi State, Ole Miss and LSU have all reached out since the announcement.
“It was a big factor,” he said. “We have a bond with Penny already, so it’s not like we have to get reacquainted with him or anything.”
Asked if Kentucky would remain in the running, Corey said after the initial conversation with UK coaches they called back several hours later to ask the family to “keep us in the mix,” so he was uncertain of where things stood with UK moving forward.
His other comments in the radio interview all but ensure UK coach John Calipari will not push for Jeffries to recommit though.
“I hear people say that Cal and (Tony) Barbee came and sat down (before DJ committed) and talked with the Jeffries family about the commitment and about what this would mean, whether we were ready to move forward,” Corey said. “Yes, at the time we were. But they also said some things that they didn’t fulfill. If we going to be loyal to you, we expect loyalty back.”
Corey, who said he quickly unfollowed any Kentucky fans and reporters on Twitter when DJ informed him of his plans, acknowledged the decision was a difficult one for DJ, who he described as being loyal by default. But Corey expressed confidence it was the right one.
“We’re not afraid to blaze trails,” he said. “We not afraid to go up against blue-bloods. This is about DJ. Kentucky will be all right. This is about DJ making the right decision for his future.”