NEW YORK — One of the top prospects in the Class of 2019 has some familial ties to Kentuckiana.
Matthew Hurt, a five-star, 6-foot-9 forward from Minnesota, has a great uncle on his dad’s side who lives in Louisville, and his father grew up in Murray. The Rochester-John Marshall High standout said he has been to Louisville a couple times, too.
But, Hurt said, that familiarity with the area won’t have much impact on which school he chooses, even with all three of the area powerhouses recruiting him.
Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, Minnesota, North Carolina and UCLA are all in hot pursuit of Hurt, whose team won its first two games at the Adidas Gauntlet Finale on Friday in Manhattan. Hurt, who averaged 18 points and seven rebounds in those two contests, is focusing on his team’s three weeks of games before trimming that list of schools at the end of the month.
“I haven’t really thought about (recruiting),” Hurt said. “I’m trying to focus on AAU. End of July, I’m going to start wrapping it up and get some visits scheduled.”
Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA all conducted in-home visits with Hurt in April. He’s made trips to each of those schools last fall, plus campus tours of Indiana and Minnesota.
Kentucky coach John Calipari was in attendance for one of Hurt’s games on Friday, sitting courtside.
“They produce really good players after one year, a couple years, four years — however many years it takes,” Hurt said of the Wildcats. “They’re pitching the same as normal: Be here, be great for one year, and then be in great position to try to get drafted.”
Louisville coach Chris Mack also watched Hurt on Friday. He and his Xavier staff recruited Hurt two years ago before Hurt’s recruitment took off.
The Cards’ former staff under Rick Pitino was also in pursuit.
Once Mack got the Louisville job, he began reconnecting with Hurt. Now the Cards are trying to become one of the teams that gets an official visit from Hurt.
“They think they can get me in great position to help me reach my goal to try to make it pro,” Hurt said. “They’re saying they can get me right, get me fit, use me in pick-and-rolls, pick-and-pops, guarding multiple positions.”
Hurt plans to talk with his family and his coaches in the coming weeks about his next choices in recruiting. But he said his focus in July is singular: winning on the Adidas circuit.
“I’m just trying to lead my team to victory every game,” Hurt said.