COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Tyrese Maxey has no plans to badger, interrogate or even annoy his friends this weekend at the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Minicamp, but where he once soft-pedaled to his peers the idea of joining him at Kentucky next year, now he feels pressure to reel them in.
“It’s getting to that time,” said Maxey, a point guard at South Garland (Texas) High School who is ranked No. 6 overall in USA TODAY Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019. “The season is almost here, and it’ll be over before you know it. I think the uncommitted guys are starting to see that they don’t have all the time in the world, and I want to use this weekend to my advantage.”
He’ll need every edge he can muster if he’s going to lure fellow Chosen 25 stars like University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) forward Vernon Carey Jr., ranked No. 2 overall, La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.) forward Isaiah Stewart, ranked No. 3 overall, or Memphis (Tenn.) East High School center James Wiseman, ranked No. 4 overall.
“Usually, I’d just joke with them and say something about Kentucky, but this weekend I’ll be more serious too,” Maxey said. “It’s getting down to the wire now, so I have to show them why Kentucky is the best place for them.”
Naturally, at Kentucky, the cupboard is anything but bare, with fellow Chosen 25 prospect from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic wing Khalil Whitney, ranked No. 10 overall, and Pendleton County (Falmouth, Ky.) wing Dontaie Allen already onboard for 2019.
“We’ve got some really good pieces,” Maxey said. “Just want a couple more.”
Wiseman is Maxey’s No. 1 target. Though he knows landing the 6-foot-11 star won’t be easy, he’s “confident” that he can get it done.
“It’s easier when you’re trying to get the guys to come join you at Kentucky,” Maxey said. “It really sells itself because of the style of play, coach Calipari and the fans. I’m doing my part this weekend and I feel good about our chances.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY