Kentucky Adds Three for 2015

Nov. 14, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky men’s basketball team has added three of the top players from the Class of 2015, as Isaiah Briscoe, Skal Labissiere and Charles Matthews have signed with Kentucky, head coach John Calipari announced Friday.

“All three of these players had dreams to play at Kentucky,” Calipari said. “Those dreams are now a reality. We didn’t have to beg any of them. They wanted to be here. They are all different, yet collectively they will complement each other nicely. It’s a great start to what could be a super class again.”

Briscoe, a 6-foot-3 guard from Newark, N.J., won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2014 FIBA Americans U18 Championships. He averaged 22.1 points, 4.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game during his junior season at Roselle Catholic High School.

“Isaiah is a multidimensional guard who can play both the one and the two,” Calipari said. “He’s a big, strong guard with great ball skills that are beyond the norm. He can score the ball at will, but he’s an unselfish player who makes plays for his teammates. That’s why guys love playing with him and why he’s such a great teammate. An importance piece on USA Basketball’s U18 gold medal team, it’s clear he’s one of the best guards in the country.”

Briscoe is ranked the No. 9 overall player by Rivals and, the No. 13 overall pick by ESPN and the No. 15 overall player in the class by Scout.

“Everything about Kentucky made me want to attend the school,” Briscoe said Thursday night on ESPNU. “With my experience with USA Basketball, I feel like I can handle playing with great players. Right now Coach Calipari has a machine going on with getting point guards to the NBA like John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and Derrick Rose. I can see myself being in that mold and being the next point guard to come out of Kentucky.”

Labissiere is a 6-11 forward from Haiti. A consensus five-star recruit who now calls Memphis, Tenn., home, he is the No. 1 overall center in the 2015 class by both Rivals and Scout and the No. 2 center by 247Sports.

“Skal is in the same mold of Marcus Camby and Anthony Davis because he went from 6-2 to 6-11 and he has guard skills,” Calipari said. “He’s a talented two-way player from Haiti with long arms that have helped him both offensively and defensively. What really drew us to Skal is he’s a high-character kid with a 3.5 grade-point average who wants to get better. Going forward, we’ve got to get Skal’s post game to match his perimeter game.”

Labissiere is rated as the No. overall 3 player by Scout, No. 4 overall by Rivals, No. 7 by 247Sports and the No. 11 overall player by ESPN.

“Since my freshman year, I always wanted to go there,” Labissiere said Thursday on ESPNU. “Watching Coach Cal on TV, watching his teams with Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, that’s why I worked so hard with my academics and on the court, because I wanted to have a chance to play there. My freshman year, I was really hoping Coach Cal was going to offer. Sophomore year, first game of the year, he came and watched me, offered me and that’s where it started. I’ve always wanted to go there.”

Matthews, a 6-5 guard, hails from Chicago. He is tabbed as the No. 12 shooting guard in the 2015 class by ESPN, 15th by 247Sports and the 20th-rated shooter by Scout.

“I first fell in love with Charles when I saw him playing with Tyler Ulis,” Calipari said. “What stuck out to me about him is he’s a great finisher who can get to the basket. Not only can Charles create shots for himself, he can create them for his teammates as well. He’s a 6-5 wing player with a lot of athleticism and is already an excellent defender. He’s a quality kid, a great student and he’s going to end up being a great player.”

Matthews captured most valuable player accolades after leading his team to the 3-on-3 USA Basketball U18 championship.

“I just felt comfortable with the coaching staff,” Matthews said when he verbally committed in February. “I just thought I had a chance to get better and win and hopefully make it to the NBA afterwards."

With the addition of Briscoe, Labissiere and Matthews, UK has signed 30 top-50 recruits during Calipari’s six seasons at Kentucky. Of the 21 top-25 players (as rated by Kentucky has signed during Calipari’s first five seasons, 15 have been selected in the NBA Draft.