I just returned to my hotel after watching the practices for this weekend's Nike Hoop Summit. I made a point to find DeMarcus Cousins and congratulate him on his recent commitment to Kentucky. He was excited to meet someone who had gone to school there.
After talking about all the positive experiences he should expect while at UK, I asked him flat out if he was going to bring some of his Team USA teammates with him to Lexington. And without blinking an eye, he said he thinks both Xavier Henry and John Wall will eventually sign with Kentucky. Neither player had told him that directly, but based on their most recent conversations, Cousins' gut feeling told him that all three would end up playing for the Cats.
A few moments later, I spoke to Henry. He told me that since he had been released from his letter-on-intent by Memphis, he now had three schools on his final list: Memphis, Kansas and Kentucky. He wouldn't say which way he was leaning, but he did say he was a huge fan of John Calipari's dribble-drive offense. In fact, he said it was Cal's system that led him to sign with Memphis in the first place, in addition to the opportunity to play with his brother CJ.
And speaking of, Henry told me that he plans to visit UK's campus shortly after he plays in the Jordan Brand Classic in New York, and he won't be alone. Both Xavier and CJ will tour the campus and the facilities together. Thus, reinforcing the idea I mentioned earlier this week. Xavier and CJ Henry will more than likely be a package deal.
By the way, PJ Carlesimo told me today that CJ is not just a throw in. The kid can play!
Finally, I got the chance to talk to John Wall. When I first asked him to name the schools on his list, he ran off about half of all the Division 1 programs. Jordan Brand Classic organizers asked Wall to have his list narrowed down to just a handful of teams by next week, but I didn't feel like waiting that long.
I got right to the point and asked him with Calipari going to Kentucky if that meant UK was a strong candidate, and he said "Definitely."
Wall went on to tell me that the reason he would be interested in playing for Calipari is because of his ability to put players on the fast track to the NBA. He mentioned Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans by name, both of whom spent only one season at Memphis before heading to the draft.
I want to reiterate that neither Henry or Wall confirmed to me that they would end up at Kentucky, but if Las Vegas was to set on a line on the chances, UK would be a good bet. I was left with the impression that playing for John Calipari was more important than the school they represent, which of course, is great news for Big Blue Nation.
Be sure and catch the game Saturday night on FSN.