LEXINGTON, Ky. – The first domino of what expects to be another stellar Kentucky men’s basketball recruiting class fell Wednesday with the official commitment of highly coveted guard Tyrese Maxey.
Maxey, a combo guard out of South Garland High School in Garland, Texas, became the first player in the class of 2019 to sign with the Wildcats when he signed a national letter of intent Wednesday at his high school on the first day of the fall signing period.
A consensus five-star prospect, Maxey will be eligible to play in the 2019-20 season.
“Tyrese has unbelievable competitive spirit,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “I love Tyrese’s basketball savvy. He has an elite ability to score the ball, yet he creates shots for his teammates, he defends and he rebounds. In all the time I’ve watched him play, rarely does he make the wrong play. He may not make every shot, but he almost always make the right play. You can tell that he’s a coach’s son. Physically he is going to be able compete with the best in the country.”
Maxey, rated the consensus No. 2 overall point guard in the 2019 class, is a gifted scorer. He averaged 22.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game last season while leading South Garland High School to the state semifinals. He was one of the leading scorers on the Nike summer circuit this past season.
At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Maxey can play both guard positions because of his ability to put the ball in the basket, but he projects as a lead guard at the next level. In addition to his ability to get to the rim, Maxey is a proficient shooter from all over the floor.
Maxey is ranked as high as No. 7 overall by ESPN and No. 9 by Rivals. 247 Sports tabs him as the 10th-best overall player in his class.
“Growing up watching Coach Cal-led teams, all the way back to Memphis, he always lets his guards play,” Maxey said. “He has a track record of developing guards and helping them reach their potential. I want to be coached and I know Coach Cal will push me and hold me accountable. I’m happy to be a part of this great tradition.”
Maxey’s prep credentials are long and impressive. Perhaps his crowning achievement to this point was leading USA Basketball to a gold medal at the 2018 FIBA Americas Championship. With Maxey’s contributions, Team USA posted a 6-0 record in St. Catharines, Canada. Maxey averaged 8.8 points and 2.0 rebounds during the run. He missed the quarterfinal and semifinal games because of a right ankle sprain but showed his toughness and grit by playing through the injury in the championship game.
Maxey was named to the 2018 USA Today All-Texas First Team, the 2018 Texas Association of Basketball Coaches All-State First Team and was crowned the 2018 Dallas Morning News Sports Day Player of the Year. He’s also a two-time TABC All-Region pick and made the 2018 University Interscholastic League State All-Tournament Team.
With Maxey’s addition, Kentucky has signed 50 top-50 recruits, 43 top-25 players and 23 top-10 players (according to Rivals) in Calipari’s 11 recruiting classes at Kentucky.
In every season in the John Calipari era, the Wildcats have signed a top-three recruiting class according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, which tallies major recruiting rankings and plugs them into a formula to calculate a consensus ranking.
The fall signing period began Wednesday and lasts through Nov. 21.