A late roster change for the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic should prove very intriguing for those who follow Kentucky basketball recruiting.
Shagari Alleyne, a 7-foot-2 center from Rice High School in New York City, has been added to the all-star game, according to a release from festival's press office. He replaces Darryl Watkins, a 6-11 center from Patterson, N.J.
Both big men were reportedly being recruited by UK coach Tubby Smith as the Cats look toward a future without a bona fide big man, especially if Marquis Estill does not return next season.
UK was most notable in its pursuit of Alleyne, but last fall he chose Rutgers after trimming his list to two schools. Despite giving a verbal commitment, Alleyne never signed with Rutgers. The Derby Festival roster now lists Alleyne as "undecided."
It wasn't until after Alleyne picked Rutgers that rumors intensified linking UK and Watkins, who also remains "undecided."
Alleyne has been placed on the Purple Team along with Kentucky signees Sheray Thomas and Bobby Perry for the April 26 game at Freedom Hall in Louisville.
Perry, a 6-7 forward, was recently named North Carolina's Mr. Basketball for the Class 3-A Division. He averaged 24.8 points and 10.9 rebounds this season for Hillside, which finished 21-3 and reached the 3-A East semifinals.
Tickets are $12.50 and $8 at TicketMaster locations, Freedom Hall Ticket Office, or by phone (502) 361-3100 or (800) 487-1212.
The week's hoops activities will kick off with the Derek Anderson Derby Festival Night of the Future Stars at 7 p.m. Friday, April 25 at Bellarmine University's Knights Hall. Admission is free with a ticket to the Basketball Classic. Featured are the Slam Dunk and 2-on-2 contests and the 3-point shootout.
Tentative rosters follow: Purple Team Marcus Williams, 6-2, PG, Los Angeles. College: Connecticut Tac Minor, 5-11, PG, Houston. College: LSU Gary Forbes, 6-5, G, Brooklyn, N.Y. College: Virginia Rodrick Stewart, 6-4, G, Seattle. College: Southern Cal Bobby Perry, 6-7, F, Durham, N,C. College: Kentucky Sammy Mejia, 6-6, F, New Windsor, N.Y. College: Depaul Lodrick Stewart, 6-4, F, Seattle. College: Southern Cal Sheray Thomas, 6-8, F, Montreal, Canada. College: Kentucky Akini Adkins, 6-10, F/C, Tallahassee, Fla. College: Alabama Major Windgate, 6-10, C, Sewanee, Ga. College: Tennessee Shagari Alleyne, 7-2, C, Bronx, N.Y. College: Undecided Coaches: Steve Smith, Oak Hill Academy; Terrance Moorman, Louisville Central White Team Brandon Jenkins, 6-4, PG, Detroit. College: Louisville Michael Nardi, 6-0, PG, Elizabeth, N.J. College: Villanova Michael Bush, 6-4, G, Louisville, Ky. College: Louisville Dameon Mason, 6-5, G, Aurora, Ill. College: Marquette Reyshawn Terry, 6-8, F, Winston-Salem, N.C. College: North Carolina Patrick Ewing Jr., 6-7, F, Atlanta. College: Indiana Mohammed Abukar, 6-9, F, San Diego. College: Georgia Chris Richard, 6-8, F, Lakeland, Fla. College: Florida Brandon Wallace, 6-9, F, Jackson, S.C. College: Southern Cal Grant Billmeier, 6-11, C, Elizabeth, N.J. College: Seton Hall Martin Iti, 6-11, C, Sydney, Australia. College: NC-Charlotte Coaches: Kevin Boyle Elizabeth, NJ St. Patrick; Howard West, R.J. Reynolds High School, Winston-Salem, N.C.