The father of five-star forward D.J. Jeffries said Kentucky was “unprofessional” in the way it handled his son’s decommitment from the school Monday.
“We talked with Kentucky, and it kinda shocked me,” Corey Jeffries told John Martin on ESPN Radio’s Memphis affiliate Tuesday morning. “They were kinda unprofessional. They didn’t handle the news the way I expected them to handle it, being professionals.”
D.J. Jeffries, a five-star forward from Mississippi’s Olive Branch High School, announced Monday that he was decommitting from Kentucky and reopening his recruitment.
Kentucky told ESPN it had no comment on Corey Jeffries’ interview. Colleges and coaches are not allowed to comment on unsigned high school athletes, per NCAA rules.
When reached Tuesday night by ESPN, Corey Jeffries clarified that it wasn’t John Calipari who made the comments.
“It’s just that they had been professional through the whole process,” Corey Jeffries told ESPN. “We weren’t cussed out or anything like that, there were just some discouraging remarks made about his future that were out of line. But that wasn’t directly from Coach Cal.”
D.J. Jeffries, who was coached by Penny Hardaway and played for his AAU program last spring and summer, pledged to Kentucky in March, before Hardaway took over for Tubby Smith at Memphis. He maintained his commitment after Hardaway was named head coach, but he reopened his recruitment Monday, one day after the third and final July recruiting period ended.
Asked by WATN-TV in Memphis if he was leaning toward choosing the Tigers, D.J. Jeffries reflected on his relationship with Hardaway.
“It’s something I think about because Penny and I have been so close for these years, and I’ve built a good relationship with him,” he said. “Even when I committed to Kentucky he would still reach out to me and help me with certain stuff to motivate me to do better. So Memphis would be one of the schools I’d consider.”
Corey Jeffries went on to say that Hardaway’s presence at Memphis was key in his son’s decommitting.
“It was a factor,” he told ESPN Radio. “We have a bond with Penny already. It’s not like we have to get reacquainted with him.”
Corey Jeffries told ESPN his son would set up visits to Memphis and Mississippi State soon. Ole Miss, LSU and Florida have also reached out.
He said he didn’t expect Kentucky to remain under consideration.
“We’re not expecting them to come back, but it is what it is,” Jeffries said.
D.J. Jeffries, a 6-foot-7 small forward out of Olive Branch (Mississippi) High School, is ranked No. 19 in the ESPN 100 for 2019. He averaged 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds for the Bluff City Legends on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring and summer.
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