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Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina all have MONSTER basketball recruiting weekends

Credit: Kentucky basketball (Instagram)

While the focus of most right now remains on college football, college basketball is right around the corner. And in the surest sign yet that the season is coming, just about every major program either has had, or will have their "Midnight Madness" event in the coming days.

Arizona, Indiana and Gonzaga all had their big events in the previous few weeks, and Memphis had their "Memphis Madness" Wednesday night at the FedEx Forum.

But this weekend is where the big boys come out, as Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina will all host their own version of "Midnight Madness."

Beyond the excitement of the season, these weekends of course serve as major recruiting weekends for each school, as they try to impress the players currently committed to the program, as well as convince others to join the fold.

Here are all the big events, and who will be visiting for each:

Kentucky: Big Blue Madness (Friday Night, 7:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Visitor List:

* Five-star 2022 guard Skyy Clark (committed to Kentucky)

* Five-star 2023 guard DJ Wagner

* Five-star 2023 forward Mackenzie Mgbako

* Four-star 2023 guard Reed Sheppard

* Three-star 2023 center Cyr Malonga

In the John Calipari era, Big Blue Madness has become the signature preseason event in all of college basketball. The event is broadcast on SEC Network, and has led to some iconic moments in recent years, ranging from Drake throwing up a bunch of air balls, to the unveiling of the "John Wall Dance" all the way back in 2009. John Calipari has also made some iconic state of the union addresses as well.

Still, more than anything, it's about recruiting, and this year, there will again be a loaded visitor list. Five-star guard Skyy Clark has been committed to Kentucky for over a year now, therefore, the focus may be on DJ Wagner, a 6'3 guard who is the No. 1 player in the class of 2023. His father is of course DaJuan Wagner who played at Memphis under John Calipari.

It appears as though Wagner is already on campus, along with Mackenzie Mgbako, a five-star center in the class of 2023. Reed Sheppard is the son of Kentucky legend Jeff Sheppard and a fast-rising member of the class of 2023.

Duke: Countdown to Craziness (Friday Night, 6:00 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra)

Visitor List:

* Five-star 2022 center Dereck Lively II (committed to Duke)

* Five-star 2022 forward Dariq Whitehead (committed to Duke)

* Five-star 2022 forward Mark Mitchell

To his credit, Jon Scheyer has kept the Duke recruiting train rolling this season, as Duke has three of the Top 10 players in the class of 2022 have already committed to the Blue Devils. Two of them will be on campus for the event on Friday night: Five-star center Dereck Lively, the No. 2 player in the high school class and five-star wing Dariq Whitehead, who is committed as well.

Therefore the focus will really fall on five-star forward Mark Mitchell. Mitchell had long been seen as a Duke lean, and potentially the final piece to lock in Duke's spot as the No. 1 class in 2022. However recent buzz has UCLA picking up steam in his recruitment.

This will be a big weekend for Duke to bring back momentum with Mitchell.

North Carolina: Late Night with Hubert (Friday Night, 7:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra)

Visitor List:

* Four-star 2022 guard Seth Trimble (committed to UNC)

* Five-star 2023 guard G.G. Jackson

"Late Night with Roy" was a staple of preseason college hoops for years, and now, with Hubert Davis taking over, the event becomes "Late Night with Hubert."

And while the volume of players coming into Chapel Hill this weekend isn't significant, who those players are, is.

First off, there is four-star Seth Trimble a four-star guard already committed to the Tar Heels for the class of 2022.

Maybe more significantly however is GG Jackson, a five-star guard and the No. 8 high school player in the class of 2023.

Originally from South Carolina, it's shaping up to be a North Carolina vs. South Carolina battle in his recruitment.

Considering the tenuous status of Frank Martin in Columbia, this could be a big night for the Tar Heels.

Memphis Madness (Wednesday)

* Four-star 2022 guard Zion Cruz

* Four-star 2022 guard Ty Rogers

* Four-star 2022 guard Chandler Jackson

* Three-star 2022 forward Noah Batchelor (committed to Memphis)

* Five-star 2023 guard DJ Wagner

* Four-star 2023 forward Cade Phillips

* Four-star 2023 forward Jalen Hooks

* Three-star 2023 guard Gabe Sisk

* Three-star 2023 center Cyr Malonga

Given Memphis' emergence on the recruiting scene in recent years, it's probably worth at least noting them on this list here. The Tigers had their event this past Wednesday, and as you can tell, certainly brought out all the bells and whistles.

The big name on this list is obvious DJ Wagner, the five-star son of DaJuan Wagner. While the Wagner family's ties to John Calipari make Kentucky an obvious favorite, the elder Wagner has said that he plans to be hands off in his son's recruitment. Could the school where DaJuan Wagner served as a one-and-done player in 2002-2023 be the same for his son, 21 years later?

In terms of the rest of the group, the headliner was probably four star guard Zion Cruz, a fast-rising member of the class of 2022, who has long been considered an Auburn lean.

For more college hoops coverage, make sure to check out our 30 teams in 30 days previews, as Jacob Polacheck has given the rundown on:


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