Top 5 Recruiting Stories At City of Palms: Carey Jr., Watford, & Cockburn


The prestigious City of Palms Classic runs Monday, Dec. 17 to Saturday, Dec. 22 at Florida SouthWestern State College – and will have you covered.

The event features eight of's top 30 seniors as well as five top-30 juniors. Since 1982, City of Palms has featured 155 McDonald's All-Americans and 141 NBA Draft picks.

With that in mind, here are the top five recruiting storylines heading into the event.

1. Vernon Carey Jr. is off the board, but Scottie Barnes is still open.

While Carey Jr. has now committed to joining "The Brotherhood" at Duke, his teammate Scottie Barnes is still a recruiting free agent. The 6-foot-7 Barnes, Carey's running buddy at the NSU University School, is the No. 2- ranked junior in the nation, according to He recently visited Oregon (Oct. 12) and Florida State (Nov. 16), but Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, and Miami are among the others involved.

"I think Scott has potential to be a lottery pick," assistant coach Jimmy Carr said. "He is just tremendous. The kid's a walking triple-double. He's just a great, great player. So we'll go through this [recruiting frenzy] again next year, which is a great problem to have."

2. North Carolina and others are in hot pursuit of Cole Anthony

The 6-3 Anthony remains the highest-ranked uncommitted player in the Class of 2019. The Oak Hill Academy (VA) point guard and son of former NBA point guard Greg Anthony is down to a final six of North Carolina, Oregon, Miami, Wake Forest, Georgetown, and Notre Dame.

Anthony visited North Carolina for the UNCW game on Dec. 5, marking the most recent trip he's made to the ACC power. With North Carolina-bound big man Armando Bacot of IMG Academy (FL) also playing at City of Palms, expect Bacot to be in Anthony's ear.

3. Trendon Watford's recruitment is heating up.

At No. 23 on the ESPN rankings, Watford, the 6-9 power forward from Mountain Brook (AL), will be the second-highest-ranked uncommitted player in the class of 2019 at City of Palms behind Anthony.

He recently visited Memphis and LSU and told ZAGSBLOG he will “most likely” visit Indiana sometime in December. Watford also will be in attendance for the Kentucky-Alabama game on Jan. 5. Expect coaches from those schools to be keeping tabs on Watford at City of Palms and going forward.

“I’m looking for a program that is gonna me use me and my versatility the right way at multiple positions,” Watford said. “I’m also looking for a coaching staff that I trust can get me to the next level.”

4. Kofi Cockburn is waiting until the spring.

While big men like James Wiseman and Vern Carey are off the board, the 6-10 Cockburn from Oak Hill Academy plans to wait until the spring to sign.

The New York City native is down to Syracuse, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Illinois, UConn, LSU, Florida State, and St. John’s, and is slated to visit Illinois Dec. 28-30. He has already taken an official to UConn.

5. Arizona, UNC, Villanova, Memphis, and Maryland recruits will be on display.

In addition to the uncommitted players on hand, a slew of high-profile committed players will be at City of Palms. Future Arizona wing Josh Green of IMG Academy is ranked No. 8 by ESPN. His teammate, future North Carolina big man Armando Bacot, is at No. 17. D.J. Jeffries, the Olive Branch (MS) wing who decommitted from Kentucky and chose Memphis, is ranked No. 21. Big man Jeremiah Robinson-Earl of IMG, ranked No. 38, has chosen Villanova, while No. 64 Makhi Mitchell of Woodrow Wilson is headed to Maryland.

Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who runs and contributes to The New York Times. Follow Adam on Twitter.

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