Nimari Burnett's Recruitment Heats Up, Kentucky Latest To Get Involved

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — Nimari Burnett showcased himself in front of a who’s who of college coaches this past weekend at the Nike EYBL stop here as his recruitment continues to take off.

Kentucky coaches John Calipari and Kenny Payne sat courtside Sunday to watch the 6-foot-3 Burnett from Team Why Not, while Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski and coaches from USC, Arizona, and Arizona State were also on hand.

“[Kentucky] saw me before my third game, which was at 8 o’clock [Sunday] morning,” said Burnett, who boasts a 3.7 GPA at Prolific Prep Academy in Napa, California, and averaged 24.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assists while shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc. “And the assistant coach [Payne] said he really liked me. He never told me he was going to be at this game, so I was excited to see him."

Burnett hasn’t yet received a Kentucky offer but would love to add one to his list

“Oh, of course, that would be big time,” he said. 

The 6-foot-3 Burnett said he would “definitely” like to visit Kentucky at some point.

The Wildcats will be loaded in the backcourt during the 2019-20 season with Ashton Hagans, Tyrese Maxey, and Immanuel Quickley, but are already looking ahead to 2020 and beyond.

“Coach Cal, I heard he’s a coach that gets on you and he just wants the best for you,” Burnett said. “He’s going to push to be the best you can be.”

Burnett, who will team up with incoming Prolific Prep guard Jalen Green next season, also listed USC, Marquette, Arizona, Arizona State, and Stanford among those working the hardest. He has visited USC and Stanford.

“USC, they see me coming in right away and playing, and being a big part of a team that’s going to be successful,” Burnett said. “They could make a Final Four run.”

As for Stanford, he said, “Education plays a huge part of it. They saw me play as a freshman as well and [they think] I can get the team to the next level.”

Arizona State had head coach Bobby Hurley and assistant Rashon Burno on the scene this weekend, while Arizona had assistants Justin Gainey and Danny Peters courtside Sunday.

“[Arizona State], they see me coming in and playing right away,” Burnett said. "They see me being a huge part of the team with a big role and being able to lead the team to a Final Four.”

Arizona has a similar message.

“They see me playing with a good group of guys,” he said.

Incoming Arizona freshmen guards Nico Mannion and Josh Green are both projected first-round picks in 2019, so Burnett could come in and fill their spots.

“That’s what they mentioned to me,” he said. 

As for a decision timeframe, it won’t be until early 2020

“I’m not 100 percent but I see me committing either February or March of next year,” he said.

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

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