Kentucky: Top 20 Student-Athletes to Watch in 2015-16


While the Bluegrass State is the home state of Muhammad Ali, basketball remains king around these parts thanks to the hardwood successes of the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals. Unsurprisingly, when it came to determining the top returning athletes to watch, both schools had their share of hoopsters near the top of our rankings.

We ran the Value Add Sports calculations on all returning athletes in the state and emailed sports writers and other experts in the state to help rank the 20 state players to watch on a list we will update here.

Louisville should expect to make some noise on the diamond as well, with returning names like Corey Ray, ACC Freshman of the Year Brendan McKay, and Zack Burdi—each of whom joined Team USA this summer—set to lead the Cardinals as they attempt to build on this past season, where they advanced to the Elite Eight and climbed as high as No. 3 in the polls.

Towels, fresh off a sophomore campaign where he accounted for more than 3,000 total yards and 20 total scores, looks to prove that the Wildcats are in good hands under center and that his 2014 season was merely a sign of things to come. He’ll have to hold off Drew Barker, but according to an earlier piece by Mark Story of the Lexington Herald-Leader (which you can view here) he’s said to have a leg up in the race thus far.

An SEC All-Freshman team selection last season and the Wildcats’ leading assist man, Tyler Ulis expects to take a leap forward for John Calipari and a consistently loaded Wildcats’ hoops team.

  1. Tyler Ulis, Kentucky, Basketball, PG
  2. Patrick Towles, Kentucky, Football, QB
  3. Damion Lee, Louisville, Basketball, SF
  4. Skal Labissiere, Kentucky, Basketball, C
  5. Spencer Hrycay, Kentucky, Track/Field, 3,000m Steeplechase
  6. James Burgess, Louisville, Football, LB
  7. Jeffrey Moss, Murray St., Basketball, SF
  8. Taylor Braun, Kentucky, Soccer, Goalkeeper
  9. Antoine Keys, Louisville, Track/Field, 400m Dash
  10. JaVon Shelby, Kentucky, Baseball, 2B
  11. Brendan McKay, Louisville, Baseball, SP
  12. Corey Ray, Louisville, Baseball, OF
  13. Zack Burdi, Louisville, Baseball, RP
  14. Julie Mathisen, Eastern Kentucky, Track/Field, 800m Run
  15. Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky, Football, WR
  16. Jalen Billups, Northern Kentucky, Basketball, C
  17. Josh Rogers, Louisville, Baseball, SP
  18. Ambrose Maritim, Eastern Kentucky, Track/Field, 5,000m Run
  19. Fredrick Edmond, Western Kentucky, Basketball, SG
  20. Evan White, Kentucky, Baseball, 1B

Others Receiving Votes:

Quentin Goodin, Taylor County (Campbellsville, Ky.), Basketball, G

Mackay Wilson, Kentucky, Track/Field, 3,000m Steeplechase

Lincoln Henzman, Louisville, Baseball, RP

Nils Westrich, Louisville, Track/Field, Hammer Throw

Eli Wright, Apollo (Owensboro, Ky.), Basketball, G

Rachel Serafin, Louisville, Track/Field, Hammer Throw

Timmy Knipp, Eastern Kentucky, Basketball, SF