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Cam Johnson to visit UCLA

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Throw another name into the mix for Cam Johnson, the Pitt transfer Kentucky is pursuing for three-point help next season.

Johnson will visit UCLA tomorrow, per Jon Rothstein, which will be his fourth visit since hitting the market this spring. Kentucky got the first visit about two weeks ago and then Johnson reportedly looked at Arizona and Oregon over the weekend.

John Calipari was the presumed leader for Johnson early in the recruitment, but the addition of Kevin Knox may shake things up a bit. If Kentucky gets Hamidou Diallo back from his water-testing, it’s hard to imagine Johnson joining the crowd in Lexington.

At this point we just need to root for one of the two on next year’s roster, plus that Mohamed Bamba fella.


More from Knox Sr. on Mohamed Bamba, UK Decision

@kevin_knox23

@kevin_knox23

BBN is still pinching itself after Kevin Knox announced he was committing to Kentucky. Honestly, was there any one out there who thought Knox was going to be a Wildcat?

Following his son’s commitment, Kevin Knox Sr. has been making his way around the media, answering questions about the announcement. The thing that he enjoyed the most was the unexpected reactions, especially from Kentucky. In particular, the reaction he got from UK assistant Kenny Payne, Knox’s lead recruiter.

“He texted and was like, ‘I can’t talk right now’ — and he put a little smiley face with a tear — ‘I’m so emotional, I’m crying.’ Then he was able to call like 10 minutes later.”

Knox Sr. also said that it was “unbelievable”, speaking of Coach Calipari’s celebratory ride on a hoverboard. He made a joke that Calipari’s wife was there to prevent a fall.

So what was Calipari’s pitch to Kevin and the Knox family?

“Coach Cal says, ‘Hey, look, I’ve developed a system here. I’ve developed an organization that is going to make your son better and reach his goals, reach his dreams, and make him the best possible player he can be.’ OK, well what’s that, Coach Cal? ‘Well, I’ve got an offensive system that suits him, I’ve got a defensive system that suits him, we play very fast and I have a coaching staff that teaches at a high level those three things. And not to mention myself as a foundation, who is going to help your son navigate the teenage years into manhood.’ As a dad, you want to pass the baton to a person you trust. My parents passed the baton to Bobby Bowden, who is near and dear to my heart. We felt very comfortable that Coach Cal was the Bobby Bowden in this situation.”

More importantly, Knox Sr. offered more on his son’s friendship with Mohamed Bamba:

“Kevin and Bamba definitely have similar personalities. It’s safe to say no one really knew where Kevin was going, and you guy shave no idea basically where Bamba is going,” he said. “Kevin and Bamba talk 5 of 7 days a week. So who knows? I just know Bamba really likes Kevin; Kevin likes Bamba. I think it would be really great for them to play together. So we just gotta see how that conversation goes over the next couple of weeks.”

Read more from Kevin Knox Sr. by following this link to SEC Country.


Diallo will NOT Play 5-on-5 at NBA Draft Combine

Chet White | UK Athletics

Chet White | UK Athletics

Despite previous reports, it now appears that Hamidou Diallo won’t be scrimmaging at the NBA Combine.

According to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com, Diallo will not participate in any 5-on-5 competition during the combine. He’ll still participate in individual team workouts, as he continues to test the NBA waters.

With the shocking commitment from Kevin Knox yesterday, one has to wonder what impact, if any, that has on Diallo’s upcoming decision. Choosing to sit out of 5-on-5 workouts may be to keep his stock where it’s at. Many mock drafts have him as a mid-to-late first round pick, based on his age, size, and athleticism alone. There’s a possibility to slip out of the first round if teams find him not ready to compete at the pro level.

Knox will certainly have his presence felt at UK as small forward. He would likely reduce Diallo’s role as a shooting guard, given Knox’s ability around the perimeter. Diallo and Knox together would be lethal to opponents, but the question now becomes if Diallo wants to share the spotlight.

Don’t read too much into this report just yet. Diallo still has two weeks left before a decision must be made.


Kevin Knox’s Sunday Morning Wakeup

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Talk about a big day in Bluegrass sports. Even the most hungover among you probably woke up with a smile on your face this morning. Let’s get right into it.

Kevin Knox Commits to Kentucky

As promised, 5-star wing Kevin Knox took to Twitter last night to announce his college decision, and contrary to pretty much everybody’s expectations, Knox has decided to become a Wildcat.

This year’s mass exodus of Cats grows less and less painful by the day. You can click here for Knox’s comments on his commitment and some insight from Knox’s dad.

Players and Pundits React to Knox’s Decision

And yes, he did say “MO, YOU NEXT!”

Speaking of future Cats…

The BallisLife All-American Game Box Score Reads like an NBA All-Star Game

Defense wins championships, but not all-star games. Not much to see here from Quade Green with 3 assists and 3 turnovers, but PJ Washington notched 16 points, and Mo Bamba added 11 points and 6 boards. Alabama signee Collin Sexton took home MVP honors.

Moving on from basketball…

Always Dreaming wins 143rd Kentucky Derby

Sometimes, it pays to pick the favorite. At 9/2 odds, the Todd Pletcher trained horse took the Garland of Roses with a time of 2:03.59. It was also the second Derby win for jockey John Valezquez, who won riding Animal Kingdom in 2011.

UK Baseball gets the W back from Georgia

The Bat Cats took down the Bulldogs 7-4 behind two career nights: 10 strikeouts by pitcher Zach Logue and 4 RBIs from Troy Squires. The series rubber match goes down at 1 PM today.

 

After the hectic day yesterday, I’m looking forward to a nice nap this afternoon. Enjoy a restful Sunday, BBN.

@JayWinkKSR


@kevin_knox23

Kevin Knox Lets the World Know Why He Chose UK

@kevin_knox23

@kevin_knox23

One of the more shocking commits in recent memory, Kevin Knox has decided to bring his skills to Lexington this fall. Knox took to USA Today’s online blog to elaborate on his decision:

There were a lot of reasons why I chose Kentucky; first the coaching staff is phenomenal! They know how to get players to the league and get them outside of their comfort zone and push players to the limit. Then I’ll be playing with a lot of great players every day in practice getting better against the best competition and, lastly, they know how to win.

The program knows how to win and I’ll have a lot of players around me that know how to win and want to learn how to win even more.

Knox’s dad, Kevin Knox Sr., gave even more insight on his son’s recruitment to MADE Hoops:

“We really felt that Kentucky was the best collegiate and holistic experience for him as far as his development as a basketball player,” said Knox. “We really feel that Coach John Calipari, his assistant Kenny Payne and the rest of his staff are going to really help him become a man and help him prepare for his goal, which is to be a top five NBA draft pick in the near future.”

Not only that, Knox Sr. gave up some details on his son’s friendship with none other than Mohamed Bamba:

“Mohamed Bamba and my son Kevin have become close friends,” he told MADEHoops. “They talk every other day through social media or on the phone. I would imagine just through their own conversation and their relationship they will talk about Kevin’s decision. Bamba may ask why he decided on Kentucky and they’ll have that talk.”

Here’s the link to the piece from MADE Hoops.

Even Coach Cal himself shared in the excitement:

Man, this one feels good. But after reading about the ties between Knox and Bamba, it’s hard not to look ahead to the last piece of the puzzle.

@JayWinkKSR


Kevin Knox picks KENTUCKY

Andy Jones | Tampa Tribune

Andy Jones | Tampa Tribune

Five-star 6’8 small forward Kevin Knox has committed to Kentucky! The Tampa (Fla.) Catholic product is ranked second in his position, right between Michael Porter Jr., who is committed to Missouri, and Jarred Vanderbilt who is coming to Kentucky. Knox is ranked 10th nationally overall.

Heading into tonight’s announcement, Knox was a heavy favorite towards Duke in the 247 sports Crystal Ball profile.

This commitment puts Kentucky with three small forwards on their roster with Knox, Vanderbilt, Wenyen Gabriel.

Knox also had offers from Duke, UNC, Florida State and Missouri.

This is great news for the Cats and will give them a little depth if Mo Bamba decides to go to Duke or Texas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to3mnLXndNQ


Watch future Cats in the BallisLife All-American Game tonight

bamba-quade

Bamba and Green

If you’re over all the Derby coverage, turn the TV off and get on Facebook at 6:50 tonight to watch two Kentucky signees and a recruit play in the BallisLife All-American Game in Long Beach, California.

PJ Washington and Quade Green, the two signees, along with Mo Bamba, a top priority for the Cats will play for Team Elite.

#BILAAG BBN?🤔🔵⚪️ @q_boogi @therealmobamba_

A post shared by PJ Washington (@pj_washington) on

The game will be preceded by a three-point and dunk contest at 7 p.m. EST where the fans will get to vote for the winners of the dunk contest in the final round. The game will played after that at around 8:15 p.m. EST where the MVP will also be decided by a fan vote.

This will be the last time that Bamba travels and plans to take a rest to decide where he wants to go to school, and we already know that Washington and Green will be recruiting the heck out of him.

Watch on the link below and be sure to vote for the future Cats!


Breaking down tomorrow’s Kevin Knox college decision

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Every year there seems to be a few late prospects keeping Kentucky fans on the edge of their seats awaiting their college decisions.

Last year, Marques Bolden went down to the wire and chose Duke. The year before, Jaylen Brown announced for California on Derby, and Jamal Murray, a “lock” for Oregon at the time, opted for the Kentucky Wildcats in June.

This year, UK has three targets left to decide late in the recruiting season: Mohamed Bamba, Cameron Johnson, and Kevin Knox.

As we heard yesterday, five-star forward Kevin Knox will announce his decision on Saturday night on Twitter, with a final list of Duke, UNC, Missouri, Florida State, and Kentucky.

Duke has been the rumored favorite for quite some time, with both UNC and Missouri receiving buzz in the past few weeks, as well. Florida State has received little to no buzz, as most see the Seminoles on the list only because Knox’s parents attended school there.

As for Kentucky? Things have been absolutely silent for a while now.

Past decisions

In the past several years, nearly all recruitments of top UK targets had some last-minute buzz to throw the scent off and keep fans guessing.

Marques Bolden began following several UK players and students leading up to his announcement but opted for Duke.

Most experts had Julius Randle pegged for Kansas, and Kentucky was seemingly out of the running for his services. He apparently had known he was going to Kentucky for three weeks.

As stated earlier, most UK fans had given up in Jamal Murray’s recruitment, with Oregon considered the heavy favorite up to his announcement on national television. He then unveiled a blue button down and Kentucky gear under a large Canadian flag and became a Wildcat.

Last year, Bam Adebayo was considered a lock for months to stay home and play for Mark Gottfried at NC State. The day before his announcement, rumors leaked that UK may have made a late push, and there was a chance he would end up at Kentucky. The next day, he was a Wildcat.

Many expected Trey Lyles to commit to Kentucky, but news of Lyles being swayed by Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals rolled out the morning of Lyles’ announcement, causing many analysts to switch their predictions. Lyles committed to UK.

With countless examples of announcement surprises in recent memory, who knows what to expect tomorrow night when Knox announces.

Let’s break down the commitment…

Why Knox will commit to Kentucky:

Calipari has been infatuated with Knox for a long time, that is well known. As we know, when Coach Cal desperately wants a guy, it’d be crazy to bet against the best recruiter in America.

Knox sees himself as a primary guard that will be a key shooter/heavy scoring threat on whatever team he chooses. The idea of replacing Justin Jackson at UNC is intriguing, but Knox has repeated over and over again that Calipari is recruiting him as a Malik Monk-type player. With Monk making headlines and highlights of his ridiculous scoring games on repeat all year long, the opportunity to come in and become UK’s primary scorer has to be intriguing.

Knox has always given UK and Calipari glowing praises, and he has a great relationship with the recruits signed to play at Kentucky. With Hamidou Diallo potentially becoming UK’s first none-and-done, Knox can fill the void he potentially leaves, giving fans a sigh of relief for next season.

If Mohamed Bamba follows suit, it’d be hard to imagine any recruiting class ever coming close to this one.

Why Knox commits elsewhere:

The long-time favorite wins out, and Duke gets the top remaining scorer in America. Jabari Parker, Justice Winslow, Jayson Tatum, etc., Knox becomes the next star small forward scorer at Duke.

With Luke Kennard and Tatum out, Knox can come in and fill that immediate scoring need for the Blue Devils en route to another early exit in the NCAA Tournament.

It has been rumored the Knox family favors Duke, and as we saw in the past, family wins out more often than not. Who knows, maybe Mr. and Mrs. Knox are best buds with Marques Bolden’s mom.

If not for Duke or UK, it seems UNC is the most likely destination. Roy Williams has been pitching the idea of replacing Justin Jackson, and if Tony Bradley returns to school, Knox could be the missing piece to another title run.

Teaming up with Michael Porter Jr. at Missouri would be “interesting,” but rumors have spread over the last week or so that the Tigers are out of the running. Should Knox shock the world and team up with the nation’s top point guard, the SEC will become that much stronger next season.

Final prediction:

My gut still tells me Knox chooses Duke, but I’m certainly more confident in Kentucky now than I have been in a while.

If UK is out of the running for a recruit, rumors usually start to leak leading up to the announcement that the Wildcats are out.

With zero buzz surrounding Kentucky either way… Makes you wonder.

@JackPilgrimKSR


UPDATE x2: Kevin Knox will tweet his decision on Saturday

knox-home2

Yesterday, word leaked that five-star small forward Kevin Knox will announce his decision on Saturday, and now, Scout.com’s Evan Daniels has confirmed with Knox’s father that it will probably go down Saturday evening. So, as we predicted, likely during or after the Derby. Awesome!

Knox is down to Duke, Florida State, Kentucky, Missouri, and North Carolina, and the only hint his dad would give out was this: “It’s going to be interesting.”

Interesting as in picking Kentucky even though no one expects him to or interesting as in staying home and playing for Florida State? Or, not interesting at all and picking Duke?

Hmm.

[Scout.com]

UPDATE: Knox just tweeted that he will make his announcement via Twitter:

Get ready to refresh Twitter all Saturday.


We have a Mohamed Bamba recruiting update!

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With Kevin Knox reportedly announcing his decision tomorrow, all eyes will turn to Pitt grad transfer Cam Johnson and five-star big man Mohamed Bamba, Kentucky’s final targets in the 2017 class. I gave you an update on Johnson in the wakeup post, and now, thanks to our friend Aaron Torres, we have an update on Bamba. Sort of. Torres caught up with the 7-footer from Harlem at practices for the Ball is Life All-American Game, which will take place tomorrow afternoon in Long Beach, California. Unfortunately, Bamba told Torres that he’s still not close to making his decision.

Meanwhile, Torres said most of the people he’s talked to at the practices says Kevin Knox is headed to Florida State, which is pretty surprising considering Duke seems to be the heavy favorite.

Earlier this week, Matt told you that he’s hearing that Bamba’s recruitment is a toss-up between Kentucky and Texas. PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt (UPDATE: Vanderbilt not listed on the current roster, likely due to his mysterious injury), and Bamba’s EYBL teammate Quade Green are also participating in tomorrow’s all-star game, making this their final chance to put in a good word for Kentucky with Bamba. Hopefully he’ll keep their pitch in mind as he goes home to make his big decision.

 


Friday’s Top 10: Happy Oaks Day!

Friday’s Top 10: Happy Oaks Day!

Happy Friday, everyone, or, rather, Happy Oaks Day. The Kentucky Oaks, aka the locals’ day to play (or is that now Thurby?), is upon us, and a few minutes after 6:12 p.m. ET, we’ll find out which filly gets the lilies. Unfortunately, the forecast looks awful, with highs barely reaching the 50’s and rain all day long, so take a poncho to protect all that pink you’re wearing. Here’s the hourly forecast for Louisville from weather.com:

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 7.12.57 AM

So, wear rain boots. Or, stay inside, read KSR, and watch the Oaks on NBC Sports Network. Your choice. Let’s roll through today’s top 10, shall we?

1. Here’s the Oaks field

Paradise Woods is currently the favorite at 5-2, followed by Miss Sky Warrior at 9-2:

# HORSE ODDS
1 Ever So Clever 20-1
2 Lockdown 20-1
3 Mopotism 20-1
4 Paradise Woods 5-2
5 Jordan’s Henny 30-1
6 Vexatious 20-1
7 Farrell 5-1
8 Sailor’s Valentine 30-1
9 Wicked Lick 30-1
10 Miss Sky Warrior 9-2
11 Tequilita 20-1
12 Daddys Lil Darling 20-1
13 Abel Tasman 5-1
14 Salty 6-1
15 Summer Luck 30-1

2. Keep an eye out for Matt’s purple suit

If you missed “Hey Kentucky!” last night, Derby suit expert Chip Cosby took Matt shopping for a suit to wear to the Oaks, and they came up with this purple number. When you think about it, this suit is a pretty wise investment because by day, Matt can attend the Oaks and by night, he can play the Joker in his community theater’s production of Batman.

Here’s the whole clip from last night:

Switching gears to basketball…

3. Kevin Knox is (probably) announcing tomorrow

It looks like there may finally be an end in sight for Kevin Knox’s recruitment. According to Jake Perper of Prep Sports Scouting, Knox will announce his final decision on Saturday. No word on the time yet, but knowing how this always happens, it’ll probably come out right as the Derby begins. Knox is down to Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Kentucky and Missouri, with Duke continuing to surge as the heavy favorite. Thankfully (hopefully), we’ll know for certain tomorrow.

4. Cam Johnson lists Kentucky as his early favorite

One person who will probably be very interested in Knox’s decision is Cam Johnson, the Pitt grad transfer that visited Kentucky last week. Yesterday, Johnson told Evan Daniels that Kentucky is his early favorite, although that’s mostly because he hasn’t taken many visits yet. This weekend, he visits Arizona, and next week, he’ll go to UCLA and Oregon. TCU and Ohio State are also in the mix. Here’s what he said about Calipari’s pitch:

“His pitch to me was pretty much the fact that the team is young and they need some experience and some age,” Johnson said. “They have a need for a player that can shoot like myself, along with the fact that it’s Kentucky. There are pro scouts at every practice. They compete every day. It’s just a competitive environment to get better in.”

Johnson also said he loved UK’s campus and the few remaining players that will be on next year’s squad. If Knox heads elsewhere (and it’s looking like he will), hopefully Johnson will decide to take advantage of the rare opportunity to be an immediate impact player on a perennial title contender.

5. Vince Marrow and Darin Hinshaw visited Jarren Williams yesterday

The talented dual threat quarterback decommitted from Kentucky last week, but this week, there have been rumblings he may come back on board. Last night, Vince Marrow and Darin Hinshaw traveled to Lawrenceville, Georgia last night to make Kentucky’s case, only hours after Williams picked up an offer from his home state Georgia Bulldogs. No word yet on how that visit went, but interpret this tweet from Williams how you’d like:

6. The baseball team starts its series with Georgia

The Bat Cats got a bit of bad news yesterday when Nick Mingione announced that reliever Zach Pop will miss at least two weeks with a forearm injury, but they’re poised to continue their impressive rise this weekend with a three-game series against the struggling Georgia Bulldogs. Today’s game will start at 2 p.m. (in anticipation of the bad weather tonight), tomorrow’s at 6:30 p.m., and Sunday’s finale begins at 1 p.m. All games will be broadcast on SEC Network+ (streaming), or you can listen on 630 WLAP.

If you go out to the ballpark, you’ll see this new wrap on “Big Blue Wall” in right field:

The wall now features the names of lettermen, coaches and season ticket holders. Neat.

7. You’ve gotta love Dickie V’s response to Lonzo Ball’s new shoe

If you somehow missed it on social media, Lonzo Ball and his dad revealed their new shoe, the ZO2, which retails for a ridiculous $495/pair. By now, everyone’s had a chance to weigh in on the shoe, a blatant ripoff of Kobes and Adidas Boosts, but Dick Vitale may have had the best response:

Get ’em, Dickie V!

8. John Wall went nuts last night

Wall’s stats may not seem that flashy, but he was absolutely incredible last night, scoring 24 points and dishing 8 assists to lead the Wizards to a crucial 116-89 win over the Celtics in Game 3:

Wall was great, but did you see Kelly Oubre???

As you might expect, he got kicked out for that.

9. Congrats to everyone graduating from UK today

Not only is today Oaks and Cinco de Mayo, it’s day one of graduation at UK (the ceremonies continue through Sunday). Congrats to everyone who’s making the walk. Enjoy today and relish in the fact that most of you accomplished something in four years that took Nick Roush seven. (Or was it eight? I lost track.)

If you know someone who’s graduating but can’t make it to Rupp (or if you’re just really bored), you can watch the ceremony on the live stream below:

10. The winner of the KSR Movie Bracket will be crowned

The show will be live from the Oaks today, where the gang will decide the winner of the KSR Movie Bracket, which is down to Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump. Who ya got??

Finally, what do you do when the betting machines at Churchill Downs break down? Dance it out, of course:

What happens when the betting system goes down at Churchill!

A post shared by Margaret Romine (@mrsromine12) on

Can’t top that on a Friday morning.


Cameron Johnson Discusses his Visit to Kentucky

As Kevin Knox’s decision draws near, the Wildcats’ chances shrink.  Calipari’s next and final perimeter option is graduate transfer Cameron Johnson.  After visiting campus last week, Johnson shared Calipari’s pitch to him with Evan Daniels.

“His pitch to me was pretty much the fact that the team is young and they need some experience and some age,” Johnson said. “They have a need for a player that can shoot like myself, along with the fact that it’s Kentucky. There are pro scouts at every practice. They compete every day. It’s just a competitive environment to get better in.”

Johnson’s first visit of the summer appears to have gone well.  Calipari’s ability to get players to the next level stood out to Johnson, but it has some unintended consequences.

“The thing about Kentucky is, I was able to visit and that was great and I loved the campus and I loved being with the guys that they have now,” he added. “Only a couple of those guys will be around next year, so I didn’t really get to meet with many of the guys that I’d be playing with next year. So I’m looking forward to that in my next three visits, being around their players and the staff and seeing their campuses and seeing how all of that feels.”

Despite that negative aspect of his visit, he currently considers Kentucky the early favorite in his recruitment.  The primary reason: it’s the only place he’s visited.  That can quickly change when he sees other campuses.  Johnson will visit Arizona this weekend, then UCLA and Oregon the following week.  Trips to TCU and Ohio State could also happen.

The shooting guard is in no rush to make a decision.  Don’t expect to hear much more until after the May 24 NBA Draft deadline.

[Scout]


Report says Kevin Knox to announce his decision Saturday

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We finally have a concrete decision date for Kevin Knox and it couldn’t come at a worse time for Kentuckians.

According to Jake Perper of Prep Sports Scouting, Knox will announce his final decision on Saturday, which tells me the Knox family isn’t really into horse racing.

That decision will be one of five schools: Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Kentucky or Missouri, although Missouri is reportedly out of the mix.

Stayed tuned and let’s hope Churchill Downs has good cell service.


Kentucky’s 2018 Recruiting Board: Confirmed Offers and Key Targets

Kentucky’s 2018 Recruiting Board: Confirmed Offers and Key Targets

board

Kentucky’s 2017 recruiting class is still one or two prospects shy of completion, but that hasn’t stopped John Calipari and his staff from directing their efforts toward evaluating and building relationship for the next great group of Kentucky Wildcats in the 2018 class.

This year’s AAU schedule is in full swing with two weekends in the books, showcasing all of the best high school juniors as they enter the biggest summer of their basketball lives. Of those 2018 prospects, seven have confirmed offers from Kentucky and plenty more are waiting to join that list.

Take a look at how UK’s big board stands today as summer ball just gets going…

 


PROSPECTS WITH OFFERS


Marvin Bagley
Power Forward | 6-10 | 200 lbs.
Tempe, AZ | Sierra Canyon
AAU: Phoenix Phamily
★★★★★
ESPN No. 1 | 1 PF Top247 No. 2 | 1 PF
Rivals No. 1 | 1 PF Scout No. 1 | 1 PF

Received UK offer: May 4, 2015

Marvin Bagley is the No. 1 overall player in the 2018 class and he was the first to get a scholarship offer from Kentucky, way back after his freshman year of high school. That’s early for Calipari to reach out to a player, but it also tells you how good Bagley is and how good everyone expects him to be.

Bagley recently listed Kentucky, Arizona, UCLA, Duke, Kansas and USC as the schools he is considering in this fancy video on Twitter. He maintains it is an even race between those six schools, but whoever gets him in the end is getting one of the rare mega-star talents we only see every few years, if that.

 

Bol Bol
Power Forward/Center | 7-1 | 225 lbs.
Santa Ana, CA | Mater Dei
AAU: Cal Supreme
★★★★★
ESPN No. 41 | 13 PF Top247 No. 5 | 2 PF
Rivals No. 7 | 3 PF Scout No. 13 | 3 C

Received UK offer: May 1, 2017

Bol Bol, the son of late NBA great Manute Bol, is the newest name on this list after receiving his offer from Kentucky on Monday. Bol is ranked as high as fifth overall among the major services, and he will continue to climb up the charts if his outstanding play continues this summer. He’s currently averaging 25.4 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game on the Nike EYBL circuit, which earned him Offensive Player of the Session honors this past weekend.

There are already six votes for Kentucky on Bol’s Crystal Ball predictions, making up 75 percent of the votes. He also has offers from Kansas, UCLA, Oregon and USC.

 

Quentin Grimes
Point Guard | 6-4 | 175 lbs.
The Woodlands, TX | College Park
AAU: Basketball University
★★★★★
ESPN No. 14 | 2 SG Top247 No. 8 | 1 PG
Rivals No. 12 | 3 PG Scout No. 24 | 6 PG

Received UK offer: March 29, 2017

Grimes is one of the later additions to the mix with a spring UK offer and he is only one of two point guards on this list, along with Immanuel Quickley.

One of the top guards in the country going into his senior season, Grimes is considering several schools right now and plans to narrow that list down this summer. Count on Kentucky to be squarely in the mix when that happens.

 

Romeo Langford 
Shooting Guard| 6-5 | 190 lbs.
New Albany, IN | New Albany High School
AAU: 22 Vision
★★★★★
ESPN No. 3 | 1 SG Top247 No. 3 | 1 SG
Rivals No. 3 | — SG Scout No. 3 | 1 SG

Received UK offer: April 20, 2016

Romeo Langford, the consensus No. 1 shooting guard in 2018, plays his high school ball about 82 miles away from Rupp Arena in New Albany, Indiana. He’s even closer to Louisville, which is why he has the Cats and Cards among his favorites, as well as Indiana and Duke.

Langford is the consensus No. 3 overall player in the class, behind two other insanely elite talents in Marvin Bagley and Zion Williamson. It would be a huge get to pull him across the river and down I-64 to Lexington for his one season of college basketball.

 

Immanuel Quickley
Point Guard (2018) | 6-3 | 175 lbs.
Bel Air, MD | John Carroll School
AAU: Team BBC
★★★★★
ESPN No. 12 | 1 PG Top247 No. 5 | 1 PG
Rivals No. 15 | 4 PG Scout No. 10 | 2 PG

Received UK offer: October 3, 2016

Immanuel Quickley was the first point guard to receive the coveted UK offer in the 2018 class when John Calipari offered him last fall. Two weeks later he was in Lexington for an unofficial visit to Big Blue Madness.

Most recently, Calipari was in to visit Quickley in Maryland on April 18. He recently trimmed his list to include the Cats, as well as Kansas, Duke, Miami, Maryland, Virginia and Providence.

 

Cameron Reddish
Small Forward | 6-8 | 196 lbs.
Norristown, PA | Westtown
AAU: Team Final
★★★★★
ESPN No. 4 | 1 SF Top247 No. 4 | 2 SF
Rivals No. 5 | 2 SF Scout No. 4 | 1 SF

Received UK offer: April 29, 2016

Cameron Reddish is a guard in a forward’s body, which is a rare find and an impossible mismatch at the college level. He’s been among the best in his class for years and he was one of the first to catch Calipari’s eye.

Reddish visited Lexington in the fall for Big Blue Madness. He recently told Kyle Tucker, “We know what they do best: get players to the [NBA]… and that’s the ultimate goal, to get me to the league. So that’s a great place to be.”

 

Zion Williamson
Forward | 6-7 | 220 lbs.
Spartanburg, SC | Spartanburg
AAU: SC Supreme
★★★★★
ESPN No. 2 | 2 PF Top247 No. 1 | 1 SF
Rivals No. 2 | 1 SF Scout No. 2 | 2 PF

Received UK offer: March 28, 2017

Zion Williamson is not human. The small forward out of South Carolina, ranked second overall in the class, is a fan favorite on Twitter for his highlight reel dunks that are too insane to believe. He is so popular, Drake shared a photo of himself wearing Williamson’s Spartanburg jersey on Instagram.

As for the Kentucky relationship, the Wildcats are the early leader for the high-flyer. He is also considering offers from Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and nearby Clemson, among many others.


THREE MORE TO WATCH


Moses Brown | PF/C |  7-0 | 210 lbs. | Jamaica, NY | No. 8 overall (247 Composite)

Calipari is selling the top center in the class on comparisons to Willie Cauley-Stein and Anthony Davis.

Ja’Vonte Smart | PG |  6-4 | 185 lbs. | Baton Rouge, LA | No. 11 overall

Smart took an unofficial visit to Lexington in February and Cal loves him as a potential point guard addition from this class.

Naz Reid | PF |  6-9 | 220 lbs. | Roselle, NJ | No. 12 overall

An absolute beast of a prospect who Calipari saw in New Jersey earlier in February and then returned for an in-home visit last month.


 


Cal’s Message to Romeo Langford, Highlights and an Early Leader

Scout

Scout

During this weekend’s rounds at the recruiting circuits, John Calipari sat courtside in Atlanta to see the nation’s top-ranked shooting guard, local talent Romeo Langford.  Rick Pitino, Shaka Smart, Roy Williams and many more were also there to catch Langford’s attention.

In four games at the Adidas event, Langford averaged 19 points a game and saved his best for last, a 22-point, 14-rebound double-double. Through the first two weekends Langford is the third-highest scorer on the circuit, averaging 21.4 points per game even though he’s struggled to find his shot, shooting just 21.6 percent from behind the three-point line.  He’s fighting through his shooting woes by making difficult contested shots from all over the floor.

After Friday night’s 20-point performance, Langford spoke with Scout’s Evan Daniels.  Langford wants to cut his list to five by the end of the summer.  He talked about his relationship with Rick Pitino, Coach K, new Indiana head coach Archie Miller and Coach Cal.  Here’s what Calipari’s message was during a mid-April in-home visit:

“He really just talked to me about how he would use me, how he would develop me and how he would be able to help me in the long run.”

Romeo remains reserved on where each school stands, but the word on the street is that Duke is the early leader for Langford.  Duke is also the leader in the 247 Crystal Ball.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a few weeks to see more action from Langford and other UK 2018 targets the shoe company circuits.  Play on the Nike EYBL resumes the weekend of May 12, while Under Armour and Adidas kick things back up Memorial Day weekend.  Until then, you can see more highlights from Langford here.