Hello everyone and welcome to the Monday Recruiting Notes. This will be a weekly feature where I touch on the scuttlebutt I’ve heard over the last week.
Some of the information is factual, some is what I’m hearing and other parts of this post will be my opinion. Don’t fret, I’ll be sure to tell you when I’m giving my opinion or an opinion of someone more in the know.
I will be wrong at times. Some of what I’m hearing won’t come to fruition. It’s just the nature of recruiting. Things change. I could hear something one week and it could change the following week. The point of this post will be to post what I’m hearing. That’s why it’s important to read where I’m receiving the information, but even the factual things I post could change. This post isn’t always trying to predict the future but instead fill you in on the latest while providing commentary, facts and at times an educated guess.
What an exciting week for Kentucky. We’ll have plenty of decisions this week, the Cats already landed one five-star player and another may not be far behind.
Let’s get after it.
Montgomery: I had been saying for a few weeks that UK led for Montgomery, but it was a tight race. Weeks ago UNC, Duke and UK all had a solid chance at landing Montgomery but the last few weeks it seemed to be down to Duke and UK with an advantage to UK.
But something happened in Montgomery’s recruitment. Duke started looking at grad-transfers and it became clear last week that UK would end up being the destination for Montgomery. So, what happened? Here are a few of my own guesses:
1. Duke received word that Montgomery was going to go to UK so they backed off because they wouldn’t land him. Maybe Capel had something to do with it?
2. Duke preferred a grad-transfer. I posted a few possible names last week but none of those players have openly said they plan on leaving their current situations. The reason I’m not sure this is the case is because the Blue Devils had to know that a grad-transfer would always be a possibility. It’s not like this is a new rule. Plus, they’ve known what type of player Montgomery is and what he’d bring to Duke. They’ve been recruiting him longer than UK. So, I’m not sure I’m buying that Duke just moved on because they weren’t sure about Montgomery’s game.
Maybe the answer is a combination of both, but regardless the Cats ended up with the five-star forward and he will be wearing UK blue and white next season.
John Calipari visited Montgomery last night and was able to get Montgomery to pull the trigger. He initially was planning on taking more official visits (expect him to still take an official to UK) but whatever Calipari and company said last night convinced him to not take other visits. Anyone who said Calipari has lost it is sadly mistaken.
What this means: Did Montgomery commit to UK because one of P.J. Washington or Jarred Vanderbilt told UK that they were leaving? If that happened it would make sense for UK’s staff to relay that information to Montgomery to get him on board ASAP.
I’m told that’s not the case. UK still expects Washington to go through the process (and return but that’s far from a finished deal) and Vanderbilt will likely do the same. I still find it interesting that people I’ve spoken with still don’t know Vanderbilt’s exact intentions, but my guess is he goes through the process without hiring an agent, too. Maybe he goes. Maybe he returns.
So in the intermediate Montgomery’s commitment doesn’t mean anything regarding Washington and Vanderbilt. One could still leave. Both could. But that’s not why Montgomery picked UK and Kentucky’s coaches know they can make a Vanderbilt/Washington/Montgomery/Richards frontcourt work if everyone decides to come back.
My opinion is that UK will need at least one of Washington/Vanderbilt to return to be a serious Final Four contender. Montgomery will be a great addition but he will need help.
If Washington and Vanderbilt return with Richards to play with Montgomery next season I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wenyen Gabriel leave for the NBA Draft and Sacha Killeya-Jones will likely weigh his options, but that’s just my opinion. UK would like four reliable frontcourt players. Two to start. One to come off the bench, and a reserve option if there’s an injury or foul trouble.
Ashton Hagans: UK’s saying is “Who Wants To Be Next” and it seems like it’s a foregone conclusion that UK leads for 2019 point guard Ashton Hagans who will reclassify to 2018.
I wouldn’t be shocked to hear of Hagans committing in the next few days. Possibly as early as tomorrow.
But Hagans has a change of heart and decides to wait UK is still the leader and will be the likely choice. Everything looks great in this recruitment unless we hear otherwise.
How about if UK finishes the 2018 class with:
That would be something. A class that many complained about would finish with four five-star players and a highly ranked four-star target in Tyler Herro.
Wiseman is still a possibility for 2018 and the Cats visited him over the weekend. But the family supposedly is set on staying in 2019. Remember, Wiseman could have a change of heart in August so the Cats will continue to be patient and recruit him for both 2018 and 2019.
In-State Talent: UK has been recruiting Kyky Tandy but UK assistant Joel Justus checked out Dontaie Allen from Pendleton County. Both Allen and Tandy are 2019 players and I’d be shocked if one didn’t end up on UK’s roster for 2019-2020.
As of today I’d say that Allen is the more likely target because there’s a small concern that Tandy could scare away other guard targets. Allen is incredibly talented, and underrated, but there’s a confidence about adding Allen that wouldn’t scare away any other targets.
But there’s so much time left in both of these recruitments. There’s still a solid chance UK will roll the dice with Tandy even if it messes things up with a loaded 2019 guard class (and it is loaded). There’s also a chance that UK ends up with both Tandy AND Allen. Wouldn’t that make Kentuckians happy? Both could make an impact in time at UK.
Also, don’t be surprised to hear about UK touching back in with Trinity star David Johnson.
Draft Decisions: SGA will announce tonight on ESPN at 6:45 p.m. It would be a major shock and surprise to hear/see him doing anything besides declare for the draft with an agent. No one can blame him for that decision and we hope he kills it at the next level.
I’ve heard that Hamidou Diallo may not be far behind, or at least he will announce some sort of decision. All signs point towards him announce for the NBA Draft and that could come as early as Tuesday.
As I mentioned I’m unsure what Vanderbilt is planning to do and when he’s planning on making an announcement. There are still serious injury concerns for Vanderbilt but those concerns are part of the reason why some just want him to start getting paid. I’m not sure what will happen with Vanderbilt.
Outside of Vanderbilt, Diallo, Washington and Gabriel I wouldn’t expect any other players to leave for the NBA Draft. I don’t expect Quade Green to transfer. I don’t expect Nick Richards to go anywhere. I’m unsure of SKJ’s plans but he plans on finishing the semester before making any final decisions.