After six weeks of limited action on the recruiting circuit during the quiet period, the Kentucky coaching staff is certainly making up for lost time.
On Monday morning, the fall recruiting period – which lasts until Nov. 10 – officially opened up, and John Calipari and his assistants have been racking up their SkyMiles ever since to see some of Kentucky’s top targets.
But where did they travel on Monday and where are they planning on heading the rest of the week?
Cade Cunningham (2020)
Calipari made headlines on Monday by using his very first visit on 2020 No. 2 prospect Cade Cunningham, an individual most analysts have written off for months due to the deafening Oklahoma State buzz surrounding his recruitment after the school hired his brother on as an assistant.
Sources told KSR several weeks back that while Kentucky is well aware of the Oklahoma State buzz and likely status as the overwhelming favorite, they would be monitoring Cunningham’s situation closely in case that door cracked open down the road. With the recent rumblings behind the scenes being that he is not completely set on the Cowboys and is open to signing with any of the five schools on his final list, it certainly appears the other contenders are ready to make a push to close the gap.
According to 247Sports recruiting insider Evan Daniels, Cunningham not only met with Calipari on Monday morning, but North Carolina head coach Roy Williams and Florida head coach Mike White in Florida, as well. The five-star target’s family also hosted reportedly Williams on an in-home visit in Texas later in the evening.
When the dust settled a bit, Daniels actually changed his Crystal Ball pick for Cunningham from Oklahoma State to “foggy,” an obviously significant development.
Recruiting insider @EvanDaniels has changed his Crystal Ball pick for 2020 five-star guard Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State to “foggy.” The No. 2 prospect was the very first person to receive a visit from John Calipari this morning when the fall recruiting period opened… pic.twitter.com/P1xNs6JGZv
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) September 10, 2019
While sources tell KSR that North Carolina is making a significant push for the top spot for the No. 2 overall prospect, and may actually already have it now, Cunningham has always been a game-changer in the eyes of the Kentucky coaching staff. If they see a window of opportunity, and I believe they do, the 6-foot-6 combo guard would jump to the top of their priority list moving forward.
Scottie Barnes (2020)
During Kentucky’s visit to see Cunningham at Montverde Academy in Florida, Calipari also checked in on his teammate, 2020 five-star forward Scottie Barnes.
Barnes cut his list down to eight, leaving California, Duke, Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, Miami, Ohio State, and Oregon as the final contenders. That being said, the 6-foot-8 told reporters at Peach Jam that the five schools recruiting him the hardest right now are the Ducks, Jayhawks, Buckeyes, Hurricanes, and Seminoles, omitting the Wildcats, Blue Devils, and Golden Bears.
Sources told KSR back in May that Barnes was highly unlikely to end up at Kentucky, and this remains true. Oregon is seen as the current favorite to land the top-ten prospect.
Terrence Clarke (2021)
With a decision set for this Saturday, 2021 top-three prospect Terrence Clarke is officially on commitment watch for the Kentucky program.
And on Monday, Brewster Academy head coach Jason Smith told KSR that John Calipari was in to see the 6-foot-7 wing, with representatives from Boston College also making the trip.
Clarke recently trimmed his list down to six, with Kentucky, Boston College, Duke, Memphis, Texas Tech, and UCLA all making the final cut. That being said, the dynamic scorer is widely expected to choose the Wildcats and – despite several academic hurdles – ultimately reclassify to the class of 2020.
The five-star prospect will make his announcement at the Vine Street Community Center in Roxbury, MA on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Isaiah Todd (2020)
Immediately following his visit to North Carolina this weekend, Kentucky assistant coach Joel Justus was in to see 2020 five-star forward Isaiah Todd on Monday.
Todd, a consensus top-15 prospect and ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation (ESPN), is widely seen as Kentucky’s top priority in the frontcourt. With a smooth face-up game and elite interior defensive potential, the five-star prospect has drawn comparisons to Anthony Davis.
The 6-foot-10, 195-pound forward cut his list to Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Michigan, and North Carolina on August 2, though the Wildcats and Tar Heels are the rumored leaders. There are also rumblings that Todd could ultimately head overseas.
Lance Ware (2020)
According to Sources Say Podcast co-host Jake Weingarten, John Calipari and Kenny Payne continued their northeast recruiting trek by stopping in to see 2020 four-star forward Lance Ware on Monday afternoon.
Kentucky’s John Calipari and Kenny Payne will conduct an in-home visit today with four-star senior Lance Ware, a source told @Stockrisers. Significant update on that front, he’s still planning his visit.
— Jake (@jakeweingarten) September 9, 2019
Despite not having an official visit to the school scheduled yet, Kentucky is seen as the heavy favorite to land the 6-foot-9 forward out of Burlington, NJ. Ware recently took officials to Ohio State and Michigan, and also has trips scheduled to Providence and Miami at the end of September, though there is buzz a commitment to Kentucky could be coming sooner rather than later.
Ware is ranked as high as No. 31 (Rivals) and as low as No. 42 (ESPN) in his class, with 247Sports giving him a Composite ranking of No. 32.
Jaden Bradley (2022)
Kentucky was also in to see 2022 five-star guard and No. 7 overall recruiting Jaden Bradley on Monday morning, per Corey Evans of Rivals.com.
Bradley, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound prospect out of Cannon High School in Charlotte, NC, is considered the No. 2 point guard in his class.
While he doesn’t hold an offer from Kentucky, he has earned scholarships from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Texas Tech, among several others.
Devin Askew (2021)
John Calipari is planning to head West and catch up with one of his favorite point guards in the class of 2021, Devin Askew.
Brian Askew, Devin’s father, told KSR on Monday that Calipari will be in to see the nation’s top point guard on Thursday.
Askew, a Santa Ana, CA native, is considered the No. 10 prospect and No. 1 point guard in 2021, per Rivals. ESPN lists the 6-foot-3 point guard as the No. 13 overall prospect, while 247Sports has him ranked No. 16 overall.
While Louisville made the five-star guard a major priority early on and many have listed the Cards as the heavy favorite for quite some time, Kentucky has recently made a strong push and is now seen as being neck-and-neck with UofL to land him.
In fact, Corey Evans of Rivals.com recently submitted a FutureCast in favor of the Wildcats on September 5.
After long contemplating a jump to 2020, Askew recently announced he would be sticking with the class of 2021, though reclassification buzz is still lingering.
JJ Traynor (2020)
One of the fastest-rising stars in the class of 2020, sources tell KSR that Kentucky is expected to visit Bardstown’s own JJ Traynor this week.
Missouri and WKU were both in to see Traynor on Monday, with Louisville and Maryland in to see him today. Xavier and Michigan are expected to see Traynor this week, as well.
At the beginning of the summer, the 6-foot-8 forward was unranked by all recruiting services, but is now listed as a four-star, top-100 prospect on both 247Sports and Rivals.com.
Traynor will take an unofficial visit to Lexington for Big Blue Madness.
Notably missing from this list? 2020 five-star guards Jalen Green and Josh Christopher, who have been seen as two of Kentucky’s biggest recruiting targets over the last several months.
On Monday afternoon, Green’s father, Marcus, told KSR that he had not spoken with the UK coaching staff about visiting this week, nor have any other schools gotten in contact with him to confirm a trip. Sources tell KSR that UCLA jumped into the equation last week and expressed interest in visiting, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
As for Christopher, things have been extremely quiet on his end, as well, with no reported in-home or school visits confirmed from the five schools on his final list since the recruiting period opened back up.
Kentucky very well could be making their way out West to see them both later in the week – they’ve already confirmed to Askew that they’ll see him in California on Thursday – and just haven’t made official plans as of yet, but the silence surrounding the elite guard duo is certainly something to watch closely.