One week ago today, 2019 five-star combo guard RJ Hampton made the decision to cut Kentucky from his final list, leaving Kansas, Memphis, and Texas Tech for his services.
At the time, Hampton’s father, Rod, told John Martin of 92.9 ESPN that the Cats were originally cut from the list because “Kentucky’s backcourt is set.”
When asked to elaborate on those comments, Rod Hampton said on the Jason and John Show in Memphis later that he appreciated the Kentucky coaching staff during the recruiting process and felt they were truly the biggest “dark horse” for his son, but it just wasn’t the right fit in the end.
“Kentucky’s fine, Kentucky’s going to be a top-5 school,” Hampton said. “They pretty much got their backcourt and they’d be a dark horse but Coach Cal and Coach [Tony] Barbee have been more than gracious. I talked to [R.J.] the other day and he said, ‘This is going to be my final three.’”
At the time of his reclassification, Hampton originally cut Duke from his list, but still kept Kentucky on there, despite knowing just how loaded the Wildcats were in the backcourt.
Following the original announcement, Rod Hampton told the Courier-Journal that Calipari has dealt with crowded backcourts on multiple occasions in the past and he’d be able to figure out how to incorporate his son.
“Not that Duke doesn’t have the wow factor, but Cal has played with multiple guards,” Hampton said. “I think the one good thing RJ has going for him is he can play multiple positions. At the next level, he’ll be a point guard, but he can switch and play, guard the two, sometimes guard the three. I think that’s good for him.”
Now, he’ll decide between the Jayhawks, Tigers, and Red Raiders.
Over the last two weeks there were significant rumblings that Hampton was considering the professional option, turning down college to play overseas for one season before entering the 2020 NBA Draft. In fact, sources told KSR that there have been internal discussions within the Hampton family about the Little Elm, TX native signing with Puma and playing in China for a year, with that still being a possibility even if he commits to a school this week.
In that same interview with the Jason and John Show, the eldest Hampton confirmed those rumors, saying his family definitely considered a move overseas to let R.J. play professionally.
“Is it something we looked into?” he said. “Yeah, we looked into it, you have to.”
In fact, Hampton didn’t deny that that option may still be on the table. When discussing the final schools on R.J.’s list, Rod said that his family would be moving wherever the five-star prospect was playing, even if that ended up being overseas.
“We’d move to Memphis, we’d move to Kansas, we’d move to Lubbock,” he said. “And if we had to move overseas, we’d go there, too.”
In terms of a college commitment, Hampton announced on Friday night that his announcement will be made tomorrow morning on ESPN’s Get Up.
The time has come. Watch @GetUpESPN Tuesday, May 28th.
I have an announcement to make. ?
— 14 (@RjHampton14) May 24, 2019
I’d expect Hampton to pick Kansas tomorrow, but watch out for more rumblings of a potential move overseas even after the fact.