College football is stealing the headlines right now, but with Duke gaining momentum on the 2018 recruiting scene, what’s the latest on Kentucky’s chances with the nation’s top players? Here’s a quick refresher.
The best shot for fall commitmentsÂ ðŸŽ¯
|Point Guard||6-3 | 175Â lbs||Bel Air, MD||John Carroll School/Team BBC|
|ESPN: 12 | 3 PG||Top 247: 13 | 2 PG||Rivals: 10||Scout: 8 | 3 PG|
Quickley remains the most likely player to commit to Kentucky in the fall. The 6’3″ point guard from Maryland just took an official visit to Kansas and had to cancel his visit to Miami this weekend because of Hurricane Irma. He’ll be in Lexington September 15-17 and is poised to make his decision in early October. If he comes on board, he’ll immediately try to bring this person with him…
|Forward||6-7 | 230Â lbs.||Spartanburg, SC||Spartanburg/SC Supreme|
|ESPN: 2 | 1 PF||Top 247: 1 | 1 PF||Rivals: 2||Scout: 3 | 2 SF|
Kansas has been the buzz lately for Williamson due to their affiliation with adidas and Bill Self offering scholarships to two of Zion’s AAU teammates, Dontarius James and Devon Dotson. Before you get too discouraged, don’t forget all the talk this summer of Immanuel Quickley and Zion being a package deal. Also, don’t count out Cal, who may be bringing in Zion’s pal Drake to Big Blue Madness. Get Zion to Lexington that weekend with Quickley at his side and I like Kentucky’s chances, especially if he decides this fall.
|Small Forward||6-7 | 185 lbs.||Mississauga, Ont., CAN||Montverde/Nike UPlay Canada|
|ESPN: 1 | 1 SF||Top 247: 2 | 2 SF||Rivals: 1||Scout: 1 | 1 SF|
Barrett just wrapped up an official visit to Lexington, and the reviews ranged from “alright” to “great.” It’s best not to read too much into the words of a 17-year-old, but Barrett still plans to take all of his visits, including one to Duke, the perceived favorite, on September 15. He’ll also visitÂ Arizona (Sept. 21), Oregon (Sept. 23) and Michigan (Sept. 29) and reiterated that he wants to make his decision in the fall. Calipari is really stressing Kentucky’s Canadian pipleine to the NBA, so I like the Cats here.
Heating upÂ ðŸ”¥
Simi ShittuÂ âï¸âï¸âï¸âï¸âï¸
|Power Forward||6-10 | 220Â lbs.||Burlington, Ontario, CAN||Vermont Academy|
|ESPN: 6 | 2 PF||Top 247: 8 | 1 PF||Rivals: 8||Scout: 9 | 1 PF|
The versatile Canadian forward still doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky, but that’s just a formality at this point. Calipari likes Simi so much he took Jamal Murray up to Canada with him to watch him play, a gesture that impressed the 6’10” Ontario native so much that he’s planning to come to Lexington this fall. If he does, he’ll get that offer, and if he likes it enough, he may just commit on the spot.
Holding patternÂ ðŸ’¬
|Small Forward||6-6 | 205 lbs.||South Hill, VA||Oak Hill Academy|
|ESPN: 7 | 3 SF||Top 247: 11 | 2 SG||Rivals: 18||Scout: 24 | 2 SG|
Johnson is a new name on the scene after a monster summer and a surprise unofficial visit to campus a few weeks ago, which resulted in a scholarship offer. After that, Kentucky seemed to have all the momentum; however, Johnson just visited Texas and now the Longhorns are surging. He was scheduled to visit Florida State this weekend but because of Irma, will travel to NC State instead. He’ll check in with the Seminoles next weekend, and Maryland later this month. Yesterday, Chris Fisher reported that Johnson was “blown away” by his visit to Kentucky, so if the Cats can get him on campus for an official, perhaps for Madness, they can likely make up some more ground.
Long shotsÂ â„ï¸
|Center||7-2 | 220Â lbs.||Santa Ana, CA||Mater Dei/Cal Supreme|
|ESPN: 4 | 1 C||Top 247: 4 | 1 C||Rivals: 3||Scout: 2 | 1 C|
At one point, Kentucky had all the momentum with the son of the late NBA great Manute Bol, but the relationship cooled when he was cut from Calipari’s U19 national team (only one naturalized citizen was allowed on the roster and the staff chose a more experienced player). Things could change, but for now, it looks like Bol will stay out west at Arizona, while Cal has shifted his focus northward to 6-10 Simi Shittu.
|Shooting Guard||6-5 | 191 lbs.||New Albany||New Albany/Eric Gordon All Stars|
|ESPN: 5 | 1 SG||Top 247: 5 | 1 SG||Rivals: 6||Scout: 5 | 1 SG|
Langford kept Kentucky in his top seven, but there hasn’t been any chatter about the two for months. Buzz continues to surround Indiana and Vanderbilt in his recruitment.
|Shooting/Point Guard||6-4 | 185 lbs.||The Woodlands, TX||The Woodlands/Basketball University|
|ESPN: 13 | 3 SG||Top 247: 17 | 5 PG||Rivals: 11||Scout: 11 | 4 PG|
Kansas is the overwhelming favorite for Grimes, who did not list Kentucky among the schools he plans to visit this fall in a recent interview with Evan Daniels.
|Point Guard||6-2 | 170 lbs.||Brentwood, TN||Brentwood Academy/Bradley Beal Elite|
|ESPN: 11 | 2 PG||Top 247: 15 | 4 PG||Rivals: 15||Scout: 7 | 2 PG|
Garland is scheduled to visit UK on October 13, but with Immanuel Quickley likely to commit and Quade Green and Shai Alexander potentially sticking around for a second year, I imagine he’ll take his talents elsewhere.