Another frontcourt target for John Calipari and the Kentucky coaching staff is off the table.
On Tuesday evening, 2020 four-star center Cliff Omoruyi announced his final three schools, leaving Kentucky out of the running in the process.
The finalists? Arizona State, Auburn, and Rutgers.
— Bigcliff77 (@wizcliff77) March 4, 2020
Omoruyi, a 6-foot-11 center out of Roselle, NJ, is considered the No. 41 prospect in the 2020 247Sports Composite Rankings and was one of just two prospects remaining in the senior class with an offer from Kentucky.
This past summer, Kentucky was seen as the overwhelming favorite in Omoruyi’s recruitment, with multiple sources telling KSR that the four-star prospect was likely headed to Lexington if Calipari truly wanted him there.
In an interview with KSR at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA, Omoruyi said that Kentucky was his “dream school” as a child growing up in Nigeria.
“I was happy [to receive an offer] because Kentucky was one of my dream schools growing up,” he said. “Like when I was back in Nigeria, I used to hear most about Kentucky.”
When it comes to his first meeting with Calipari for the first time, Omoruyi said he couldn’t contain his excitement, screaming and jumping up and down when the Kentucky head coach came to his school.
“Yeah, that was my first time meeting him in person,” the four-star big man told KSR. “They told me it was some coach, but I started screaming a lot when [I realized it was Coach Cal.] I went crazy.”
Now, 2020 top-ten prospect Greg Brown remains as the lone target for Calipari and the UK coaching staff currently in the senior class.
In an interview with Sam Webb of 247Sports, Brown’s father, Greg Brown Sr., had high praise for Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program.
“Like I told Coach (Tony) Barbee before we went to Kentucky, I thought of (Calipari) as more of a ‘me’ coach (as in) ‘look at me.’ You know… all about him as a coach,” Brown Sr. told 247Sports. “Then when we went down on the visit, man I love Cal. I literally love Cal. Cal holds them kids accountable. The problem that I see with a lot of the kids these days is nobody has ever held them accountable. So, they don’t know how to respond to Cal. They think he’s getting on them all the time… which, he is getting on your (behind), holding you accountable to do what the hell he needs you to do so ya’ll can win games. Because if you win at Kentucky, you’re probably going to be a top pick. But you gotta do what he’s asking you to do.”
Outside of Brown, Kentucky will have to explore the graduate transfer ranks or push for a reclassification from a high-profile prospect in 2021.
Back in February, the NCAA also announced it is considering a rule change that would allow Division I athletes – on a one-time basis – to transfer to any school of their choosing without restriction starting in the 2020-21 academic year. This could also open the door for Kentucky essentially hand-picking an elite transfer in the frontcourt as early as this summer.
The options are technically dwindling in the senior class, but Calipari and his staff have the opportunity to close out 2020 with another strong piece or two in the frontcourt.