As the Kentucky coaching staff looks to close out the 2020-21 roster, they continue to lay the groundwork for 2021-22 and beyond.
One of those potential pieces? 2021 top-three prospect Patrick Baldwin Jr., who is just one of two small forwards in the class – Jonathan Kuminga being the other – with scholarship offers from John Calipari.
Back in January, the 6-foot-9 forward out of Sussex, WI told Eric Bossi of Rivals.com that he was Kentucky was “really high up there” on his list of favorite schools.
“I love Coach (John) Calipari and I love the guys they’ve targeted,” Baldwin told Bossi. “I like talking with Paolo (Banchero), (Kennedy) Chandler and I like the guys they are trying to build with in that class. At the end of the day they will probably be in my end list even though I haven’t released it. I think Kentucky is really high up there with me right now.”
Duke has been seen as the longtime leader, though Northwestern and Kentucky have also been picking up steam with the five-star prospect in recent months. Kansas and Wisconsin-Milwaukee have been seen as the other potential options, though he also holds offers from the likes of North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, LSU, and Marquette, among others.
In a recent interview with Corey Evans of Rivals.com, Baldwin doubled down on his interest in Kentucky, saying the coaching staff has done a great job pitching the school’s production and development of elite talent.
“Their pitch has just been a lot of things that we knew going in which was that they produce a lot of NBA talent, play in the SEC, they have really good teams and talent in that league,” Baldwin said. “A really big pitch is that they know that I am really talented but if you come to Kentucky, that they aren’t guaranteeing you anything.
“If you want to come here, you have to work and push yourself to be the best that you can be on your own and they will push you along the way but they aren’t going to promise anyone anything because they want you to come in with a good class and be alongside a lot of other good players and really, it is just going to be like a pro-style practice where they have scouts there and at almost all of their games and it is just going to be about who wants it more which is what Kentucky has always been about with all the prospects they have recruited.”
After Baldwin received his scholarship offer from UK back in August, the five-star forward’s AAU program, Phenom University, announced a partnership with former Kentucky star and Wisconsin native Tyler Herro. Now, the team will officially be called “Phenom University-Team Herro” moving forward.
With the AAU change, along with Herro’s success at Kentucky and in the NBA, Calipari has been using that angle during Baldwin’s recruitment.
“Yeah, Coach Cal (John Calipari) talks about Tyler all the time,” Baldwin told Rivals.com. “You can obviously see that Tyler loves Kentucky even whenever he left, he posts about them and talks about them all the time. Even though I came to Wisconsin during his senior year, I mean, it is just really cool to see him and how he progressed through his senior year and then picked up that offer from Kentucky and committed so it is just pretty cool to see that story from the same town and then to see him doing well with the Miami Heat.”
Will Kentucky be able to secure a commitment from the five-star forward?