In numerous instances during his time at Kentucky, John Calipari and the UK coaching staff have come in late and pulled off last-minute upsets on the recruiting trail.
For 2021 five-star guard Matthew Cleveland, Kentucky’s last-ditch effort simply wasn’t enough to jump back in the race in his recruitment.
After averaging 32 points per contest in an OnTheRadarHoops event in Atlanta back in June, both Kentucky and North Carolina reached out to the 6-foot-6 guard to gauge his interest. According to the five-star prospect, though, he was already set to release his final list on Monday, and would not take on new suitors.
“I’d already had my five by then,” Cleveland told Jason Jordan of Sports Illustrated. “I told them right away. I thanked them for reaching out but told them I wasn’t interested.”
While he was flattered by the late interest, Cleveland said he appreciated the relationships he had already built with the five schools he was set to include in his list of finalists.
“I know that those are two of the schools that most players wait to hear from,” Cleveland told Sports Illustrated. “They’re great programs, but I had put so much time into coming up with my list. I had built a connection with those coaches, and it was tough to get it to five. I was set on those schools. … This process can be stressful, and it was draining to get my list down so when they North Carolina and Kentucky reached out I didn’t even entertain it. I just didn’t want to add more stress on myself.”
Back on June 29, the five-star prospect is down to five schools: North Carolina State, Florida State, Stanford, Kansas and Michigan.
And this week – July 22 at 3 p.m. ET, to be exact – Cleveland will announce his final decision.
While Kentucky is has been cut from Cleveland’s list, the Wildcats remain in strong contention with 2021 top-ten prospect Jaden Hardy, along with 2022 five-star guard Skyy Clark, who is seriously considering a reclassification to the class of 2021.