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How coronavirus could cost Kentucky a top recruit

Photo: USA Basketball

Photo: USA Basketball

While there are way bigger issues out there right now than what’s going on in the sport of basketball, there is no doubt that coronavirus, and the uncertainty around it, is impacting the sports world in ways we could have never imagined. In college basketball specifically, everything from recruiting to the transfer market to the NBA Draft now has uncertainty around it thanks to the pandemic sweeping the country.

And now – again, keeping in mind that there are things bigger than college basketball – the impact of coronavirus could in fact cost Kentucky a shot at a top recruit.

The player is Greg Brown, one of the last elite high school players in the class of 2020 who has yet to make a college choice. The 6’9 forward who is ranked in the Top 10 nationally by just about every recruiting service, has been seen as a heavy Texas lean for as long as his recruitment has been tracked. But then throughout the college basketball regular season, as Shaka Smart’s job status continued to become more and more tenuous, it seemed as though Brown would weigh other options and maybe  commit somewhere else. Kentucky was among a final five that included the Longhorns, as well as Auburn, Memphis and Michigan, with buzz around both Memphis and the Wildcats in recent months.

Well now, with the coronavirus wreaking havoc on just about everything, it is making it more and more likely that Shaka Smart will keep his job at Texas. And now, according to one recruiting insider, Smart’s status as “probably coming back” is making it more likely that Brown comes to campus with him.

This week, guru Corey Evans joined KSR’s Aaron Torres Podcast, and discussed the wide-ranging impact that coronavirus is having on college basketball.

The guys touched on everything from transfers, the NBA Draft process and the best recruits in high school basketball. And when it came to Brown, Evans said that the events of the last few weeks and likelihood that Smart will be back has forced him to re-evaluate Brown’s recruitment.

“I changed my pick,” Evans said. “I had it in for Memphis, and now I put it in for Texas.”

He continued.

“Greg came out on one of his social media accounts and said a decision is coming soon. It is, I think it will come in the next few weeks, April sometime. And what I’ve been told is that Shaka Smart is going no where. And the entire time, the family members wanted Greg to stay at Texas. He lives 10 minutes from campus, his dad and uncle played football there.

“Memphis made a late run, but with Shaka Smart’s job security intact for another year, which is all that really matters for Greg Brown because he’s only going to be in college for one year, the way that I have heard is that Texas is the team to beat now. I would be surprised now if he didn’t choose Texas.”

For those who might not fully understand how the coronavirus epidemic could impact Smart’s job status, the full explanation is pretty simple. The bottom-line is that it’s really hard to fire a coach in this climate, simply because – unless you’re 100 percent positive you have a candidate who would say yes – it’s essentially impossible to interview candidates right now. It’s also hard for athletic directors to go to boosters and ask for buyout money, given the state of the current economy.

Because of it, it might allow Smart to keep his job for one more season. And see Greg Brown end up a Longhorn because of it. To listen to the full interview with Corey Evans, click here.

Article written by Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres is covering football and basketball for KSR this season after four years at Fox Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, Facebook or e-mail at [email protected] He is also the author of the only book written on the Calipari era, “One and Fun: A Behind the Scenes Look at John Calipari and the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats.”

8 Comments for How coronavirus could cost Kentucky a top recruit

  1. UKLugo
    12:08 pm March 20, 2020 Permalink

    It may end up costing Auburn or Memphis a recruit, but I dont think he we had much of a chance anyways.

  2. CJKAssassin123
    12:54 pm March 20, 2020 Permalink

    This could all be a moot point if somehow Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery just decide to stay another season at UK because of the virus especially with not knowing what the future holds in regards to the NBA draft.

    Everyone also needs to understand that if EJ enters the NBA Combine (if they ever have it) EJ would have to enter the draft, he would not be allowed to return to Kentucky because he’s already participated in the combine once and NCAA/NBA rules state that a player can participate in the NBA combine and return to school only once after that they have to stay in the draft. So he may just decide to stay another year to play it safe, gain an extra year of experience become even better next year, before going pro next year.

    Nick, Immanuel,Brooks,Maxey may also just play it safe due the same reasons I stated earlier. We’ll have to just wait and see my guess is that Maxey, Quickly and Nick still enter the draft but I guess we’ll find out down the road.

  3. bigcat68
    1:04 pm March 20, 2020 Permalink

    Let’s move on from Greg Brown please. He has surely moved on from us.

  4. StuckinLville
    1:15 pm March 20, 2020 Permalink

    If he wants to go to Texas let him. He should see Bamba and how playing at Texas did very little for him. Clearly his family just wants him close and not doing what’s best for him as a player. Never thought we were getting him anyway because of all of this.

  5. Headhurts
    1:58 pm March 20, 2020 Permalink

    He needs us more than we need him, what has TX, Memphis done better than KY? Answer…… Nothing

    • ClutchCargo
      2:10 pm March 20, 2020 Permalink

      BBQ. They both do it way better than us. Other than that, I totally agree. 🙂

    • friendsofcoal
      12:46 am March 21, 2020 Permalink


  6. NKY Wildcat
    10:46 am March 23, 2020 Permalink