While Kennedy Chandler’s commitment to Tennessee on Friday came as a surprise to no one, it was fairly significant regarding Kentucky’s plans for the 2021 recruiting class.
Despite momentum shifting in favor of the Volunteers for months, Chandler’s official commitment marked a sign of needed urgency for UK moving forward in terms of finding a replacement option.
They’ve already extended an offer to 2022 five-star guard Skyy Clark, who told KSR in July that he is planning to take his junior- and senior-year classes this fall to prepare for a potential reclassification to the class of 2021. Last week, though, Clark told David Sisk of Cats Illustrated that his current plan is to stay in 2022. If the five-star guard does decide to stick with his original class, where does Kentucky turn?
According to Corey Evans of Rivals.com, 2021 five-star guard Hunter Sallis is expected to receive an offer from John Calipari and the UK coaching staff “sometime soon.”
“Sallis has yet to cut his list, which means a number of national suitors have come calling,” said Evans. “Kansas and North Carolina feel like the two to beat, but don’t shortchange the chances of Creighton, Iowa State, Gonzaga, Louisville, or Nebraska. Michigan just offered. Kentucky has also begun to pick things up with him and if an offer is handed out, which I expect it will sometime soon, the Wildcats could be a trendy team to watch with the five-star guard.
The quote comes from a recent roundtable post on Rivals that included Sallis among the players who have “lived up to [their] lofty ranking.”
“Hunter Sallis,” Evans added. “We were ahead of the curve with him and he is showing that we are correct with his 11th overall ranking. He is the embodiment of the new age guard that has the size, length, shot-making and passing qualities that would allow for him to play all three spots along the perimeter and he has only gotten better each step of the way.”
Sallis, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound point guard out of Omaha, NE, is considered the No. 11 prospect overall and No. 2 player at his position in the Rivals recruiting rankings. The five-star prospect is considered the No. 19 overall player in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
With Tennessee trending in recent months for Chandler, UK assistant coach Joel Justus has established himself as the lead recruiter for Sallis, where things appear to be heating up by the day.
Elsewhere at the guard positions, Kentucky has long been seen as a top contender for 2021 top-ten prospect Jaden Hardy, with UK also looking at 2022 five-star guard Jaden Bradley as a potential reclass option.
Outside of point and combo guards, Kentucky has also extended offers to five-star juniors Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Paolo Banchero, along with 2022 five-star forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, who is also considering a jump to 2021.
With limited evaluation opportunities for high school prospects this year, UK is also expected to explore the transfer ranks if/when the NCAA passes the one-year immediate transfer rule for the 2021-22 season, as expected.
There are plenty of replacement options at Kentucky’s disposal following Chandler’s commitment to Tennessee, and it appears they’ll start with Sallis.
Check out some of the five-star guard’s recent highlights below: