Kentucky is still putting together the final pieces of its 2020 recruiting class, but that’s not stopping them from laying the groundwork for 2021.
With six offers extended to prospects in the junior class, the UK coaching staff has their eye set on a few individuals to serve as potential foundational pieces for next year’s class.
One of them? 2021 five-star forward and top-three prospect Patrick Baldwin Jr., who is just one of two small forwards in the class – Jonathan Kuminga being the other – to earn an offer from John Calipari.
And he’s apparently returning the love.
In an interview with Eric Bossi of Rivals.com this weekend at the Highland Shootout in Illinois, the 6-foot-9, 190-pound forward out of Sussex, WI said 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.”
The five-star forward also pointed out Duke, Kansas, Northwestern, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee as other potential suitors in his recruitment.
Baldwin, ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation (Rivals, 247Sports, ESPN), currently holds offers from Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, and Florida, among others.
Back in September, Kentucky assistant coach Tony Barbee paid a visit to the top-three prospect in his hometown.
Just a month before in August, Baldwin became the fifth player in the class of 2021 to earn an offer from Kentucky, joining Kuminga, Terrence Clarke, Paolo Banchero, and Devin Askew as the only prospects to receive offers from the Wildcats at the time. Since then, Clarke and Askew both reclassified to the class of 2020 and signed with Kentucky, while UK has since extended scholarships to five-star guards Jaden Hardy last week.
“Grateful to have received an offer from Coach Calipari and The University of Kentucky!” Baldwin said after receiving his offer from Calipari and the UK coaching staff.
Grateful to have received an offer from Coach Calipari and The University of Kentucky! pic.twitter.com/CNtL5I90jP
— Patrick Baldwin Jr. (@_pbaldwin23) August 2, 2019
Less than a week after Baldwin received his scholarship offer from UK, 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.
Though Duke has been seen as the early favorite to land Baldwin, Herro’s new influence on his AAU program has reportedly been fairly significant, even helping Kentucky’s chances with the five-star forward ever-so-slightly.
In terms of who Baldwin is as a player, Brian Snow of 247Sports believes the UK target possesses great versatility, basketball IQ, shooting ability, and athleticism.
“Has great length and an excellent frame to add weight. At 6-foot-8, can play either forward spot and he has the ability to be a weapon from beyond the arc,” he said. “There aren’t many prospects who have the combination of skill, basketball IQ, size, and athleticism. Has gotten significantly better off the dribble, and it is easy to see why he is one of the premier prospects in the class of 2021. From an NBA perspective he has not only significant 3 and D potential as a forward, but his athleticism is getting better – which could mean future star status if everything continues to come together. Add in that he is a son of a coach who has been around the game his whole life, and Baldwin checks nearly every box you could want out of a prospect. Looks like he will develop into an NBA lottery pick.”
Check out some of his highlights from Peach Jam below:
Come on down, Mr. Baldwin.