After earning a scholarship offer from the Kentucky coaching staff back on August 21, there was early speculation that 2021 four-star forward Bryce Hopkins recruitment would be rather cut-and-dry. With UK quickly emerging as the early favorite – the Wildcats picked up seven consecutive Crystal Ball picks over at 247Sports and five straight FutureCasts on Rivals – most assumed a commitment was not only likely, but the expectation.
Since then, though, there has been little-to-no movement or movement in Hopkins’ recruitment. Following the offer, the top-30 prospect’s camp originally told KSR that they would sit down and come up with a plan of attack regarding a commitment date before following it up with an unofficial timeline of late September or early October.
As we approach the latter part of that timeline, KSR caught up with Hopkins’ father, Clyde, to find out the latest in the four-star forward’s recruitment and where things stand regarding a decision.
“Bryce has been talking a lot, going back and forth with the coaches [on his list] through text messages,” Hopkins said. “That’s been pretty much it, that and Zoom calls.”
The UK target and his family previously took a self-guided trip to Lexington to check out the campus and get a feel for what life would be like as a student.
“You know what? It was very impressive. Very nice campus. Very nice,” Hopkins told KSR back in September. “It was self-guided, we just wanted Bryce to get a feel for campus, see where the players live, the facilities, Rupp Arena, stuff like that. Now, we actually have a taste of where everything is located. We just hung out down in Lexington, it was very nice. Good trip.”
As for contact on Kentucky’s side since then, Hopkins says it remains consistent.
“Bryce has been texting back and forth with [John] Calipari, I talk to Joel [Justus], texted Joel a couple times last week,” the four-star forward’s father said. “Once [Wednesday], as well. … Kentucky, man, it’s a great place for him. We went there and felt really good about it.
“They have been consistent ever since the first Zoom call. They haven’t really been pressuring, but they’ve definitely been staying in touch, letting us know that they’re still interested and stuff like that.”
As for the other schools on his list, the main programs being discussed as serious options outside of Kentucky are Illinois, Providence, and Indiana, all of which remaining in regular contact with the Hopkins family.
“Indiana, they’ve done a really good job of recruiting him. Illinois, I just got off the phone with them like two minutes ago. Providence, they’ve been going really hard also.”
With the process winding down, Hopkins says it’s unlikely they take any other trips before making a decision, but noted that could change if the 6’7” forward feels another one is necessary.
“Kentucky was the only one. We’ve been down to Indiana, we’ve been to Illinois, been to Michigan before this Covid stuff, so we’ve got a general idea of what everyone has to offer,” he said. “We took official visits to some of these schools. I’ve let that out there for Bryce, if he feels we need to take another trip to IU or Illinois, I told him to just let me know. We can jump in the car, it’s only four hours away, tops. I’ve left that up to him.”
When will we hear of a final decision? Hopkins says his son would like to be committed “in a couple weeks,” with his choice coming from the nine schools he has remaining on his list.
“I would say probably a couple weeks, I’m thinking,” he said. “Yeah, probably in a couple weeks, Bryce will want to be committed. … He’s going to decide from that final nine.”
As for the deciding factor in his final choice, Hopkins’ relationship with the head coach and trust in the program is going to be massive when picking a school.
“Just having that relationship with the head coach, having that trust in them,” Clyde Hopkins told KSR. “Bryce feeling comfortable, having trust there. Having a great relationship with the head coach is important.”
Hopkins is considered the No. 30 overall prospect and No. 7 power forward in the 247Sports Composite Rankings for 2021.