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Evan Daniels posts positive updates on UK’s chances with Cade Cunningham and Jonathan Kuminga

Photos: Jon Lopez/Nike

Photos: Jon Lopez/Nike

Cade Cunningham and Jonathan Kuminga are two of the top prospects in all of high school basketball, and if you ask recruiting expert Evan Daniels, Kentucky has a puncher’s chance at both.

In his weekly #AskEvan mailbag post on, Daniels was asked about both prospects, where he provided fairly positive updates regarding UK’s chances.

Regarding Cunningham, Daniels said the mutual interest between Kentucky and the No. 2 senior prospect was “very serious,” though his brother being hired at Oklahoma State continues to be a major factor in his decision.

“[The mutual interest between Kentucky and Cunningham is] very serious,” he wrote. “Cunningham opted to skip USA Basketball to go to Kentucky for an official visit this coming weekend. This is one of the harder recruitments to handicap. There’s the brother factor with him being an assistant coach at Oklahoma State. Based on that alone, it would be somewhat unprecedented for him to not go there. As said in this feature before, the other schools involved were bluntly told they had very much real shots. If that’s the case, I’d say the recruitment comes down to Kentucky, North Carolina and Oklahoma State. At the end of the day, you would think it’s tough to go against your own brother, right?”

As for Kuminga, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2021, Daniels says the rumors of Duke losing momentum and Kentucky picking up significant ground are true.

He also mentioned LSU and Nebraska as contenders in his recruitment.

“I think it’s pretty early to predict where Kuminga ends up. Of those two, I would definitely say Kentucky has a better chance,” he said. “They have offered and met with Kuminga to start the open period. I’m not sure where Duke stands with recruiting Kuminga at this point. I know that LSU is involved. So is Nebraska and a host of others. But it’s still early.”

In my Pilgrim’s Insider Notes post earlier this week, I wrote about Kentucky picking up steam with Cunningham, with the elite five-star prospect telling KSR that John Calipari was in to see him at his school on Monday.

Kentucky’s chances of getting 2020 top-three prospect Cade Cunningham are growing by the day. … Sources tell KSR that Kentucky is recruiting both Cunningham and Askew for the class of 2020, and there is a puncher’s chance of that scenario coming to fruition. I am told that as soon as Askew’s official visit wrapped up in Lexington, the staff’s recruiting focus shifted entirely to Cunningham’s official visit scheduled for this weekend.

“Next week is the big one,” one source close to the situation told KSR. “[They are] not playing around, going for the kill.”

And they are getting this week started with a bang, with Cunningham telling KSR that Calipari will be in to see him this evening at his school less than a week before his official trip to Lexington.

I also touched on Duke losing ground with Kuminga, adding that I didn’t feel the No. 1 prospect in the junior class would wind up in Durham at the end of the day. With Kentucky’s contact ramping up, along with the numerous connections between both sides, it has become apparent that UK is the more likely option.

Two weeks ago on the Sources Say Podcast, I reported that the Duke talk surrounding 2021 No. 1 prospect Jonathan Kuminga was incredibly overstated and that the 6-foot-8 forward was not leaning toward the Blue Devils. Since this, that talk has grown even louder, and if I were to make a prediction today, I’d say Kuminga will not wind up at Duke if he reclassifies to the class of 2020, as expected.

In terms of Kentucky’s chances, the coaching staff continues to visit the five-star forward during the fall recruiting period, indicating they feel at least somewhat confident in their chances. One source familiar with Kuminga’s recruitment told KSR on Sunday that the rumblings of Duke’s chances diminishing are also going hand-in-hand with the buzz surrounding Kentucky going up. The five-star forward told KSR at Peach Jam that he had discussed a “dream class” scenario with Kentucky commit Terrence Clarke, with the two openly talking about playing at the same school in college. When you factor in Kuminga being AAU teammates with Lance Ware, along with him being a current student-athlete at The Patrick School – former home of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Dakari Johnson, and Nick Richards – and a star out of New Jersey – Karl-Anthony Towns, Isaiah Briscoe, Kahlil Whitney, Ware all signed with Kentucky out of the state- the connections are certainly there.

Kuminga is seen as a strong reclassification candidate, with the 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward being a potential small ball four at the college level.

Sources continue to tell KSR that Kuminga will not make a decision until after his junior season, with a spring commitment being the most likely scenario for the five-star prospect.

Kentucky has already secured commitments from Terrence Clarke, BJ Boston, Lance Ware, and Cam’Ron Fletcher in the class of 2020.


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

9 Comments for Evan Daniels posts positive updates on UK’s chances with Cade Cunningham and Jonathan Kuminga

  1. mashman 93
    7:21 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

    John Calipari is a man on a mission!

  2. ColoradoCatFan88
    7:48 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

    With Coach K paying players & Penny Hardaway being the new “cool” coach on the scene, Cal has to amp up his recruiting tactics & solidify his legacy as being the greatest recruiter to ever coach college basketball.

  3. lexattorney
    8:41 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

    Is “puncher’s chance” the new “reading the tea leaves?” I remember when this site used “reading the tea leaves” as its catchphrase in recruiting discussions and it was, more often than not, the kiss of death. Recruit after recruit went elsewhere, and sometimes to inexplicable schools, after this phrase was posted on KSR. I just pray that I’m wrong about “puncher’s chance” but it is showing up an awful lot lately.

    • VirginiaCat
      9:24 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

      “Puncher’s Chance” means that the likelihood of a positive outcome is remotely possible, although unlikely. In other words, don’t get your hopes up.

    • Carcrook
      8:50 am October 11, 2019 Permalink

      If I’m not mistaken, Cal uses the “Puncher’s Chance” expression often and so Matts crew will now drive it in the ground!

  4. eyebleedblue
    8:45 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

    I tried to read this but the pop up ad took up half the page so I came here to complain. Lolz

  5. Smyrna_Cat
    8:59 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

    Not sure I really understand quoting yourself. Does that make it more likely to happen?

  6. Megan
    12:14 am October 11, 2019 Permalink

    Kentucky has a puncher’s chance. That means Kentucky has almost no chance. It’s a boxing expression that means it’s not impossible for the underdog to win — a decisive punch could come from out of the blue — but it’s very unlikely.

    Jack seems to be using the expression to mean something much more positive.