John Calipari is set to visit arguably the top prospect in all of high school basketball, regardless of class.
According to Andrew Slater of The Athletic, Calipari will pay a visit to Jonathan Kuminga, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2021, today.
— Andrew Slater (@Andrew__Slater) January 1, 2020
Following his unofficial to Lexington last February, this trip will be the fourth from a member of the Kentucky coaching staff and the third from Calipari alone. The UK head coach visited Kuminga with associate head coach Kenny Payne at The Patrick School back on Sept. 16, followed by an individual visit from Payne on Sept. 24 to make it two visits from the UK staff in just over a week. Calipari then visited again on Oct. 30 before extending an invitation to see Kentucky play at the Champions Classic on Nov. 5.
Kuminga took Kentucky up on their offer, attending the game with the likes of UK signee Lance Ware, 2020 four-star target Cliff Omoruyi, and members of current Wildcat Kahlil Whitney’s family, among other.
He even caught up with former Kentucky guard John Wall before hanging out near UK’s locker room after the game…
John Wall dapping up Jonathan Kuminga is what you wanna see if you’re a UK fan. ? pic.twitter.com/fYvvGuLVuE
— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) November 6, 2019
Less than 24 hours later, Kuminga announced he was cutting his list to ten, including the Wildcats in the process to go with Duke, Memphis, Texas Tech, Auburn, Michigan, Florida State, Georgia, Washington, and Maryland.
In terms of his individual recruitment, Kuminga was once seen as a significant Duke lean, though the five-star forward told KSR at Peach Jam that he had discussed a “super team” 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.
As a player, Kuminga, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward out of Elizabeth, NJ, is listed as the consensus No. 1 overall recruit among all recruiting services. With elite skill, athleticism, quickness, size, and length, the five-star prospect is a dominant force on both ends of the force.
Here is Kuminga’s scouting report, provided by Brian Snow of 247Sports:
“Already at 6-foot-8 with extremely long arms, he is beginning to put his skill game together,” Snow writes. “Length, athleticism, and versatility are his strengths. Has shown the ability to get into the lane and rebounds well. Is capable of guarding multiple positions, and also blocking shots. Needs to continue to get better with his outside shot, and if that comes he should be nearly impossible to guard. His upside is through the roof, and he is just now beginning to figure out how good he can become. He should hear his name called early in the NBA draft when decides to make that move.”
Sources tell KSR that Calipari and the UK coaching staff are recruiting Kuminga for the class of 2020, as the general consensus in recruiting circles is that the five-star forward will ultimately reclassify to the class of 2020. The goal would be to slide Kuminga in as a small-ball four to go with Devin Askew, Terrence Clarke, and BJ Boston, along with UK’s potential returnees from this current group.
After falling out of the race quite a bit late in the summer and into the fall, Duke has made up significant ground and are seen as contenders with the likes of Kentucky, Auburn, and Texas Tech. Despite being cut from his list, there are also rumblings that LSU is working to jump back in the conversation and could be added back to his final list at a later date. No matter how it unfolds, a decision is still quite a ways away.
Speaking of Wall, here is some footage of Kuminga dropping 36 points in front of the former Wildcat at the John Wall Holiday Invitational last weekend:
Come on down, big fella.