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Kentucky basketball’s recruiting big board for the class of 2020

@marsreel

After managing yet another top-two recruiting class in 2019, John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program is now all-in on what is expected to be a massive haul in 2020. They’ve already locked up commitments from top-ten guard BJ Boston and four-star forward Cam’Ron Fletcher, and we’re still three months away from the start of the early signing period.

So where does Kentucky turn next?

Note: this post will be updated as prospects are added and taken off the recruiting board, offers come, and/or levels of interest change.

Let’s take a look at the entire UK recruiting blueprint from top-to-bottom:

Commitments

BJ Boston

Brandon Boston Jr.

Shooting Guard | 6-7| 175 lbs.

Chatsworth, CA | Sierra Canyon

AAU: Athletes of Tomorrow (AOT) (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 7 | 3 SGTop247No. 15 | 3 SG
RivalsNo. 10 | 2 SG247 Comp.No. 10 | 2 SG

Offers: Chose Kentucky over Duke, Auburn, Oregon, and Florida

Quick analysis: Smooth, pure scorer with phenomenal length. Brandon Ingram comparisons are legitimate. Boston is also a popular player in his class, with several elite prospects wanting to team up with him in college. Securing a commitment from him this early in the game was massive for the program.

Cam’Ron Fletcher

Cam’Ron Fletcher

Small Forward | 6-6 | 195 lbs.

Saint Louis, MO | Vashon High School

AAU: Bradley Beal Elite (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 45 | 11 SFTop247No. 37 | 8 SF
RivalsNo. 37 | 9 SF247 Comp.No. 36 | 2 PF

Offers: Chose Kentucky over Missouri, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Alabama

Quick analysis: A strong, athletic wing with elite perimeter defender potential. Kentucky recruited him to play like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in Lexington, a pitch the St. Louis native was extremely fond of. Projects as a two-year player.

Major targets

Jalen Green

Jalen Green

Combo Guard | 6-6| 170 lbs.

Napa, CA | Prolific Prep

AAU: Team Why Not (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 3 | 1 SGTop247No. 4 | 2 CG
RivalsNo. 3 | 1 SG247 Comp.No. 3 | 2 CG

Offers: Kentucky, Memphis, Kansas, Oregon, Florida State, UCLA, and Arizona, among others.

Interest in Kentucky: Very high

Rumored favorites: Kentucky, Memphis, and overseas

Commitment timetable: Announcement date set for December 25

Quick analysis: Kentucky has a dream scenario in mind, and it includes Jalen Green. Memphis remains a serious threat and are currently neck-and-neck with the Wildcats at the top of the list, with other outside whispers circling that he could end up playing overseas, as well. Those are the three options for the consensus top-five prospect.

Josh Christopher

Josh Christopher

Shooting Guard | 6-6| 200 lbs.

Bellflower, CA | Mayfair

AAU: Vegas Elite (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 10 | 2 SGTop247No. 8 | 1 SG
RivalsNo. 11 | 3 SG247 Comp.No. 9 | 1 SG

Offers: Kentucky, Arizona State, Missouri, Michigan, and UCLA, among others

Interest in Kentucky: Very high

Rumored favorites: Kentucky, Arizona State, and Missouri

Commitment timetable: No decision date set, rumored to commit during early signing period

Quick analysis: Kentucky is seen as the heavy favorite to land the top-ten shooting guard prospect, though family ties to Arizona State and Missouri are worth noting. There are also rumblings that UCLA is the darkhorse here due to his relationship with Shareef O’Neal, though I don’t see the Bruins being the landing spot. I believe Christopher will begin taking visits in the very near future and make a decision in the coming months. Christopher, Green, and BJ Boston have been in discussions about playing together in college, so Kentucky securing a commitment from Christopher early to join Boston could be huge in their chances to land Green.

Isaiah Todd

Isaiah Todd

Power Forward | 6-11| 200 lbs.

Raleigh, NC | Word of God Christian Academy

AAU: Nightrydas Elite (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 8 | 2 PFTop247No. 20 | 3 PF
RivalsNo. 13 | 2 PF247 Comp.No. 14 | 2 PF

Offers: Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan, and Memphis

Interest in Kentucky: Very high

Rumored favorites: Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, and overseas

Commitment timetable: No decision date set, rumored to commit during early signing period

Quick analysis: With superstar potential as a face-up scorer, I get the sense that Todd is John Calipari’s favorite prospect in the class of 2020. Kentucky will have to fight off North Carolina and Kansas in the college ranks, and there is also rumored interest in a move to play professionally in Australia, but I like the Wildcats’ chances right now.

Lance Ware

Lance Ware

Power Forward | 6-9| 215 lbs.

Burlington, NJ | Camden

AAU: NY Renaissance (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 48 | 10 PFTop247No. 41 | 6 PF
RivalsNo. 52 | 8 PF247 Comp.No. 47 | 7 PF

Offers: Kentucky, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, and Providence, among others

Interest in Kentucky: Very high

Rumored favorites: Kentucky

Commitment timetable: Ware is expected to take five official visits in the coming weeks and make a decision this Fall

Quick analysis: While Michigan recently received a Crystal Ball pick at 247Sports recently, Kentucky is still seen as the heavy favorite in Ware’s recruitment and will likely be the choice when it comes time for a decision. The 6-foot-9 forward has seen his stock spike this Summer, and there is a sense that he could wind up being a top-20 prospect by the end of his high school season. Strong, athletic, and fundamentally sound, there is a bit of PJ Washington to his game.

Toss-up prospects

N’Faly Dante

N’Faly Dante

Center | 7-0| 230 lbs.

Wichita, KS | Sunrise Christian

AAU: MoKan Elite (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 18 | 4 CTop247No. 13 | 4 C
RivalsNo. 9 | 3 C247 Comp.No. 12 | 3 C

Offers: Kentucky, Oregon, LSU, Kansas, Iowa State, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, and St. John’s, among others

Interest in Kentucky: High

Rumored favorites: Kentucky and Oregon

Commitment timetable: A decision is expected in the next few weeks, with a reclassification to 2019 still on the table.

Quick analysis: While Dante’s camp has gone mostly silent over the last two weeks, the general consensus in recruiting circles right now is that the 7-foot-0 center is right on the cusp of a reclassification to 2019. He told KSR at Peach Jam that he would make the jump if he could get his academics in order, and this is looking to be the case. I’d likely lean Oregon over Kentucky 60/40 right now, though both remain legitimate options for him.

As a player, Dante has seen his game take a major leap, being named MVP of Peach Jam last month. Considered one of the top shot-blockers in the nation with a legitimate NBA body, the project player we once saw is now considered an instant-impact talent at the college level.

Cliff Omoruyi

Cliff Omoruyi

Center | 6-11| 230 lbs.

Roselle, NJ | Roselle Catholic

AAU: NY Lightning (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 51| 10 CTop247No. 46 | 11 C
RivalsNo. 54 | 10 C247 Comp.No. 51 | 11 C

Offers: Kentucky, Florida, Louisville, Auburn, Arizona, Maryland, Connecticut, and Rutgers, among others

Interest in Kentucky: High

Rumored favorites: Kentucky

Commitment timetable: Expected to take visits in the coming weeks and make a decision this Fall

Quick analysis: Omoruyi is extremely raw and is seen as a multi-year project player with high-level potential at the college level, making his recruitment an interesting one. Kentucky is his favorite school – he has said as much – but it just depends on how much of a priority the UK coaching staff makes him. If they truly want him, there is a sense around Omoruyi’s camp that they can get him. If other serious opportunities – reclassifications, high-risers in the rankings, etc. – present themselves, the four-star prospect out of Roselle, NJ could wind up elsewhere.

I will also note that Omoruyi looked the best I’ve ever seen him at the tail-end of the NBPA Top 100 Camp a while back back, so maybe he ends up being that high-riser in the coming months. If that’s the case, even better. It will be interesting to see Kentucky’s level of contact in the near future.

Greg Brown III

Greg Brown III

Power Forward | 6-9| 205 lbs.

Austin, TX | Vandegrift

AAU: Texas Titans (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 5 | 1 PFTop247No. 9 | 1 PF
RivalsNo. 7 | 2 SF247 Comp.No. 8 | 1 PF

Offers: Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina, Auburn, and Memphis, among others

Interest in Kentucky: High

Rumored favorites: Texas

Commitment timetable: Expected to take visits in the coming months, but will likely wait until the Spring to make a decision

Quick analysis: An uber-athletic forward with an endless motor, Brown is a sure-fire top-ten talent and would be a massive get for any of the five programs on his list. The 6-foot-9 big man recently shocked the world by including Kentucky in his final five after leaving the Cats out of his top ten and failing to talk about them in any recent media opportunities. Little did we know, UK extended a scholarship to Brown after Peach Jam, with sources telling KSR that both the Kentucky coaching staff and Brown’s inner-circle have made a point to keeping their mutual interest as quiet as possible and that the shock value we saw on Tuesday night when he included the Cats was by design.

To take it a step further, another source told KSR on Wednesday afternoon that Jalen Green is also interested in playing with Brown in college, as well, which makes plenty of sense given UK’s recent spike in interest. Green is Kentucky’s top target in the class of 2020, after all.

Texas has been seen as the heavy favorite dating back to 2017, as the Longhorn staff has done a tremendous job building a personal relationship with Brown and his family. Anything can change when visits are made, and with the five-star prospect opting to wait till the Spring to decide, there is plenty of time to make up ground. As of today, though, I’d still put Texas ahead of the pack.

Waiting on offers

Makur Maker

Makur Maker

Center | 6-11 | 235 lbs.

Orange County, CA | Pacific Academy

AAU: Dream Vision (adidas Gauntlet)

ESPNNo. 11 | 2 CTop247No. 2 | 2 C
RivalsNo. 5 | 2 C247 Comp.No. 5 | 2 C

Offers: UCLA, Oregon, USC

Interest in Kentucky: High

Rumored favorites: Overseas

Commitment timetable: A decision date is unknown, but the expectation is that he waits for the Spring

Quick analysis: The “7-foot guard” is one of the most interesting prospects in the class of 2020 simply because no one has any idea what he will do moving forward. Declared ineligible Orange Lutheran High School for this coming winter due to using up all eight semesters of athletic eligibility, Maker moved to Pacific Academy for the remainder of his high school career. His guardian recently told Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader  that Maker will absolutely be playing college basketball in 2020-21, though just about all the speculation out there right now is that he will follow in the footsteps of family members Thon and Matur Maker by going straight to the pros out of high school.

If he’s serious about going to college and there are no eligibility concerns, I expect Kentucky to offer, and the interest would be mutual. He told KSR at the NBPA Top 100 Camp that he’s highly interested in the Cats and hopes to visit. As of today, though, Maker’s status isn’t clear, and an offer likely won’t come until that happens.

Daishen Nix

Daishen Nix

Point Guard | 6-5| 205 lbs.

Las Vegas, NV | Trinity International Schools

AAU: Simply Fun Basketball

ESPNNo. 22 | 5 PGTop247No. 10 | 1 PG
RivalsNo. 14 | 2 PG247 Comp.No. 15 | 1 PG

Offers: UCLA, Kansas, Maryland, Gonzaga, Arizona, and Alabama, among others

Interest in Kentucky: High

Rumored favorites: UCLA, Kansas, and Maryland

Commitment timetable: Nix is in the process of scheduling visits and is expected to make a decision during the early signing period

Quick analysis: The elite passing guard told KSR at the NBPA Top 100 Camp that he is very interested in Kentucky, wants to visit, and is hoping for an offer sooner rather than later. After playing with BJ Boston throughout the week, he also said he loved the chemistry they built together and would love to play with him in college. That being said, his shooting is still a major concern and there is hesitation within the UK coaching staff about bringing in another liability on the perimeter, thus making a scholarship in question. They believe he is one of the best passers in all of high school basketball and appreciate that aspect of his game, but worry about another Isaiah Briscoe situation coming to fruition.

If Kentucky were to lose confidence in either Jalen Green or Josh Christopher, I could see the Cats prioritizing Nix in the coming months. With a decision expected during the early signing period, though, I don’t know if the timing will work out.

JT Thor

JT Thor

Power Forward | 6-9| 190 lbs.

Huntington, WV | Huntington Prep

AAU: Boo Williams (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 14 | 5 PFTop247No. 13 | 6 PF
RivalsNo. 53 | 9 PF247 Comp.No. 12 | 6 PF

Offers: Kansas, UCLA, Arizona, Maryland, California, Florida, and LSU, among others

Interest in Kentucky: High

Rumored favorites: Kansas and Kentucky

Commitment timetable: After reclassifying to the class of 2020, Thor is expected to make several visits in the near future and make a decision during the early signing period

Quick analysis: Thor has visited Kentucky twice – once in October 2018 and again this past January – and the expectation is that he takes another trip to Lexington. Kansas is also seen as a strong contender to land the five-star forward. Known for his athleticism, strong face-up capabilities, and versatility on defense, Thor is expected to fit in seamlessly with the ever-popular positionless style of play the college basketball world is utilizing more and more by the year.

Unlikely options

Cade Cunningham

Cade Cunningham

Combo Guard | 6-7| 215 lbs.

Arlington, TX | Montverde

AAU: Texas Titans (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 2 | 1 PGTop247No. 3 | 1 CG
RivalsNo. 2 | 1 PG247 Comp.No. 2 | 1 CG

Offers: Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Florida, North Carolina, and Washington, among others

Interest in Kentucky: Medium

Rumored favorites: Oklahoma State

Commitment timetable: A decision is expected during the early signing period in the coming months

Quick analysis: Kentucky will continue to monitor Cunningham’s situation and an offer is still on the table, but the general consensus is that the five-star guard’s “wide open” declaration simply isn’t true. Cunningham is favoring Oklahoma State and it will be a shock if he doesn’t end up there. Maybe the NCAA comes down on the Cowboys following their alleged involvement in the FBI scandal, but as of today, it’d be silly to pick anyone but OSU to land the consensus top-three prospect.

Scottie Barnes

Scottie Barnes

Power Forward | 6-8| 215 lbs.

West Palm Beach, FL | Montverde Academy

AAU: Nightrydas Elite (EYBL)

ESPNNo. 9 | 3 PFTop247No. 5 | 1 SF
RivalsNo. 6 | 1 PF247 Comp.No. 6 | 2 SF

Offers: Kentucky, Oregon, California-Berkeley, Kansas, Miami, Florida State, Ohio State, and Duke

Interest in Kentucky: Medium

Rumored favorites: Oregon

Commitment timetable: Barnes told KSR at Peach Jam that he plans to commit in the Spring

Quick analysis: Despite an offer still being on the table, I don’t see Kentucky as a legitimate landing spot for the five-star forward at this point in time. Oregon is seen as the rumored leader, though he also included Kansas, Ohio State, Miami, and Florida State as the other schools he is focused on at Peach Jam. Back in May, I wrote in Pilgrim’s Insider Notes that that those close to Barnes never felt the 6-foot-8 forward was all that serious about Kentucky, and this remains true.

Sharife Cooper

Sharife Cooper

Point Guard | 5-10| 160 lbs.

Marietta, GA | McEachern

AAU: Athletes of Tomorrow (AOT)

ESPNNo. 19 | 4 PGTop247No. 21 | 3 PG
RivalsNo. 15 | 3 PG247 Comp.No. 19 | 3 PG

Offers: Kentucky, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas A&M, among others

Interest in Kentucky: Medium

Rumored favorites: Auburn

Commitment timetable: A decision is expected in the coming weeks

Quick analysis: Cooper will not land at Kentucky, as conversations between both sides have stalled out over the last few months. Barring a major surprise, the five-star guard will be an Auburn Tiger.

Other names to watch

Kentucky has reached out to and visited five-star power forward Dawson Garcia on multiple occasions, and for a brief period, it seemed like an offer was coming sooner rather than later. In fact, if the 6-foot-10 forward hadn’t dealt with an illness that kept him from competition during the July evaluation season, I’m fairly confident one would have already come. Kentucky buzz has slowed down just a bit, but with elite scoring ability at all three levels and length to become a force in the paint on both ends of the floor, Garcia very well could be included in the “Waiting on offers” category above. Marquette, Kansas, and Minnesota are just of the few schools rumored to be in solid position with him.

Five-star forward Jaemyn Brakefield has visited Big Blue Madness of the past two seasons and there are a few ties to the Kentucky basketball program, sparking many of his early pro-UK Crystal Ball picks at 247Sports. Now, though, Ole Miss and Louisville are two of the schools with the most buzz and Kentucky’s contact has seemingly slowed down a bit. Jake Weingarten of Cats Illustrated and KSR’s upcoming Sources Say Podcast reported on Tuesday that Brakefield is “wide open,” but will cut his list to ten later this month.

There has also been speculation about Kentucky ramping up interest with five-star point guard Jalen Suggs, though a source close to the Minneapolis native told KSR that he would likely not entertain an offer from the UK coaching staff this late in the game. “We have moved on,” the source said. He said in June that he was focusing on Gonzaga, Minnesota, and Marquette during the home stretch of his recruitment.

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Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

21 Comments for Kentucky basketball’s recruiting big board for the class of 2020



  1. Goose
    6:04 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    Great stuff here!!



  2. BlueByYou
    6:52 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    Jack…great job. Love the way you keep things updated.



  3. UKinIN
    6:56 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    I don’t remember a recruiting target list for UK that has so light on Duke mentions.



    • Biggie
      1:31 am August 7, 2019 Permalink

      What few people have talked about, Duke recruiting is down after Capel’s departure. He helped bring in Zion (supposedly $$$), then left for another gig. For those conspiracy theorist, he was behind K’s adopting Cal’s one and done process. An opinion I very much agree with.



    • 4everUKblue
      7:21 am August 7, 2019 Permalink

      Last season was a colossal failure with the class he had, ESPN called it the greatest recruiting class in history and handed them the championship at the beginning of the season. How far did they get? Should have lost to UCF had the refs called it fairly.



  4. mashman 93
    6:59 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    Jack Pilgrim is in the know people. Great work Jack!!!!



  5. Ridge Runner
    7:20 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    Agree with those who already commented about the great job, Jack!



  6. IrishCat
    7:36 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    We need four bigs. I expect at least one of Whitney, Brooks, or Juzang back, and I’m still all on in IQ getting the keys to the car in 2020!



  7. Brad
    7:36 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    Give me green, Christopher and Todd and I’ll be very happy



    • J-Dub421
      10:05 am August 7, 2019 Permalink

      Agreed, but I want to throw in Dante as well.



    • bigbluenationmbb
      8:00 am August 9, 2019 Permalink

      Dante’s going to Oregon but maker or Thor would be nice



  8. KYjellyRoll
    8:17 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    Wow this could be the longest and most athletic roster by far



  9. VirginiaCat
    8:46 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    Jack, add my voice to the chorus of accolades. I appreciate the fact that your analysis is presented in a professional manner and is free of hyperbole. You obviously devote a lot of time to your work and take pride in your product. The BBN is lucky to have you.



  10. UKLugo
    8:54 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    Gimme Cunningham,Clarke(reclass),Banchero(reclass), Todd. That’s all.



  11. nocode96
    11:12 pm August 6, 2019 Permalink

    As others have said, and I’ve told you since your first article here, great stuff dude. Keep em coming.



  12. binarysolo
    12:37 am August 7, 2019 Permalink

    Maybe this has been addressed elsewhere but why do these elite kids have Oregon in the mix?



  13. Urincatland
    4:17 am August 7, 2019 Permalink

    Keep up the great work Jack!



  14. b2h3slin
    9:43 pm August 8, 2019 Permalink

    Always exciting to read these, Jack. Any idea why the Brown offer was a secret?