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Kentucky’s 2017 Recruiting Board and Predictions

As John Calipari and his staff grind out the final stage of recruiting the Class of 2017, let’s take a look at the five names on the board with predictions for each prospect.

As many as three of the following names could join Quade Green, Shai Alexander, P.J. Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt and Nick Richards as new Wildcats from the class.


Mohamed Bamba
Power Forward/Center| 7-0 | 216 lbs.
New York, NY | Westtown
AAU: PSA Cardinals
ESPN No. 5 | 2 C Top247 No. 3 | 2 PF
Rivals No. 4 | 1 PF Scout No. 2 | 2 C

By now you know all about Mohamed Bamba. The five-star big man is as good as it gets when it comes to the physical tools of the game. He recently measured out with a 7-foot-9 wingspan and a 9-foot-6 standing reach, which would be the second longest in the NBA. He is a one-of-a-kind rim protector and one John Calipari would love to add to next year’s roster.

As for Kentucky’s chances, there is some noise around Texas and Duke right now, but some folks I’ve spoken to seem very confident he becomes a Wildcat. He is very close with Quade Green and Hamidou Diallo, and those relationships should help steer him to Lexington.

Considering: Duke, Kentucky, Michigan, Texas

Prediction: Kentucky

YouTube Video:


Kevin Knox
Small Forward | 6-8 | 195 lbs.
Tampa, FL | Tampa Catholic
ESPN No. 7 | 2 SF Top247 No. 13 | 4 SF
Rivals No. 9 | 2 SF Scout No. 7 | 2 SF

While Bamba would make a great addition to UK’s class, Kevin Knox is more of a player of need. Knox is a versatile scorer on the wing, which is exactly what Kentucky lacks, and Calipari loves his game. Most believe he will eventually end up in the ACC, but Kentucky isn’t going down without a fight.

Knox will play in the Jordan Brand Classic this Friday night.  His father, Kevin Knox Sr., told T.J. Walker today he will make his final college decision on either April 28 or May 1, depending on national TV availability.

Considering: Duke, Florida State, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina

Prediction: North Carolina

YouTube Video:


Jemarl Baker
Shooting Guard | 6-4 | 180 lbs.
Eastvale, CA | Roosevelt High School
AAU: Earl Watson Elite
ESPN No. 65 | 19 SG Top247 No. 119 | 22 SG
Rivals No. 80 Scout No. 87 | 20 SG

Jemarl Baker is one of three new names on the board as Calipari looks for help to rebuild his backcourt. Kentucky loses six guards from this past season and Baker, a former California commit, recently received a scholarship offer to fill one of those spots.

Baker released a list of nine schools he is considering, but he is reportedly leaning toward Kentucky. I expected to hear of a commitment over the weekend shortly after Calipari paid him a visit late last week.

Considering: Arizona, Arizona State, Duke, Kentucky, Marquette, Maryland, Oregon, San Diego State, Utah

Prediction: Kentucky

YouTube Video:


smith Mark Smith
Guard | 6-5 | 225 lbs.
Edwardsville, IL | Edwardsville High School
AAU: Ramey Jets United
ESPN NR Top247 No. 184 | 40 PG
Rivals No. 78 | Scout — | 35 SG

Mark Smith was the first of the new guys to pop up as a potential shooter on next year’s squad. Illinois’ Mr. Basketball is a hot name in recruiting right now (the Big Ten loves him) after he emerged as a basketball star in his senior season. He had previously been committed to play baseball at Missouri.

Michigan State is the presumed leader over Illinois and a handful of others, including Kentucky. Of the three backcourt players on UK’s radar, he likely ranks third on the priority list.

Considering: Illinois, Kansas State, Kentucky, Michigan State, Missouri, Northwestern, Ohio State, Texas

Prediction: Michigan State

YouTube Video:


Cameron Johnson
Guard| 6-8 | 210 lbs.
Moon Township, PA | Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
TRANSFER from Pittsburgh

Rounding up the recruiting board is Cameron Johnson, a very attractive grad transfer out of Pittsburgh. Unlike most grad transfers, Johnson has two years of eligibility as long as he completes his graduation from Pitt this spring. He will be able to play immediately and UK would love to add him as a shooter. He shot 41.5 percent from outside on almost 300 attempts last season.

Over the weekend, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said there is “a good chance” he goes to Kentucky.

Considering: Arizona, Baylor, Florida, Iowa State, Kentucky, Marquette, Michigan, Ohio State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, TCU, Texas

Prediction: Kentucky

YouTube Video:

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

23 Comments for Kentucky’s 2017 Recruiting Board and Predictions

  1. KYcats11
    7:53 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

    kentucky just got a shout out on the cubs game on espn.

  2. CodyStandifer
    8:06 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

    I really want Bamba and Baker. But…..I still think bam may come back. Which will mean Bamba is gone. But I still believe our class ends with Bamba and baker with an unexpected exit of humphries

    • 8xchamp
      8:38 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

      Bamba and bam play different positions. Bam staying has zero effect on eithers playing time if he returns

    • Mathlete
      8:49 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

      Bam would play the 4, which is more natural for him and where he’ll play in the NBA anyway. We’ll make room for Bamba no matter what

    • AGSlater
      9:30 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

      Not true at all 8x. It will have an effect. Bamba is gonna go somewhere else bc Bam is gonna take his time deciding unitl cal will be sol with a soft frontcourt yet again

    • catsarerunnin
      7:34 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

      The return of slater who is still butt hurt about the Cats going to the Elite Eight. In his infinite wisdom they were just a NIT team. Welcome back slater!!!

    • 4everblue
      12:14 pm April 11, 2017 Permalink

      Just when you think Slater can’t say anything more ignorant than his last most ignorant statement…

  3. Not Dan Issel
    8:20 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

    I’ll take that.

  4. Angelo
    8:46 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

    Thanks Drew! I needed that post!

  5. Mathlete
    8:48 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

    Not that Bamba is taking advice from some goober in a fan site comment section, but the choice of schools for him seems like a no brainer… Look at Cal’s record with elite rim protectors (Davis, Noel), and compare it to K’s and Smart’s… He’s a #1 draft pick and title contender here, he’s the best player on a bad team in Texas, and just look at Duke’s track record with one-and-done players lately.

    • Angelo
      1:15 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

      Cousins, KAT, Davis, Noel; Cal is better with bigs than point guards!

  6. DelrayCat
    10:37 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

    Cam Johnson could be a HUGE get for UK and a potential star. He has incredible range for his size and will only benefit by having a significant upgrade in talent around him. He may be the biggest get of all these guys based on the fact we will so severely lack veteran leadership.

  7. Cals Hoverboard
    11:29 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

    When I look at the video of Mark Smith I see a young raw version of Jamal Murray. At 6’5” and 225 he’s got the size and athleticism to be an outstanding guard for us. He hit every shot in his video too! We need a shooter like him 🙂

    • chris43
      12:05 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

      Considering its a “HIGHLIGHT” video….I would sure hope that he hit all of the shots 😉

  8. UkfanMatt
    11:42 pm April 10, 2017 Permalink

    Really liked Smith’s shooting. Did anyone else notice Bamba’s video was supposed to be his top 5 highlights for his senior year, yet all 5 plays were against the same team? Just wondering

  9. Blue Jesus
    12:01 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    If Cameron Johnson hit 41.5% on 300 attempts, he would have made more 3s than Monk made this season, and I think more than Murray last year when he set the UK record… is that stat right?

    • a21CATSfan
      1:09 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

      You must always remember; when browsing KSR, facts are ALWAYS optional. Anyways, getting Bamba, Knox and Baker would be the ideal situation. With Bam leaving, Cal has 3 scholarships available. Drew’s prediction would be a great consolation. Hell, Bamba, John Johnson and Bob Bobson would be a hell of a consolation. CATS

  10. BiasedBigfoot
    2:25 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Would’ve rather had Smith over Baker. I guess.

  11. bennyd113
    7:53 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Sounds like Kevin Knox’s Dad has way too much pull on where kevin goes to school. And it sounds like his dad does not want there to be competition at the school kevin goes to so kentucky was never in the picture. His dad said if kennard and taytum were coming back to duke he wouldnt be going there. Wants to be the man instead of WIN……

    • dballrb
      7:22 pm April 11, 2017 Permalink

      Just like Ben Simmons at LSU..Great talent but god awful team.

  12. Jiminy Crickets
    8:22 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Based on what Ive seen, and heard (which is admittedly not a ton) Bamba is a must get, but his highlight videos are always against kids 6-8″ shorter than him.
    Never thought Knox would consider UK with us having Vanderbilt and Washington coming in.
    Baker is smooth but will never play ton of minutes, reminds me of Mulder, but would love to have him.
    Johnson would be great get with two years left, but he runs like he has two bad knees, and looks like a slightly less athletic Willis. I worry he will struggle with UKs pace and be liability on defense.

  13. UK Fan In Nashville
    11:58 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    I’d rather have Knox if there were no other stipulations, but I think Bamba fits our needs more, especially if Bam stays in the Draft. Both would be amazing and 40-0 talk could start again.

  14. dballrb
    7:24 pm April 11, 2017 Permalink

    I’ve watched knox in person play at Tampa Catholic,he’s a beast,but rumors here have him in the ACC…