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What does DJ Jeffries’ decommitment mean for Kentucky?

John Calipari lost half of his 2019 recruiting class this afternoon when four-star small forward DJ Jeffries decommitted from Kentucky.

“After careful consideration prayer and countless hours of consulting with my family, I decided to reopen recruitment,” Jeffries said in a tweet. “It was a hard decision but I am confident that taking my time to choose the right school for me to better myself educationally and athletically is the right choice.”

With Jeffries now a free agent, what does this news mean for Kentucky next season and going forward?

Calipari’s first decommitment

Kentucky has had players transfer out of the program and enter the NBA too early. We’ve also seen recruits deemed locks to end up in Lexington head elsewhere for various reasons.

But never has a player back out from his Kentucky pledge until today.

Calipari is very stingy with his offers and who he accepts commitments from, usually waiting until he’s absolutely certain of a prospect’s potential interest before pulling the trigger. With Jeffries, he saw a bully-ball small forward with great potential as a two-way star. He’s versatile and could fit in with anybody, anywhere. The staff saw him as the perfect plug-and-play guy.

Even when his high school coach, Penny Hardaway, signed on the dotted line with Memphis, Jeffries doubled-down on his commitment.

“It’s not going to sway me,” he said at the time. “I’m going to stay at Kentucky.”

He was sold on the Cats.

Now that Hardaway has gained some steam on the recruiting trail, however, Jeffries is having second thoughts and Memphis is now seen as the runaway favorite.

Penny Hardaway is a threat

When former NBA superstar Penny Hardaway jumped from the AAU coaching ranks to the Division-One level, many questioned whether his coaching style would translate.

Now, the Memphis head coach helped reel in the No. 28 recruiting class in the class of 2018 and already has a four-star recruit committed for 2019. He still hasn’t coached a game, but he absolutely has some momentum right now.

After watching him on the recruiting trail at various events, KSR’s Aaron Torres said he wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Hardaway becomes a major recruiting competitor in the very near future.

I was blown away by Hardaway’s presence on the recruiting trail these past few weeks. And I truly believe that he could end up as a thorn in the side of the Calipari’s and Coach K’s of the world, if not an outright, equal competitor.

Read Torres’ entire post below:

Like It Or Not, Penny Hardaway Is Establishing Himself As A Real Threat in Recruiting

On that note…

James Wiseman may be favoring Memphis

Kentucky’s biggest recruiting target in the class of 2019 may be trending a different direction.

With Jeffries likely headed to Memphis, it wouldn’t be a shock to see his former teammate James Wiseman join him.

“It would be really tough (for him to turn down Memphis) because him and Penny are so close,” Jeffries said of Wiseman back in the spring. “It probably would be tough, but in life you got to make hard decisions sometimes.”

Wiseman trimmed his list to eight last week, where both Memphis and Kentucky made the final cut. Most believe others trying their shot at the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2019 are just wasting their time.

KSR’s TJ Walker said this morning that Wiseman goes back-and-forth with the Cats and Tigers, but Kentucky still feels good about their chances.

The consensus seems to be that Wiseman himself goes back-and-forth between UK and Memphis, but is genuinely trying to keep an open mind about the other schools, too. Everyone I’ve spoken with has said that it’s going to be between Memphis and UK and that UK is still is a comfortable spot.

Now that his friend and former teammate is likely headed for Memphis, does that push him the wrong direction?

Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen are near-locks

Arguably the biggest news that came from this has to do with two other Wildcat prospects.

Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen, the former being a five-star, top-25 small forward and the latter being a four-star forward out of Pendleton County, are rumored to be favoring Kentucky.

They are both visiting Lexington next week, and there are whispers Calipari could seal the deal with them both before it’s all said and done. Now there is nothing holding them back from joining the recruiting class. Jeffries’ decommitment stings, but if the Cats can replace him with two elite prospects at the same position in less than a week? I think the BBN would be more than happy.

Could Calipari favor these two over Jeffries, and knowing commitments are on the way, talked about a mutual breakup with the (now former) Wildcat commit? Or did Coach Cal see this news coming and pushed for commitments as damage control? Who knows.

For more on Whitney, Allen, their upcoming decisions, and their potential roles at Kentucky, check out my post from yesterday below:

For Kentucky, it’s not Kahlil Whitney OR Dontaie Allen. It’s both.

Kentucky will be fine.

Jeffries was a solid prospect, but if we know anything about John Calipari, he knows how to roll with the punches. He has a loaded roster this year with several players expected to return next year. The coaching staff is in solid position with elite prospects, and as mentioned above, we could be nearing commitments from two of them.

Kentucky always eats first.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

26 Comments for What does DJ Jeffries’ decommitment mean for Kentucky?



  1. dismore
    10:53 pm July 30, 2018 Permalink

    Nice man bag Penny.



    • FlatTopsAndBlockedShots
      12:15 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

      I traveled with my newphew to a couple of his EYBL events this summer. Penny definitely crosses lines. He stayed at the same hotel in Westfield, Indiana as the Bluff City Legends.



  2. Alex90
    11:10 pm July 30, 2018 Permalink

    Lol he referenced an article from 2 hours ago on this same site. Love KSR but I really don’t understand why they need more than 3-4 full time writers when all they do is repeat each other.



  3. Bigblue7982
    11:21 pm July 30, 2018 Permalink

    It means we’re getting better players.



    • Cletis75
      12:10 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

      Kinda what I was thinking, he wants to make sure that he isn’t being recruited over. Smart on his part.



  4. michaelb
    11:49 pm July 30, 2018 Permalink

    That was the first ever decommitment ? I thought it was . It’s just unheard of around here . It’s super shady if you ask me .



  5. michaelb
    11:51 pm July 30, 2018 Permalink

    There’s only one thing that would make that happen & that is cold hard cash & lots of it . Because what are you gaining by switching schools from uk to Memphis ? Nothing the eye can scan I’ll tell ya that much .



    • timbo
      12:53 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

      That’s a baseless and ridiculous comment



    • michaelb
      5:11 pm July 31, 2018 Permalink

      Well good thing for us is : we can say whatever we want . I don’t gotta offer you anything to stand on Tim. Go sit on your neck some more . I’ll say it again just for you . I bet he accepted 250k to go play there at Memphis . Don’t let that blow ur mind out Timbo slice



    • CatstopWontstop
      8:49 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

      Agree with Timbo. Penny is a former NBA All-Star, who has had prep school coaching success and has a bond with a lot of the talent coming up in the current HS landscape. The rest of the country better hope he can’t coach, and/or isn’t successful getting prospects to success in the NBA because if he does Memphis is going to be a power soon, and for a long time.



    • BPatte
      9:49 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

      Couple questions these recruits need to ask,
      How many NCAA wins does Penny have?
      How many Final fours has he been in?
      How many first round NBA players has he coached?
      How many players has he developed into NBA players?
      If I were a recruit or a parent of a recruit these would be my first questions…



    • michaelb
      5:14 pm July 31, 2018 Permalink

      Yea just like I said & you said just in a diff way : the player gained nothing by switching . He feels inferior to competition by doing this . If you wanna strive to be the best in the world you play & practice against the best ala uk



    • michaelb
      5:08 pm July 31, 2018 Permalink

      Still not gaining anything.



    • 4everUKblue
      9:03 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

      I’m terrified.



  6. 8 god
    12:08 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

    before y’all lose your minds about Memphis, consider this: both could go to Duke



  7. rlburd2
    12:12 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

    #2. That is all.



  8. Jiminy Crickets
    12:20 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

    Does anyone else think that Jeffrey’s knew the entire time he was just bait for wiseman, and that Calipari Took him as basically a “package deal“. Now it looks like Wiseman may not be coming, his welcome at UK may not have been so warm. I know he has done well this summer, but he has not really improved, and has not jumped in the rankings like most thought he would. Add in the fact that Calipari is recruiting two guys at the same position, and maybe he thought it would be best to go back home to Memphis



  9. Papaw
    7:28 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

    IMHO it simply means the kid speaks before thinking. Doubtful he would have stayed at UK more than 1 year anyway before transferring



  10. 4everUKblue
    8:35 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

    Good luck kid but don’t let the door hit you on your way out. I was never totally sold on him, he seemed like a consolation prize.



  11. BTownUKFan
    8:41 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

    Hardaway is a shiny “penny”. (Pun intended) He’s brand new and he has a personal connection to a couple of the 2019 prospects. He has not proven he can win on the college level, he has not proven he can prepare young talent for the NBA. To call him a ‘threat’ is a bit premature.



  12. possumato
    8:57 am July 31, 2018 Permalink

    There are so many VASTLY different theories from so many sources being published on the who, what, where, when, and why for his decommitment.



  13. Ace Duncan
    1:05 pm July 31, 2018 Permalink

    1. Hardaway is an AAU coach. There is no indication he can coach in college.
    2. AAU coaches are not going to get a guy ready for the NBA like Cal would.
    3. Someone who would rather play for Penny is short sighted.

    Penny and Memphis is a short term threat.



  14. michaelb
    5:17 pm July 31, 2018 Permalink

    run into some of bbns finest on these comments sections lol



  15. ORANGE MAN
    11:16 pm August 1, 2018 Permalink

    I think it has the potential to hurt Calipari a bit because of the timing. He was just starting to re-establish himself as the king of recruiting after losing out to Duke on the top 3 recruits this year. To have this happen now might slow the mojo. Truth be told, Jeffries was a chess piece to get to Wiseman. Cal holds out on offering scholarships as long as he can for leverage, yet he offered a 4-star junior a scholarship? Sounds like Jeffries wanted to play with Wiseman at Uk, but he started to feel like Penny was starting to woo him to Memphis. Or maybe Wiseman doesn’t really like The idea of playing with Jeffries again. Just because they know each other doesn’t mean they’re a package deal. Losing Jeffries is no big deal as far as he is concerned. He will be a good player, but UK can get better to replace him.
    As for Penny now being a threat, I seriously doubt that. So he’s wooing two guys he coached into playing for him. That’s normally to be expected, isn’t it. If they could see that the only one to benefit from it is Penny, the threat would be over.
    E



  16. notFromhere
    12:05 pm August 2, 2018 Permalink

    Penny can promise some future money and anything else his rep can buy. Cal can only do so much to compete against that. Memphis will likely be on probation or under investigation in the next 3 years, unless their compliance staff is better than UK’s.