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Where Kentucky stands with its top 2018 basketball recruits

Photo by adidas

Photo by adidas

College football is stealing the headlines right now, but with Duke gaining momentum on the 2018 recruiting scene, what’s the latest on Kentucky’s chances with the nation’s top players? Here’s a quick refresher.

The best shot for fall commitments ðŸŽ¯

Immanuel Quickley â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸

Point Guard 6-3 | 175 lbs Bel Air, MD John Carroll School/Team BBC
ESPN: 12 | 3 PG Top 247: 13 | 2 PG Rivals: 10 Scout: 8 | 3 PG

Quickley remains the most likely player to commit to Kentucky in the fall. The 6’3″ point guard from Maryland just took an official visit to Kansas and had to cancel his visit to Miami this weekend because of Hurricane Irma. He’ll be in Lexington September 15-17 and is poised to make his decision in early October. If he comes on board, he’ll immediately try to bring this person with him…

Zion Williamson â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸

Forward 6-7 | 230 lbs. Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg/SC Supreme
ESPN: 2 | 1 PF Top 247: 1 | 1 PF Rivals: 2 Scout: 3 | 2 SF

Kansas has been the buzz lately for Williamson due to their affiliation with adidas and Bill Self offering scholarships to two of Zion’s AAU teammates, Dontarius James and Devon Dotson. Before you get too discouraged, don’t forget all the talk this summer of Immanuel Quickley and Zion being a package deal. Also, don’t count out Cal, who may be bringing in Zion’s pal Drake to Big Blue Madness. Get Zion to Lexington that weekend with Quickley at his side and I like Kentucky’s chances, especially if he decides this fall.

R.J. Barrett â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸

Small Forward 6-7 | 185 lbs. Mississauga, Ont., CAN Montverde/Nike UPlay Canada
ESPN: 1 | 1 SF Top 247: 2 | 2 SF Rivals: 1 Scout: 1 | 1 SF

Barrett just wrapped up an official visit to Lexington, and the reviews ranged from “alright” to “great.” It’s best not to read too much into the words of a 17-year-old, but Barrett still plans to take all of his visits, including one to Duke, the perceived favorite, on September 15. He’ll also visit Arizona (Sept. 21), Oregon (Sept. 23) and Michigan (Sept. 29) and reiterated that he wants to make his decision in the fall. Calipari is really stressing Kentucky’s Canadian pipleine to the NBA, so I like the Cats here.

Heating up ðŸ”¥

Simi Shittu â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸

Power Forward 6-10 | 220 lbs. Burlington, Ontario, CAN Vermont Academy
ESPN: 6 | 2 PF Top 247: 8 | 1 PF Rivals: 8 Scout: 9 | 1 PF

The versatile Canadian forward still doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky, but that’s just a formality at this point. Calipari likes Simi so much he took Jamal Murray up to Canada with him to watch him play, a gesture that impressed the 6’10” Ontario native so much that he’s planning to come to Lexington this fall. If he does, he’ll get that offer, and if he likes it enough, he may just commit on the spot.

Holding pattern ðŸ’¬

Keldon Johnson â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸

Small Forward 6-6 | 205 lbs. South Hill, VA Oak Hill Academy
ESPN: 7 | 3 SF Top 247: 11 | 2 SG Rivals: 18 Scout: 24 | 2 SG

Johnson is a new name on the scene after a monster summer and a surprise unofficial visit to campus a few weeks ago, which resulted in a scholarship offer. After that, Kentucky seemed to have all the momentum; however, Johnson just visited Texas and now the Longhorns are surging. He was scheduled to visit Florida State this weekend but because of Irma, will travel to NC State instead. He’ll check in with the Seminoles next weekend, and Maryland later this month. Yesterday, Chris Fisher reported that Johnson was “blown away” by his visit to Kentucky, so if the Cats can get him on campus for an official, perhaps for Madness, they can likely make up some more ground.

Long shots â„️

Bol Bol â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸

Center 7-2 | 220 lbs. Santa Ana, CA Mater Dei/Cal Supreme
ESPN: 4 | 1 C Top 247: 4 | 1 C Rivals: 3 Scout: 2 | 1 C

At one point, Kentucky had all the momentum with the son of the late NBA great Manute Bol, but the relationship cooled when he was cut from Calipari’s U19 national team (only one naturalized citizen was allowed on the roster and the staff chose a more experienced player). Things could change, but for now, it looks like Bol will stay out west at Arizona, while Cal has shifted his focus northward to 6-10 Simi Shittu.

Romeo Langford â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸

Shooting Guard 6-5 | 191 lbs. New Albany New Albany/Eric Gordon All Stars
ESPN: 5 | 1 SG Top 247: 5 | 1 SG Rivals: 6 Scout: 5 | 1 SG

Langford kept Kentucky in his top seven, but there hasn’t been any chatter about the two for months. Buzz continues to surround Indiana and Vanderbilt in his recruitment.

Quentin Grimes â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸

Shooting/Point Guard 6-4 | 185 lbs. The Woodlands, TX The Woodlands/Basketball University
ESPN: 13 | 3 SG Top 247: 17 | 5 PG Rivals: 11 Scout: 11 | 4 PG

Kansas is the overwhelming favorite for Grimes, who did not list Kentucky among the schools he plans to visit this fall in a recent interview with Evan Daniels.

Darius Garland â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸â­ï¸

Point Guard 6-2 | 170 lbs. Brentwood, TN Brentwood Academy/Bradley Beal Elite
ESPN: 11 | 2 PG Top 247: 15 | 4 PG Rivals: 15 Scout: 7 | 2 PG

Garland is scheduled to visit UK on October 13, but with Immanuel Quickley likely to commit and Quade Green and Shai Alexander potentially sticking around for a second year, I imagine he’ll take his talents elsewhere.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

6 Comments for Where Kentucky stands with its top 2018 basketball recruits

  1. BobTheBuilder
    12:50 pm September 7, 2017 Permalink

    I’m predicting this to be Cal’s most disappointing class yet. Quickley is the only lock. Zion will go to Kansas, Barrett to Duke. Remember Cal already missed Bagley and Reddish so he would have missed on four transcendent talents. The other teams are starting to catch up.

    • AllBlueAllDay
      1:04 pm September 7, 2017 Permalink

      Haha quit being such a negative Nancy. Cal will still get his. He’s been here 8 years now and finished 1st or 2nd every year.

    • ClutchCargo
      1:35 pm September 7, 2017 Permalink

      Can we freak out? Yes, we can!

  2. BlueGrass
    1:10 pm September 7, 2017 Permalink


  3. Cletis75
    5:43 pm September 7, 2017 Permalink

    Should have cut Langford on the u19 team instead of Bol. I know Bol was out of shape, but Langford was hurt and didn’t play anyway.

    • BBNDan7
      6:27 pm September 7, 2017 Permalink

      Wouldn’t matter. Couldn’t take bol even in that case cause of the natural born citizen rule.