UK’s 2019 roster is already formidable, but Coach Cal is still searching for that final cog that would have the machine running at full strength. Even if we assume EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards both return to Lexington for another season, there is still potentially room for one more big body to fill out the front-court rotation. Who that player will be, or if the Cats wind up with just three big men for next year, remains to be seen, but there are several options still technically on the table.
The likelihood that any of them end up in blue and white is a mixed bag.
The premier recruit still left undecided in the 2019 class, McDaniels seems to be having trouble making his final decision. We all know UK is his “dream school,” but with plenty of hometown Washington advocates certainly in his ear, the pressure of making a final commitment has to be weighing on the guy.
As recently as last week, it seemed UK was firmly in the driver’s seat as the clear leader to land McDaniels, but when his suspected decision day came and went without any official announcement, the waters got much murkier. 247Sports’ Evan Daniels flipped his prediction yesterday, now saying he believes Washington will snag the 5-star forward. With minimal whispers and no firm date set for his decision, expect the McDaniels saga to drag on just a bit longer.
Kerry Blackshear, Jr.
The former Virginia Tech standout is also ruminating on a decision of his own: to risk the uncertainty of the NBA Draft or spend one more year in college boosting his stock.
The most recent rumblings on Blackshear point to him leaning towards staying in the draft. That being said, our own Jack Pilgrim did note that should Blackshear not get the feedback he’s looking for from the League, Kentucky may be the favorite destination for arguably the top grad transfer in 2019. We’ll know soon enough: only 10 days remain until the draft withdrawal deadline.
UK reached out to the former Nevada big man and McDonald’s All-American almost immediately after his name popped up in the transfer portal, but updates on Brown have been few and far between since then. Arizona is pushing hard to woo the 6’10” power forward, but other than that, there haven’t really been any indicators on Brown’s status.
Maybe he’s waiting to see where other chips fall? Or could he be holding out for a different school to show interest? As soon as we know, so will you.
For now, I wouldn’t call the situation with any of these guys critical. But on the off chance EJ or Nick explore their options elsewhere, Coach Cal might have to put on his big boy recruiting cap and get to work once again.