Tre Jones deciding to return to Duke for his sophomore season was the moment UK truly lost in the campaign for Matthew Hurt’s services. But Coach Cal is still looking to bolster his 2019-2020 front court and the question remains: do the Cats have any chance of landing one of the last gems of the upcoming recruiting class, Jaden McDaniels?
Short answer? Yes. Longer answer? Yes, but it doesn’t look great for UK.
McDaniels definitely has a positive opinion of the program, as evidenced by his comments about Coach Cal and a couple other future Wildcats:
As far as Kentucky, McDaniels took an official visit to Lexington on Nov. 9, and he received an in-home visit from coach John Calipari on Dec. 9.
McDaniels said Calipari and the Wildcats 2019 class are two of the biggest reasons that they are one of his five finalists.
“Cal [Calipari] is a real good dude, and he’s going to tell you straight up at all times,” McDaniels said. “It’s also fun being recruited by Kahlil Whitney and Tyrese Maxey because they are both great players.”
That being said, as of now, 247’s Crystal Ball predictions still have Washington as the solid favorite to land McDaniels, with San Diego State also favored over UK. The top-5 recruit hasn’t set a timetable for his commitment, so there could still be plenty of time for the Kentucky staff to press hard in an attempt to sway him, but it may be unwise to focus all of their efforts on a kid who seems to be leaning elsewhere when there are other options available.
Would I love to see Jaden suit up in Kentucky blue? Of course. But Coach Cal and company shouldn’t pass up on the likes of Kerry Blackshear, Jr. and Jordan Brown on the off chance they can change one recruit’s mind.