clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Udoka Azubuike to Kansas may be big for Kentucky Basketball

For once, a five-star player committing elsewhere is great news for Kentucky.

NBPA Top 100 Camp

The Kentucky Wildcats already have a monster 2016 class locked up, but there's one more guy they want to add.

That would be five-star center Marques Bolden, the No. 1 true center prospect in the incoming class. As good as UK's current crop of five-star signings are, none of them are a true banger in the post the way Bolden is, and John Calipari has made it clear the 6-10, 254-pound mammoth from DeSoto, Texas is his No. 1 priority to wrap up the '16 class.

UK may have taken a big step towards securing his services Thursday night when another fellow '16 big man committed elsewhere. That came when five-star center Udoka Azubuike announced his commitment to the Kansas Jayhawks live on an ESPNU announcement.

Why does that matter to Kentucky?

Depending on who you ask, Kansas may have been UK's biggest competitor for Bolden, but now that Bill Self has Udoka in the fold, Bolden to Kansas becomes far less likely to happen.

Even before Udoka committed to Kansas, UK was viewed as the favorite for Bolden, but it obviously helps any time the No. 2 or 3 school in a recruitment takes a commitment from a similar prospect.

And if you follow the 247 Sports Crystal Ball (take those with a grain of salt the size of Bolden), either Kansas or Kentucky have gotten the last 14 picks for Bolden with UK getting the last 10.

But don't count out Duke in this recruitment. Blue Devils coaches met with Bolden last week and may do so again before he makes a decision. They remain a strong player in his recruitment because, like UK, they don't have a true center for next year.

Highly-touted freshman Chase Jeter has rarely seen the floor this season amid Duke's struggles, and project big man Antonio Vrankovic hasn't seen much PT either. Marshall Plumlee graduates this year, leaving Duke with a huge question mark at the 5 spot for next season.

In other words, this is shaping up to be another great recruiting battle between these two blue blood programs.