The Kentucky Wildcats have made the cut for Jarred Vanderbilt.
The five-star forward has reportedly narrowed his list to four, and UK is among the schools still in contention, according to Scout.com's Evan Daniels.
Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt is down to Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and TCU, he tells Scout.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) December 19, 2016
Vanderbilt, a 6-8 big man from Houston (TX), is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 15 overall player in the class of 2017, while ESPN has him at No. 23 and Rivals.com at No. 21.
At one point, UK was viewed as a big favorite for Vanderbilt, and it looks like they're still favored after he officially visited this fall. UNC and TCU are the two biggest competitors for him with Oregon lagging behind.
But don't forget the Horned Frogs have Corey Barker as an assistant coach. Barker is the first cousin of Vanderbilt, and this family tie has them still in contention. Still, this likely comes down to UK vs UNC. It certainly helps that UK has Carolina-killer Malik Monk aiding their efforts to get Vanderbilt.
Elsewhere, five-star forward Mohamed Bamba is eying an official visit to UK in the near future.
Five-star center Mohamed Bamba said he's working to set up visits to Duke and Kentucky. Has already visit Michigan & Texas officially.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) December 19, 2016
Bamba, a 6-10 big man out of Harlem (NY), is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 2 overall prospect in 2017. ESPN and Rivals.com have him at No. 4 overall, while 247 has him at No. 3. He is classified as a center by ESPN and Scout, while 247 and Rivals has him as a power forward.
None of that matters as Bamba is both talented, powerful, and versatile enough to play either spot, though he wants to play at forward in college. John Calipari's position-less pitch has been a big factor in this recruitment, not to mention the comparison to Anthony Davis.
After it appeared Duke was the heavy favorite in this recruitment, UK has been the trendy pick recently. Bamba unofficially visited UK for Big Blue Madness, so he won’t necessarily need to visit again for UK to get his commitment.
Depending on who you ask, Duke could be the biggest challenger in this recruitment with Texas and Michigan also lurking. The fact that Bamba is still planning an official visit to Duke suggests they're still very much in the running, though they may already have a wealth of bigs next year with Wendell Carter coming in and Marques Bolden and/or Chase Jeter coming back.
Bamba will likely wait until March/April to decide and see who leaves for the NBA draft. Vanderbilt may decide in the coming weeks, though no decision date is set.