The spring signing period opens this week, and the Kentucky Wildcats are looking to finish off a historic class.
However, it won't be easy landing either of the Cats' remaining targets, being that they're easily the best big men still uncommitted. Five-star center Marques Bolden and five-star forward/center Jarrett Allen are both still considering UK, though it's clear Bolden is who UK really wants.
He's easily the best true center in this class, something UK doesn't have either on their current team or coming in via their 2016 signing class. That's also true of Duke, who've been the perceived favorites for Bolden over the past month.
However, ESPN's Jeff Borzello isn't sure that's the case. He reports that Bolden does not in fact have a clear favorite with his college commitment possibly coming this week.
Bolden, perhaps the nation’s best low-post scorer, has been the subject of a major recruiting battle between the two schools, and there’s no clear leader at this point. He met with Calipari a couple weeks ago, and was expected to meet with the Duke staff on Sunday. If Duke gets Bolden, it’ll be a close call for the No. 1 class. If Kentucky gets him, it’ll lock in yet another No. 1 class for Calipari.
If UK does miss on Bolden (and maybe they already believe they have), they'll continue to make a strong push for Allen, as Borzello writes.
Allen took four official visits and several unofficial visits in the fall -- but the early signing period brought no news from the talented big man. Notre Dame, Kansas, Kentucky and Houston all received officials, and the Austin native was on Texas’ campus multiple times. North Carolina is still in touch here and there. This looks to be an in-state battle between Texas and Houston, two campuses to which he’s been on countless occasions. Kentucky is also making a strong push down the stretch -- and the Wildcats were perhaps the leader back in the fall.
USA Today’s Jason Jordan also adds that UK remains a contender for Allen, but it's going to be hard to pry him from the Lone Star State.
The story all along with Allen was that getting him to leave the state was going to be a tall order, but if Marques Bolden opts to go somewhere other than Kentucky it could help the Wildcats’ chances of landing Allen, the top-ranked center in the ESPN 100. Still, Texas and Houston remain strong here.
At this point, I would predict Duke to be the pick for Bolden is he makes a decision this week. The Blue Devils have all the momentum and just visited Bolden and his family on Sunday. If however John Calipari can get Bolden to push his decision back and give UK another chance to visit with him, I do think that can make things at least interesting going into his commitment.
As for Allen, I do think UK is keeping contact with him to remain in the hunt if they miss on Bolden, but Allen probably stays in Texas for college.