One of the oddest recruitments of the 2017 class has been DeAndre Ayton.
Regarded as the class' top prospect in just about every recruiting service, Ayton is the kind of game-changing prospect that could elevate just about any Power 5 program into Final Four contention.
However, it sounds like the Kentucky Wildcats are not making a strong push for this five-star center, at least for now. SEC Country's Ben Roberts posted a recruiting update that had an interesting nugget about UK's pursuit of Ayton.
Sources close to Ayton have said he’s enamored by UK’s record with both one-and-done players and 5-star big men, and the Cats very well could be the favorite if they show more interest in his recruitment.
That same post had Scout.com's Evan Daniels say, "I don’t think there’s too much to go on at this point" in regards to Ayton having a leader. It certainly sounds like UK has a good chance with Ayton if they want to push for him, but that's easier said that done.
In April, we posted about the odd situation that Ayton, a talented seven-footer oozing with NBA potential, was in. At that time, despite Ayton's immense talent and seemingly limitless upside while being projected as the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Ayton was only being recruited by one major program.
That's the Kansas Jayhawks, who have been on Ayton for awhile now, even amid questions about his eligibility and college uncertainty. That's why UK slow to begin recruiting him hard, but that has changed over the summer.
John Calipari and his staff began ramping up their pursuit of Ayton, enough that his list of three schools in consideration included UK. It also had Kansas and Arizona, two programs who've taken chances on prospects with eligibility concerns, the latest being Zona's Terrance Ferguson.
That may help explain why, at least for now, it appears UK is still approaching Ayton with some serious hesitation.
And with guys like Mohamed Bamba and Nick Richards strongly considering UK, it's easy to see why Calipari is hesitant to take a risk on Ayton and miss out on one or both of Bamba and Richards. Those two, by all indications, are locks to be eligible and playing college hoops next year, something Ayton is far from certain to do.