Simi Shittu is a 6’9” power forward from Vermont, and his recruitment has certainly been a strange one. Once a top guy on Kentucky’s list, a September visit from John Calipari seemed to end the Wildcats’ pursuit the top-10 player.
Many believe that Calipari backed off of Shittu to pursue Jaxson Hayes, who had suddenly emerged as a guy with a high upside that was not yet on everyone’s radar. It certainly seemed that way as Hayes received an offer from Kentucky the day after Calipari met with Shittu in Vermont.
Simi Shittu and Kentucky appear to be going their separate ways https://t.co/yldAJABHrN— A Sea of Blue (@ASeaOfBlue) September 22, 2017
Since that time, Hayes committed to Texas and Shittu has dropped Arizona from his list, who was the favorite at the time of Calipari’s last known contact with him. So should Kentucky take a second look at Shittu?
One of the reasons why Kentucky seemed to sour on Shittu was they appeared to be in great shape at one point for R.J. Barrett, and for whatever reason, the two weren’t playing together in college.
Now that Kentucky is out of the mix for R.J. Barrett, I wonder if they will be allowed to get back into the mix for Simi Shittu, who was never going to play together with Barrett.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) November 10, 2017
Here is the thing. P.J. Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt may both be in the NBA next year. While there is some depth at center that may return (Sacha Killeya-Jones, Nick Richards) and there is the potential of adding Bol Bol or Moses Brown to the class, there is no one in sight (on the roster or on the recruitment list) that would be able the play the four position. Yes, Zion Williamson could be a small power forward, but I doubt Cal would waste his skill set on the block.
Shittu is the only power forward in the top-10 on any recruiting board, and the only other at the position that Kentucky has recruited was Shareef O’Neal. Many believe O’Neal will end up at Kentucky, and although he is a top-50 player he would not be able to contribute as much as Shittu from the get-go.
The current leader for Shittu is Vanderbilt, who may have just gained a bigger edge in recruiting with the commitment of elite point guard Darius Garland on Monday. But you would have to think that an offer from Kentucky would carry some weight, especially with an immediate need at the position next season.
For now, it appears Moses Brown and Bol Bol are the only bigs Kentucky is actively recruiting going into the spring. You can also toss Zion Williamson into that mix, as it’s looking more and more like he’ll play the 4 if he comes to Kentucky with Quade Green, Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro and Shai Alexander getting the 1-3 spots.
Would you like to see Calipari reach back out to Simi Shittu? Here is some video of what he can do.