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Kentucky Basketball recruiting: Where Wildcats stand with top recruits

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How soon will we see UK adding to this recruiting class?

USA Today Sports

As usual, Kentucky is in the mix for many of the top remaining recruits for the 2018 class. Eric Bossi over at rivals gave an update on Monday on the top 10 remaining wings for next year, discussing the current favorites and whether or not they may commit early.

Kentucky is in the final list for four of those guys and the favorite for three of them. While that may not sound like a lot, keep in mind that John Calipari is very selective and several of these “top recruits” have not been recruited by Kentucky.

Kentucky is listed as the favorite for Zion Williamson, Keldon Johnson, and Tyler Hero. Bossi had this to say about them.

Zion Williamson - There has been no shortage of coverage of Zion on A Sea of Blue. He is a rock star and, while he is listed at No. 2 in the class, is likely the prize of the group. While the Wildcats are still listed as the favorite, Bossi notes that Williamson’s recruitment has been difficult to dissect.

“Also, the chances of him signing during the early period appear to be on the decline, so this one could get really interesting,” Bossi said. He listed the likelihood of Zion signing early at 50%. It would seem that, the earlier the announcement, the better things look for Kentucky.

Keldon Johnson - Kentucky has made a strong surge for Johnson and it appears to be almost a lock, but he has yet to commit after telling Rivals.com that he was close to a decision a month ago. Given his relationship with Immanuel Quickley and all the buzz surrounding his recruitment, it is likely that the 18th ranked recruit will commit to Kentucky before the fall deadline. Bossi sets the prediction of an early commitment at 80%.

Tyler Herro - You probably had not heard that name before two weeks ago, but since Kentucky offered him a scholarship on Tuesday all signs indicate that he will be a Wildcat. After decommitting from Wisconsin a few weeks ago, many speculate that his “people” reached out to Kentucky in hopes of receiving an offer.

Bossi believes it is only a 30% chance that he will commit early, but others believe it will come sooner if the Wildcats are indeed the choice. Herro is the 38th ranked player in the class and his name is pronounced as “hero,” so I’m all in on the sharp-shooting guard.

Despite what anyone in Durham might tell you, Kentucky is also in the mix for No. 1 recruit R.J. Barrett. Barrett torched Calipari’s U19 national team to lead Canada to a gold medal, and Cal would love to have him in Lexington.

Many believe Duke will be the choice for Barrett, but it is far from a sure thing. We will find out for sure on November 10th, as Barrett recently set that as his announcement date.

More than likely, once one of these guys commits the dominoes will begin to fall. It is hard to imagine Barrett and Williamson sharing the same court, so it may be that the first to choose will dictate the other’s decision.

in a separate article, Ben Roberts of the Lexington-Herald Leader did a confidence ranking of UK recruits based on the most-to-least likely to pick the Cats. To no surprise, Barrett was not high on the list, checking in at No. 5. While UK fans are hoping this turns into a Kevin Knox-type of a recruitment, Roberts doesn’t see that type of surprise happening.

However, there has been more concrete info in recruiting circles regarding Barrett’s recruitment than their was for Knox’s.

Duke was seen as the favorite for the 6-7 shooting guard heading into his official visits, and it doesn’t sound as if anything happened to change his mind. (Another minus for UK: There’s been more buzz for Oregon as the non-Duke option than there has been for the Cats in recent weeks).

It’s tough to stomach UK possibly being the third-place team in the hunt for the No. 1 overall recruit, but the good news is UK is still in good shape for a strong finish, especially if it includes Zion.

However, Roberts made sure to note that Clemson is not to be discounted in this recruitment.

The constant here is that Kentucky has been a perceived frontrunner for several weeks now, while others at the top of the list have changed. That’s obviously good news for UK, but this recruitment still remains a bit of a mystery. And (for whatever this is worth) the Herald-Leader was told this week that Clemson is the program expressing the most confidence behind the scenes.

If you had your choice, which of these top wings would you most like to see at Kentucky?

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