Kentucky is already shaping up for another top-notch class for 2017. However, that class could improve greatly with two of the top prospects in the class undecided and taking a heavy look at the Wildcats.
Seven-footer Mohamed Bamba is ranked third in the class and small forward Kevin Knox is ranked eighth in the class. Bamba is deciding between Kentucky, Michigan, Texas, and Duke. Knox is deciding between Kentucky, UNC, Duke, and Florida State.
Bamba and Knox are high on John Calipari’s wish list to round out this recruiting class and both guys are being heavily recruited by members of Kentucky’s 2017 class.
Quade Green, P.J. Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Nick Richards are on the East Team for the All-American game—which takes place March 29—and have consistently been in the ear of Bamba and Knox, according to Kentucky Sports Radio’s Nick Roush.
In particular, Washington has been talking to Knox pretty heavily. Washington’s parents are close friends with Knox’s parents and have discussed their sons playing together, according to Knox.
“Him and my Dad are really close. They always talk at every camp. My mom and his mom are really close.” Knox said Paul asked him after practice, “‘How does it feel playing with Jarred and P.J. and Quade?’ He’s recruiting me too. It’s all fun when my parents and their parents get together. It never stops. They’re always in my ear.”
Knox and Bamba would add two elements to the current group, that combined with players expected to return, would make the Wildcats a definite top five, if not #1 team, going into next season. While their is talent abound, the team lacks shooting going into next season after the departures of Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins, and (presumably) Malik Monk.
Knox would provide excellent size and shooting ability, creating a mismatch at the small forward spot.
Bamba would give Calipari a defensive-minded, shot blocking big man in the middle. Bamba stands around seven feet tall, but has a 7’9 wingspan and a 9’6 standing reach.
For comparison, Anthony Davis’ wingspan at the NBA Combine was recorded 7’5.5 and standing reach at 9’0. Nerlens Noel was recorded at 7’3.8 wingspan and 9’2 standing reach. Willie Cauley-Stein was recorded as having a 7’3 wingspan and 9’3 standing reach.
Needless to say, Bamba’s length is exceptional. With Calipari’s track record of turning long, athletic big men into stars, Bamba would be no exception and has potential to be outstanding.
Combine those with the talents and abilities of the players coming in and Kentucky will have the look of a top-notch team next season.
You can see why Green is practically begging Bamba to pick Kentucky. After helping his team win the Legends & Stars Shootout during the Powerade Jam Fest on Monday, Green used his national television platform to plead with his former AAU teammate to pick the Cats:
At the #McDAAG, Quade Green (@Q_Green1) once again uses his TV time to beg Mohamed Bamba to join him in Lexington. "Please commit to BBN!" pic.twitter.com/hdnTV94tPh— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) March 28, 2017
We can only hope this comes to fruition.