The Nike Peach Jam begins today, and so begins the insanity that is the summer recruiting season.
The July live period begins and allows for college coaches to scout and evaluate prospective talents they would like to bring onto their teams.
Since John Calipari has taken over at Kentucky, recruiting has become as much of a spectacle as the regular season, with a lot of intrigue and questions about who the top targets are, which player fans want more versus another, and recently, the Duke-Kentucky recruiting battles have been quite the story.
So with the July live period beginning, here are a few things to keep an eye on.
1. Kentucky vs. Duke: This year will be another year to follow the Duke vs. Kentucky recruiting battles. As expected, each program is recruiting the top players in the country and seem to be in good standing with many of the top guys.
Right off the top, Marvin Bagley III, Zion Williamson, Romeo Langford, Cameron Reddish, and Moses Brown are guys being heavily recruited by the Wildcats and the Blue Devils, setting up some more classic Calipari-Coach K showdowns.
Calipari and K will be traveling around the country watching these guys perform during the month of July and expect both the Wildcats and Blue Devils to come away with great classes in 2018.
2. Marvin Bagley III: Bagley is seen by most as the top player in the country and right now, he is viewed as a UK lean. The question for the summer will be if Bagley can retain his top spot while fending off the likes of Zion Williamson, Cameron Reddish, and Bol Bol.
247 Sports Director of Scouting Jerry Meyer said that he believes Bagley is still the best player in the class and can be a transcendent talent.
"Marvin Bagley is extremely talented and has taken a step up in his game," Meyer said. "If you look at his numbers, he scored at a ridiculous clip in the EYBL. At times he wasn't consistent as far as production but that has changed."
ESPN’s Basketball Recruiting Director Paul Biancardi had high praise for Bagley as well.
“This class has a once in a decade type of player in Marvin Bagley,” Biancardi told USA TODAY. “He may be the best prospect I’ve seen in my time at ESPN.”
During the Nike EYBL Circuit, Bagley averaged over 25 points, nearly 15 rebounds, and three blocks per game. At 6’10 and very skilled, he seems to be the type of player Calipari has loved having in the past.
247 Sports actually has Williamson as the #1 player, but the Composite puts Bagley ahead.
Big Blue Nation will want to keep their eyes on Bagley this summer to see how he performs.
3. Other UK Targets: Aside from the players mentioned above, fans will want to pay attention to guys like Immanuel Quickley (who seems to be favoring Kentucky and could be the first 2018 commit), Louis King (played with USA U19), and Keldon Johnson (a five-star forward).
King is an interesting one in the group. He went to Egypt with the U19 squad and is really close with Cameron Reddish. King recently told Kyle Tucker of SEC Country that he and Reddish could be a package deal.
King doesn’t have a Kentucky offer, but a strong performance over the summer and Calipari could begin pitching a package deal to Reddish and King. Duke is the main threat for Reddish, but doesn’t seem to be recruiting King.
July is always a fun month for basketball recruiting lovers, and with Peach Jam starting up, the fun is just beginning.