Entering the fall recruiting period, Kentucky is still the team to beat for Zion Williamson.
Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader gathered five national recruiting analysts to gauge which schools are in the best shape for Williamson. Coming in at No. 1 was none other than Kentucky:
1. Kentucky: The Wildcats were the clear No. 1 pick among the national experts. The majority of the top recruiting analysts put UK at the top of their lists, and none of the five had the Cats lower than No. 2, a great sign for John Calipari as he welcomes Williamson and his family to Lexington this weekend.
But the big news in this study that Kansas — the perceived biggest threat for Williamson — came in at No. 3, trailing Clemson and Kentucky. That’s very good news for the Cats as they look to secure Williamson’s commitment this fall.
We’ve still got almost two months before the fall signing period comes, and a lot can change between now and then. There’s also the recruitment of R.J. Barrett that’s still playing out. It remains to be seen if Williamson and Barrett are willing to play together in college, though if anyone can make it happen, it’s John Calipari.
However, the news is not so good with Simi Shittu. Once thought to be a Kentucky lean, Shittu now appears to be trending elsewhere, according to Roberts, who adds that Shittu may not visit Kentucky.
That visit was when Shittu was expected to get a scholarship offer from Calipari, but even if he did have an offer, it’s hard to see Shittu picking Kentucky without having visited.
And the fact that Jaxson Hayes just got an offer while Shittu has not tells you that things aren’t looking good with the latter. There’s also been some crystal ball movement for Arizona in the Shittu recruitment, including a prediction from 247 recruiting ace Andrew Slater.
And according to Kyle Tucker of SEC Country, there may be some unwillingness for Shittu and Barrett to play together in college.
Multiple sources have indicated there is some doubt about whether Shittu, another Canadian, and Barrett want to play together in college. Perhaps the lack of an offer to Shittu means the Wildcats feel good about their chances to land Barrett.
Barrett and Shittu used to be teammates at Montverde in Florida, but Shittu has since transferred to Vermont Academy in Vermont. Perhaps there is something to the notion that they don’t want to play together in college.
Alas, if Kentucky misses on Shittu but gets Williamson, I’d say they’ll be fine.