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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: 2018 Fall Signing Period Primer

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Here’s everything you need to know about Kentucky’s targets going into the fall recruiting period.

USA Today Sports

With Summer gone, we’re gearing up for the early fall signing period for college basketball recruiting.

John Calipari has snagged just one 2018 recruit, but that’s not a problem yet. Calipari has a good shot with the three or four recruits, and is still in the race for a few others.

After losing out on Cameron Reddish, but getting Immanuel Quickley, Cal is aiming for guys like Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Simi Shittu. Here’s a breakdown of UK’s position with his remaining targets.

Immanuel Quickley

247 ranking: No. 13

Rivals: No. 10

Scout: No. 8

ESPN: No. 12


Quickley is a 5-star point guard; he measures at 6’3” and 175 lbs.

Kentucky was the overwhelming favorite for Quickley as soon as Calipari got involved. They’d held 100 percent of the predictions in 247 Sports’ crystal ball for awhile now, and it came as no surprise to anyone when he picked the Cats.

He visited Kentucky on the weekend of Sept. 15. He also visited Kansas, and was expected to visit Miami, though that was canceled due to Hurricane Irma, and never rescheduled.

Zion Williamson

247 Ranking: No. 2

Rivals: No. 2

Scout: No. 3

ESPN: No. 2

The high school sensation is a 5-star power forward, standing 6’7” and weighing 230 lbs.

Williamson is probably the second-most probably Kentucky commit. It’s between the Cats and Kansas, according to many recruiting experts. Kansas leads Kentucky 43 percent to 29 percent in his 247 Crystal Ball, but it’s closer than it seems.

That obviously makes Kansas the biggest competition for Kentucky, but Duke and South Carolina (Williamson’s home state) are still in the running as well.

He visited Clemson on Sept. 9, and they’re considered a very strong contender for Williamson. His was set to Kentucky is set for Sept. 22, the same time John Wall was inducted into the UK Hall of Fame, but Williamson ended up rescheduling the visit. The makeup date has not been announced yet.

Decision Date: Expected before fall signing period ends in late November

R.J. Barrett

247 Ranking: No. 2

Rivals: No. 1

Scout: No. 1

ESPN: No. 1

Kentucky fans weren’t too confident when Barrett called his Kentucky visit “alright,” but it’s not over yet. His crystal ball has Duke and Kentucky as the top two schools in contention; Duke leads the Cats 56 percent to 33 percent.

Barrett is a 5-star forward, standing 6’6” and weighing 180 lbs.

Calipari watched Barrett score 38 points on his U19 team in the FIBA World Cup, and now he wants Barrett to do that for him.

After his Kentucky visit recently, Barrett visited Duke on Sept. 15, Arizona on Sept. 21, and Oregon on Sept. 23 Next up is Michigan on Sept. 29.

Decision Date: Expected after completing official visits in mid-late October

Simi Shittu

247 Ranking: No. 7

Rivals ranking: No. 9

Scout ranking: No. 15

ESPN ranking: No. 9

Kentucky leads Simi Shittu’s crystal ball, taking in 43 percent of the predictions, ahead of UConn, Syracuse and Oregon.

The 6’8”, 210-lb Shittu is a 5-star power forward. He’s expected to take visits to Arizona, Arizona State, UConn, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oregon, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

Shittu cut down his top 10 last month, and it’s kind of hard to tell who Kentucky’s biggest competition was at the time. UConn appeared to be the biggest, as they had receiving 14 percent of the predictions on his crystal ball, and they’d be close to home (Shittu plays his high school ball in Vermont).

However, Arizona has gotten a surge of picks for Shittu this week, so much that those Pac-12 Wildcats are now his crystal ball favorite. There are also rumors that Shittu and fellow Canadian R.J. Barrett don’t want to play together in college.

Calipari visited Shittu on Sept. 12. A visit to Lexington has not yet been scheduled. But Shittu has scheduled visits to other schools: He’ll visit Vanderbilt on Oct. 6, Arizona on Nov. 3 and North Carolina on Oct. 10.

Decision Date: Expected before fall signing period ends.

Keldon Johnson

247 Ranking: No. 11

Rivals: No. 18

Scout: No. 24

ESPN: No. 7

The Wildcats made a big surge in Johnson’s recruitment when they offered him during a surprise visit, but Texas has gained the buzz lately. The Longhorns are favored in his crystal ball, leading Kentucky 50 percent to 33 percent in the predictions.

The Longhorns are certainly Kentucky’s biggest threat in Johnson’s recruitment, and it seems as though it’ll come down to those two.

The 4-star shooting guard is 6’5”. 200 lbs. He has visited Maryland, Florida State, NC State, Texas and Kentucky (he visited with Quickley on the weekend of Sept. 15).

Bol Bol

247 Ranking: No. 4

Rivals: No. 3

Scout: No. 2

ESPN: No. 4

Bol’s recruitment seems pretty wide open. His current crystal ball predictions are Arizona 50 percent, USC 20 percent and Kentucky 10 percent. Bol is scheduled to visit Kentucky on Oct. 14. He’ll also visit Oregon, UCLA, Arizon and USC. Bol moved to California to finish his high school career, and his enjoyment of the west coast lead many to believe he’ll stay there. But Kentucky seems to be the most favorable school that’s not out near the coast.

Quentin Grimes

247 Ranking: No. 17

Rivals: No. 11

Scout: No. 11

ESPN: No. 13

Grimes is 100 percent predicted to commit to Kansas on his 247 Crystal Ball. The 4-star point guard stands 6’4” and weighs 175 lbs. He’s scheduled to visit Kansas on Sept. 30. He’s also expected to take visits to Arizona, Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky, Marquette, Texas and Texas A&M. Despite the fact that they made the cut, Kentucky seems unlikely to land him at this point.

Grimes will visit Kentucky on Sept. 29.

Decision Date: Expected before fall signing period ends.

Romeo Langford

247 Ranking: No. 5

Rivals: No. 6

Scout: No. 5

ESPN: No. 5

Langford is another prospect that Kentucky isn’t likely to get, despite the fact that they made his cut. The 5-star shooting guard is 6’5”, 191 lbs. His current crystal ball prediction has a split between Louisville, Indiana and Duke, with Louisville leading the way. Sadly, the enemy is likely to land him.

He’s already visited Vanderbilt. Right now, it looks like Indiana, Kansas, Louisville and North Carolina will also get official visits from him.

Decision Date: Unknown

Darius Garland

247 Rank: No. 15

Rivals: No. 15

Scout: No. 7

ESPN: No. 11

Garland is a 6’1” point guard who’s expected to either stay close to home and play at Vanderbilt, or pick Duke. The 5-star Garland kept Kentucky on his list when making cuts, but again, this is a guy that Kentucky isn’t in great position for at this point in the recruitment.

His Kentucky visit is scheduled for Oct. 13. He’s already visited Vanderbilt and will take a Duke visit on Oct. 27. He’ll also visit Indiana, Kansas and UCLA.

Decision Date: Expected before fall signing period ends.

Jaxson Hayes

247 Ranking: 233

Hayes is a rising star on the 2018 recruiting trail. The 6’10” power forward from Archbishop Molloy has not started a single game in his career. His 10-inch growth spurt in high school has helped him earn scholarship offers from Kentucky, Xavier, Texas and others. Kentucky is favored to land him, pulling in 67 percent of predictions on his crystal ball. He made an unofficial visit to Kentucky on Sept. 2.

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