The early signing period was expected to be a quiet one for the Kentucky Wildcats.
Not so, as the No. 1 and 2 overall recruits in 2019 will be making decisions this week that could be great or awful news for the Wildcats.
First, James Wiseman is set to decide Tuesday. While the Memphis Tigers have momentum, Kentucky is still in the mix, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him pick the Wildcats, who were long believed to be the heavy favorite until Penny Hardaway was named head coach at Memphis.
Still, it’s hard to not pick Memphis, especially since it’s coming this soon without Wiseman who will stay and leave for the NBA Draft next season.
Then you’ve got Vernon Carey, who won’t commit this week, but he is going to eliminate several schools when he announces his final three.
While the Duke Blue Devils and Michigan State Spartans are the frontrunners, Kentucky was hoping to be that third school on his list, and it was initially believed that they were fighting Miami for that spot.
However, Adam Zagoria and Jacob Polacheck expect the North Carolina Tar Heels to be the third school.
That would be a surprise, as the Tar Heels weren’t thought to be a major player. Then again, the third team in this recruitment may not even matter, as Duke and Michigan State have all of the momentum right now.
While all of the attention is one Wiseman and Carey, there are some other Kentucky targets who could decide this week. Jaden McDaniels just finished his final official visit to UCLA, and while it’s not expected he’ll make a decision this week, it’s not out of the question either. He recently visited Kentucky, and some believe he could pick the Wildcats if a decision this week.
Then there’s Keion Brooks, who wasn’t planning to decide this soon, but he canceled his official visit to Michigan State, and he’s now believed to be down to Kentucky and Indiana, so a decision isn’t out of the question. However, the Hoosiers have all of the momentum, so a decision this week wouldn’t be good news for Kentucky.
Finally, there’s CJ Walker, who is set to decide on Wednesday. He’s not someone Kentucky has offered, but there was rumored to be interest between the two before he cut his list to three with no Kentucky on it. Recruiting guru Andrew Slater even picked Kentucky at one point but has since changed his pick to foggy.
Obviously, if Kentucky were to miss on Wiseman and Carey, Walker would be one of the top bigs left on the board, but it seems like he’s one less option Kentucky has.
Needless to say, this is shaping up to be a pretty rough week for Kentucky. The good news is Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen are already committed, but this class still needs a big in the worst way.
Yet, getting said big has proven to be a major hurdle for John Calipari and his staff to overcome.