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UK making up ground with Matthew Hurt; will it be another Cal vs. Penny battle?

Some good vibes for UK in this recruitment, but Penny may be lurking.

The Kentucky Wildcats need a strong finish to their 2019 class, and Matthew Hurt would give them just that.

Now that Vernon Carey, James Wiseman and Oscar Tshiebwe are off the board, Hurt is Kentucky’s best chance at landing a true big man in 2019. He took his first official visit recently, and it happened to come in Lexington as he watched Kentucky beat UNC Greensboro.

By all accounts, the visit went well and only helped Kentucky’s position with the five-star power forward.

Rivals recruiting analyst Corey Evans just shared an encouraging update on Hurt. Though he’s still siding with the Kansas Jayhawks, Evans admits it’s no longer the sure thing everyone thought it was that Hurt ends up in Lawrence.

While Hurt’s recruitment had been previously viewed mainly as a battle between Kansas and North Carolina, Kentucky seems to have picked up the most ground in recent weeks. His first official visit to Lexington two weeks ago was a success and the Wildcats should be viewed as a top contender for his commitment.

Hurt is ranked the No. 7 player in the class of 2019 on the 247 Sports Composite. He’s got offers from the North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke Blue Devils, Villanova Wildcats, Arizona Wildcats, Indiana Hoosiers Florida Gators, and Memphis Tigers among others.

For what it’s worth, Jake Weingarten told KSR that this recruitment could come down to Memphis vs. Kentucky. Hurt is set to visit UNC, Duke, Kansas and possibly Memphis in the coming weeks, so perhaps we could be seeing another battle between John Calipari and Penny Hardaway.

Even if that’s the case, it would still be good news if Kansas is actually not even in his top two right now. The Jayhawks could be in hot water with the NCAA, so that could have recruits like Hurt a little skeptical to join their program.

Saying this, I still think the Jayhawks are the biggest threat for Hurt. Bill Self has built a great relationship with Hurt and his family that was only strengthened when they were together with Team USA.

However, it’s clear Calipari has made a serious push that has Kentucky very much in the running for his commitment this spring.