Let’s face it. Kentucky hasn’t had a ton of momentum on the recruiting trail for the Class of 2019. They’ve landed some big-time players in Kahlil Whitney, Dontaie Allen, and Tyrese Maxey, but they’ve had their share of misses too.
Missing out on three of their top big men targets (Wiseman, Carey, and likely Stewart) has come as a bit of a surprise, but John Calipari and Kentucky have two more big fish out there that can help redirect that narrative... if they can land them.
Matthew Hurt and Jaden McDaniels are both top 10 players (in my opinion) and Kentucky seems to be in solid shape with both, though its looking like both will make decisions in the spring as opposed to the fall.
Matthew Hurt is a 6’9 forward who can play inside and out, creating shots from anywhere on the floor. He’s a solid but not great rebounder and defender, but would fit well in a stretch four type role in college.
McDaniels is 6’10 but projects as a wing at the college level with his unique perimeter skill set. McDaniels has received some Kevin Durant comparisons, and while I’m not certain that’s a fair comparison at this point, he has a similar body and sky-high potential.
Wiseman and Carey could be two of the best big men in college basketball next season and Stewart already has the body of an NBA player and will be a matchup nightmare for college coaches next season.
While it would be nice to have any of the three in the fold, I think landing Hurt and McDaniels could make Kentucky’s offense next season as potent as it has been under John Calipari. What they would give up in rebounding and physicality, they could make up for in pace of play, stretching the floor, and creating difficult matchups across the board, particularly offensively.
But more importantly, it would give Kentucky four of the top 10-15 players in the class. And who knows, maybe there is a reclassification or a player opens up on the market that wasn’t previously available. Landing Hurt and McDaniels could launch Kentucky into the #1 class depending on how things shape up and give Kentucky some of their recruiting mojo back.
Kentucky desperately needs a shot in the arm to get some momentum back on the recruiting trail after some early misses. Maybe that comes through a staff change and I think that option should be on the table, but landing Hurt and McDaniels to pair with Kahlil Whitney, Tyrese Maxey, and Dontaie Allen could also be that much-needed spark.
Now Kentucky just needs to remain in solid position until the spring and then close the deal on this dynamic duo.