2019 four-star forward D.J. Jeffries has committed to the Kentucky Wildcats.
Jeffries, the 6’7 wing from Olive Branch, Mississippi, chose Kentucky over Alabama and the home-state Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Committed✔️ BBN ⚪️ s/o @HoopMajor for the video pic.twitter.com/zvsfwHLoPc— Djjeffries™ (@lildjj0) March 13, 2018
Jeffries is ranked 26th in the country by the 247 Sports Composite rankings and the eighth-best small forward. Future150 ranks him No. 8 overall in 2019. He comes in at No. 17 by ESPN, No. 27 by 247, and No. 47 by Rivals.
Jeffries earned a scholarship offer from Kentucky early in the process, picking up the offer last September. He fits into the mold of Calipari’s “positionless basketball” approach. At 6’7, Jeffries can play and defend multiple positions. He’s a long forward with a knack for scoring and high-level athleticism.
If he buys in on the defensive end at the collegiate level, he has the physical tools to be a high level two-way player.
It is a little unusual for a player to decide this early in the recruiting process, as most players prefer to wait until the summer before their senior season at the earliest. Only one of the top 30 players in the 2019 class (Joey Baker-Duke) has already announced his commitment.
However, Calipari has made Jeffries a priority in the class, visiting him several times, most recently in the Mississippi high school state tournament in which he led his Olive Branch squad to the Class 5A state title and claimed the MVP of the championship game.
The other surprising aspect is that Jeffries has a major connection with Penny Hardaway. He plays for Team Penny on the Nike AAU circuit, and he and his family have continued to speak highly of Penny.
As rumors have persisted regarding the potential hiring of Hardaway at Memphis if/when they let go of Tubby Smith, there has been a lot of discussion about Jeffries being one of Hardaway’s first targets if he landed the job.
Maybe Jeffries didn’t want to wait to see what happened with the Memphis job—there is, after all, nothing confirmed that Smith will be let go and while Hardaway is the favorite, he doesn’t have any collegiate coaching experience, so it isn’t a total guarantee that Memphis would hire him if there was an opening.
Regardless, the Memphis job may be something to keep an eye on. Although Jeffries has mentioned he grew up a Memphis fan—Olive Branch is only 25 miles south of Memphis, he has also said he was a fan of John Calipari growing up.
Here’s a look at Jeffries’ scouting report from ESPN:
Multi skilled and multi positional player. Probably projects best as a small forward right now. Great size for a young player at his position. Solid ball handler and a very good scorer. Can score off the dribble and shoot to 19 feet. Good solid rebounder also. Good athlete. Very talented.
Weaknesses: Must improve his perimeter defense. Has the length and athleticism to be solid defensively, he just needs to improve the consistency of his effort. Age will naturally add strength and girth.
Overall: Jeffries is an elite prospect. His size, skill and athletic ability are rare and he has a chance to be a star at the next level and beyond.
With Jeffries in the fold, Kentucky is getting a solid player to begin building their 2019 class.
Welcome to the BBN, D.J.!
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