John Calipari and the Kentucky coaching staff may be starting to make Jaden McDaniels a priority recruit in the class of 2019.
McDaniels is a 6-8 power-forward from Federal Way, Washington, who has emerged as one of the top players in the country over the last year. He recently he won the breakout player of the year award while playing on the Nike EYBL circuit. He also made the first-team all EYBL after averaging 19.2 points and 9 rebounds while shooting 50%.
Currently, ESPN ranks McDaniels as the #1 power forward in America and the #4 player overall. He has great skill for his size and is a versatile player who can handle the ball like a guard when needed.
TJ Walker of Kentucky Sports Radio reported that both Joel Justus and Kenny Payne were on hand Wednesday evening watching McDaniels play at the Peach Jam in Augusta, South Carolina. Walker also mentioned that Kentucky has been in touch with the five star recruit often as of late, saying, “the Cats have been in contact weekly.”
Perhaps this means the Cats are close to extending a scholarship offer to McDaniels, who is more than worthy of it.
The month of July, and particularly the Peach Jam, is a such a crucial time period for recruiting. Coaches and players will begin to narrow down their options and even react to what others are deciding around them. Kentucky surely has a plan for if and when they will extend another recruit from the class of 2019 an offer.
McDaniels is playing for Rotary Hoops in Pool C of the Peach Jam where they won their first game and will advance in the tournament. The Peach Jam is the Super Bowl of AAU hoops, and it always produces an excellent stage for young players to show what they are capable of in a pressure filled atmosphere.
It will be interesting to see how far Rotary Hoops can advance and how often the Kentucky coaching staff ensures that someone is there watching McDaniels. The next 4 days will be extremely influential in his recruitment.
As far as Kentucky goes, the experts are somewhat divided on what where they think McDaniels will choose to play in college.
I expect the predictions will begin to shift toward Kentucky if they make it known that they want McDaniels.