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R.J. Hampton and father talk UK interest, possibly moving into 2019 class

Hampton is one of the players in 2020, but he could move into 2019 with UK being a contender.

USA Basketball

R.J. Hampton is developing a big name for himself as he enters his junior year of high school, and of course, Kentucky is on the radar.

The 2020 star has been lighting it up as of late. He is a 6-4, 170-pound point guard ranked fourth overall in the class of 2020. Right now, Duke is the frontrunner with Kansas right behind, according to the 247 Sports Crystal Ball.

However, Hampton’s recruitment could be getting a big shakeup, as he’s considering a move into the Class of 2019.

Jason Jordan of USA Today caught up with RJ at the Peach Jam last week and was able to ask about his interest and overall thoughts about the University of Kentucky.

“It’s a great program,” R.J. said of Kentucky, noting assistant coaches Joel Justus and Tony Barbee are in frequent contact and he expects a call from Calipari soon. “I know a lot of people don’t like it and they don’t think it’s good for college basketball – I think that’s why people are changing the (one-and-done) rule – but I like the Kentucky program. I’ve had a bunch of people that I’m close with go there.”

It’s interesting to see that Cal hasn’t yet reached out personally. But, he’s done this before and still prevailed. This could mean that he’s focused on a few other guys right now, or he simply hasn’t had the time to hop on the phone.

Even so, Hampton’s words about UK is very encouraging to hear. The fact that he has established relationships with former players who have been in the system and had success is important and could sway his choice.

R.J.’s father and coach, Roderick Hampton, also spoke about his son’s recruitment, namely the possibility of reclassifying into 2019. While possible, it’s far from being a done deal.

“I’ve got to sit down with his mom, his counselor, just people we trust and see the ins and outs of it,” Roderick said. “Then it depends on really what school. You don’t want to go in and it’s a logjam of guys there. If we reclass, we’re going somewhere to play.

“But that’s just an option. I don’t want people to say we’re guaranteed to do it, but it is an option we’re going to visit.”

If Hampton does move into 2019, then it could cause a big shift in how UK and Duke are battling for guards in 2019. Right now, Duke is the perceived favorite for 2019 guards Cole Anthony, Bryan Antoine and Josiah James.

UK is also in the running for Antoine and Anthony, so if Hampton were to jump into the mix, it could really make things interesting as far as which guards become a bigger priority to each school.

Perhaps Hampton moving into 2019 would help UK land one of Anthony or Antoine.

Or, perhaps UK can become the favorite for Hampton while Antoine and Anthony end up at Duke.

It’s just one of many intriguing storylines to watch this fall.

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