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Only 1 Wildcat makes list of top freshman based on impact

There is only one Kentucky player on this list, and it’s not who you might think.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

Despite the slow start, John Calipari pulled in another amazing recruiting class in 2018. This freshman group was ranked as the No. 2 class in the country, and it is full of talented, top-ranked players.

2018 Recruits (National Rank)

  • E.J. Montgomery (10)
  • Ashton Hagans (12)
  • Keldon Johnson (13)
  • Immanuel Quickley (22)
  • Tyler Herro (37)

As you can imagine, the Wildcats are expected to have a heck of a season, and these young studs are a big reason for that. But when Andy Katz released his list of the 15 freshmen who can make an immediate impact in college basketball, only one Kentucky player was named...and it’s probably a guy you would not expect.

Coming in at No. 5 in Katz’s freshmen power rankings was rising star Tyler Herro. This is what he had to say about the Wisconsin native:

“The Wildcats once again have a stellar recruiting class. Herro is the one who stood out during the summer trip to the Bahamas. If he can match his scoring prowess during the regular season, then the expectations for Kentucky could be met. Please don’t forget to book some time watching the Champions Classic on Nov. 6 on ESPN when the Duke and Kentucky freshmen will be on full display.”

Herro led the Wildcats in scoring in the Bahamas, and he showed that he is much more than just a shooter. It’s fantastic that he is being recognized on this list.

However, the absence of EJ Montgomery (the only top 10 recruit in the class) and Keldon Johnson (probably Kentucky’s best player) is a bit puzzling.

Montgomery was injured during the Bahamas trip and could see fewer minutes with the emergence of sophomore Nick Richards. But he could still emerge as a lottery pick with his skill set.

Johnson is a cold blooded killer, and the Wildcats will only go as far as he will take them in March. So when measuring impact, most expect Johnson to be the most impactful player in Lexington this season.

Top 15 freshmen according to Andy Katz:

  1. Zion Williamson, Duke Blue Devils
  2. RJ Barrett, Duke Blue Devils
  3. Nassir Little, North Carolina Tar Heels
  4. Romeo Langford, Indiana Hoosiers
  5. Tyler Herro, Kentucky Wildcats
  6. Darius Garland, Vanderbilt Commodores
  7. Jahvon Quinerly, Villanova Wildcats
  8. Quentin Grimes, Kansas Jayhawks
  9. Jordan Brown, Nevada Wolf Pack
  10. Marcus Bingham Jr., Michigan State Spartans
  11. Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
  12. Shareef O’Neal, UCLA Bruins
  13. Bol Bol, Oregon Ducks
  14. Naz Reid, LSU Tigers
  15. David Duke, Providence Friars

What do you make of Andy Katz and his list?