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Kentucky Basketball: ESPN makes recruiting predictions for Oscar Tshiebwe and Isaiah Stewart

More buzz for UK landing Tshiebwe and Stewart ending up somewhere other than Duke. and USA Basketball

With the fall recruiting season in full swing, Kentucky continues to make a strong push for Oscar Tshiebwe.

The five-star center will take his official visit to Lexington next week, followed by a visit with the West Virginia Mountaineers. This recruitment is widely viewed as a two-horse race between Kentucky and WVU, though the recent buzz has been for the Wildcats.

That includes ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, who made several recruiting predictions for some of the top recruits taking official visits this weekend.

Borzello thinks Tshiebwe picks Kentucky, though his confidence level is only at 50 percent. It’s going to be tough for Kentucky to overcome the Mountaineers, who have been recruiting Tshiebwe for much longer, but John Calipari has won these kinds of battles plenty of times throughout his tenure in Lexington.

The plan is for Tshiebwe to finish his visits and announce his decision sometime in October or November.

Elsewhere, Isaiah Stewart has re-emerged as a viable recruiting target for Kentucky after interest between the two sides seemingly disintegrated over the summer. Duke was originally perceived as the heavy favorite — just as they were with Bryan Antoine and Josiah James — but a recent string of non-Duke 247 crystal ball picks have shown this recruitment is more wide open than we realize.

It’s pretty clear that Duke’s recruiting has taken a step back with the loss of Jeff Capel, which is music to the ears of John Calipari. However, it’s far too soon to know just how real of a threat Kentucky is to land Stewart.

For now, Michigan State looks like the new favorite, as Borzello now thinks the Spartans will ultimately be the pick. He does have just a 35-percent confidence level in that pick, however, but he’s also not the only expert picking the Spartans.

247 recruiting ace and Duke insider Andrew Slater also logged a crystal ball prediction in favor of the Spartans. That’s a pretty good sign that Duke has fallen out of the lead in this race, and while the Spartans may have pulled ahead, Kentucky may have a chance to make a serious run at him.

The current plan for Stewart is to wait until the spring to make a decision. That gives Kentucky plenty of times to make a bigger push for him if they so choose.

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