Much has been made about Kentucky’s inability to land more top-tier recruits recently, but that could be changing in a big way.
While Kentucky only has three commitments in its 2019 class, they’re still in the mix for several elite recruits, most notably Matthew Hurt and Jaden McDaniels.
Of the remaining recruits Kentucky is involved with, McDaniels and Hurt have been who Kentucky has had the most buzz with, so much that they may be the favorite for one or both recruits. The 247 Sports crystal ball has had recent predictions in favor of Kentucky for both recruits.
Now, KSR’s Jack Pilgrim has shared a very encouraging update when it comes to the recruitment of both players.
I have been told that things are looking really good for Kentucky with Matthew Hurt, with several individuals indicating the Wildcats were now in the driver’s seat.
I would expect the final decision to be between Kentucky, Kansas, and Memphis, with the Wildcats winning out in the end.
As of today, the Wildcats have picked up a ton of ground with the five-star prospect out of Federal Way, WA., and I really don’t think it’s a stretch to say Kentucky is the leader as of today.
Just getting one of these players would be a major win for John Calipari and his staff. Hurt is ranked No. 7 overall in 2019 by 247 Sports Composite, which measures all of the recruiting rankings.
McDaniels is No. 5 overall in that same ranking. If that holds up and he picks the Wildcats, it would give them their first top-five recruit since Skal Labissiere in the 2015 class.
If either one of these two picks Kentucky, it would give them their first top-seven recruit since De’Aaron Fox in 2016 and just their third in the past five recruiting classes.
Saying all of this, I wouldn’t expect both to land at Kentucky is the current trajectory of this season keeps going. By that, I mean guys like Tyler Herro, EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards not doing enough to warrant leaving for the NBA Draft after this season.
First off, Tyrese Maxey is absolutely going to be a starter next season. Whether it’s as the point guard, shooting guard or even a third guard, he’s starting and playing a heavy amount of minutes next season.
Same goes for a sophomore Tyler Herro and a sophomore EJ Montgomery. Both of them have too high of a ceiling to not be earning 25+ minutes a game as sophomores.
It’s also going to be very hard for Whitney to not earn a starting spot and.or 20-25 minutes per game.
If Ashton Hagans comes back, he’s going to be the point guard and averaging close to 30 minutes per game.
Even if Hagans goes pro, that’s still a lot of minutes being eaten up that McDaniels and Hurt would be fighting for, and that’s not even accounting for what a junior Nick Richards could become.
It’s good to know Kentucky is in great shape for two of their top remaining targets, but unless there are more NBA Draft defections than currently expected (or a transfer), it’s hard to see them both ending up in Lexington.
But if Herro and/or Montgomery leave, then it becomes a lot easier to pitch both top-10 recruits to pick the Cats.
All of this is why we probably shouldn’t expect a final decision until late April or even May when all of the NBA decisions are finalized.