UK’s frontcourt has been a major talking point this season, mostly due to how little depth its had and how poorly it’s performed against Power 5 opponents.
Sure, Nate Sestina did just score 17 in a close loss to Ohio State, but he did nearly all of his damage from three-point range. As far as finding someone who can score in the paint when UK needs a basket, it’s been a major struggle that doesn’t appear to be getting better anytime soon.
It’s too early to say if that will continue next season when UK brings in a pair of talented forwards in Lance Ware and Isaiah Jackson. While both of them have a lot of potential, we can’t even assume those two will be any better than what EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards have been as UK’s primary post players this season.
And while Keion Brooks could return for his sophomore season, we’ve learned many times before that guys like him coming back for a second college year is never a lock.
The good news is there are several other bigs UK is recruiting in 2020, and current commitment Devin Askew is hoping to help seal the deal with one or more of them.
In an interview with KSR, Askew hinted that UK could be poised to land another frontcourt player before it’s all said and done.
While Kentucky holds a firm lead in the 2020 team recruiting rankings, Askew hinted that they weren’t done yet, specifically in the frontcourt.
Who he was recruiting to join him in Lexington, though, is a secret.
“Shoot… I’d rather not talk about it unless Coach Cal [tells me I can talk about it],” Askew said with a laugh. “I don’t want to give any names out yet. I’d rather not answer.”
At this point, the likeliest 2020 recruits to join UK’s class are five-star forward Greg Brown, four-star forward JT Thor or four-star center Cliff Omoruyi.
There’s also a chance a 20201 big man could reclassify, and some of the potential candidates are five-star center Moussa Cisse, five-star forward Paolo Banchero or five-star center Moussa Diabete. However, it’s no sure thing that any of them moves up a class, while Banchero is the only one UK is in good shape with, and he may be the least likely of the trio to reclassify.
Askew did talk about the potential to play with Omoruyi, who reportedly would like to play with the future UK point guard in college.
“Cliff is my guy, yeah, that’s my guy,” Askew told KSR. “First time we ever played together and I met Cliff was at the Elite 100 Sophomore Camp in St. Louis. We were on a team together, and I loved playing with him. He’s a big that makes the game easier for you, he’s big. Shoot, whatever I can do to get him [to Kentucky], man, let’s do it.”
One thing is for sure: UK has to find some way to add one more frontcourt piece before the 2020-21 season begins. They came into this season with a thin froncourt, which has cost them dearly in three narrow losses, and that may continue if things don’t change in a hurry.
Whether it’s recruits and/or grad transfers, I’d expect UK to add a few more bigs before it’s all said and done. And it sounds like Askew is going to help make it happen.
Also, here are some highlights of Askew in action at the recent Tarkanian Classic: