With the offseason here, the Kentucky Wildcats spent the past week on the recruiting trail, as they met with several of their top 2020 targets in addition to a 2019 commit.
On Wednesday, John Calipari was in Wisconsin to visit Jalen Johnson, per the No. 3 overall player in 2020 class, according to 247 Sports and the ESPN 60 rankings.
The 6-8 product out of Milwaukee is the top small forward in his class. He averaged 19.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game on his way to winning Wisconsin Player of the Year and leading Nicolet to a state championship as a junior last season.
247 Sports’ Jerry Meyer thinks Johnson has “great size for such a highly skilled player” and describes him as a “smooth athlete”. He compares Johnson to Oklahoma City’s Paul George and projects him as a future first-round pick.
When asked about Kentucky by CatsPause after being offered a scholarship back in September, Johnson said, “It’s very humbling. (Cal) said they don’t really offer guys this early so being one of the few means a lot. It feels amazing that they’re recognizing me as a player and think that I could fit into their program. They see a lot of potential in me and they don’t think I realize how good I can be.”
Johnson cut his list of offers to 15 back in October, and although he has yet to take an official visit to UK, he’s attended Big Blue Madness unofficially the last two years.
Duke is in the lead early on in his crystal ball predictions, but there’s a lot of time left in his recruitment and Calipari will likely continue to come after Johnson hard.
With the success both the Big Blue Nation experienced with Tyler Herro this season and Tyler Herro is now enjoying after announcing his intention to enter the NBA Draft earlier today, no one would say no to another highly-touted Wisconsin recruit playing for the Wildcats very soon.
Right after Calipari visited Johnson, the UK coach made his way to New Jersey to meet with a pair of recruits. According to Adam Zagoria, Calipari met with Kahlil Whitney, who is committed but not signed yet.
The plan is for Whitney to sign on May 3rd, but in recruiting, it’s never over until the signature is dry, which is why Calipari is making sure his top recruit isn’t wavering ahead of the late signing period.
Whitney is currently a consensus top-10 prospect in 2019. His highest ranking is No. 7 overall by 247 Sports. He’s currently projected to be Kentucky’s starting wing next season, assuming Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro remain in the NBA Draft.
Calipari’s trip to New Jersey also included a visit with Whitney’s teammate at Roselle Catholic in 2020 recruit Cliff Omoruyi, who picked up a scholarship offer.
Then on Saturday, Kentucky had an in-home visit with 2020 guard BJ Boston, according to Corey Evans. Boston picked up a scholarship offer in February during a visit to Lexington. Kentucky then traveled to watch him play the following week, a good sign that he’s become a major priority in the 2020 class.
Boston is ranked No. 7 overall by ESPN and Rivals in the Class of 2020. He’s believed to be favoring Duke at this stage with Auburn also in contention for the Georgia native.
Needless to say, it was a busy week for the Kentucky coaching staff now that the spring AAU events have begun, and that won’t slow down anytime soon.