Sharife Cooper is one of the best point guards in all of high school hoops, so of course, John Calipari wants him.
Cooper has been the top point guard target for Kentucky for the 2020 recruiting class, but it seems he is considering heading to college a year early.
Corey Evans of Rivals told the Herald-Leader that more and more rumors keep popping up about Cooper reclassifying to 2019. He went on to say that, if it happens, that is certainly bad news for Kentucky. Auburn has been in the lead for quite some time, and depending on the decisions coming next month, they may be gaining even more momentum.
“There’s nothing definite, but there have been a lot of rumors of late,” Evans said. “...The Sharife rumors now also coincide with Jared Harper testing out the NBA waters. So, say Jared decides to leave early — potentially Auburn tries to make a push for that even more.”
Even after watching the Final Four run, it is hard to believe that Harper will leave early for the NBA. He has not made it on the board for any mock drafts, and at his size (5-11), he has to prove that he can defend and play with the physicality it takes at the next level. For now, though, the plan appears to be that Harper will stay in the draft.
And with Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, and Tyrese Maxey on Kentucky’s roster for 2019-20, I cannot imagine that another point guard would want to jump in and see that level of competition for playing time.
You have three McDonald’s All-American level point guards (Hagans was a lock if he didn’t reclassify) that will likely rotate in both guard slots throughout the season. Cooper could earn some time, certainly. But it would be more limited than he could find at Auburn.
“It’s not set in stone, but Bruce Pearl has done a tremendous job in the Atlanta area,” Evans told the Herald-Leader. “...I think the Final Four run definitely helps that out some more. I think Auburn is definitely the school to beat. I think Kentucky is in second place, but they’re still playing runner-up to Auburn right now and trying to play catch-up.”
It seems like it may be time for the Kentucky Wildcats to add another name to their recruiting board for 2020. Although they have been heavily recruiting point guard Jeremy Roach, look for the names of another guard or two to pop up soon.
Read the entirety of Evans’ interview with the Herald-Leader here.