2019 guard Boogie Ellis committed to play to the Duke Blue Devils back on November 9th.
As of Thursday, it became public that he has requested a release from his National Letter of Intent. That could have huge implications for the 2019 landscape, especially for Kentucky.
As far as we know, the Kentucky Wildcats are not interested in Ellis. In fact, it seems like the coaching staff in Lexington never recruited him. However, his future decisions could have an immediate impact on the program.
The obvious result of Ellis leaving Duke is that they lost a top recruit. He is ranked No. 24 overall and as the No. 5 combo guard in the 2019 class, based on the 247 Sports composite rankings. Yes, Tre Jones is coming back and Cassius Stanley is very good, but losing a five-star player this late in the process is a big blow.
The early scuttlebutt is that the Memphis Tigers are the favorite to land Ellis, which already has the potential to be a major haul with guys like Precious Achiuwa, Lester Quinones and Trendon Watford considering the Tigers. However, if you could choose between them picking up Ellis or RJ Hampton, any potential opponent would rather the Tigers pick up Ellis.
Ells committing to Memphis could definitely hurt their chances with Hampton, who is allegedly looking for a place where he could be the dominant guard. He may be better than Ellis, but they play the same position and competing for minutes does not appear to be on the table for Hampton.
If Ellis does eliminate Hampton from going to Memphis, where does he turn? Could that make him more open to playing off the ball at Kentucky? It certainly adds a wrinkle to his recruitment.
Still, the Kansas Jayhawks have gotten a lot of buzz recently, so Ellis to Memphis may just end up helping Hampton land in Lawrence.
The final impact on Kentucky’s program comes in the recruiting rankings. With Boogie Ellis leaving Duke, Kentucky would jump up to the No. 1 class in 2019 with a commitment from Johnny Juzang. Given that most believe that is a certainty, this could be the unexpected recruiting boost that John Calipari did not know he needed.
Where will Ellis land? I have no idea. But depending on how things fall, this could be a recruiting win for Kentucky that has absolutely nothing to do with Kentucky.