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Evan Daniels makes his RJ Hampton prediction

And it may come as a surprise.

Basketball: USA Men’s Junior National Team Minicamp Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In one way, the recruitment of RJ Hampton is just getting started.

After all, the five-star guard reclassified last week and is still planning to take official visits with the Kentucky Wildcats and Texas Tech Red Raiders in the coming weeks, as well as unofficial visits with the Memphis Tigers and Kansas Jayhawks.

But the reality is Hampton’s recruitment was winding down as soon as he decided to move into 2019, especially since the perceived favorites — Memphis and Kansas — hosted him for official visits in the fall, though he said he plans to visit them again in a recent blog post.

While Kentucky is still in the hunt, they’re facing an uphill climb to keep him from Memphis or Kansas. That belief was reinforced Monday when 247 Sports recruiting director Evan Daniels made his prediction for Hampton.

While Memphis seemingly took the lead in this recruitment, Daniels is picking Kansas for the No. 5 overall recruit. Even with said prediction, Memphis is still getting 55% of the 247 crystal ball predictions as of Monday evening compared to 18% for Kansas.

That would be an obvious game-changer for both schools, as Memphis and Kansas have been projected high in preseason top-25 polls. ESPN’s preseason poll has Memphis at No. 18 and Kansas at No. 10, while CBS Sports has Memphis at No. 5 and Kansas at No. 8.

If Hampton were to pick Kansas, they suddenly have a case as the top team in college basketball next season, depending on what Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson do as they test the NBA Draft waters.

As for the Tigers, they’re the perceived favorite for five-star forward Precious Achiuwa and Lester Quinones. Just getting them likely makes Memphis a consensus top-10 team. Getting Hampton as well probably makes them a consensus top-five team with an outside chance at No. 1, depending on how other teams’ NBA decisions play out.

If the Wildcats were to somehow land Hampton, they’d likely ascend to the No. 1 ranking for next season, but they still could even with him if they land five-star forward Jaden McDaniels, five-star guard Johnny Juzang and/or Virginia Tech grad transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr.

While things seem bleak for Kentucky with Hampton, don’t expect John Calipari to throw in the towel just yet.

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