When it comes to the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts in 2020, the focus has been on been on the elite backcourt players they could ultimately land.
But how will the frontcourt shape out?
To this point, UK has only offered scholarships to Isaiah Todd, Lance Ware and Cliff Omoruyi in terms of true big men (N’Faly Dante has an offer but is widely expected to move into 2019). While all three are promising recruits, you’d think John Calipari would have found another big man to offer by now.
Perhaps Calipari has an ace up his sleeve in the form of a 2021 reclass candidate in Paolo Banchero.
In an interview with Jason Jordan of USA Today, Banchero admitted he’s seriously considering a move into 2020.
“There are a lot of benefits to moving up to 2020,” Banchero said. “The biggest is just that it takes off a year of wear and tear on your body. I’ve had coaches tell me that I could play right now; I don’t know about that, but I know I’ll be ready a year from now. There’s a lot to weigh out; I’m not saying I’m definitely gonna do it. I’m strongly considering it though.”
Banchero, who is ranked No. 4 overall in 2021 by 247 Sports composite, already holds an offer from UK. When Calipari offers recruits who are two classes away from being on college this early, there’s typically a chance said recruit could reclassify (UK has also offered Terrence Clarke and JT Thor, who’ve both discussed a move into 2020).
Washington was initially viewed as the favorite for the Seattle native, but that was before the blue-blood schools like UK, Duke and North Carolina came calling.
In a ranking by The Athletic of all high school players regardless of class, Banchero came in at No. 4 behind only Evan Mobley, Cade Cunningham and Emoni Bates. He’ll be a program-shifting recruit for whoever lands him in whichever class he’s part of.
This will be something to watch as UK figures out its frontouct options for the 2020-21 season.