The Kentucky Wildcats have struck again in the Class of 2021.
On Monday, power forward Bryce Hopkins committed to Kentucky, according to Jake Weingarten. Hopkins becomes the second pledge for Kentucky in 2021, joining four-star point guard Nolan Hickman.
Hopkins is a four-star forward from Oak Park (IL) who just a scholarship offer from the Wildcats over the summer. It was pretty evident early in Kentucky’s pursuit of him that this was a school that would jump near or to the very top of his recruitment once they offered.
Previously, Hopkins was committed to play for the Louisville Cardinals. But after decommitting in August amid concerns about impending sanctions, John Calipari quickly reached out to Hopkins, and the Wildcats had been viewed as the favorites ever since.
The 6-7, 220-pound Hopkins is the No. 2 player in Illinois and the No. 7 power forward in the 2021 class, according to the 247 Sports Composite, who also has him ranked No. 30 overall. He also holds offers from the Kansas Jayhawks, Michigan Wolverines, Illinois Fighting Illini, Oregon Ducks and Indiana Hoosiers among others.
Viewed as a combo forward who can effectively play the 3 or 4 spots, Hopkins has drawn comparisons to former Iowa State forward Georges Niang, as well as former Louisville forward Jordan Nwora. Both players were All-Americans in college, and Hopkins certainly has the potential to develop into that kind of player if he sticks around for 2-3 years. When he was committed to Louisville, Hopkins even said he wanted to be Louisville's next Jordan Nwora.
“He can shoot it, he’s bigger like me, he’s versatile,” Hopkins said of the comparisons to Nwora. “If I have a bigger guy on me, I can bring him to the perimeter and beat him off the dribble. If I have a smaller guy on me, I can take him to the paint and finish over him.”
This past season, Hopkins averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a junior and had his high school team playing in the Illinois state tournament before the postseason was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bryce Hopkins (@BryceHopkins), the 32nd ranked prospect in the ESPN , is set to announce his commitment tonight.— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) October 26, 2020
Big-bodied combo-forward & one of the more versatile mismatch problems in the country.
A versatile prospect, Hopkins is best utilized as a face up forward, but he has the skill to play out on the perimeter at the three-spot. Hopkins grew to 6-7 during his junior season and his body has continued to progress. He has an impressive feel for the game, a good skill set and is an aggressive scorer that can score it from all three-levels. Hopkins is particularly effective out of the high post, where he can make plays off the dribble or make the right pinpoint pass. Hopkins is also an active rebounder that gets on the backboard and is capable of grabbing a board and starting the break. On the flip side, Hopkins lacks consistency as a long-range threat, and is just an OK athlete.
Projection: Power-5 Starter
Comparison: Georges Niang, Utah Jazz
Now, check out some highlights of the newest Wildcat in action: