With the 2020 class starting to wind down, focus will soon begin to shift to the class of 2021 as the year goes on. 247 Sports is the most recent recruiting service to update their rankings of the class and multiple UK targets sit in the top 25.
Jonathan Kuminga remained the #1 player in his class in the updated rankings. The 6-8 forward who currently plays for The Patrick School in New Jersey is one of the best prospects in all of high school basketball, regardless of class. With through the roof potential, Kuminga has included Kentucky in his top-10 list.
Patrick Baldwin Jr. remained one of the top prospects in the class as he came in at #3. Baldwin Jr. is the only other small forward besides Kuminga to be offered a scholarship from John Calipari. In an interview with Eric Bossi at Rivals earlier this year, Baldwin Jr. said Kentucky was “really high up there on his list of favorite schools.”
Paolo Banchero, one of Calipari’s top targets in the class, was slotted at #4. Banchero has been a hot name in the discussion of players who could possibly classify into the 2020 class, but he has consistently reiterated his intention to remain in 2021. Washington leads the Crystal Ball predictions for the Seattle native, but Calipari and Tony Barbee have visited him three times since September and he was on an official visit for Big Blue Madness back in October. He’s a priority for Kentucky and will continue to be as his recruitment moves forward.
Jaden Hardy is an explosive combo guard out of Las Vegas who landed at #7 in the new rankings. Hardy was the first backcourt player to earn a scholarship offer from Kentucky in his class. He’s an explosive scorer who scored 62 in a game earlier this year, but he fills up the box score in other areas as well. As far as interaction, Calipari visited Hardy in the fall and Hardy got to see the Wildcats play during their two-game trip to Las Vegas. The Wildcats hold 100% of his Crystal Ball predictions at this point and with Hardy being a priority for the staff, they’re in a great place with him.
Kennedy Chandler, the only 2021 point guard with an offer from Kentucky, dropped down to #22 on the list. Chandler was on a visit in Lexington this weekend and had an “unbelievable” experience per CatsIllustrated. With Calipari locked in on Chandler as his point guard prospect, he will be getting a lot of attention from the Wildcats throughout his recruitment. With rumors of him being a piece among a few package deals with other top recruits in this class, he could be even more pivotal of a piece than anyone realizes.
The 2021 class has been described as a weaker one, but it’s top heavy with multiple strong prospects at the top. Kentucky is sitting pretty with more than a fair share of them, which bodes very well for the Wildcats. The earlier on the staff can make an impression on these players, the better chances they’ll have to at least be in, if not leading, their individual recruiting races when they start to reach the home stretch. It’s early, but Calipari and Kentucky are looking good for what will hopefully be another strong recruiting class for them in 2021.
To see the rest of 247Sports’ new rankings, click here.