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Kentucky Basketball and Football Recruiting Roundup

The Cats are putting the finishing touches on the basketball roster, while football recruiting is heating up.

Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

Welcome to the first edition of “Recruiting Roundup” here at A Sea Of Blue. We will be doing this on a weekly basis where we provide a recap of all recruiting news, signings, commitments, things to watch, and even a few insider notes.

Today may be our first addition of this article, but it may be one of our most power-packed editions. Kentucky has picked up multiple commitments in football, made a few final lists for recruits, and filled their biggest roster hole for the 2020-2021 basketball roster.

Kentucky Basketball

Olivier Sarr

The basketball recruiting recap is absolutely loaded. Kentucky picked up a commitment from transfer Olivier Sarr. The big man from Wake Forest is huge addition for the Cats and could fill the big hole in the frontcourt next season.

The only question with Sarr is if he will become eligible for the Cats as he requests a waiver from the NCAA. I personally believe that the eligibility should not be an issue, as Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes has said that the program will help Sarr become eligible.

For what it’s worth, CBS Sports writer Matt Norlander told our own James Streble he does not expect Sarr to be eligible next season.

After adding Sarr, Kentucky was still in the mix for multiple other players. However, it now appears Kentucky may just roll with who they have currently for next season.

Frank Anselem was a player that a lot of folks expected to maybe come to Kentucky as a player who would have more impact later on in his career. Anselem is four-star center and ranks as the No. 179 player in the country and the No. 27 center in 2020 according to 247 Sports Composite. However, Anselem has cut Kentucky from his list of final schools after they landed Sarr.

Anselem was not the only name that popped up in Kentucky circles, as the Cats were also still in play for DeAndre Williams from Evansville until he ultimately chose to attend Memphis. The Williams decision did not come as a surprise, as there was growing buzz that the Cats started to back off, perhaps in part because of his mentor. Williams and his camp seemed to be have Kentucky as a heavy favorite early on.

Regardless, Kentucky should be fine as the Cats now have Isaiah Jackson, Lance Ware, Keion Brooks, and hopefully Sarr to hold down the frontcourt.

There is also one more option to fill out the final spot on this roster. Jon Rothstein recently reported that Makur Maker, a center in 2020, would likely go to UCLA or Kentucky if he decided to come play college basketball this fall. Maker is the No. 17 ranked player in the 2020 class by and is also ranked as the third best center. Maker is also the cousin of NBA center Thon Maker.

There is a huge kicker in the Maker recruitment, as he has already declared for the NBA draft (while still holding his college eligibility) and he is eligible to do so because of some unique circumstances. The big man wants to see where he stands in the draft before completely ruling out college.

In addition, Maker recently admitted that if he goes to college, UCLA is the current favorite.

My personal opinion is that there is a very small chance that we ever see Maker hit a college floor as he is trying to make the jump to the league. I also believe with the loaded roster in Lexington that there is a even smaller chance he ends up in Lexington.

If you’re still hoping top-10 2021 recruit Moussa Cisse could reclassify and pick Kentucky, don’t get your hopes up. Rivals recruiting guru Corey Evans just said he expects Cisse to reclassify and pick LSU, which is the common belief in recruiting circles.

If Kentucky is going to add one more player for next season, perhaps it will be another grad transfer. Seeing as how Kentucky tried to get Williams, that would suggest Calipari is very open to adding another frontcourt piece via the transfer market.

With new names emerging seemingly everyday, don’t be surprised to see Kentucky jump into the mix for one. Saying this, it will be hard to find a good option who’s willing to compete for playing time in the talented frontcourt Kentucky already has.

Finally, Kentucky officially clinched the No. 1 overall recruiting class at 247 Sports Composite, which measures all of the major recruiting rankings. Brandon Boston (4) and Terrence Clarke (7) finished as consensus top-10 recruits, marking the first time since 2016 that Kentucky landed multiple top-10 recruits (De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo), while Boston is the highest-ranked pledge since Skal Labissiere (2) in 2015.

Kentucky Football

The dice were hot over the last couple weeks in the Bluegrass as the Cats picked up a few new football commitments. Kentucky started a strong few weeks by picking up a commitment by defensive linemen Kahlil Saunders. The lineman is an under-the-radar prospect out of Alabama who does hold offers from Virginia Tech, Kansas and Virginia.

The Cats kept the momentum going as they picked up a commitment from wide receiver Armond Scott. The receiver is from Euclid, Ohio and is ranked as a 3-star recruit and the No. 21 player in Ohio in the 2021 class, according to 247 Sports. Scott is known for his big play ability and hopes to provide some of that in Lexington in the future.

Then the Cats then decided to keep it local as they picked up two commitments from some in-state kids. They started with running back La’Vell Wright from North Hardin over in Radcliff, Kentucky. North Hardin is becoming a pipeline for the Cats as they picked Octavious Oxendine last season, and the Cats are also still eyeing Jordan Lovett, a 3-star safety from North Hardin who announced his final 10 recently, and Kentucky made the cut.

Wright is the first in-state scholarship running back in 16 years to commit to Kentucky. He is considered a balanced all-purpose back as he excels in a mix of power and speed. This is a recruit that Coach Marrow and the Kentucky staff have been looking at for a long time and was high on the priority list. Needless to say, the 3-star back is one that fans and the staff should get excited about.

Last but not least, Kentucky picked up a very coveted wide receiver from Lexington. Dekel Crowdus committed last week, which was both his birthday and Mother’s Day. Crowdus might just be playing over at Fredrick Douglas, but does not lack talent in any way.

Crowdus is a consensus 4-star recruit and is only the third wide receiver in the Mark Stoops era to have such a high rating. Dekel is he highest-ranked receiver Stoops has landed since coming to Kentucky, according to Rivals and 247 Sports (for those asking, Lynn Bowden was an ‘athlete’ recruit). This is really the only area that Stoops and Marrow have struggled to recruit in the past, and it is good to see them picking up some steam in that area.

Dekel Crowdus

Another thing to look for when it comes to Dekel Crowdus is that his teammate Jager Burton, a highly-rated offensive lineman that the Cats have coveted for a long time. This could play a huge role in Burton’s recruitment as he hinted that the two could be a package deal.

In addition, Burton just announced he’ll also be an early enrollee, so whoever gets him we’ll have the talented lineman competing in spring practice next year, giving him a head start on what hopes to be a productive college career.

Last week, Kentucky became a finalist for three-star defensive end Trinity Bell, as he announced his final five of Kentucky, Auburn, Florida, Tennessee and UCF. Tennessee seems to be in very good position for this top-15 player in the state of Alabama with every prediction in the Rivals FutureCast.

It’s also worth stating that Bell is a two-sport athlete with football and basketball. I doubt Kentucky would use him in basketball if he decides to come to Lexington, but it is nice to see the versatility of a player like Bell.

A look into future

This section of the recruiting roundup is just a few quick hitters and some things that happened over the last few weeks to give us a few players to watch.

First, it is the time of the year where basketball recruits are making their final list of schools as they prep for their final season of high school, and Kentucky made a few of the lists of some of the top players in the country.

Kentucky made the cut for players like Paolo Banchero, Patrick Baldwin Jr., Jaden Hardy, Moussa Cisse, and Kennedy Chandler all in the last couple of weeks.

With that being said, the Cats also received their first crystal ball prediction for Paolo Banchero, as Chris Fisher of the Cats Pause predicted Banchero to land in Lexington. It also makes things a little more interesting as this is the first prediction made for Banchero on the crystal ball of 247 Sports since September of 2019.

I personally like the chances of the 5-star forward ending up in Lexington, but there’s a long way to go in this recruitment, which isn’t expected to end until next spring.

Another interesting note from the past week is that Coach Cal had the opportunity to virtually meet with 5-star guard Kennedy Chandler. Most see Tennessee as the leader for Chandler because of his relationship with assistant coach Kim English, but don’t count the Cats out here. Chandler has also stated multiple times that he is interested in playing with 5-star forward Paolo Banchero.

We also learned that Jonathan Kuminga says he is 50/50 on reclassifying. The kicker there is that most believe that, if he does reclassify, there is little to no chances that he comes to Kentucky. If he stays in the 2021 class, it likely increases Kentucky’s chances. I personally do not see Kuminga coming to Kentucky, but it is something to watch for.

Kentucky commit Dekel Crowdus created some buzz last week when he hinted that the Cats had another pick up on the way.

One thing I will try my best to do with the recruiting roundup every week is to provide you with some insider notes or at least a hint of some things that are coming each week.

This week, I believe that the BBN should keep their eyes on Jordan Lovett, who announces his decision Wednesday at noon with Kentucky having all the momentum.