Kentucky has only offered an handful of 2021 prospects, as well as some 2022 prospects who could end up reclassing into 2021.
Let’s run through what Evans had to say about each potential commitment.
Kentucky has been on Jaden Hardy for quite some time now and has been seen as the favorite to land him since fall of last year. Hardy even attended a practice of UK’s during their Las Vegas trip in December of last year and it went very well for both parties involved.
Jaden Hardy committing to anyone but Kentucky would be one of the bigger surprises I could see happening in the coming months. However, that doesn’t mean the competition for his services has dwindled in recent weeks. In fact, the very best along the West Coast remain involved, including Oregon, where his brother will be a graduate transfer this winter. Michigan also remains very involved. However, Hardy is my selection for the likeliest 2021 Kentucky commitment.
Huntley-hatfield is a top-five player in the class of 2022, but making the jump to 2021 has not yet been ruled out, and in fact, it’s been rumored that it might happen, as he is seen as one of the few prospects in 2022 that could physically make the jump.
Kentucky has been seen as the favorite for Huntley-Hatfield for a while now as well, and with the obvious connection to Alex Poythress, you can see why.
Brandon Huntley-Hatfield is not too far off, but he does need to move into the 2021 class for it to happen. Huntley-Hatfield is still just 16 years old, so he is the proper age for the 2022 class. But the talent, size and need for someone of his pedigree is evident at each program nationally, and that could push him into the 2021 class. I am not counting out any of the other bluebloods - or the in-state Tennessee Vols - but Kentucky is my pick for him, too.
Paolo Banchero is probably the best big man in the country regardless of class. The power forward out of Washington is college ready right now and Kentucky was rumored to be pushing him to re-class to 2020 to fill their big man need prior to Olivier Sarr committing.
Kentucky has also been seen as the favorite for Banchero, but will the package deal with Kennedy Chandler come into play?
Lastly, Paolo Banchero has often discussed playing in college with Kennedy Chandler. Believe it or not, Tennessee has the best chance of making such a package deal happen. UK is definitely a suitor for both, but if the two go their separate ways chances are Banchero picks Kentucky.
Evans said he believes that Kentucky lands all three of Hardy, Huntley-Hatfield, and Banchero for 2021, with Jaden Hardy being the most likely to commit. That would definitely put Kentucky in strong position for a second-straight recruiting class, not to mention at least one of Hardy/Huntley-Hatfield/Banchero will be a top-five prospect in the final rankings. Kentucky didn’t land a top-five recruit from 2016-19 before Brandon Boston ended the drought this year.
This has the potential to be another special class for Calipari.