UK’s 2021 recruiting efforts appear to be getting a shakeup.
On Friday, point guard Kennedy Chandler committed to Tennessee, and forward Paolo Banchero may also be trending toward the Vols. Those have been two of the Wildcats’ biggest targets in 2021. And with UK having extended just three other scholarship offers to uncommitted recruits in this class, it may be time for John Calipari to cast a wider net.
It looks like forward Bryce Hopkins and point guard Hunter Sallis could be the ones who benefit from this.
Hopkins, currently ranked 33rd overall by 247 Sports Composite, told Edits Recruiting that UK is one of the schools prioritizing him the most following his decommitment from Louisville. Oregon and Michigan are two other notable schools who recently offered and have also made Hopkins a priority.
2021 4⭐️ Bryce Hopkins (@BryceHopkins) tells me Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Iowa State, Providence, and Oregon are all prioritizing him.— College Basketball and Recruiting (@EditsRecruiting) August 15, 2020
Hopkins just recently decommitted from Louisville. pic.twitter.com/QVaC5CVINO
The UK buzz with Hopkins has been growing ever since he reopened his recruitment last Sunday, especially after Calipari had a virtual meeting with the 6-7, 220-pound forward out of Oak Park (IL). Hopkins is more of a combo forward who can play the 3 or 4 effectively and has drawn comparisons to former Iowa State star Georges Niang.
Rivals recruiting analyst David Sisk has already logged a FutureCast prediction in favor of the Wildcats, who have not officially offered Hopkins a scholarship. He’s expected to make a decision within the next 1-2 months.
As for Sallis, he’s a name that’s been picking up steam in recent weeks after UK reached out to him earlier this month.
Now, Rivals recruiting expert Corey Evans says he expects UK to eventually offer Sallis.
Kentucky has also begun to pick things up with him and if an offer is handed out, which I expect it will sometime soon, the Wildcats could be a trendy team to watch with the five-star guard.
Sallis, who is currently ranked 19th overall by 247 Sports Composite, hails from Omaha (NE) and already has offers from Kansas, North Carolina, Louisville, Gonzaga, Oregon, Michigan, Auburn, Alabama and Florida State among others. There no 247 Crystal Ball picks for him yet, but Kansas has three Rivals FutureCast picks, though the most recent was back in January.
Currently, UK has not issued a scholarship out to an uncommitted point guard in the 2021 class (2022 recruit Skyy Clark may still ultimately reclassify). If UK does offer Sallis, it could signal they’re expecting Clark to remain in the 2022 class.
There’s also the potential for incoming freshman Devin Askew to be back for a sophomore season, though we’ve come to learn to expect most talented UK freshmen to go pro after one year.
Sallis recently told Rivals he was hoping to make a decision for the early signing period, but the coronavirus has kept recruiting visits from happening, and that will likely continue for the remainder of 2020.