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Nolan Hickman says he’s still recruiting Paolo Banchero to Kentucky

“You know, I’m working on that. That’s my guy.”

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Al Ward

It’s been a wild two weeks on the recruiting trail for Kentucky basketball, and that’s putting it lightly.

In the span of nine days, Kennedy Chandler committed to Tennessee, Paolo Banchero shockingly picked Duke, Kentucky offered a pair of recruits in Hunter Sallis and Bryce Hopkins, while Nolan Hickman came out of nowhere to pick the Wildcats.

You probably hadn’t heard of Hickman prior to Saturday’s surprise pledge to Kentucky, but this is a recruitment the Wildcats were apparently heavily involved in dating back to this past spring.

That’s when Hickman, playing for Eastside Catholic (WA) at the time (has since transferred to Wasatch Academy in Utah), dropped 36 points on Banchero’s O’Dea (WA) team in the Metro League tournament semifinals.

Why is this relevant?

That’s because Kentucky head coach John Calipari and assistant Tony Barbee were in watch Banchero.

But Hickman was the star of the game, and that caught the eye of the two Kentucky coaches enough that they began recruiting him about a month later.

Six months later, that culminated with Hickman committing to Kentucky, just two days after Banchero committed to Duke.

Apparently, Hickman isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel on getting Banchero to Lexington.

In an interview with Kyle Tucker of The Athletic, Hickman made it clear he’s still going to be in the ear of Banchero about teaming up at Kentucky.

Oh, and about that Banchero recruitment: Maybe it isn’t quite over after all.

“You know, I’m working on that. That’s my guy,” Hickman said. “We talk almost every day, so you know I’m going to put Kentucky in his ear, of course. We’ll see what I can do.”

There’s an unwritten rule in college basketball that coaches don’t recruit committed players. But when it comes to recruits recruiting other recruits, all bets are off until a national letter of intent is signed.

I doubt Banchero will ultimately flip to Kentucky, but it’s good to hear Hickman is already setting his sights high when it comes to recruiting 2021 players to join him in Lexington.

Be sure to read Tucker’s entire piece for more insight into Hickman’s recruitment.

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