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UK reportedly primed to land Justin Powell if offered scholarship

Will John Calipari extend a scholarship offer to Powell?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 12 Holiday Hoopsgiving - Auburn v Memphis Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Justin Powell has been in the transfer portal less than 48 hours, and it already sounds like the Kentucky Wildcats are in great shape for the Bluegrass product.

According to KSR’s Matt Jones, Kentucky is likely to land Powell if the North Oldham product is offered a scholarship by John Calipari. Jones even went as far as to say, “There are people who believe he’s going to Kentucky. I can’t say that, I don’t know that for a fact, but there are people out there who will tell you he’s going to Kentucky.”

Powell, a three-star recruit in the Class of 2020, finished his lone season with Auburn averaging 11.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 10 games (averaged 27.6 minutes per game). That included back-to-back 26-point outings vs. South Alabama and Memphis, but a concussion prematurely ended his season in early January.

The 6-6, 205-pound guard finished his freshman season with a 20.0 PER, That would have been the second-highest mark of any Wildcat this season, trailing only Isaiah Jackson’s 25.8 PER.

Powell has already shown he can effectively run the offense and play off the ball, so even if he doesn’t start, he would provide much-needed depth at the 1-3 spots. And when schools like Duke, Virginia and Louisville have reportedly already offered a scholarship, you have to think Kentucky isn’t far behind.

There was actually a similar situation with a Kentucky product last summer that Calipari ultimately passed on. When former Belmont guard Adam Kunkel entered the transfer portal, Kentucky was immediately seen as one of the favorites had Calipari offered the Cooper High School (KY) product.

However, that offer never came, as Calipari decided not to pursue Kunkel, who ultimately ended up at Xavier. As of now, that appears to have been a wise decision, as Kunkel is averaging just 7.1 points and 1.7 assists in 18.7 minutes per game while 26.6% from three-point range. Plus, Kunkel would still have multiple seasons of college eligibility left, so having him on the roster may have actually led to Kentucky not pursuing Powell.

The moral of this story is more often than not, Calipari makes the right call on who to offer and who to pass on. It remains to be seen what decision he’ll make with Powell, but whatever it is, hopefully it turns out to be the best decision for everyone involved.

Be sure to read the full KSR report, which includes an interesting nugget about another potential contender being unlikely to land Powell.

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