With the whirlwind that has been the transfer portal this offseason, high school recruiting has almost seemed as an afterthought since Kentucky Wildcats hasn’t been super involved with any top recruits.
Well, there is name that popped up yesterday that could be one to keep an eye on.
Tamar Bates, a four-star shooting guard in the 2021 class, asked for a release from his NLI from the University of Texas after Shaka Smart decided to leave for the Marquette job.
According to Tipton Edits, Bates has heard from Kentucky since decommitting yesterday.
2021 four-star Tamar Bates has heard from the following schools since decommitting from Texas yesterday: Kentucky, Illinois, Mizzou, Washington, and Gonzaga. pic.twitter.com/yJXBTAp8tP— Tipton Edits (@TiptonEdits) March 30, 2021
Kentucky is joined on the list by several other big programs including Gonzaga and Illinois.
This contact should not come as much of a surprise, as Jai Lucas was his primary recruiter at Texas before he joined Kentucky’s staff last offseason.
Originally from Kansas City (MO), the 6-5 Bates currently plays for IMG Academy in Florida. This season, he has flourished in his role and is expected to a bump in the rankings when final updates happen.
As a junior before transferring to IMG, the 6-5 Bates played for Piper High school in Kansas City. He averaged 22.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.0 steals as a junior. He shot 58% from the floor, as well as 46% from three that season as well.
Fans should not expect this to move quickly though, as Bates said he will not be continuing the process until he receives a release and finished the season with IMG.
“I’m not making any statements or discussing that other than the announcement I put on Twitter,” said Bates when asked about his recruitment. “I’m locked in on GEICO and focused on winning with my brothers.”
Bates is currently ranked as No. 56 overall, according to the 247 Composite Rankings. Before committing to Texas, he has offers from Alabama, Creighton, Kansas, Oregon, and several other schools.
It is not quite clear how serious Kentucky’s interest is in Bates, but should be one to follow closely in the coming weeks.
One other potential option via the transfer portal who just emerged is Syracuse Orange point guard Kadary Richmond. Cats Illustrated reporters David Sisk and Travis Graf say this is one to watch for Kentucky, who is clearly trying to add another point guard this offseason.
Now, Daily Orange reporter Anthony Dabbundo says that Kentucky, along with Florida State, is showing interest in Richmond. Check out our Syracuse SB Nation site on how big of a loss this is for the Cuse and how big of a get he could be for someone like Kentucky.
Richmond, a 6-5 point guard who finished fourth in the ACC in steals per game (1.4), also averaged 6.3 points and 3.0 assists in 21 minutes per game this season as the Orange’s third guard. He was actually recruited as a small forward/shooting guard out of high school, but he surprised the Orange with how well he could run the offense while also making an impact off the ball.
The Brooklyn (NY) native was a consensus top-100 recruit in the 2020 class who picked Syracuse over Florida State, Oregon, UConn, Cincinnati, Iowa State and Xavier among others. His highest ranking was 85th overall by Rivals.
It’s unclear how interested Kentucky is at this time, but Richmond clearly has a world of talent that could blossom under a coach like John Calipari who’s easily one of the best point guard coaches in America.