Now that the Kentucky Wildcats have missed out on Dereck Lively, the focus turns to fellow 2022 center Adem Bona.
When Kentucky initially offered the 6-foot-10 Bona a scholarship back in August, the belief was they moved to the top of his list. In fact, every prediction logged at 247 Sports and Rivals over the last two months has been in favor of the Wildcats.
However, Kentucky has had much of its focus on Lively, which allowed other schools like the UCLA Bruins and Kansas Jayhawks to become legitimate contenders for Bona, who’s ranked No. 10 overall in his class by 247 Sports.
In fact, recruiting guru Andrew Slater says not to underestimate UCLA’s chances of winning this recruitment.
Would be wary of a blue blood in LA https://t.co/FTkqmM9Eof pic.twitter.com/aSpAaAt9Lz— ℯ ℯ (@Andrew__Slater) September 21, 2021
It makes sense that UCLA is a strong contender since Bona plays at Prolific Prep in California, and it’s not like Kentucky has had great success recruiting that state either.
The good news is Bona still plans to officially visit Kentucky the weekend of October 1st, and John Calipari’s bunch are still confident in landing the top-10 recruit, according to KSR’s Jack Pilgrim.
“Kentucky is confident where things stand, sources tell KSR. Calipari has taken the lead on Bona’s recruitment and the staff as a whole is confident they’ll be able to close down the stretch,” Pilgrim wrote. “They want the 6-foot-10 center and believe he can anchor the Kentucky frontcourt in 2022-23. The hope is that Bona’s trip to Lexington next weekend will wash away the concerns and help seal a commitment.”
Pilgrim added that “Kentucky wouldn’t replace its position with any other program or professional route.”
With Kentucky’s frontcourt being a major question mark next year depending on who stays and goes, getting a guy like Bona would be huge, as he’s easily one of the best frontcourt players in the 2022 class. He’s also the kind of center who could compliment Kentucky’s offense well since he’s a great paint defender with a developing offensive repertoire that won’t command a lot of touches, at least early on in his college career.
You have to imagine Shaedon Sharpe, Skyy Clark, Chris Livingston and potentially Cason Wallace will account for a large portion of the offensive production. That’s not even accounting for the potential of guys like Dontaie Allen, CJ Fredrick and Jacob Toppin to be back next season, so Bona likely wouldn’t be asked to do much on the offensive end while he anchors the middle of Kentucky’s defense.
While Bona’s recruitment is a bit murkier now, Kentucky continues to be in great shape with Cason Wallace. The No. 7 recruit at 247 Sports and native of Texas has been trending toward Kentucky ever since he received a scholarship offer in July.
Before that, the Tennessee Volunteers were viewed as the significant favorite for Wallace, while the in-state Texas Longhorns were also a viable threat.
Wallace actually visited Tennessee this past weekend, which doesn’t appear to have had much, if any impact on where he’s trending toward. 247 Sports recruiting director Jerry Meyer actually logged a prediction in favor of Kentucky to land Wallace right after his visit to Tennessee.
Based on what Jack Pilgrim had to say, Kentucky is still the heavy favorite for Wallace.
“The positive buzz has grown even louder in the last 24 hours. ‘100 percent,’ one source told KSR early Thursday morning. ‘Done deal.’”
Wallace currently has a decision date set for November 7th, but Pilgrim believes there’s a good chance that date gets moved up, saying, “it would be a slight surprise to see this decision drag out another seven weeks.”
While Kentucky has had classes with multiple top-10 signees at one or two recruiting services, RSCI, which measures all the main recruiting rankings, has the Cats landing one or fewer top-10 recruits in six of the last eight classes.
If Kentucky can come out of the fall signing period with Sharpe, Livingston, Wallace, Bona and Clark, it would be a massive win for the program and a major statement made that the days of landing 2-3 top-10 recruits every class are back.
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