If things fall into place, the next few weeks will be some of the most fruitful we’ve seen under John Calipari.
Given all the success Cal has had on and off the court, that’s really saying something.
By now, you know all about DJ Wagner and Justin Edwards, two of the absolute best in all of high school hoops, and both could soon commit to the Kentucky Wildcats.
Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that neither appeared likely to land in Lexington, as Wagner was seemingly set to pick the Louisville Cardinals any day now, while the Tennessee Volunteers looked poised to land Edwards.
But as we’ve learned many times, never count out John Calipari, especially when he’s got Orlando Antigua by his side, something that was missing from 2015-20 when Kentucky routinely fell short of landing top-five recruit after top-five recruit.
To a degree, we’ve already seen those recruiting woes subside since Antigua returned to Lexington, but 2023 may be the class we finally see Kentucky get back to landing monster hauls featuring multiple top-five signees.
And it may happen as early as the final week of July when Edwards and Wagner both potentially come off the board.
Over at On3, recruiting analyst Jamie Shaw just predicted who he believes Kentucky will land in the class of 2023. He’s not calling either recruitment a done deal but does believe Wagner and Edwards ultimately rock Kentucky blue.
Wagner is said to be announcing during, or around, Peach Jam. I wrote an intel piece last week, and nothing has changed since. Look for Calipari to win this one.
From sources close to the situation, it sounds like the kid wants to be at Kentucky, and people around him want him to be at Tennessee. This one is not over; however, as of this writing, let’s give Kentucky a slight lead with the understanding things could shift again.
Other recruiting analysts seem to agree Kentucky is in front. For Wagner, Kentucky has netted four-straight Rivals FutureCast picks, two-straight On3 picks, and two-straight 247 Crystal Ball predictions.
But the good news may not be limited to just 2023.
While Ugonna Kingsley is currently a top-five recruit in the class of 2023 — Kingsley, Edwards and Wagner are all top-five 2023 recruits in at least one recruiting service — there’s been heavy speculation that he could end up reclassifying into 2022 with Kentucky seen as the favorite.
Shaw agrees with that sentiment.
Sources tell me the word here is that Kingsley is looking to commit to Kentucky as a part of the 2022 class with an eye toward redshirting his freshman year.
This would be a great situation for Kentucky, as Kingsley could sit and develop behind college hoops’ best big man in Oscar Tshiebwe, then take over in 2023-24 when Tshiebwe is expected to be in the NBA Draft.
It could also give Kentucky some insurance if Tshiebwe or another frontcourt player goes down with an injury, though he’d ideally get to redshirt and develop while Tshiebwe, Daimion Collins, Lance Ware and Jacob Toppin take up most of the frontcourt minutes.
While there is no timeline with Kingsley, he will have to decide soon if he wants to reclassify and be on a college campus come late August. Look for all three of these recruitments to end soon, and you have to think Kentucky gets great news with at least one of them.