ESPN recently provided NBA comparisons and ranked their top 25 high school basketball recruits regardless of class, and the Kentucky Wildcats are in good shape with several of them.
Here is how ESPN’s Paul Biancardi explained his process.
“This list is an evaluation of the eye test, character traits, film work and metrics. And as with all rankings, it is fluid, so players can of course rise or fall down the road.
To make this list, we take into account how far along a player is in their respective development, analyze their recent performances and production from the summer circuit and also break down their potential at the next level.”
Let’s take a look.
1. DJ Wagner (CG, Class of 2023, uncommitted); NBA Comparison: Darius Garland
2. Justin Edwards (SF, Class of 2023, Kentucky commit); NBA Comparison: RJ Barrett
5. Aaron Bradshaw (C, Class of 2023, uncommitted); NBA Comparison: Jalen Smith
9. Tre Johnson (SG, Class of 2024, uncommitted); NBA Comparison: Bradley Beal
10. Ian Jackson (SG, Class of 2024, uncommitted); NBA Comparison: Jaylen Brown/Josh Richardson
12. Robert Dillingham (CG, Class of 2023, Kentucky commit) NBA Comparison:
14. Ron Holland (PF, Class of 2023, uncommitted); NBA Comparison: Jimmy Butler/Draymond Green
21. Darryn Peterson (SG, Class of 2025, uncommitted); NBA Comparison: Cade Cunningham
25. Karter Knox (SF, Class of 2024, uncommitted); NBA Comparison:
Five of the nine on the list come from the class of 2023, with Edwards and Dillingham being the lone commits at the moment. However, that could change soon with high school teammates DJ Wagner and Aaron Bradshaw having Kentucky at or near the top of their recruitments.
As for Holland, the G-League and Arkansas seem to be the favorites with Kentucky as a dark horse, but his recruitment could continue until next spring.
Things look to be promising for Kentucky in the 2024 class as well with Kentucky being in good position for all the targets listed on this list.
Tre Johnson - maybe the best shooter on this list - looked up to former Wildcat Tyrese Maxey growing up as and has close ties to new UK assistant K.T. Turner. Ian Jackson could end up being the best player in this class and already has a prediction to Kentucky on Rivals.
Finally, Karter Knox, who ESPN compares to former No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards, is the little brother of former Wildcat Kevin Knox.
The class of 2025 is spearheaded by the Boozer twins, as they are likely to follow their father’s footsteps and go to Duke - one of them is even named after Cameron Indoor - but Kentucky just offered Darryn Peterson and is an early frontrunner alongside Duke and Ohio State. Peterson, an Ohio native is a smooth and mature guard for his age and has even caught the eye of LeBron James.
The future is looking bright for Kentucky basketball.
Read the entire list here.