John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats have been on a roll with recruiting, dating back to landing the No. 1 class in 2023.
That momentum continued on Tuesday as five-star center Jayden Quaintance announced that he has committed to Kentucky.
The 6-foot-10 big man recently cut his list down to just two schools, no longer considering the G-League, and ultimately picked the Cats over the Missouri Tigers. He held additional offers from Kansas, Alabama, Baylor, Ohio State, Oregon, and Washington, among others.
Quaintance is currently ranked as the No. 4 overall player and is the No. 1 overall center, according to On3. He’s also ranked No. 9 at 247 Sports, No. 11 at Rivals, and No. 14 at ESPN. He plays at Word Of God Christian Academy in North Carolina, the old stomping grounds of John Wall.
In July, Quaintance reclassified from the 2025 class to 2024, which means that at just 16 years old, he will need to spend at least two years at the post-high school level before making the move to the NBA.
That, along with the sheer potential Quaintance already possesses, makes him one of the biggest gets of the John Calipari era. Guys like Quaintance simply don’t stick around for two years. So, while he may not necessarily be as impactful in Year 1 as guys like Julius Randle or DeMarcus Cousins, the potential impact he could make over two years in Lexington could end up making him one of the most impactful players of the Coach Cal era.
For much of this recruitment, this was seen as a Kentucky - Missouri battle, with Florida also making a push, even though the Gators were recently cut. Leading into the early signing period, it began to look like Quaintance would not sign early.
But in recent days, momentum began to build that the top-five recruit would announce early, and Kentucky had all of the buzz leading into his decision.
During an interview with On3, Quaintance talked about his two finalists and had a lot of positives to say about the Cats.
“They have had a lot of success with previous draft picks. They’ve had guard success, but they’ve had good success with bigs, a lot more than other colleges,” Quaintance said. “Coach Calipari has been showing a lot of love, and Coach Chin, too. Coach Cal has already come to Word of God twice to see me. We’ve been able to build a good relationship.”
Originally a member of the class of 2025, Quaintance is very young for the class of 2024 and won’t turn 18 until after he has stepped foot on a college campus.
At 6-foot-10 with length, a frame built to carry muscle without slowing him down and plus athleticism, he has all of the physical characteristics that you look for in an elite big man prospect. He has game that matches his physical tools.
Due to his youth he can be a bit inconsistent, but we are talking about a big guy who can take other bigs off the dribble while facing the rim or hit jump shots. He’s a clever passer when double teamed, finishes lobs, runs the floor and is a very good rebounder. He can still improve as a rim protector and he’s got to be careful not to settle too much for jump shots, but he’s got a pretty well-rounded array of skills at his disposal.
Quaintance becomes the fourth player to join Kentucky’s 2024 class as he joins point guard Boogie Fland, center Somto Cyril, and point guard Travis Perry. This also puts Kentucky’s class at No. 2 overall, trailing only Duke.
Depending on why guys like VJ Edgecombe, Billy Richmond, Darryn Peterson (if he reclasses from 2025), and Karter Knox opt to due, Kentucky could definitely end up with a second straight No. 1 class.
Now, check out some highlights of the newest Wildcat in action!
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