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Good, Bad, and Failed: Package Deals Edition

A look at the history of package deals and if they tend to succeed or fail miserably.

Brandon Dorf

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari has had his fair share of involvement in package deals with high school basketball recruits.

Many of us in the BBN most notably remember the Harrison twins committing to the Wildcats back in October of 2012, but did you know that wasn’t the first time Calipari landed a package deal of twins?

The first time Calipari landed twin commitments was actually from the Morris twins (Markieff and Marcus) during his tenure at Memphis. The Morris twins committed, then opened up their recruitment only to reestablish their recommit, then de-committed two months after that!

Now, Calipari is focused on the 2019 class that features a very likely package deal of two top 10 players in Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine who both play for Team Rio in AAU and at their New Jersey high school, Ranney School. That being said would it really be the end of the world if this package deal isn’t Kentucky bound?

Let’s take a look at other package deals and how they turned out.

The Good

First, look at the “good” package deals in recent recruiting memory. The Harrison brothers committed to UK as members of the 2013 class. The twins went to two final fours, one championship game, and were on the brink of history attempting 40-0 in the 2015 season. Both went onto the NBA, Andrew getting drafted in the second round and Aaron quickly signed as an undrafted free agent.

The next successful package deal was in the 2014 class when the top-ranked duo of point guard Tyus Jones and center Jahlil Okafor committed to Duke. The duo committed simultaneously on ESPN and lead the Blue Devils to a national championship in 2015 (should’ve been ours, I’ll never get over it).

The two formed a bond during their Team USA experiences and were Duke locks since they were Sophomores in high school. Tyus Jones was a late 1st round pick to his hometown team and has been serviceable as a backup.

Jahlil Okafor on the other hand was drafted 3rd overall while many media figured exclaimed he would be the next GREAT big and the next coming of Tim Duncan that you could build around for 15 years.

Fast forward to present day just 3 years later, Jahlil Okafor can’t even get on the court for the Brooklyn Nets.

The Bad

As I mentioned, the Morris twin’s were Calipari’s first experience with twins packaging themselves together to attend college. The reason I have them listed as “the bad” is based essentially on how immature they handled their recruitment.

At one point, they even considered going the post-grad route to then declare for the draft, but then they changed their mind yet again, later committing to Kansas to become Jayhawks where they spent 3 seasons. They reached the Elite 8 once and declared for the draft after their junior season, and they’ve since caused all sorts of headaches for multiple GM’s in the NBA.

The 2015 class featured KJ Lawson who committed to Memphis and younger brother Dedric Lawson who reclassified and committed to Memphis as well. The brothers spend two seasons at Memphis and became largely disgruntled with new coach Tubby Smith in their second season.

This lead to them transferring to Kansas and posting a video on a social media platform exclaiming profanities about their former coach. Immaturity seems to be a common denominator for brothers that play for Bill Self.

The Failed

Former North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried spent years wooing 2016 stars Dennis Smith Jr. and Edrice “Bam” Adebayo. The two played AAU together for Team Loaded in North Carolina and long expressed interest in playing at the next level together. They just so happened to be fairly local to NC State.

Dennis Smith committed to NC State and immediately claimed his next goal was bring in Bam. That didn’t work out so well. Bam had a fairly quiet recruitment in terms of who his true leader was since NC State was the assumed favorite.

Bam decided to make a surprise commitment to UK while an injured Dennis Smith decided to enroll early at NC State so he could start his rehab process in January of 2016.

Immanuel Quickley committed to the Big Blue Nation in September of 2017 after spending the summer creating a bromance with YouTube star Zion Williamson. Zion and Immanuel had previously spent the summer traveling the world, beating every team in their way, and competing in the Adidas Nations event.

At first, Zion was intrigued with the idea of a package deal but later shot it down. Zion was presumably down to Kentucky and Clemson, but his quiet recruitment took a Kevin Knox-type of turn when dark horse Duke landed the dunk machine in January.

The last of the failed actually comes at the hand of the Duke Blue Devils. Cameron Reddish spent his summer with John Calipari’s Team USA but did some recruiting himself. Reddish publically tried to get USA teammate Louis King to be a package deal along with him as well as Darius Garland.

Neither bought what the future Dukie was selling so he dropped the funny business and committed to Duke shortly after Tre Jones committed.


Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine are undoubtedly great high school players, but it really wouldn’t be the end of the world if they don’t come to Lexington in the Fall of 2019.

Kentucky has already landed commitments from players that play the same position as them from elite guard Tyrese Maxey and quickly-evolving forward D.J. Jeffries. Ashton Hagans is also a Kentucky commit but is likely to reclassify to the 2018 class.

Look for Kentucky to get involved with top combo guard/point guard Cole Anthony in the coming months if John Calipari feels Lewis and Antoine leaning elsewhere.