The fall recruiting period is in full swing and Kentucky is making waves in both the 2018 and 2019 classes. The Wildcats are zeroing in on this year’s targets while extending a couple offers to next year’s group.
We break it down in this week’s Kentucky basketball recruiting notebook.
A pair of 5-star targets will be taking official visits to Lexington this weekend: point guard Immanuel Quickley and shooting guard Keldon Johnson.
It’s long been thought that Quickley could become Kentucky’s first 2018 commit. The Bel Air, Md., prospect has said in the past that Kentucky is his leader and the 247Sports crystal ball gives John Calipari and Co. a 100 percent chance to land him.
Quickley is the eighth-ranked 2018 prospect and the No. 2 point guard, according to 247Sports composite rankings.
It’s less clear where Kentucky stands for Johnson. The Wildcats are in the mix, but Texas is the favorite. Johnson didn’t pick up a Kentucky offer until Aug. 22. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound shooting guard from Oak Hill Academy is the No. 13 player in the 2018 class, according to 247Sports composite rankings. He’s the second-ranked shooting guard behind Romeo Langford.
Another important official visit will take place this weekend at Duke. R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 prospect in the class, will be in Durham, N.C. It comes a week after Barrett took his official visit to Kentucky. The Blue Devils may be the favorites to land Barrett, but Barrett’s AAU coach and a source close to his recruitment both said his Kentucky visit went great.
Speaking of visits, Kentucky hasn’t offered forward Simi Shittu — the No. 7 prospect in the 2018 class — but Calipari had an early morning look at Shittu where he preps in Vermont. Shittu held an open gym at 6 a.m. and 37 coaches including Calipari, Roy Williams, Frank Martin and Mike Brey showed up, according to Adam Zagoria.
Latest on Zion Williamson
After Hurricane Irma canceled Calipari’s plans to make an in-home visit with Zion Williamson and his family in South Carolina on Monday, the Kentucky coach rescheduled for Wednesday.
The Spartanburg, S.C., native is also getting his best shot from Martin and the in-state Gamecocks. Martin had an in-home visit with Williamson on Thursday, and the electric 5-star forward is reportedly visiting South Carolina for the football game Saturday. A game that happens to be against Kentucky. It could be a two-sport battle in Columbia.
Williamson will take an official visit with Kentucky next weekend, according to Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. He’ll travel to Kansas after that with future visits planned for Duke and UCLA.
Williamson, the human highlight dunking sensation and the No. 2 prospect in the class, keeps a blog for USA Today Sports. He recently detailed the recruiting pitch Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski gave him.
“So he started telling me his original plan for the class and how he’d already planned to get those two players and how everything is working according to his plan,” Williamson wrote. He said that every year he changes his system with new players. He said he was gonna play me the way he played LeBron (James) in the Olympics in 2012 so I did my research!”
No clear front runner has emerged for Williamson, but Kansas has a slight lead, according to the crystal ball.
Things are moving fast in the 2018 class, but Calipari and staff extended their first 2019 offers on Thursday.
Five-star power forward James Wiseman and 4-star small forward D.J. Jeffries were the two recipients.
Wiseman, from Memphis, Tenn., is the No. 2 prospect in the class, according to 247Sports composite rankings. He’s 6-foot-11, 210 pounds.
Jeffries, a 6-foot-7 small forward, is the No. 13 prospect in the class. He’s from Olive Branch, Miss.