College basketball’s early signing period is here, and at least a few top prospects are expected to sign between now and Nov. 15.
Kentucky collected its first signature on Thursday (see below), and John Calipari and company hope more are to come.
Here’s the latest Kentucky basketball recruiting notebook:
Friday is the day. R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 per the 247Sports composite, will announce his college decision at 6 p.m. ET on Canada’s TSN.
Duke is the favorite to land the 6-foot-6 small forward from Canada who preps at Montverde Academy in Florida. The 247Sports Crystal Ball gives the Blue Devils an 88-percent chance to land Barrett, followed by Kentucky at 6 percent. Oregon is also a contender.
Nerlens Noel, in 2012, was the last No. 1 prospect to sign with Kentucky, according to 247Sports composite rankings.
And although the Blue Devils are the favorite for Barrett, national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels told SEC Country that it’s not a done deal.
“I put Duke in my Crystal Ball a long time ago,” Daniels said. “I think that they are the favorite heading into the deal. I wouldn’t say I’m 100-percent confident that’s where he’s going, but that’s what my gut says. I don’t think [Kentucky or Oregon] are out of it.”
USA Today had Kentucky signee Immanuel Quickley, Duke signee Tre Jones and Oregon signee Louis King give their last-minute pitches to Barrett.
Barrett’s decision will set things in motion for other top prospects in the 2018 class.
Five-star shooting guard Keldon Johnson will announce his college decision 24 hours after Barrett. Johnson will sign at 6 p.m. ET Saturday at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. The 6-6 shooting guard will choose from Kentucky, Maryland, N.C. State and Texas.
Johnson is the No. 2 shooting guard in the 2018 class and the No. 14 overall prospect in the class. Kentucky is the favorite to land him, according to the 247Sports crystal ball.
SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker summed up Johnson’s recruitment earlier this week: “There’s still some concern about fellow finalists Maryland, N.C. State and Texas, because Kentucky was late to offer Johnson and those schools can sell that he’s their top priority versus John Calipari’s annual collection of stars who are asked to set ego aside and share the shine. But I’d still predict Kentucky for Johnson.”
There was no suspense surrounding Immanuel Quickley’s signature. The 5-star point guard became the first member of Kentucky’s 2018 class on Thursday when he signed his National Letter of Intent. He wore a blue Kentucky jersey for the ceremony at John Carroll School in Bel Air, Md.
Quickley will be next in Calipari’s line of top point guards. Quickley, listed at 6-3 and 175 pounds, is the No. 8 prospect in the 2018 class, according to 247Sports composite rankings. He’s the second-ranked point guard behind Duke signee Tre Jones.
— Immanuel Quickley (@IQ_GodSon) November 9, 2017
More Kentucky basketball recruiting news
- Evan Daniels breaks down Cats’ chances with remaining 2018 targets
- Duke is the favorite for R.J. Barrett, but it’s still a tight race
- “Literally no one knows” what top target Zion Williamson will do
- Zion Williamson is the most unique prospect of 2018
- Zion Williamson expected to be at Clemson this weekend
- Kentucky is “dream school” for 5-star center Moses Brown
- Former Kentucky PG target Darius Garland will decide Wednesday