SPARTANBURG, S.C. — While it seems inevitable now that Kentucky will land Immanuel Quickley, the Wildcats have not stopped recruiting another 5-star point guard in the Class of 2018: Quentin Grimes. More notably, Grimes has not stopped listening.
“I wouldn’t eliminate them, because (UK coach John Calipari) already told me that he can play with two or three guards out there on the court,” Grimes told SEC Country on Saturday at the Adidas Gauntlet Finale. “He has a good track record. You can see he puts two or three guards out there and they produce and get to the next level quickly. So it’s definitely an option to play with another point guard who can facilitate and get me the ball.”
In 2015-16, Kentucky played three former 5-star high school point guards — Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe — all at the same time. Last season, Calipari played Briscoe, 5-star point guard De’Aaron Fox and 5-star shooting guard Malik Monk together. Four of those five became NBA draft picks, three in the lottery.
Grimes knows all this because “I talk to Coach Cal maybe every four days. He called me before he came here to Spartanburg and he called me after I had a good game here. He was just amazed that I put up that many points.”
That would be 41 points, to be exact, in a game where he hit 7 of 12 3-pointers on Friday with Kentucky assistant Joel Justus courtside. The 6-foot-5 Grimes is ranked by both Scout.com and 247Sports as a point guard — the latter has him the nation’s No. 5 player at that position and No. 16 overall — while Rivals and ESPN consider him a shooting guard.
Grimes figures he has the size and skills to play on or off the ball. He was off it frequently in Spartanburg, where he averaged 25.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals and hit 50 percent of his threes through the first three games of the Adidas tournament.
“I’m primarily a scorer, but I also have really good vision and I can pass, so they (rank) me as a point guard,” he said. “If they have a point guard who likes to pass, who doesn’t like to shoot, I can definitely play on the perimeter and shoot the ball.”
Quickley, a heavy Kentucky lean, also plays on the Adidas circuit and has made no secret of his plan to recruit 5-star forward Zion Williamson to play with him in college. That package deal might extend even further. Grimes said he, Quickley, Williamson and fellow 5-star Adidas guys Romeo Langford and Jordan Brown have “been talking the whole summer” about the idea of forming a super team.
That seems unlikely, as the Wildcats are fading in Langford’s recruitment and haven’t offered Brown a scholarship. But Kentucky would be thrilled to land Quickley, Williamson and Grimes, whose former teammate is Wildcats freshman Jarred Vanderbilt.
“He says he loves it out there,” Grimes said. “He says they push them really hard and get them ready for the next level.”
When he trims his list of schools in the next two weeks, Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona and Texas will definitely make the cut, Grimes said. The Jayhawks are considered heavy favorites and their head coach sat right under the basket for his game Saturday.
“They’re probably the strongest right now. They call me every day, Bill Self is big on me and my mom went to Kansas,” Grimes said. “But she doesn’t put any pressure on me to go there at all, so it’s really my decision. I wouldn’t count anybody out, really, because every school is different, has a different sell, a different pitch. Every school has a good chance of getting me right now.”