It was a busy week on the Kentucky basketball recruiting trail, and no move was bigger than R.J. Barrett’s decision to reclassify and join the likes of Marvin Bagley, Zion Williamson and Bol Bol in the 2018 class.
Kentucky coach John Calipari has offered seven of the top-10 players in the class, including the four mentioned above.
Barrett was the No. 1 ranked prospect in the 2019 class, and he slides to the No. 3 spot in the 2018 group behind Bagley and Williamson and one spot ahead of Bol. He’s the second-ranked small forward in the class, according to 247Sports. The top-3 small forwards — Williamson, Barrett and Cameron Reddish — are considering Kentucky.
Barrett, who’s from Canada but preps at the Montverde (Fla.) Academy, announced his decision to reclassify in a blog he keeps for USA Today Sports. It was a move that had been speculated. Barrett mentioned Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, Texas and UCLA as the schools showing the most interest.
Duke, Kansas and Kentucky are the three favorites in that order, according to the 247 crystal ball.
“I know that they’re very interested,” Washington said. “I talk to Kentucky quite a bit about him. Some of the schools I don’t talk to as much, but I can definitely attest that they’ve been on him, with [John] Calipari and [assistant coach] Joel Justus leading the charge. They’re trying to see what the kid is looking for and see if that place can be a fit and get him better. It’s a feeling-out period, but they’re definitely high on his talent and his competitiveness and his ability to play multiple positions.”
Now onto the rest of the week’s Kentucky recruiting news. If you missed last week’s notebook, catch up here.
The Wildcats joined Duke, UCLA, Connecticut and Villanova in Reddish’s top 5. The 6-foot-8 small forward has close ties with Calipari having spent several weeks during the summer on the U-19 Team USA squad.
“He and I obviously got closer,” Reddish said of his time with Calipari. “We got to talk a lot more about me specifically. I guess it helped him a little bit. I’m not gonna say I’m over the edge, but I guess so, yeah.”
Reddish has previously said he’ll announce his commitment in November or December.
Kentucky made another list when 5-star point guard Quentin Grimes announced his top 7 this week. Kentucky, Arizona, Texas A&M, Kansas, Marquette, Baylor and Texas made the cut.
Grimes is the No. 21 overall prospect and the No. 5 point guard in the class, according to 247Sports. Although Kentucky looks locked in on Immanuel Quickley as its primary point guard in the class, Grimes has the ability to play off the ball as a shooting guard at 6-4 and 175 pounds.
SEC Country caught up with Grimes at the Adidas Gauntlet Finale last month. He said Kansas was at the top of the list, but he wasn’t ready to count out Kentucky.
“I wouldn’t eliminate them, because [Calipari] already told me that he can play with two or three guards out there on the court,” Grimes told SEC Country. “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.”
More Kentucky recruiting news
- Charles Bassey, the third-ranked 2019 prospect, is moving from San Antonio to Louisville
- 5-star 2019 guard Scottie Lewis: “Kentucky’s definitely going to be a school that’s going to be on my list.”
- R.J. Barrett’s father talks about decision to reclassify
- R.J. Barrett’s high school coach: “He should be the No. 1 pick in two years”
- ESPN analyst says Marvin Bagley is a “once-in-a-generation-type talent”
- Darius Garland on getting an offer from Kentucky: “Ecstatic. I was super excited.”
- Kansas has the “inside track” for PG Quentin Grimes
- Q&A with Kentucky PG target Immanuel Quickley