There’s finally clarity at the top of the 2018 class.
Power forward Marvin Bagley and small forward R.J. Barrett spent just two weeks together in the class. First it was Barrett reclassifying from 2019 to 2018, and then on Monday came Bagley’s big announcement: He reclassified to the 2017 class and committed to Duke.
Kentucky was among the finalists for Bagley, but the new No. 1 player in the 2017 class never took his official visit with the Wildcats. The 6-foot-11 forward chose between Duke, UCLA and USC.
The commitment gives Duke three of the top seven players in the 2017 class, according to the 247Sports composite: Bagley, point guard Trevon Duval and power forward Wendell Carter.
While Duke landed the top 2017 player, John Calipari and company received good news this week from the No. 1 player in 2018. Barrett included Kentucky in his top five. The other finalists? Duke, Arizona, Michigan and Oregon.
I want to thank all the schools that have recruited me.. these are my top 5 in alphabetical order. Haven't figured out any visits yet. pic.twitter.com/hID9BVGWUg
— Rj Barrett (@RjBarrett6) August 16, 2017
As Barrett noted, no official visits have been planned. The way-too-early 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction gives Duke a 50 percent chance to land Barrett, followed by Kentucky at 38 percent.
“If [Kentucky] really wants him and they evaluated him the correct way on how he would fit, and if he’s already mentioned them, that’s a good thing,” Dwayne Washington, Barrett’s AAU coach, told SEC Country last month. “If he’s mentioned them this early, Kentucky has the cache to make it very attractive in terms of preparing him for that next level.”
Barrett wasn’t the only top prospect who included Kentucky on a narrowed list this week. Five-star power forward Simi Shittu cut his list to 10 schools Sunday. Kentucky was among the finalists, along with North Carolina, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Oregon, Connecticut, Arizona State, New Mexico and South Carolina.
Shittu is the No. 9-ranked player in the 2018 class and the No. 2 power forward, according to 247Sports.
— Simi Shittu (@LanX_Sims) August 14, 2017
Shittu preps in Vermont, but he is from Canada. Calipari made a recent trip to Canada to visit Shittu.
“I went to all three sneaker-company [AAU] circuits this year and understand what’s out there, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Simi is a top-3 player in this class,” Alex Popp, Shittu’s high school coach, told SEC Country. “I’m convinced. He wouldn’t just be another guy — he’d be a major-impact guy — for Kentucky, for Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Oregon, Arizona, whoever gets him.”
More Kentucky basketball recruiting news
- Kentucky is falling out of the running for top SG Romeo Langford
- Kansas takes 247 Crystal Ball lead for Zion Williamson
- How would R.J. Barrett fit with his five finalists?
- Kentucky not among schools in contact with 5-star forward Jordan Brown
- Former Western Kentucky signee Mitchell Robinson is down to Kansas and New Orleans
- Top Kentucky target Cameron Reddish committing “sooner than people are expecting”
- Oregon is still a strong contender for R.J. Barrett
- Top 2019 prospect Vernon Carey on Kentucky: “They said that I’m their priority”