The fall signing period is over, but a few top targets remain in the 2018 class. Here is the latest Kentucky basketball recruiting notebook.
Kentucky signs 3 during fall period
John Calipari officially announced Kentucky’s three signees of the fall period on Thursday morning: 5-star point guard Immanuel Quickley, 5-star wing Keldon Johnson and 4-star shooting guard Tyler Herro.
“They didn’t need to be begged; they wanted to be here,” Calipari said in a statement. “All three are guards, all three are tough, and all three have a fight and a skill about them. All three of them are gym rats — the kind of guys who come here and do well. All three are driven and wired the way you have to be to be successful here. They’re going to add to what we do.”
And then Calipari offered a tease about what’s to come.
“We’re not done yet,” Calipari said, “but our needs, we have filled. These three guys are what we needed.”
Calipari clarified later on Monday that Kentucky will try to sign one more player, maybe two.
“I can’t beg kids to come here because then it’s not the right place,” Calipari said. “This isn’t for everybody. This is a place — you have to want to be here and you have to want what this is about, which is it’s not gonna be about you. It’s gonna be about your growth.”
Zion Williamson still on board
Four of the top 10 prospects in the 2018 class went unsigned during the fall period. Leading that list is 5-star small forward Zion Williamson. The 6-foot-6 and 275-pound prospect has kept his recruitment quiet over the last several weeks. Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and North Carolina are in the mix, as are home-state schools Clemson and South Carolina.
Williamson of Spartanburg, S.C., is the No. 2 prospect, per 247Sports, in the 2018 class. Kentucky still leads in the 247 Crystal Ball predictions, but it’s anyone’s guess. Kentucky has a 44 percent chance to land Williamson, followed by Clemson at 38 percent and Kansas and North Carolina at 6 percent, according to the Crystal Ball.
Williamson hasn’t announced anything, but Clemson has emerged as a strong contender. National recruiting analyst Andrew Slater logged a Williamson-to-Clemson pick on Wednesday.
“I have been thinking Clemson for about a month or so,” Slater told the Herald-Leader on Wednesday. “And there is definitely a lot of buzz that he wants to stay in-state — that he’s very comfortable with it.”
Williamson isn’t considered to be the best prospect in the class, but a case could be made that he’s the most exciting to watch. There is little doubt his signature is Kentucky’s priority.