LEXINGTON, Ky. — It was a wild week on the recruiting trail with the nation’s top basketball players competing at Nike’s Peach Jam and the Adidas Gauntlet Finale.
SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker and Joe Mussatto were in South Carolina at both events in an effort to talk to every Kentucky target and a few other 5-stars waiting to get the call from John Calipari. You can catch up on that prospect-by-prospect rundown here.
Now, we look back on a few key takeaways from last weekend as well as catch you up on all that’s happened since in. If you missed our Kentucky men’s basketball recruiting notebook from last week, catch up here.
We saw Zion Williamson in person for the first time last weekend. He isn’t the No. 1 prospect in the 2018 class — that’s a spot taken by power forward Marvin Bagley — but Williamson is the most electric. Tucker writes that Williamson must be seen to be believed.
Oh, sure, you can experience Zion Williamson’s basketball virtuosity on the Internet. Yes, you can be transfixed by his freakish athleticism through the flicker of a few rim-bending and shot-obliterating video clips, as so many thousands already have.
Here’s how 247 Sports national scouting director Jerry Meyer put it to Tucker: “I get excited watching him, and that is very rare for me. So much of scouting is just mundane work; I go to the gym and really don’t get a lot of joy out of it, to be honest, because I do it so much. So it’s a huge deal when a guy makes my heart beat a little bit or he gets my adrenaline going or he makes me feel like … a fan. Zion does that.”
That term got tossed around quite a bit at Peach Jam and the Adidas Gauntlet Finale, but Williamson and point guard Immanuel Quickley made it seem like a very real thing. First it was Williamson saying “there’s a lot of truth to that” with respect of rumors that he wanted to play with Quickley in college. He said Quickley is the type of point guard he wants to play with.
So then we asked Quickley about it. More confirmation.
“[Williamson] said he was going to talk to his mom, and I’m gonna talk to my family,” Quickley said. “We’re gonna see if we can actually try and get it done.”
And finally, we circled back to Williamson. He seemed as upfront as ever about the idea of not only playing with Quickley, but playing with him at Kentucky — the school Quickley has confirmed is his leader.
“That’s the real deal,” Williamson said. “I want to play with Immanuel Quickley when I go to college. If he goes to Kentucky, then I’m going to look into Kentucky really hard.”
Based on Quickley’s comments, it should come as no surprise that all 14 predictions in his 247Sports’ Crystal Ball point to Kentucky. He’s scheduled a visit with the Wildcats along with Kansas and Miami. If Quickley, the No. 10 prospect in the 2018 class, picks UK as expected, will Williamson follow? Right now it sure sounds like it.
Grimes, a top-5 point guard and the 20th-ranked prospect in the 2018 class, is listed as 100 percent to Kansas, according to 247Sports’ Crystal Ball. But while the Jayhawks are the likely leader, Kentucky hasn’t backed off of the Texas product.
The Wildcats offered Grimes and, contrary to popular belief, their chances to land him wouldn’t suffer if fellow point guard Quickley also picked Kentucky.
“I wouldn’t eliminate [Kentucky], because [John Calipari] already told me that he can play with two or three guards out there on the court,” Grimes said. “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.”
Grimes said he talks to Calipari maybe every four days. His recruitment will be one to watch.
Add another 5-star point guard to the fold. Calipari & Co. offered the class’ No. 1 point guard a scholarship on Sunday.
— Darius Garland (@dariusgarland22) July 16, 2017
Not only is the Brentwood, Tenn., native one of the best prospects in the nation, but he is also popular among his peers. How popular? Bagley and Cameron Reddish both expressed their interest in … wait for it … a package deal with Garland. Package deals really were talked about a lot, but this one is significant for Kentucky as both Bagley and Reddish, top-5 prospects in the class, are UK targets.
And it’s not just Bagley and Reddish. Point guard Tre Jones, shooting guard Romeo Langford and power forward Bol Bol were three more 5-star prospects Garland said he’d like to play with.
If Garland is the first domino to fall, there could be a chain of 5-star recruits to follow.
More Kentucky basketball recruiting links
- Calipari texts Williamson every two days
- Whether he reclassifies or not, Bagley favored to land with Duke or USC, national analyst say
- Five takeaways from Peach Jam where Bagley was the biggest story
- What has to happen for Bagley to play this season?
- Top 2019 prospect R.J. Barrett writes that his dad is handling his recruitment and lists Kentucky as a school he’s hearing from along with Duke, Kansas, Michigan, UCLA, Oregon and Arizona
- Langford in no rush to make his college decision
- David McCormack, 247Sports’ No. 1 center in 2018, doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky, but he said Calipari is going to keep watching
- Kentucky has “picked up their interest” in 5-star SG Keldon Johnson
- Quickley sets up visits to Kentucky, Miami and Kansas