Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Ranking Big Blue Madness visitors by likelihood of choosing the WIldcats
We tackle the best question asked by Kentucky fans every day. If you’d like to submit a question, tweet to Kyle Tucker here and Joe Mussatto here. Look for the Question of the Day every Monday through Friday.
Big Blue Madness is just hours away, and that means John Calipari and Kentucky basketball will host another ridiculous collection of elite recruits — spanning the 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 classes. The No. 1 high school junior, James Wiseman, is expected to attend, but in our question of the day, we tackle the more immediate concern: the senior-class crop of talent.
Alex Priar asked us to “rank the  recruits who will be at BBM in likelihood of committing to UK.”
So initially there were going to be four top-10 overall prospects coming, but I was told Friday morning that point guard Immanuel Quickley (John Carroll School/Bel Air, Md.) won’t make the trip because of obligations with his high school team. As far as I know, this should not be worrisome for Cats fans, as Quickley is already committed to Kentucky and nothing has changed.
The bad news: He’s tight with 5-star small forward Zion Williamson (Spartanburg Day School/Spartanburg, S.C.) and 5-star center Bol Bol (Mater Dei/Santa Ana, Calif.), who are coming to Madness along with 5-star point guard Darius Garland (Brentwood Academy/Brentwood, Tenn.). The good news: Quickley has been recruiting those guys, especially his buddy Williamson, for months and just spent the weekend with them at a USA Basketball mini-camp in Colorado.
Kentucky always has been in great shape with Williamson and has seen its position with Bol go from favorite to longshot and maybe all the way back again in recent weeks. He wants a personal explanation from Calipari about getting cut from Team USA this summer, so the visit is important.
My ranking of the BBM visitors in descending order of likelihood Kentucky gets them: Williamson, Bol, Garland.
In a related question, an anonymous Twitter user asks: “As of today what’s your best guess for the 18 recruiting class?”
Some of these are still fluid, but at this very moment I’ll say the Cats sign Quickley, Williamson and either Quentin Grimes or Keldon Johnson (both 5-star guards who can play alongside Quickley). I remain skeptical that Bol ultimately ends up in Lexington, but the FBI investigation caused him to cut Arizona and Southern California from his list — and I think he would’ve ended up at one of those schools — so there’s a chance for the Cats.
Then maybe Kentucky adds Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, if he de-commits from Arizona. Or the Wildcats could get back into the mix with 5-star power forward Emmitt Williams, who badly wanted an offer from Kentucky this summer. The big fish, of course, is No. 1 overall recruit R.J. Barrett, whose decision likely comes down to the Wildcats and Duke, but right now all momentum seems to be in favor of the Blue Devils.