LEXINGTON, Ky. — Hurricane Irma has put a very important recruiting visit on hold for Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari. He planned to see 5-star small forward Zion Williamson and his family on Monday in Spartanburg, S.C.
“We had to reschedule due to the storm,” Williamson’s mother Sharonda Sampson told SEC Country. “My family who lives on the coast is in the direct path and we are with them today.”
She said no new date has been set for Calipari to come and make his in-home pitch to the slam-dunking sensation who is ranked as high as No. 1 overall in the Class of 2018 by 247Sports. The Wildcats, once considered clear favorites to land him, are facing a stiff challenge from Kansas.
Good news for Kentucky: Sampson said her son will take an official visit to Lexington and “we’ll set one up soon.”
This is a whirlwind week for Calipari as the fall recruiting period for college basketball is just underway and he’s already visited 5-star combo guard Quentin Grimes (another battle with Kansas) in Houston on Sunday. He was there checking in on the distribution of more than $1 million raised by a UK basketball telethon for Hurricane Harvey relief.
And although the Williamson visit is scrapped, Calipari will still see a 5-star prospect on Monday: Oak Hill (Virginia) shooting guard Keldon Johnson, who recently picked up a Kentucky offer during a campus visit. Then it’s up to Vermont Academy on Tuesday to see 5-star Canadian power forward Simi Shittu, who is still waiting on the Cats to offer.
Kentucky will host 5-star point guard Immanuel Quickley — the best bet to become Calipari’s first 2018 commitment — for his official visit starting Friday. After trying to seal that deal, the Cats’ coach will fly across the country to visit 5-star forward Bol Bol, his mother told the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts.
Once viewed as a strong contender to land the 7-foot-3 Bol, son of former NBA star Manute Bol, UK’s position seemed to take a hit when he was cut from the Calipari-coached USA Basketball under-19 team this summer. Perhaps on this visit Calipari can tap back into Bol’s childhood dream of playing for the Wildcats.