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2025 No. 1 Point Guard Darius Acuff Updates Recruitment, Talks About Kentucky Wanting Him to Be A Leader

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Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Darius Acuff, the No. 9 player and No. 1 point guard in the 2025 class, is one of Kentucky’s biggest recruiting targets in the class. While he has yet to drop a top list, Kentucky is believed to be in a really good position.

With his recruitment about to ramp up this spring, Acuff spoke with On3 to update his recruitment and discuss the two official visits he took last fall, one of which was to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness.

“It was lit down there,” he told On3. “I went down for Big Blue Madness. They’re a great school and have put a lot of players in the league. I’ve been doing my research on all the schools and I’ve seen all the guards they’ve had. They play my style of play and let their guards make plays. Their facilities were big and they definitely showed a lot of love when I was there. It was a great school.”

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During another interview with 247Sports, Acuff provided some insight into what the staff talked about during his visit.

“On the visit they told me to watch DJ Wagner and see how he talks and his leadership as the point guard of the team,” Acuff said. “They’d want to play my game if I were to go there, get to the next level and be a leader. Most of our conversations was about being a leader 24/7 because the team will go how you go.”

Kentucky recruiting Acuff as a leader suggests that the staff envisions him to be a key piece for the 2025 class, leading the team as the point guard.

Acuff’s lone other visit was to his home state school of Michigan, but he is looking to take more over the coming weeks and months, to Kansas (March 5th), Texas, Houston, Georgia Tech, and others.

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What is Acuff looking for in a school? “I’m going to be looking for a program and a coach that is going to let me do me and let me rock out,” he says. “I want to play with a coach who is going to teach me right from wrong and be there to support me. I’ve thought some about the pro stuff, I want to go to college though. Yeah, college for sure.”

John Calipari will let a player “rock out” if they prove themself to be good enough, just look at Rob Dillingham this season. That said, a proven three-level scorer, Acuff put up the fourth-highest point average in Nike’s EYBL last season.

For Kentucky, this is a positive update and certainly a recruitment to watch.

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Karter Knox Has Decommitted From Kentucky

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© Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Another player has decided to explore his options. Karter Knox, one of Kentucky’s six recruits in the class of 2024, has decided to reopen his recruitment following the departure of John Calipari, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He could reevaluate his decision depending on who Kentucky hires as the new head coach.

Knox had very good ties with Calipari, being the younger brother of former Wildcat Karter Knox. Whether he follows Calipari remains to be seen, but a mass exodus of players could be likely. A fringe 5-star forward on 247 Sports, Knox chose Kentucky over Louisville, USF, and a possible return to Overtime Elite.

A native from Florida, Knox’s older brother, Kobe, is currently playing at South Florida, making them a team to watch in his recruitment. As for Louisville, Knox has ties to Kenny Payne, but Payne is no longer the head coach of the Louisville program.

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Now, John Calipari and Arkansas could be in play for the 6-5 forward. Kentucky got what could potentially be the first of many decommittments after Calipari left Kentucky for Arkansas. Kentucky will need to make a hire soon, or there will be a lot more departures than what is expected. Many decisions are hinging on who Kentucky’s next head coach becomes.

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What Transfers Has Kentucky Reached Out To?

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The college basketball transfer portal is open and Kentucky has reached out to multiple targets, specifically guards.
IMAGN/USA Today

College basketball offseason his here for all but four teams, which means transfer portal season is here. While some teams reach out to everyone, others like Kentucky try to examine potential fit and feel for each player.

With a desire to get older and more physical, the Kentucky staff has reached out to more transfers than they have in the past at this time, especially in the backcourt which, as of now, is where the roster holes are.

Let’s see the transfers Kentucky has reached out to thus far.

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AJ Storr – Guard, Wisconsin

Physicals: 6-7, 205 lbs
Stats: 16.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 43.4% FG, 32% 3P
Ranking: 40th (Evan Miya), 2nd (247Sports)

Storr is one of the biggest names in the portal. An athletic, attacking guard who excels at getting to the rim. However is relatively inefficient with his usage and is an average rebounder for his size.

Kentucky did reach out, but Storr is hoping to get a good draft grade, and if he does return to college, has a big NIL ask. Illinois is the favorite if he returns to college.

BJ Freeman – Guard, Milwaukee

Physicals: 6-6, 200 lbs
Stats: 21.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 42.2% FG, 35.1% 3P
Ranking: 91st (Evan Miya), 44th (247Sports)

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Last week BJ Freeman sounded ready to commit to Kentucky, saying he is “willing to do whatever to win and put another banner up there at Kentucky“. As interested as he is, an offer has yet to be extended.

Freeman is a three-level scorer who made major improvements in rebounding in generating assists this past season. At 6-6, 200 lbs he has a good frame. With more talent around him, Freeman could raise his efficiency.

Sean Pedulla – Guard, Virginia Tech

Physicals: 6-1, 195 lbs
Stats: 16.4 PPG, 4.6 APG, 4.3 RPG, 42.4% FG, 32.5% 3P
Ranking: 4th (Evan Miya), 22nd (247Sports)

One of the best playmakers in the portal, Pedulla can create opportunities for himself and others. This would make him an instant-impact guy. A high-volume shooter and undersized, Pedulla could increase his efficiency playing alongside better talent in Lexington. Kentucky has extended an offer.

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Javian McCollum – Guard, Oklahoma

Physicals: 6-2, 160 lbs
Stats: 13.3 PPG, 3.4 APG, 40.4% FG, 31.4% 3P
Ranking: 118th (Evan Miya), 18th (247Sports)

McCollum is the latest name to enter this list, with Kentucky expressing interest on Friday. Starting his career at Sienna, McCollum transferred to Oklahoma last season and his game transferred well.

While his shooting percentages don’t look great, he was often forced to shoot difficult shots in the Oklahoma offense. Undersized, McCollum is another player who can create for himself or for his teammates.

Cliff Omoruyi – Center, Rutgers

Physicals: 6-11, 240 lbs
Stats: 10.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 51.2% FG
Ranking: 14th (Evan Miya), 5th (247Sports)

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Omoruyi was one of the first big names to enter the portal and as a four-year player and two-time Big Ten All-Defense selection, he has received a lot of interest. He is a traditional big who excels in rebounding and rim protection.

At this point, it seems there are about 4-5 schools still in the running, with Kentucky being one. Omoruyi has been told that he will have a key role and the minutes are available, should he choose Kentucky.

Cade Tyson – Guard, Belmont

Physicals: 6-7, 205 lbs
Stats: 16.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 49.3% FG, 46.5% 3P
Ranking: 74th (Evan Miya), 20th (247Sports)

Tyson was the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year last season and Second Team All-Conference this season after averaging 16.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. He did that on 46.5% shooting from three.

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Tyson is one of the most sought-after players in the portal due to his efficient shooting, but Kentucky has thrown their hat in the ring. He enters the portal with two years of eligibility remaining.

Jalen Blackmon – Guard, Stetson

Physicals: 6-3, 180 lbs
Stats: 21.3 PPG, 1.9 APG, 42.8% 3P, 42.8% FG, 38% 3P
Ranking: 336th (Evan Miya), 50th (247Sports)

The son of former Kentucky star James Blackmon, Jalen is a standout guard for Stetson University, being named first-team all-conference the last two seasons.

He is participating in the draft process, but will almost certainly return to college. An off-ball scoring threat, Blackmon could be a replacement for Antonio Reeves, and the Kentucky connection is there.

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Jordan Ivy-Curry – Guard, UTSA

Physicals: 6-3, 175 lbs
Stats: 17.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 40.1% FG, 38.7% 3P
Ranking: 226th (Evan Miya), 194th (247Sports)

Jordan Ivy-Curry was a ball-dominant guard at UTSA, but as a transfer, it would be better for him to go somewhere where he can play as more of a two-guard/combo guard. He still has the handles and ability to create for himself, but is in the 98th percentile in catch-and-shoot situations.

Tyler Nickel – Guard, Virginia Tech

Physicals: 6-7, 220 lbs
Stats: 8.8 PPG, 39.9% 3P
Ranking: 105th (Evan Miya), 162nd (247Sports)

At 6-7, 220 Tyler Nickel is one of the bigger guards in the portal, and he shoots 40 percent from three at the Power Six level. Even at that, he can run the floor well in transition and make the right passing reads.

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Nickel can be a really good supporting type piece on a contender.

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Kentucky’s Incoming Freshmen Show Promise In McDonald’s All-American Game

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Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

This week, Kentucky was well represented in this year’s McDonald’s All-American Game, with three incoming players participating, the most of any school. Those three were Boogie Fland, Jayden Quaintance, and Karter Knox, who all played well.

With most all-star/exhibition games you don’t know what to expect. However, this game has been competitive in recent history and this year was no different, with Fland and Quaintance on the East team escaping with an 88-86 win over Knox and the West.

Quaintance and Fland were both very active on the defensive end, while Knox showed his improvements on offense, shooting more consistently. Fland took control at the end of the first half, heating up offensively, with a good second half also. He showed off his creativity too, creating his shots and making some beautiful passes. He was certainly the biggest talk out of Kentucky’s commits.

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Fland finished with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists for the East team, with Quaintance pouring in 7 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals for the East. Knox had 9 points and a rebound for the West team in the loss.

A lot of the true evaluation comes from the practices rather than the game itself, so let’s take a look at how the Kentucky guys did throughout the week.

Boogie Fland

A guard who is a really skilled shooter. Fland showed that in his practice evaluations this week, getting to his spots and creating his own. He gets his teammates involved and is really good on the offensive end. His ability to create for himself and others will allow him to be dangerous in the pick-and-roll game. His length and competitiveness help carry him through on the defensive end.

Take a look at some of what he showcased this week.

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Jayden Quaintance

Despite being just 16 years old, the top-10 prospect is known for being one of the more physical players in the class, as he was very active on the defensive end. He was named standout from Day 2 practice.

“He is an explosive player around the basket, showing a lot of explosive burst,” On3 said. “The upside with Quaintance is big. He has some physical traits that simply cannot be taught.” Currently improving on his footwork, the big man has a very high ceiling. Not eligible for the NBA Draft until 2026, Quaintance is a player whom Kentucky hopes to stay for two years.

Karter Knox

A top-20 forward in the class, and brother of former Wildcat Kevin Knox, Karter is a very efficient shot-maker and excels at mid-range. He is a three-level scorer who can make plays when you need him to. There are questions about his ceiling, but he’s getting more efficient and confident by the day. His game has improved a lot in recent months.

Along with Quaintance, Knox was named a standout from Day 2 practice.

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“Knox got into the mid-range for a couple of pull-up jumpers, but he also knocked down some catch-and-shoot threes,” On3 said. “He looked like a plug-and-play type at the next level who can finish plays on the offensive end with low volume and get out in transition to for some easy buckets. There is wonder about the high-end upside for him, but his floor continues to rise.”


There is a lot to like about what Kentucky has with its recruiting class. Now it’s about adding the right pieces around them.

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