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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting Round-Up for 2024 Prospects

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In the last couple of weeks, Kentucky basketball has made moves and seen progress with some of its prospects in the 2024 recruiting class. Coach Cal and company dominated recruiting for the class of 2023. Expectations for recruiting success in the 2024 class will be just as high.

No. 2 Guard in 2024 Class, Ian Jackson, Set to Commit on Monday

One of the top players in the 2024 class has made his decision and will soon be announcing it and ending his recruitment. Ian Jackson, the No. 2 overall player in the class, is set to make his announcement at 3 PM EST on Monday between Kentucky, North Carolina, and Arkansas.

Kentucky has long been thought to be the favorite, but following a visit to North Carolina, they have made up a lot of ground on Jackson. The top-ranked guard was interviewed by Kentucky Sports Radio’s Jack Pilgrim at the Hoophall Classic on Sunday.

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On one hand, Jackson talked glowing about Kentucky and their ability to get guys to the NBA after one season, seeing himself as that caliber of player.

“Their history of putting pros in the league, getting guys in the league. One-and-done guys, specifically, NBA guys thriving in the league,” Jackson said of Kentucky. When asked about how his yet-to-be-announced school set itself apart he gave a Kentucky-favoring answer, “I feel like in their system, I’ll thrive and be a one-and-done.

Yet, Jackson also talked about North Carolina and his recent visit in high regard. “The family aspect… I felt like that’s where I should be, from what I thought,” Jackson said.

Given these comments, insider predictions are split, but all will be answered come Monday afternoon.

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Kentucky Visits 2024 No. 1 Center, Flory Bidunga

On December 20th, 2022, head coach John Calipari and assistant Orlando Antigua made the trip up to Kokomo, Indiana to watch Bidunga and Kokomo take on Zionsville. Bidunga is a 6-foot-9, 210-pound center. He is the #1 ranked center in the 2024 class according to On3 and 24/7 Sports recruiting rankings. ESPN currently has him as #2 behind Jayden Williams.

Each of these databases has him ranked as the #3, #4, and #7 overall recruit in the 2024 class, respectively. In the 2022-2023 season, he is averaging 17.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 4.9 blocks per game.

The highly-touted center has the length and wingspan that helps him to be a great shot blocker and also gives him an advantage in finishing at the rim. Despite his length, Bidunga displays surprising finesse by converting floaters and corner jumpers off the pick-and-roll.

Kentucky offered Bidunga on October 11th, 2022 however, UK is not currently on his shortlist. According to On3 and 24/7 Sports, Cincinnati has the best odds to land him at this time. Other schools targeting Bidunga include Florida, Auburn, Purdue, Michigan State, and Indiana.

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It will be interesting to see if Coach Cal and his staff will be able to get in the mix before he makes his final decision.

Kentucky offers 3-star shooting-guard, Billy Richmond III

Billy Richmond III is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound shooting guard from Memphis, TN. He is the son of Billy Richmond Jr., who played for Coach Calipari at Memphis from 2002-2004. Coach Cal made an official offer to Richmond III on December 30th, 2022. This follows a recent trend of Coach Cal’s as he has now offered a legacy recruit in three consecutive classes – Adou Thiero (2022), DJ Wagner (2023), Billy Richmond III (2024).

Richmond III is the 28th-ranked SG in the 2024 class. He is currently averaging 12.4 points, 2.4 assists, and 2.6 steals per game for Camden High School (NJ). He plays alongside current UK commits in the 2023 class, DJ Wagner and Aaron Bradshaw.

Kentucky Makes List for Four-Star Point Guard, Tahaad Pettiford

The No. 2 point guard in the 2024 recruiting class announced his final seven schools on January 2nd, 2023. His list included Kentucky along with UCLA, Auburn, Kansas, UConn, Seton Hall, and Ole Miss. Kentucky first offered Pettiford on July 13th, 2022.

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Pettiford is ranked as the No. 2 PG and No. 21 overall in the class by 24/7 Sports Composite. He stands 6-feet, 160 pounds and even though he isn’t the tallest player on the court, Pettiford’s athleticism allows him to play above the rim.

He fits the mold of a typical John Calipari point guard – a lefty with explosive quickness, athleticism, and ability to push the pace (i.e. De’Aaron Fox and Sahvir Wheeler). As a sophomore, Pettiford averaged 18.4 points per game.

Top 10 Forward in 2024, Airious “Ace” Bailey, Commits to Rutgers over Kentucky

Airious “Ace” Bailey is the 6th ranked overall player in the 2024 class according to the 24/7 Sports Composite rankings. The 6-foot-10 small/power-forward included Kentucky in his final 12 schools to start 2023.

Bailey announced his list with a graphic via Twitter and Instagram on January 1st, 2023. In addition to Kentucky, his list included Georgia, Rutgers, Auburn, Texas, Memphis, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kansas, West Virginia, Oregon, and Arkansas.

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In a surprise turn of events, Bailey announced his commitment to Rutgers on Sunday.

Bailey’s natural length and athleticism are supplemented by explosiveness and a go-get-the-ball mentality. He is a threat on both ends of the floor as he can shoot, rebound, and guard all 5 positions. Much of his talent comes from raw ability alone as he is still in need of refinement of some skills.

Bailey is currently averaging 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.

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Kentucky Expressing Interest In 2025 Kiyan Anthony, Son of Former NBA Star Carmelo Anthony

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Kentucky is showing interest in Kiyan Anthony, the son of former NBA star Carmelo Anthony.
Nike EYBL/Team Melo

Kentucky has been expressing interest in the son of former NBA star Carmelo Anthony, Kiyan Anthony. While he has the nation’s attention partly due to his father’s name, he is a top-40 player in the class of 2025.

Anthony played in the Marshall County Hoopfest in December, where the Kentucky staff was in attendance to check out 2024 Top-5 prospect VJ Edgecombe, who has since committed to Baylor. While there, they were impressed enough to reach out to Kiyan, who recently spoke with On3 to discuss his new Kentucky interests among other topics.

“I recently started to talk to Kentucky because they’ve been at our games and practices because of my teammate, VJ (Edgecombe). So I guess they were really impressed in practice and stuff,” Anthony said. He spoke with the Kentucky staff after his game in Marshall County, he said.

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He had some pretty good praise for Kentucky when he talked about his thoughts on the program. “I feel like Kentucky is top-tier when it comes to getting people to the league and just winning,” Anthony said. “Coach Cal, he’s not going to show any mercy. He really pushes his players to the max. Some people aren’t built for it, but I feel like the ones that are, they really take that next step and get to the league or get where they need to go.”

It needs to be noted that Kentucky has yet to extend an offer, but Anthony says, “The coaches over there are texting me, telling me to keep working. When they come to practice they say how I’m getting a lot better and they have their eyes on me.”

John Calipari has never been keen on the extra stuff that comes with having the son of a former NBA star (i.e. Bronny James) on his team, but could Kiyan be an exception? Time will tell, but at this moment it doesn’t seem likely.

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2025 Jasper Johnson Talks About Where Kentucky Stands in Recruitment, Schedules Visit

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Nike EYBL Team Thad Jasper Johnson shoots a free throw during the Team Thad and Florida Rebels basketball game.
© Katie Goodale / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jasper Johnson, a Top-10 guard in the class of 2025, has released his Top 10 schools, according to On3’s Joe Tipton, and Kentucky was included. He also scheduled some upcoming visits, and Kentucky is one of those.

Johnson cut his list to Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn, Kansas, Baylor, Missouri, North Carolina, Louisville, Southern California, and West Virginia. He will take official visits to North Carolina on February 3rd, Kentucky on February 10th, and Auburn on February 17th. He told Tipton that a visit to Baylor is a “strong possibility.”

Amidst reclassification rumors, Johnson says that he will be staying in the 2025 class “as of right now.” “All my schools are open to me reclassing to 2024, but as of right now, I think I’ll be staying in the 2025 class. Reclassing up is an option, but I think I will probably stay in 2025.”

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Johnson’s only official visits so far have been to Missouri and West Virginia, along with unofficial visits to Kentucky, Louisville, and Alabama. His contact with Kentucky is almost daily, as he says Orlando Antigua contacts him every day.

“Coach Orlando (Antigua) reaches out to me probably every day,” Johnson said. “He wants me to come back home for my college season. They’re planning for me to be there for 9 months and then off to the NBA and that’s what I really want to do in college. I feel like if that’s the best option then it could be there, but if it’s somewhere else, then it could be somewhere else.”

Being a Woodford County native with a father (Dennis Johnson) who was an All-SEC defensive end at Kentucky, and already having signed an NIL deal with Kentucky-based law firm, Morgan & Morgan, Kentucky is seen as the top option now.

Kentucky will take on Gonzaga at Rupp Arena when Jasper Johnson takes his official visit on February 10th.

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2025 Top Prospect Darryn Peterson Speaks on Kentucky, “They’re One-and-Done-U”

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2025 Top high school prospect Darryn Peterson updates his recruitment, speaks on Kentucky.
Phenom United

Darryn Peterson, the third-ranked prospect in the 2025 class, has released his Final eight schools. In addition to Kentucky, Peterson is still considering Kansas, Arkansas, Baylor, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, and North Carolina, while still keeping pro route open too, he told On3’s Joe Tipton.

He also told Tipton that he is planning five official visits, to Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio State, and Arkansas as well. This will be Peterson’s second visit to Kentucky, after previously taking an unofficial visit to Lexington this past October.

What does Peterson think of Kentucky specifically? “They’re ‘One-and-done U.’ Coach Cal (John Calipari) is a legend, and he gets his guys ready for the league. And now, most of his guys in the league are max-contract guys. The NBA is the end goal of mine.”

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It’s worth noting that Peterson has an NIL deal with Adidas, which could factor in his college decision, although that remains to be seen. However, it would not prevent him from playing for Kentucky, a Nike school, as Justin Edwards (New Balance) and Antonio Reeves (Reebok) both have NIL deals with other shoe brands. That said, Kansas has recently gained momentum with Peterson, which is also an Adidas school.

John Calipari has had his eye on Peterson for a few years now, and Kentucky is right there with Kansas in the battle for the prized guard, who is also a potential 2024 reclass candidate. It’s easy to see why as he is the type of guard he often searches for, very good at getting to the rim, and can create shots with ease. An elite talent with major skills.

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