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KY Insider Recruiting Update

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Isaiah Todd

Calipari prerecorded his call-in show as he flew to North Carolina Wednesday evening to see a top-10 recruit, 2020 five-star power forward Isaiah Todd. Corey Evans of Rivals.com reported that Todd received an offer from Calipari and the Kentucky coaching staff at the conclusion of the visit.

The Cats missed out on Vernon Carey and James Wiseman in the fall and options are running thin. Kentucky is looking at Todd is a reclassification candidate and to join this year’s class. More news about this possibility should come in the spring or early summer as more recruits make their commitments.

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Todd’s NBA comparison is Chris Bosh and he has the potential, physical tools, and skill-set to be an elite modern NBA Big. Todd has length and excellent quickness in the open court. Todd’s size and athleticism allow him to guard at the rim and with his quickness make him an above average perimeter defender for his position. He has a promising offensive game and is capable of running the pick and pop. However, he needs to work on his body and add strength.

North Carolina is currently leading in the Crystal Ball predictions. However, recruiting guru, Evan Daniels of 24/7 Sports made his Crystal Ball pick and chose Kentucky to land Todd and his services.

Keion Brooks Jr.

All signs are pointing at Kentucky as Keion Brooks’ recruitment seems to be nearing its end, as the momentum Kentucky is riding is stronger than ever.

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The five-star forward is set to make his college decision as soon as this week but expected before the end of February and will choose between Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan State, and North Carolina.

For a long time, the recruitment has been between Kentucky and the Indiana dumpster fire. After visiting Kentucky this past Saturday it’s Kentucky who appears to be in front, and it is reported that the visit could not have gone better.

The 24/7 Sports Crystal Ball favored Indiana for the majority of Brooks’ recruitment but after Saturday’s visit, the tides have turned towards the Cats. The Cats gained the lead with 24/7 Sports recruiting director Jerry Meyer choosing the Wildcats.

Brooks’ 6-7 200-pound frame will pose matchup problems at the college level and will allow him to rebound at a high level for his position. Brooks is a slasher that is able to create his own shot and is most effective from the mid-range area. Brooks has a high basketball IQ and is able to consistently make the right play. Brooks will need to improve his finishing and passing at the college level.

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Other Frontcourt Options

There are two remaining UK targets in the 2019 class, Jaden McDaniels and Matthew Hurt and both have been very quiet in terms of their recruitment. McDaniels a west coast kid is favored to choose Washington and Kansas is said to have been Hurt’s top school but Hurt and his family are being very precautious about the school’s involvement with the major FBI/NCAA scandals.

Both McDaniels and Hurt are extremely offensively talented big men, but need to improve defensively. Hurt is a crafty scorer with a great shot some passing ability and is compared to former Kentucky player Kyle Wiltjer. McDaniels seems like the best prospect between the two and is predicted in the top 3 of most 2021 NBA draft boards. McDaniels is a super long and talented wing who can play either forward position. He’s got a sweet shooting stroke, can handle the ball and knows how to get his own shot.

If all options fall through Kentucky is interested in one more potential reclassification with N’Faly Dante, the #2 ranked center in the 2020 class. Dante is an elite prospect and is considered to be one of the best shot blockers to come through the high school ranks in years. Dante is very raw but has a huge upside, especially on the defensive end. However, Dante is not a consistent threat on the offensive end but Has decent handles and has shown some touch from mid-range with a decent looking stroke.

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Looking Ahead

All signs are pointing towards a Keion Brooks commitment coming soon. The Cats are still the mix for Matthew Hurt or Jaden McDaniels along with Isaiah Todd as a reclassification option, not even to mention a potential graduate transfer. Trust in Cal and this could set up Kentucky to land yet another class ranked No. 1 or 2 in the final rankings.

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BB Recruiting

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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