ESPN's new rankings, predictions for 2021 class

Photo by Michael Reaves, Getty

Following the weekend’s news that Jonathan Kuminga, the top-ranked player in the 2021 class, has reclassified to 2020, ESPN released a new set of rankings for the nation’s rising seniors. As you might expect, plenty of Kentucky’s top targets are high on that list.

1. Chet Holmgren, PF
2. Patrick Baldwin, PF (Offered)
3. Paolo Banchero, PF (Offered)
4. Jaden Hardy, SG (Offered)
5. Jabari Smith, PF
6. Michael Foster, PF
7. Moussa Diabate, PF (Interest)
8. Nate Bittle, C
9. AJ Griffin, SF (Duke)
10. Aminu Mohammed
11. Kennedy Chandler, PG (Offered)

Since there is no summer basketball and, therefore, no evaluation periods due to the coronavirus pandemic, recruiting looks a little different this year, but some other names to keep an eye on are: No. 12 Max Christie, SG; No. 14. Trevor Keels, SG; No. 17. Efton Reid, C; No. 21. Frank Kepnang, C; No. 24. Peyton Watson, SG; and No. 72. Trey Kaufman, PF. Zion Harmon, the Marshall County star who is committed to Western Kentucky, is No. 19.

Jeff Borzello also released his latest predictions for the top stars in the 2021 class. As of now, he likes Kentucky’s chances with Paolo Banchero and Jaden Hardy. Here’s what he had to say about Banchero.

Banchero’s recruitment has seen plenty of twists and turns, with nearly every school on his list looking like the perceived favorite at one point or another. Another wrinkle is Banchero’s relationship with five-star guard Kennedy Chandler; the two have discussed playing together in college. The three schools in common for Banchero and Chandler are Tennessee, Kentucky and Duke.

It’s hard to find a true favorite, but Kentucky is in a strong position, while Gonzaga and Tennessee likely make up the next tier. I wouldn’t count out any of the six, though.

You can check out the rest of the 2021 rankings here and Borzello’s predictions here, although you’ll need an ESPN Insider login for the latter.

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2021-09-19