Evan Daniels breaks down recruiting on The Leach Report
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Evan Daniels breaks down recruiting on The Leach Report

Jack Pilgrimover 2 years


Article written by:Jack PilgrimJack Pilgrim
This morning, 247Sports Director of Recruiting Evan Daniels joined Tom Leach on The Leach Report to break down all things Kentucky basketball recruiting. To get the show started, Leach asked Daniels to update the fanbase on 2020 five-star center N’Faly Dante and his reclassification decision. While he isn’t certain on where he will be attending, Daniels is confident that we will be seeing news on the elite shot-blocker “very, very soon.”

“I’m not certain where that will be [between Oregon and Kentucky],” he said. “But I think a decision is coming very, very soon and I feel he will be playing college basketball this fall. He can be very impactful [at the college level], ridiculous length. I think he impacts the game with shot-blocking, rebounding, and finishes well around the basket. He was tremendous at Peach Jam with his MoKan Elite team.”

Last week, Daniels turned heads by singling out Bardstown’s JJ Traynor as one of the biggest sleepers in all of high school basketball. When asked about those comments, the recruiting expert took his praise of the 6-foot-8 forward a step further.

“I think he’s the biggest sleeper of the spring and summer,” Daniels said. “I see a little Jaxson Hayes in him, not in terms of being the same player, but just how underrated he is. He’s a really good athlete, versatile skillset. 6-foot-8, 7-foot-2 wingspan. He’s definitely got some developing to do, [but the potential is there].”

In terms of schools involved, Daniels said that Kentucky is slowly creeping into the picture.

“Kenny Payne called one of his coaches,” he said. “Cincinnati is in on him, hosted for a visit. Western Kentucky, Louisvile is dabbling in there a bit. If we would have had three evaluation periods, he would have 15 high-major offers.”

Daniels also turned heads at Peach Jam by calling Emoni Bates, a 6-foot-9 rising freshman out of Ypsilanti, MI in the class of 2022, the next big thing in high school basketball. Like he did with Traynor, he took that praise to the next level with Leach.

“Emoni Bates is the best prospect I’ve seen at that stage,” he said. “His physical makeup reminds you of Kevin Durant because he plays like a guard. Tremendous ball handling ability for a guy his size. Scoring package is elite, elite scorer. I think he’s the best scorer in high school basketball.”

Last week, 2020 five-star forward Greg Brown surprised the world when he included Kentucky in his final five, despite not including the Wildcats in his top-ten. At the time, it was unknown whether or not Kentucky had even offered the athletic big man a scholarship.

“I know he cut his list and I know he’s starting to map things out, but I really couldn’t pick a favorite for him right now,” Daniels said. “I know that Kentucky is heavily involved, but he would be a good pickup for any of the schools on his list.”

As for arguably Kentucky’s top target Jalen Green, a top-three prospect in the class of 2020, Daniels agrees that this is looking to be a three-horse race between Kentucky, Memphis, and playing overseas.

“I think that’s a fair assessment, Kentucky and Memphis are two schools that stand out,” he said. “Players are starting to dabble in the overseas route, and I could see him looking into that, as well. But at the college level, I like Kentucky and Memphis.”

To close things out, Leach asked Daniels who can be the biggest impact player on the 2019-20 Kentucky roster. His answer? Three freshmen standouts.

“That’s a tremendous question, really tough,” he said. “I think Tyrese Maxey has a chance to lead the team in scoring, while Keion Brooks Jr. can be a high-impact guy as a perimeter scorer. Johnny Juzang is going to really surprise some people, as well. He’s a shot maker and a scorer. He has the potential to have a Tyler Herro, Devin Booker, Doron Lamb-type role on this team.”


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