Tomorrow, the two major recruiting events of the year begin 115 miles apart from each other in South Carolina. The top prospects in the 2018 and 2019 classes will be split amongst the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta and the adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, meaning John Calipari and his staff will have the ole private jet fueled up and ready to travel between the two. All six players Kentucky has offered in the 2018 class will be in action, and in turn, KSR is sending two reporters to the Palmetto State. Nick Roush will make the trek from Hoover, Alabama to the Nike Peach Jam following Kentucky’s run at SEC Media Days, while Jack Pilgrim will be camped out at the adidas Gauntlet Finale.
While they pack their bags and steel their stomachs for five days of basketball and Hooters hot wings, check out my guide to the top recruits that will be in action this week.
Riverview Park Activities Center, North Augusta, South Carolina; Games live streamed on FloHoops.com.
|Power Forward||6-11 220 lbs||Phoenix, AZ||Sierra Canyon/Nike Phamily|
|ESPN: 1 | 1 PF||247: 2 | 1 PF||Rivals: 1||Scout: 1 | 1 PF|
List: Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Arizona, UCLA, and Southern Cal
Latest: Only one recruiting service (247 Sports) doesn’t have Bagley in the top spot in the 2018 class. Otherwise, he been called a “once in a decade” type player (ESPN’s Paul Biancardi) with an unique arsenal of skills. Bagley’s Nike Phamily squad didn’t qualify for the Peach Jam, but was added as a wildcard, probably just so Bagley could participate.
Likelihood to Kentucky: Kentucky leads Bagley’s Crystal Ball, but he’s expected to take an official visit to Duke following the Peach Jam, so expect Calipari to make plenty of appearances during his games.
- Wednesday, 6:30 PM: Nike Phamily vs. Each 1 Teach 1
- Thursday, 2:00 PM: Nike Phamily vs. Mokan Elite
- Thursday, 8:00 PM: Nike Phamily vs. Team Melo
- Friday, 9:00 AM: Nike Phamily vs. Howard Pulley Panters
|Center/Power Forward||7-2 220 lbs||Santa Ana, CA||Mater Dei/Cal Supreme|
|ESPN: 4 | 1 C||247: 3 | 1 PF||Rivals: 3||Scout: 2 | 1 C|
List: Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas, UCLA, Southern Cal, and others
Latest: Bol was the MVP of the EYBL regular season, averaging 24.1 points (65.6% from the field), 10 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks per game. He was the only 2018 player to earn a scholarship offer from Calipari in the April recruiting period, but was cut from John Calipari’s U19 National Team a few weeks back.
Likelihood to Kentucky: It will be interesting to see what effect being cut from the national team has on Kentucky’s chances with Bol. Team USA was allowed only one naturalized citizen on the squad and the committee went with Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie, an understandable decision given his age and experience. I expect Calipari will smooth things over just fine.
- Wednesday, 8:00 PM: Cal Supreme vs. CIA Bounce
- Thursday, 12:30 PM: Expressions Elite vs. Cal Supreme
- Thursday, 9:30 PM: Cal Supreme vs. PSA Cardinals
- Friday, 10:30 AM: Cal Supreme vs. Oakland Soldiers
|Small Forward||6-7 203 lbs.||Norristown, PA||Westtown/Team Final|
|ESPN: 3 | 1 SF||247: 5 | 2 SF||Rivals: 4||Scout: 4 | 2 SF|
List: Kentucky, Arizona, UConn, Duke, Maryland, Miami (Fl.), UCLA, Villanova
Latest: Reddish was one of the most impressive young players on Calipari’s U19 squad, thanks in part to Calipari’s willingness to let him play almost every position. Reddish started at point guard at times during the FIBA World Cup, averaging 10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. Team Final (which also includes Louis King) must win the play in game tomorrow afternoon to stay in the tournament.
Likelihood to Kentucky: Coming in to the FIBA World Cup, Duke was thought to be the leader for Reddish, but he told Kyle Tucker that is “absolutely not” the case. Calipari letting Reddish showcase his versatility seems to have done Kentucky some big favors in his recruitment.
- Wednesday, 12:00 PM: Team Final vs. Nike Team Florida
King also played for Calipari in the FIBA World Cup and could be one of the next targets to receive an offer. He’s teammates with Cameron Reddish on Team Final.
Simi Shittu, PF (CIA Bounce)
I Shittu not, Kentucky has shown some interest in this Canada native recently, with Kenny Payne checking in on him at a Nike event in April. Every year, someone breaks out at one of these tournaments, so keep an eye on this versatile power forward.
Keldon Johnson, SG (Boo Williams)
Johnson’s ranked 13th in ESPN’s rankings and just transferred to Oak Hill Academy from Huntington Prep. Maryland seems to be the early leader, but should Calipari extend an offer, that could change.
The point guard from Bowling Green may only be a rising freshman, but he’s already turning heads. As the youngest player in the EYBL, Harmon averaged 12.6 points and 3.6 assists in 16 games for Boo Williams. He also led Bowling Green to its first state title as an eighth grader and played in the FIBA Americas U15 Championships last month in Argentina.
Evelyn’s been the head waitress at the Augusta Hooters since it opened in 1990. If Nick knows what’s good for him, he won’t give her any lip.
Additional Note: 2019 #1 prospect RJ Barrett’s team did not qualify.
Upward Star Center, Spartanburg, South Carolina
|Power/Small Forward||6-7 230 lbs||Spartanburg, SC||Spartanburg Day School/SC Supreme|
|ESPN: 2 | 2 PF||247: 1 | 1 SF||Rivals: 2||Scout: 3 | 1 SF|
List: Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Clemson, North Carolina, UCLA, and others
Latest: Williamson is just coming off a knee injury that sidelined him for a few months, but showed off his signature explosive dunks at a scrimmage this past week. With the adidas Gauntlet Finale taking place in his hometown, expect Williamson to be the star.
Likelihood to Kentucky: Williamson wasn’t able to participate in training camp for Calipari’s U19 National Team due to his knee injury, but Kentucky is still up there among the perceived favorites, along with Duke, Clemson (his dad’s alma mater), UNC, etc. etc.
- Thursday, 11:20 AM: Team Knight vs. SC Supreme
|Shooting Guard||6-5 195 lbs||New Albany, IN||New Albany/Twenty Two Vision|
|ESPN: 5 | 1 SG||247: 4 | 1 SG||Rivals: 5||Scout: 5 | 1 SG|
List: Kentucky, Duke, Indiana, Louisville, Kansas
Latest: Langford battled back spasms throughout the FIBA World Cup, averaging 4.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in 5.7 minutes per game. He sat out the Angola and Canada games, but rallied to score eight points in three minutes vs. Spain in the bronze medal game. Despite the injury, he said he still plans to play in the adidas event.
Likelihood to Kentucky: It will be interesting to hear feedback from Langford on his experience in Egypt. Dealing with his back injury must have been frustrating, but his latest USA Today HSS blog included this perplexing line: “I really don’t like watching and knowing that I could play.” Hmm. Is he calling out Calipari and staff for not playing him?
- Thursday, 12:40 PM: Twenty Two Vision vs. AC Georgia
|Point Guard||6-3 180 lbs||Bel Air, MD||John Carroll/Team BBC|
|ESPN: 14 | 2 PG||247: 14 | 3 PG||Rivals: 10||Scout: 10 | 3 PG|
List: Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland, Miami (Fl.)
Latest: Quickley averaged 6.7 points, 2.4 assists, and 1.7 rebounds in 18.3 minutes for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, and showcased all the qualities John Calipari likes in a point guard: size, athleticism, length, and smarts.
Likelihood to Kentucky: Very, very high. Quickley confirmed on KSR that Kentucky is “definitely” his leader, and although he still plans to take his four official visits later this summer before announcing this fall, it looks like he’s Calipari’s to lose.
- Thursday, 3:20 PM: Team BBC vs. TBD
|Point/Shooting Guard||6-4 195 lbs||The Woodlands, TX||The Woodlands College Park/Basketball University|
|ESPN: 29 | 6 SG||247: 17 | 5 PG||Rivals: 20||Scout: 23 | 6 PG|
List: Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas, and others
Latest: There hasn’t been much buzz about Grimes lately. The Texas native primarily plays point, but is comfortable playing off the ball as well.
Likelihood to Kentucky: Kansas seems to be the early leader for Grimes, which makes sense considering Quickley is Kentucky’s priority at the point guard position; however, Grimes did tell MadeHoops he wants to take an official visit to Kentucky this fall.
- Thursday, 11:20 AM: Basketball University vs. Ohio Basketball Club
David McCormack, C (Team Loaded)
The 6-10 center plays on Bam Adebayo’s old AAU team and visited Kentucky unofficially back in April. He’s shed a lot of weight over the past several months, and as a result, his stock is rising.
Charles Bassey, C (2019, YIIS TX Future)
Bassey is considered the second best player in the 2019 class behind RJ Barrett and visited Kentucky last month.
Ashton Hagans, PG (2019, Game Elite)
Hagans visited UK for Big Blue Madness last season and was one of the standouts at the NBA Top 100 Camp last month. In a recent USA Today HSS blog, he said he’s looking forward to hearing more from Kentucky. He also said his favorite movie is Norbit; he was eight when it came out, so I’ll let that one slide.