The best players of the basketball recruiting class of 2017 were in Chicago this week for the McDonald’s All-American Game, but who will be on the United Center court for the annual all-star showcase this time next year?
The 2018 recruiting class is not well regarded compared to recent classes, but there are some highly talented prospects at the top of the rankings for next season’s group of high school seniors.
Here’s a closer look at five players from the 2018 class who are seemingly shoo-ins to play in the McDonald’s Game next year (and all five already have scholarship offers from Kentucky):
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Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN all consider Bagley to be the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2018 class, and with good reason. The 6-foot-11 power forward is extremely skilled on the low block, packing an array of offensive moves and the length and athleticism to be a great defender at the next level. He’s been playing against older competition for his entire high school/AAU career, and he’ll certainly make a major impact as soon as he steps on the court in college.
Bagley cut his list early in the process — to Arizona, Arizona State, Duke, Kentucky, Oregon and UCLA — and the Wildcats’ coaching staff will stay on him for as long as they have a chance to land his commitment. An Arizona native, Bagley plays for a high school in California. He averaged 24.9 points and 10 rebounds as a junior this past season, shooting 66 percent from the floor.
The No. 3 recruit in the 2018 class, according to every major website, Langford plays his high school basketball in New Albany, Ind., right across the river from Louisville. The almost-hometown Cardinals are among the top schools pursuing him, along with Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Indiana and others. Langford hasn’t publicly named any favorites, but this one could come down to UK and Duke, as many of the top recruitments have in recent years.
One of the best offensive players in the country, Langford has already topped 2,000 points for his high school career, with seven games of more than 40 points. The 6-6 shooting guard visited nearby Louisville a few times during the season, but he was also in Rupp Arena for Big Blue Madness last October.
The first point guard in the class of 2018 with a Kentucky scholarship offer, Quickley caught John Calipari’s attention last summer and will be one of his top targets at the position going into this spring. Quickley recently narrowed his list to seven schools: Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Miami, Maryland, Virginia and Providence.
Scout.com ranks the Maryland native as the No. 10 overall recruit and No. 2 point guard in the class. He was at UK for Big Blue Madness in October. Quickley told the Herald-Leader last summer that he’s watched Calipari’s teams for years and is familiar with the UK coach’s past success with point guards. Maryland is making him a major priority.
Reddish — a 6-7 wing from Pennsylvania — was one of the first players in the 2018 class to receive a UK scholarship offer, and he told the Herald-Leader shortly after that it was a “dream come true” to get an offer from the Wildcats. Every major recruiting service ranks Reddish as one of the top five prospects in the class, and he can do a little bit of everything on offense, his skill set allowing him to play on the perimeter or take advantage of smaller defenders near the basket.
Duke, Kentucky and Villanova are among the top schools chasing Reddish, who also visited Kentucky for Big Blue Madness in October. Reddish is high school teammates with major UK recruiting target Mohamed Bamba, a McDonald’s All-American this year.
Williamson picked up his UK scholarship offer during a visit with Calipari on Tuesday night. The 6-7 small forward from Spartanburg, S.C., has turned into a YouTube sensation over the past year with his ridiculous dunks and blocked shots. Williamson averaged 36.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.0 steals and 2.5 blocked shots this season, overwhelming opponents with his off-the-charts athleticism.
Duke and North Carolina appear to be major players in his recruitment. Kansas is also in the mix, and local schools Clemson and South Carolina will try to keep him home for college. Williamson visited Lexington for the UK-Kansas game back in January, and he has said that he won’t make a college decision until after his senior season. 247Sports ranks him as the No. 1 player in the class.