A handful of the top basketball recruits in the class of 2017 remain uncommitted, but the rankings for that group have now been finalized.
Scout.com’s final Top 100 for 2017 was released Wednesday, and seven future Kentucky Wildcats were included on the list. UK is expected to add one or two more players before this recruiting cycle comes to a close.
Starting at the top, Missouri signee Michael Porter Jr. earned the No. 1 ranking from Scout.com and became the first prospect since Andrew Wiggins in 2013 to land in the top spot across all the major recruiting services (Scout, Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports).
Porter — a 6-foot-9 small forward — had been committed to Washington, where his father was an assistant coach, before Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar was fired. Michael Porter Sr. was then hired by new Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin, and his son committed to the Tigers not long after.
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Scout.com’s Evan Daniels said it was a “very tight” race for the No. 1 ranking, with Porter getting the nod over No. 2 recruit Mohamed Bamba — UK’s top remaining target — and Arizona signee DeAndre Ayton, who previously held the top spot but was bumped to No. 3 overall Wednesday.
“I think Porter’s the safest pick, and that’s why he got No. 1,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “He’s got good size at 6-9. He’s athletic. He can shoot the ball.
“Ayton and Bamba have more upside and potential. But I think it’s going to take them longer to get there.”
Bamba — a 7-footer from Harlem, N.Y. — has narrowed his school list to UK, Duke, Michigan and Texas, and he’s one of the top rebounders and post defenders in the country.
“Bamba’s length impacts the game in so many ways,” Daniels said. “He’s still got a ways to go offensively, but I think his upside is tremendous.”
Kentucky has been seen as a favorite of sorts for Bamba over the past few weeks, but credible information on the post player’s recruitment has been tough to come by. There is no timetable for his college decision, and the process could stretch into next month.
“I think they’re in good shape,” Daniels said of UK’s chances for Bamba. “I’ve said for a little bit that I like Kentucky’s position, and I still do, until proven otherwise.
“I don’t necessarily have information that says he’s going to Kentucky, but if I had to pick a school right now, that’s who I’d pick.”
Another UK target, Kevin Knox, landed at No. 9 in the final Scout.com rankings.
The 6-9 small forward from Tampa, Fla., hosted coaches from UK and Florida State on Tuesday night, and he was set to meet with coaches from Duke, North Carolina and Missouri on Wednesday.
Duke and UNC have been seen as co-favorites for Knox, but his recruitment has only grown fuzzier with time.
“I have no idea,” Daniels said of his probable destination. “I don’t know that anybody knows. … I don’t know that he knows.”
There wasn’t much movement among UK’s signees in the final Scout.com rankings, but Jarred Vanderbilt and Quade Green did make positive gains.
Vanderbilt — a 6-8 and still-growing forward from Texas — moved from No. 14 overall to No. 11 following a stellar showing on the postseason all-star circuit.
“He did a really good job of playing with great energy,” Daniels said. “I think he’s grown to at least 6-8, and pushing taller. He’s a really good athlete who can impact the game in a variety of ways. He’s a really good distributor with great vision. He can defend multiple positions. And he just plays so hard and is one of the best rebounders in the class.
“I loved the energy he brought. And it was nice to see him healthy.”
Daniels noted that this past month was the first time Vanderbilt had been healthy on the big stage in nearly a year, though he did suffer an injury at the end of the Jordan Brand Classic last weekend. There has been no official word on the extent of that injury, but it’s not expected to affect Vanderbilt’s freshman season at UK.
Green — a 6-1 point guard from Philadelphia — moved from No. 24 to No. 22 in the Scout.com rankings, and he finished the cycle ranked one spot ahead of former UK point guard target Trae Young, who has signed with Oklahoma.
“Quade excels when he has really good players around him,” Daniels said. “In the McDonald’s practices, which are competitive, I thought he did a really good job of setting guys up and making plays for others. I think he’s going to be really good at Kentucky, and he’s shown a competitiveness and a toughness that not everybody has. He plays with an extreme level of confidence.”
Shooting guard Hamidou Diallo, who enrolled at UK in January but did not play and is still considered a 2017 recruit, stayed at No. 10 in the final Scout.com rankings. Also on the list were forward PJ Washington (No. 14), center Nick Richards (No. 16), guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 39) and guard Jemarl Baker (No. 85).
UK is also still recruiting combo guard Mark Smith, who is now No. 76 overall after being unranked during the season, and Pittsburgh grad transfer shooting guard Cameron Johnson, who is not expected to make a college decision until next month.
“They have four perimeter players, and I’m sure that they would like to have another,” Daniels said. “They have to have some depth.”
How Kentucky’s class of 2017 signees finished up in the rankings: