College basketball coaches are fond of saying that they never look at the recruiting rankings when scouring the high school ranks for their future players.
If that’s the case with John Calipari, then he and the recruiting analysts just happen to be smack dab on the same page in the 2018 cycle.
The first edition of the Recruiting Services Consensus Index composite rankings for that class were posted over the weekend, and the top of the list reads like Calipari’s recruiting board.
Nine of the top 10 uncommitted prospects in the new RSCI rankings are squarely on Calipari’s recruiting radar, and the UK coach — as of now — isn’t seriously pursuing any other players in the 2018 class.
R.J. Barrett leads the way with the No. 1 overall ranking — and No. 1 individual rankings from four of the five recruiting websites used in the RSCI — and he’s followed by fellow UK target Zion Williamson at No. 2.
Former UK target Cameron Reddish — now committed to Duke — is No. 3 on the list, and UK targets Bol Bol and Romeo Langford round out the top five.
Canadian power forward Simi Shittu is No. 6 on the RSCI list, and Calipari visited him last week for an open gym at his high school, Vermont Academy. Shittu is expected to visit Kentucky sometime this fall.
Two non-UK targets — Duke commitment Tre Jones and small forward Nassir Little — are No. 7 and 8, respectively, and Little is the only uncommitted player in the RSCI top 13 who is not being recruiting by Kentucky. He is considering Arizona, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami and North Carolina.
Louisville commitment Anfernee Simons is No. 9 on the list, and he would be the Cardinals’ first top 10 signee since Samardo Samuels in 2008 and just the second ever at U of L since Rick Pitino took the head coaching job in 2001.
Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson, who both took official visits to Kentucky over the weekend, are No. 10 and 11, respectively. They’re followed by Darius Garland at No. 12 and Quentin Grimes at No. 13, two more UK targets.
Calipari has not extended a scholarship offer to anyone else further down the list.
Of UK’s nine recruiting classes under Calipari, only one — the 2011 class — did not include at least one signee outside of the RSCI top 20. That group consisted of Antony Davis (No. 1), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 3), Marquis Teague (No. 7) and Kyle Wiltjer (No. 19).
Kentucky is still looking for its first commitment for the class of 2018, though Quickley — considered by recruiting analysts to be a major UK lean — is expected to announce his college decision soon.
The RSCI is the only major recruiting website that ranked Kentucky’s recruiting class of 2017 to be the No. 1 group in the country.