UK Coach John Calipari passed out three new scholarship offers Wednesday to highly touted guards Hamidou Diallo and Tremont Waters of the class of 2017, and Romeo Langford of the class of 2018. (Click on their names for more info on each player).
A few thoughts on those new offers, plus a couple of other UK recruiting topics:
▪ The first reaction from many UK fans that Calipari was close to offering Waters — a 5-foot-11 point guard — seemed to be: “What does that mean for Trae Young?” Until Wednesday, Young was the only point guard in the class of 2017 with a UK offer. Nothing’s changed. He’s still a major priority for the Cats, and some recruiting analysts have UK as the current favorite. The probable numbers for the 2017-18 season indicate Calipari will need to take two point guards in the 2017 class, or recruit a graduate transfer after next season. De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk are projected as one-and-done draft picks. Dominique Hawkins will be a senior next season. And Isaiah Briscoe, if he comes back to UK this year, will also be projected as an NBA pick following next season. That means Calipari would have zero returning point guards for the 2017-18 season. And that means plenty of room for both Young and Waters (or whoever else UK might offer in this recruiting cycle).
▪ The Diallo offer was a long time coming and no surprise to anyone who has followed his recruitment. Diallo could end up being the No. 1 guard in the class of 2017, and word out of his neck of the woods during the high school season indicated that he was waiting on the UK offer and the Cats could be the clear favorites when that came. That was before Duke offered, but UK still looks to be in good shape with Diallo. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take a visit to Lexington sometime soon.
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▪ The scholarship offer to Langford was also no surprise. That recruitment will be hotly contested, and it’s unlikely to end anytime soon. Duke and Kansas also offered scholarships this week. Indiana has obviously made him a major target. Langford plays his high school ball right across the river from Louisville, and Rick Pitino has also extended a scholarship offer. UK has a lot of competition for a player who is already ranked No. 4 nationally in the class of 2018.
▪ Duke transfer Derryck Thornton has narrowed his list of possible destinations to Kansas, Miami, Southern Cal and Washington. Thornton’s father told the Herald-Leader last week that UK could be a possibility, and he reiterated his admiration for Calipari and the Wildcats’ program, but he didn’t confirm that anyone from UK had reached out. Calipari recruited Thornton heavily out of high school — and he could have been a valuable addition to the 2017-18 roster — but the current scholarship crunch would have made it tough to bring him aboard. UK would need two more players currently on the roster to leave to make room for Thornton, who would have to sit out this coming season, and another big man (which Calipari has made the priority). As of right now, it seems unlikely that the Cats could add both.
▪ Speaking of adding one more big man ... No, there is still no date set for Marques Bolden’s college announcement. Bolden’s high school coach told the Herald-Leader earlier this week that he and Bolden were to sit down Tuesday morning and discuss the possibility of naming a date for his college announcement. No date has been set, which likely means Bolden remains torn between UK and Duke. The hope was to have it done this week and announce at the high school, but time is running out. If the plan is to announce Thursday, it would likely be public knowledge by now. Maybe Friday? Bolden Watch 2016 continues.