With the likelihood that he’ll need to fill several spots following the upcoming basketball season, UK Coach John Calipari has already extended more than a dozen scholarship offers to players from the recruiting class of 2017.
Some — like John Petty, Jarred Vanderbilt and Trae Young — have had UK offers for close to a year now. Others — such as Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox and Lonnie Walker — received their UK offers during the recent April evaluation period.
The Next Cats page for the class of 2017 was completely updated Thursday to reflect the current state of the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts for the next group of five-star prospects. The update includes new profiles on some of the more recent recipients of UK offers, as well as the latest info on Calipari’s longtime targets.
In addition to profiles on the 14 players who have received UK scholarship offers, the 2017 page features information on eight others who are still on UK’s recruiting radar and mentions additional high-profile recruits from the class that the Wildcats are not seriously recruiting.
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At this early stage in the cycle, 2017 is shaping up as another battle between Kentucky and Duke for the No. 1 class in the country. Of the 14 players with UK offers, the 247Sports Crystal Ball says that 11 will pick either the Wildcats or the Blue Devils.
The Crystal Ball has UK landing Petty, Vanderbilt, Young, Diallo, Nick Richards and P.J. Washington. According to those predictions, Duke leads for Knox, Mohamed Bamba, Wendell Carter, Gary Trent Jr. and Tremont Waters.
The Crystal Ball leaders for the other three players on UK’s offer list are Kansas (DeAndre Ayton), Washington (Michael Porter Jr.) and Villanova (Lonnie Walker). Links to Crystal Ball predictions for all 14 players are available on the updated 2017 page.
All 14 of those recruits are playing this summer on the Nike circuit, which is traditionally where Calipari has found most of his signees. The UK coach spent a majority of the April evaluation period watching Nike league games in New York and Indiana, and those players will be back on the court starting Friday in Virginia, though the next two sessions will be closed to college coaches.
It’s unlikely that any substantial recruiting news will come out of this weekend’s games, but stay tuned throughout the rest of the summer for updates from the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June and the Nike Peach Jam in July, two events that are likely to feature many of UK’s top targets as they start to cut their college lists and form stronger opinions on their recruitments.
THE 2017 PAGE: Click here for the latest info on UK’s top targets