A few months ago, Cameron Reddish thought he had this whole recruiting thing pretty much figured out.
The five-star high school basketball prospect landed early scholarship offers from most of the nation’s top programs, and his original plan was to announce a commitment during Nike’s annual Peach Jam event, which will be held in July.
“At first I had an idea where I wanted to go,” Reddish said this weekend. “So I thought, ‘This will be easy.’”
That plan has changed.
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Reddish — a 6-foot-7 wing from Norristown, Pa. — and his parents started talking to others they knew who had been through the recruiting process. Their advice: Take all five of your official visits and ask a lot of questions.
And that’s what Reddish intends to do.
He’s the No. 4 player in the Scout.com rankings for the class of 2018, and he mentioned Arizona, Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke, Villanova and UConn as the schools that are recruiting him the hardest going into this summer.
Reddish was the first player UK Coach John Calipari watched when he arrived at the Nike session here Friday night. Villanova Coach Jay Wright has been a constant presence at his games, and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski was sitting courtside to see Reddish play Saturday morning.
Those are three schools that have been mentioned the most in his recruitment, and the consensus seems to be he’s most likely to end up at one of the them.
Villanova represents the hometown choice. UK and Duke are the national powers.
Reddish’s “ultimate goal” — as he called it multiple times this weekend — is clear.
“I have to really see where I can fit, where I can play my game,” he said. “And where I can have the best chance to get to the NBA.”
All of the schools on his list see him as a one-and-done prospect, and they’ve been up front about it in their recruiting pitches.
Calipari has put more players in the NBA than any coach in recent years.
“We know what they do best, which is get players to the league,” Reddish said. “And that’s my ultimate goal as well. So that’s a great place to be at.”
Coach K has had his fair share of future pros — not to mention five national championships — and he’s laid out a plan to get Reddish more prepared for the pros.
Villanova doesn’t share that history of one-and-done players.
“Their pitch is mainly that they assume I’m going to be a one-and-done prospect, so they say, ‘Why not stay home and do it in front of all your family and friends?’ That’s obviously one of my top schools,” he said. “It’s appealing, but, at the end of the day, I have to do what’s best for me.
“It doesn’t matter how far or how close I am from home.”
One plus for Duke might be found in who else the Blue Devils are recruiting.
The Blue Devils are considered the favorite for both players, according to the 247Sports Crystal Ball. There’s been no evidence that UK is interested in Jones, the younger brother of former Duke star Tyus Jones, and Garland said here Friday night that he’s had only a little contact with the Wildcats, noting that UK is focused on other guards in the 2018 class.
“I really want to play with Darius and Tre,” Reddish reiterated at one point during the interview. “We all respect each other’s games.”
It’d be difficult to find someone who doesn’t respect Reddish’s game at this point.
He meshed well with star recruits Mohamed Bamba and Brandon Randolph, an Arizona signee, at Westtown School and played alongside five-star prospect Lonnie Walker, a Miami signee, last summer.
Now the clear star of his team — and a vocal leader on the court — Reddish is averaging 23.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in the Nike league.
He describes himself as a playmaker — he’s not wrong — and he excels on the offensive end while possessing the length and basketball IQ to get things done defensively. Calipari has called him “position-less” — the UK coach’s latest recruiting buzzword — and many others agree.
“I like his size, length, athleticism,” said Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. “All of his physical gifts are pretty impressive. I think he’s learning to play harder, which is notable. Because there have been times when he’d disappear on occasion.
“When you’re pushing 6-7 and can play full-time on the perimeter, like he can, you’re a big-time player. That’s what he is.”