Officials with the McDonald’s All-American Game were trying to organize a group photo with all of the University of Kentucky signees during Tuesday afternoon’s media day at the United Center.
“All the Kentucky players over here,” one official yelled above the din.
Trying to corral Bam Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox, Sacha Killeya-Jones and Malik Monk for the group shot proved no easy task. And then Fox walked over to where five-star center Marques Bolden was sitting and tapped him on the shoulder.
“Get up, man,” Fox said. “They said Kentucky.”
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Bolden just looked up at him and smirked, then went back to what he was doing.
I think it’s truly a toss up. I really don’t think Marques knows where he wants to go to school right now. I think it’s changed quite a bit over the past couple of months. I think he’s looking at two schools — Duke and Kentucky — very closely. And I honestly believe it’s 50/50.
Evan Daniels, Scout.com recruiting analyst
Scenes like that one involving Bolden have been common this week, with signees from UK and Duke constantly trying to recruit the five-star Texas center to their side. Bolden also lists Texas Christian as a finalist, but everyone’s sure it’ll either be the Wildcats or Blue Devils.
He told the Herald-Leader on Sunday night that he does not plan to announce a college decision during McDonald’s week, and he’s maintained that stance over the past couple of days. He did say he will reveal his choice sometime before April 17.
There’s been some pro-Duke buzz regarding the recruitment this week, but Scout.com national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels says it’s still wide open.
“I think it’s truly a toss up,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “I really don’t think Marques knows where he wants to go to school right now. I think it’s changed quite a bit over the past couple of months. I think he’s looking at two schools — Duke and Kentucky — very closely. And I honestly believe it’s 50/50.
“I know a lot of people just think that I don’t want to make a guess or a prediction. But I don’t think Marques knows where he wants to go to school. And if he doesn’t know where he wants to go to school, I certainly don’t know where he wants to go to school.”
If Bolden does know, he’s not telling.
There are four UK signees and two Duke signees (Frank Jackson and Jayson Tatum) at this game, and all of them are waiting to hear the final word.
“I’ve been talking to him a lot,” Killeya-Jones said. “We’re all recruiting him, trying to get him up there. I don’t know. A this point, I don’t know. We’ll see.”
“I don’t think anybody has an edge right now, or at least knows the edge,” Tatum said, adding that, if Bolden does know where he’s going, he hasn’t told anyone.
Both of those players said they understood the recruiting process gets tiresome and — fun and games aside — they have tried to give Bolden some space at times.
“Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop though,” Killeya-Jones said.
Bolden seems to be having fun with it all. He said Sunday night that he was still enjoying the process, talking to coaches and bonding with possible future teammates.
The pitches will continue as long as he stays uncommitted, but Daniels doesn’t think they’ll have that much of an effect.
“At the end of the day, he can go to Kentucky and play with friends and guys he knows. Or he can go to Duke, and play with friends and guys he knows,” he said. “All these kids are certainly recruiting him. But I don’t think that factors into his decision. At least, not their direct pitches.
“Obviously he’s going to take recruiting classes and the talent already on campus into account, but I don’t think his commitment is getting swayed based on a pitch from a peer. … He’s going to make the best decision for him.”