UK Men's Basketball

Three top-10 basketball recruits would like to team up in college, but it’s no sure thing

Gary Trent Jr. is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 9 overall prospect in the class of 2017. He lists UK, Duke, Arizona, Michigan State and UCLA as the schools recruiting him the hardest.
Gary Trent Jr. is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 9 overall prospect in the class of 2017. He lists UK, Duke, Arizona, Michigan State and UCLA as the schools recruiting him the hardest. Herald-Leader

The possible “package deal” featuring five-star basketball recruits Michael Porter Jr. and Trae Young is looking like it might actually happen, but there’s another group of recruits in the class of 2017 who have also been discussed as possible teammates at the next level.

Mohamed Bamba, Wendell Carter and Gary Trent Jr. — all considered top-10 recruits nationally — started publicly acknowledging their hopes of playing together in college several months ago, and it was once again a topic of discussion at last weekend’s Nike EYBL event in Indianapolis.

What once was being talked about as nearly a sure thing now appears to be a case of three friends’ wishful thinking. Asked to put a probability on teaming up with Trent in college, Carter was less than certain.

“Maybe 75 percent,” he said. “I don’t want to make no promises.” (That’s less than the 85 percent that Young and Porter stated, if such percentage proclamations mean anything at this stage).

Carter, who talked about how he and Bamba are good friends off the court, declined to put a number on the likelihood of teaming up with him in college.

And Bamba was far from sold on the plan, also talking up his friendship with Carter but expressing surprise that he had mentioned the package deal.

“We’re talking about it, but it’s not as serious as most people would think,” Bamba said.

If the three players were to join forces in college, Duke or Kentucky would be the most likely destinations.

Carter mentioned UK, Duke and Harvard as the schools recruiting him the hardest. Trent listed UK, Duke, Arizona, Michigan State and UCLA. Bamba said he’s nowhere close to a college decision and plans to cut his list down to 10 schools at the end of August. UK and Duke are among the many schools recruiting him.

The 247Sports Crystal Ball projects Duke as the overwhelming favorite for all three players, and it’s entirely possible that the trio could end up playing for the same college program by the end of their recruitments.

But, judging by their comments over the weekend, none of the three will be basing their future decisions on what the other two five-star prospects decide to do.

MORE: Crystal Ball pages for Bamba, Carter and Trent

Ben Roberts: 859-231-3216, @NextCats

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