They still have two more years of high school basketball ahead of them, but several of the top prospects in the recruiting class of 2020 are already on UK’s radar.
Earlier this year, it looked like that class might be the first to benefit from the seemingly inevitable elimination of the NBA’s “one-and-done” rule, but it now appears that rule — which keeps players from entering the league until one year after their high school graduation — will be around until, at least, the 2021 draft.
That means the top prospects in the class of 2020 will almost certainly be going the college route before they turn pro, and UK is already positioning itself as a major player in many of those recruitments.
Earlier this spring, Scottie Barnes and N’Faly Dante — both top-10 national prospects — confirmed that they had received UK scholarship offers. Several more have been in regular contact with the Wildcats coaches, who have been following many 2020 recruits this spring and summer even while keeping a closer eye on the of-more-immediate-concern 2019 class.
The Herald-Leader’s Next Cats recruiting website launched a new page dedicated to UK’s early targets in the 2020 class Friday. That page includes the latest rankings, video highlights, team affiliations and bio information — along with links to early Crystal Ball predictions — for 18 top prospects already known to be on the Wildcats’ radar.
Many of those players have already visited Lexington at least once. Some — like consensus No. 1 recruit Jalen Green, a West Coast prospect — have been following the Cats from afar.
A handful even have notable Crystal Ball picks in favor of the Cats already on the record. Five-star shooting guard Cade Cunningham, for instance, is looking like a major UK target moving forward, and 247Sports national analyst Jerry Meyer has already logged a prediction in favor of Kentucky.
The first evaluation period of July begins next week, and John Calipari will join his assistant coaches at stops across the country for the rest of the month, getting a closer look and a better feel for some of 2020’s top players. (UK assistant coach Joel Justus has spent the past few days in Argentina scouting a few players on this list).
The larger focus over the next few months will obviously be with the 2019 class, but the Cats are still keeping a close eye on the next wave of star recruits. The new Next Cats page for 2020 will also be updated regularly, and new targets will surely emerge over the next several weeks as UK’s coaches keep updating their preliminary 2020 wish list.