After missing out on all of their top post targets in the class of 2019, the Kentucky Wildcats are looking to the class of 2020 for immediate help in the frontcourt next season.
An intriguing possibility has emerged in recent weeks, and UK might now be in the driver’s seat for his commitment.
Five-star power forward Isaiah Todd — a 6-foot-10 prospect playing for Trinity Academy (N.C.) — has acknowledged that he’s thinking about making the jump from 2020 to 2019 in order to play college basketball right away next season. Todd, who turns 18 years old in October, is currently considered the No. 13 overall player in the 2020 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, and he’d likely be ranked in a similar spot if he reclassifies.
On Thursday morning, 247Sports national analyst Evan Daniels logged a Crystal Ball pick for Todd, predicting UK will be his college destination.
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“I just think Kentucky — if and when they offer (a scholarship) — will move to the top of his list,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “Obviously, there’s a way to go. I don’t think he’s making a decision anytime soon. But I like their position.”
Daniels, who has been correct on 88 of his 91 Crystal Ball predictions in the 2019 recruiting cycle, added that he thinks UK and North Carolina are the two schools at the top of Todd’s list right now. UNC has extended a scholarship offer. Kentucky hasn’t, but one could come when the five-star recruit visits Lexington — possibly even earlier — and the Cats would be in a great position to land the talented power forward if that happens.
The certain departure of Reid Travis (this is his final season of eligibility) and near-certain departure of sophomore PJ Washington (projected as a first-round NBA pick) means minutes in UK’s frontcourt will be available next season. Those exits would leave sophomore Nick Richards and freshman EJ Montgomery as the Cats’ only two returnees in the post, and Richards, who turns 22 in November, has often been mentioned as another possibility to jump to the pros this season despite his absence from mock drafts and top prospects lists.
Even if Richards and Montgomery both return, it would be beneficial for the Cats to have other instant-impact options in the frontcourt. Todd fits the description.
“He has a lot of potential. He has good size and length and mobility and athletic ability,” Daniels said. “There’s impressive skill there, especially with his footwork and his hands and his touch. The biggest key for him is staying locked in, competing consistently, and playing more inside than fading to the perimeter.
“I think he’s a power forward prospect. Does he have the ability to face up and make shots? Yes. But I think he’s going to be at his best when he starts inside and then works his way out, instead of falling in love with the perimeter stuff.”
Todd was born in Baltimore and started his high school career in Richmond, Va. — leading his team to a state championship as a sophomore last year — before moving to the Raleigh area prior to this season. He previously played on the Adidas circuit and is scheduled to switch to Team Melo on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring and summer.
A reclassification decision is also in his future, and signs are increasingly pointing to him making the early move to college.
“I think they’re pretty good,” Daniels said of the chances Todd jumps to 2019. “He obviously hasn’t come out and said he’s going to do it, but it seems like it’s headed that direction.”
UK might provide the perfect setting for such a move. The Wildcats’ roster is shaping up as one that could obviously use a talent such as Todd but wouldn’t necessarily need to rely on him as one of the team’s star players.
Daniels said Todd’s abundance of skill — and high upside — would make him an instant-impact player for any team next season.
“What he brings is skill and offensive ability and good size and length,” he said. “He’s certainly capable and good enough to help a team next year. To what degree he helps them, I don’t know. He still needs to get stronger — there’s still plenty of things he needs to get better at. But can he help a team next year? Yeah.”