UK Recruiting

Top basketball recruit announces Thursday. ‘I’d be pretty surprised if it’s not Kentucky.’

Here’s where the top basketball recruits are playing in college next season

Here's where the Top 10 recruits in the nation are playing college basketball next season. Rankings are according to ESPN.com.
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Here's where the Top 10 recruits in the nation are playing college basketball next season. Rankings are according to ESPN.com.

On the day before highly touted basketball recruit Lance Ware announces his college decision, things continued to look good for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Ware — a 6-foot-9 power forward in the 2019 class — had an in-home visit with UK Coach John Calipari on Monday night and shortly after that decided that he was ready to end his recruitment. The New Jersey standout has also taken official visits to Michigan and Ohio State, but Kentucky goes into Thursday afternoon’s announcement as the major favorite.

Rivals.com national analyst Corey Evans is among the many recruiting experts who have logged UK predictions in recent days and weeks.

“I’d be pretty surprised if it’s not Kentucky,” Evans told the Herald-Leader on Wednesday afternoon. “Cal came in and did the in-home visit Monday. I don’t want to say it was an ultimatum, but I think it was a matter of, ‘Are you interested in us? Do you want us, or not?’ And that might have been the shot of reality that Lance needed to see that, ‘This is where I want to be.’ I think he’s drawn by the whole Kentucky blue-blood pedigree and definitely the opportunity to get minutes in the frontcourt with all those guys leaving.”

UK could lose all three of its current frontcourt players — EJ Montgomery, Nick Richards and Nate Sestina — after the season, leaving a major hole in the paint for the 2020-21 campaign. Sestina will be out of eligibility following this season, Montgomery is seen as a likely NBA Draft pick next year, and Richards would be just the second five-star recruit to play four years for Calipari if he returns for a senior season.

Evans said Wednesday that he expects UK to start from scratch with its 2020-21 frontcourt, and Ware would get the Wildcats off to a great start.

He moved up to the No. 31 overall spot in the most recent Rivals.com player rankings for the 2020 class, earning a Kentucky scholarship offer in July following a stellar showing in the spring and summer.

On Tuesday afternoon, 247Sports national analyst Evan Daniels logged a prediction in favor of Kentucky on Ware’s Crystal Ball page, which was already packed with picks for the Wildcats. Daniels has been correct on all 22 of the Crystal Ball predictions he’s made so far for the class of 2020. Andrew Slater, Brian Snow and Jerry Meyer are among the other national recruiting experts who have predicted that Ware will end up at Kentucky. Rivals.com national analyst Eric Bossi has also picked Kentucky for Ware.

Kentucky hosted Ware for an unofficial visit during Big Blue Madness weekend last fall, and he averaged 14.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game at the season-ending Peach Jam event in July.

Ware is scheduled to announce his college decision at 4 p.m. Thursday.

“I think he’s consistently getting better over the last year, year and a half,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader after the latest rankings update. “He’s got good size for the position. He’s lean, he’s long, he’s mobile, he’s fluid. He’s a fine athlete, and I think he’s got good hands. His scoring touch around the basket has continued to develop and improve. He can score on the block, and he can also make mid-range jump shots.

“I think there’s a lot to like about his potential and upside.”

Ben Roberts covers UK basketball, football and other sports for the Lexington Herald-Leader and has specialized in UK basketball recruiting for the past several years. He also maintains the Next Cats recruiting blog, which features the latest news on the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts.
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