UK Recruiting

Kentucky no longer in the mix for major power forward recruit in the class of 2020

One of the top remaining post players in the basketball recruiting class of 2020 has cut his list of schools, and Kentucky is no longer in contention.

Dawson Garcia — a 6-foot-10 prospect from Minnesota — announced his final seven schools on Tuesday. The schools still under consideration are Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Marquette, Memphis, Minnesota and North Carolina.

All of those programs have extended scholarship offers to Garcia, who garnered recruiting interest from Kentucky’s coaching staff this year but never received an offer from the Wildcats. Garcia also didn’t include Duke — which had shown interest but hadn’t extended a scholarship offer — in his final seven.

UK assistant coach Joel Justus visited him in Minnesota during the last high school season, but Coach John Calipari didn’t get to see him play as much as some of UK’s other top targets for the 2020 class during the summer.

Garcia missed his Adidas travel team’s major event of the July evaluation period with an illness, so college coaches, including Calipari, missed an opportunity to see him in that highly competitive setting.

Still, Garcia did enough over the course of the spring and summer to move up in both the 247Sports rankings (where he’s the nation’s No. 22 player) and the Rivals.com rankings (where he’s No. 35).

Since UK had not yet extended a scholarship offer — and its coaches wouldn’t have another opportunity to see Garcia play until the upcoming high school season — it was no surprise that the highly touted power forward decided to move on with his recruitment Tuesday.

Kentucky is still searching for more frontcourt help for next season, however.

The Cats landed a commitment last week from four-star power forward Lance Ware, but UK will be looking to add at least two more post players for its 2020 class. Calipari has already extended scholarship offers to uncommitted power forwards Greg Brown, Isaiah Jackson and Isaiah Todd, as well as four-star center Cliff Omoruyi, who UK assistant coach Tony Barbee visited on Tuesday.

Graduate transfers and possible reclassification candidates currently in the 2021 class are also expected to be possibilities as the 2020 cycle continues.

Garcia seemingly would have been a good fit for UK’s future frontcourt. His versatile style of play extends to the perimeter, where he’s a capable three-point shooter and should be able to defend multiple positions at the college level.

Back in June, Garcia told the Herald-Leader that he had a “high” level of interest in Kentucky and would continue to work toward earning a UK scholarship offer. He also seemed to have a firm grasp on the reality of playing basketball for the Wildcats.

“It’s a great program,” Garcia said. “They get guys to the league right away. And even when they came to my school and talked to me, they were like, ‘Yeah, Kentucky’s not for everybody.’ And that’s true. … When you go to Kentucky, you gotta love basketball or it could be a living hell for you.”

If UK is still interested in Garcia — and the Minnesota native is still open to new scholarship offers — there could still be a slim chance for the Cats to make a move in his recruitment. Rivals.com national analyst Corey Evans told the Herald-Leader last week that he doesn’t expect Garcia to make a college decision anytime soon.

“That’s so far away from right now. He’s definitely going to take that into the spring, like he should,” Evans said. “There’s not many guys like him in this class.”

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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