UK Recruiting

National analyst favors UK for five-star point guard. ‘I think he’s the ideal fit.’

Devin Askew was one of the top point guards on the Nike circuit for the 2019 season.
Devin Askew was one of the top point guards on the Nike circuit for the 2019 season. Nike

One of John Calipari’s most dynamic backcourts ever is already coming together for next season. One of the players that might ultimately run that show is coming to town this weekend.

Five-star point guard Devin Askew is scheduled to be in Lexington for his official visit to UK, the last recruiting trip before he makes a college decision, which is likely to come later this month.

The 6-foot-3 playmaker from California has already taken visits to Louisville and Arizona and will be at Memphis for that program’s midnight madness event Thursday night. Kentucky gets the last shot.

Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Corey Evans made a Future Cast prediction in favor of UK last month and told the Herald-Leader last week that he liked the Wildcats’ momentum heading into Askew’s final tour of college campuses.

Evans told the Herald-Leader on Wednesday that he’s sticking with his UK pick.

“I think it’s the same. I’m not willing to budge on what I believe will happen,” he said. “You get him for his final official visit, right before he commits, and you offer him a potential spot at the point guard position — if he reclassifies — that’s tailor-made for him. Knowing what Devin is about and wanting that kind of stage, it’s hard to decline, in my mind.”

Evans acknowledged that U of L is still the Cats’ top competition and Memphis could blow him away during his visit for madness, but Kentucky offers a unique opportunity for Askew, who is currently ranked as the No. 1 point guard and No. 9 overall player in the 2021 class.

Askew, who turns 18 years old in July, has said he plans to remain in that 2021 class, but he’s been open to reclassification in the past and the thinking in recruiting circles is that he will ultimately make that move to 2020 if the right situation presents itself.

UK could find itself in that situation next year.

The Cats are expected to lose Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey to the NBA Draft after this season. Immanuel Quickley, a former five-star point guard recruit who has been playing more of the ‘2’ role at UK, could be back for a junior year in 2020, but he told the Herald-Leader this week that he’s not fixated on a return to the point guard position.

“I really see myself playing the ‘1’ or the ‘2’,” Quickley said. “… I can still always pass or run a team if I have to, but I think scoring is pretty much my natural instinct.”

Kentucky is still very much in the mix for five-star point guard Cade Cunningham, the No. 2 player in the 2020 class and the Cats’ top target going into the fall. Cunningham is also planning to make a decision this fall. Even if he were to pick UK, there would still be room for Askew to make a major impact on next season’s team.

The Cats will have plenty of offensive firepower off the ball next year. Quickley could return. So could freshmen Johnny Juzang, Keion Brooks and Dontaie Allen. And UK already has commitments from 2020 shooting guards Terrence Clarke and Brandon Boston, two of the most gifted scorers in high school basketball.

Calipari is so flush with perimeter scorers that he’s passed on the opportunity to possibly land even more five-star shooting guards in the 2020 class. What the UK coach is still looking for is a point guard. Or two.

Askew will attend the USA Basketball training camp in Colorado Springs next weekend, and he’s expected to make his college decision shortly after that.

“I think he’s the ideal fit. I really do,” Evans said. “I think he’s honestly the best point guard for those guys and their strengths. Devin is a very unselfish individual as a prospect and a person. And I think he’s all about doing whatever is beneficial for the betterment of his team.

“He’s OK getting everyone else involved and having them eat, even if it means less for him.”

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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