Top UK basketball recruiting target Cade Cunningham announced his commitment to Oklahoma State on Tuesday night.
Cunningham — a 6-foot-7 prospect from Arlington, Texas — had narrowed his college choices to Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, Washington and Oklahoma State, where his brother, Cannen Cunningham, was hired as an assistant coach earlier this year.
Oklahoma State had long been seen as the favorite in Cunningham’s recruitment, but UK emerged in recent weeks as the Cowboys’ main competition for his commitment. The Wildcats hosted Cunningham for an official visit on Big Blue Madness weekend, and John Calipari and UK assistant coach Tony Barbee made several trips this fall to see Cunningham at his high school in Florida, as well as meeting with his parents in Texas.
Cunningham ultimately decided to commit to Oklahoma State and follow his brother to Stillwater.
“This process was stressful for me,” he said in his commitment video Tuesday night. “When my brother took a job at Oklahoma State, most people assumed my decision had been made for me. But my family encouraged me to explore my options and make my own decision, based on what I feel is best for me.…
“I loved all the schools I visited, and I appreciate each program investing their time and energy into me. To be honest, I was this close to picking a different school, but blood is always thicker than water. Go Pokes.”
Cunningham is the No. 2 overall recruit in the 2020 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. USA Today ranks him as the No. 1 overall player in the senior class.
Kentucky should still be OK at the point guard spot next season, even if projected NBA Draft picks Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey head to the pros. Sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley could be back for a third season at UK, and five-star point guard Devin Askew — the No. 1 player at his position in the 2021 class — is already committed to the Cats and is widely expected to reclassify to 2020, a decision that won’t be made until next year.
Rivals.com national analyst Corey Evans told the Herald-Leader on Monday night that — whether the Cats landed Cunningham or not — he expected that Askew would “definitely reclassify” and join the 2020 class.
Kentucky also has previous commitments from five-star shooting guards Brandon “BJ” Boston and Terrence Clarke — both top-10 caliber players nationally — as well as four-star wing Cam’Ron Fletcher and four-star power forward Lance Ware. All four of those commitments will be eligible to officially sign with UK starting Nov. 13, the first day of the one-week fall signing period.