UK Recruiting

Next Cats: No. 1 2016 point guard could commit to Kentucky soon after Madness

De'Aaron Fox puts UK on a list with Kansas, Louisville and LSU, but recruiting experts at 247Sports say UK is the favorite. "He reminds me of John Wall in a lot of regards," said analyst Jerry Meyer.
De'Aaron Fox puts UK on a list with Kansas, Louisville and LSU, but recruiting experts at 247Sports say UK is the favorite. "He reminds me of John Wall in a lot of regards," said analyst Jerry Meyer.

In the days leading up to De'Aaron Fox's official visit to the University of Kentucky, it's become increasingly clear that just about everyone in basketball recruiting circles expects the five-star point guard to be a Wildcat.

The latest signal came this week, when Fox's 247Sports Crystal Ball page moved to 100 percent in favor of Kentucky.

The final holdout had been a recruiting insider for 247Sports' Kansas website, and he switched his prediction from the Jayhawks to the Wildcats immediately after Fox's official visit to Lawrence last weekend.

247Sports national analyst Jerry Meyer has been picking Fox to UK for more than two months. The Crystal Ball feature doesn't account for degrees of confidence — analysts make their predictions without wiggle room or comment — but Meyer expressed a high level of assurance about Fox's future.

"On the range of it — pretty confident," Meyer told the Herald-Leader on Tuesday. "Obviously, there are always surprises and there's no 100 percent certainty. But I would put it in the confident range."

Meyer ranks Fox as the No. 2 overall prospect and No. 1 point guard in the loaded recruiting class of 2016. The 6-foot-4 standout from Katy, Texas, earned a scholarship offer from UK over the summer, and his official visit centered on this weekend's Big Blue Madness is expected to be the final trip of his recruitment.

Fox has previously taken official visits to Kansas, Louisiana State and Louisville, and he recently canceled a trip to Arizona that had been scheduled for next month. He has also been listing North Carolina and North Carolina State, but those schools will not get visits either.

That means it's likely a four-team race consisting of UK, Kansas, Louisville and LSU, and — while the Crystal Ball is far from a scientific indicator of a player's recruitment — it's rare for one school to hold a 100-percent share for a prospect of Fox's stature.

This weekend's Big Blue Madness visit could be the icing on the cake for Fox, the final step toward his commitment to the Cats.

Though Fox has not mapped out an exact timetable for his college decision, Meyer said it could come sooner rather than later.

"It sure wouldn't surprise me if it happened quickly," he said. "If my notions are correct, as long as everything goes well on the visit, you would think it could happen really quickly."

So what would Kentucky be getting if Fox does commit? According to Meyer, a combination of two of the best point guards in the John Calipari era.

"He reminds me of John Wall in a lot of regards," Meyer said. "Better shooter than John at the same stage. He's probably not as explosive at the rim. And it's tough to say he's as fast as John, but he's right there. ... They both have a great feel for the game.

"In Kentucky terms: He's a lot of John Wall, with Brandon Knight-type shooting."

Five-star seniors Harry Giles and Malik Monk will also be in town for official visits to UK this weekend, and five-star center Marques Bolden could return to Lexington for an unofficial visit to Big Blue Madness after taking his official visit last month.

Here's Meyer's Crystal Ball take for each of those recruits:

On Bolden, a 6-10 center from Texas: Meyer is picking Duke but characterized it as a "three-horse race" that also includes UK and Kansas. "That's one of those where a lot of people — including me — have Duke picked, but, speaking for myself, it's a very close race," he said. "And it could go in any of the three directions, including Kentucky. ... Kentucky has made up a lot of ground with a real strong surge in his recruitment. Obviously, don't count out Kentucky."

On Giles, a 6-10 forward from North Carolina: Meyer is picking Duke, and he seemed quite confident with that prediction. "Everything I'm hearing, yeah," he said of Duke. "I think if a team beats Duke, it's Kentucky. But I might say I would be shocked if it's not Duke."

On Monk, a 6-3 guard from Arkansas: Meyer recently switched his pick from Arkansas to UK and said he'd be surprised if it's not one of those two schools. "I think Kentucky is going to sell the possibility of a national championship and NBA development. And the Arkansas program is a little shaky right now with some off-the-court stuff and questions about how good they're going to be. I think Kentucky can pull it off."

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