UK’s top recruiting targets in the class of 2018
Marvin Bagley

Marvin Bagley

John Calipari landed another No. 1 recruiting class during the 2017 cycle, and he’ll try to keep that momentum going with the class of 2018, a group that includes such five-star targets as Marvin Bagley, Zion Williamson, Romeo Langford and Cameron Reddish.

Click on a name below for more information on the players on UK’s radar for the class of 2018 — based on conversations with recruiting insiders during the recent spring and summer evaluation periods — and check this page throughout the year for regular updates and additions to Calipari’s priority list for the class.

Marvin Bagley

For as long as players in this class have been ranked by the major recruiting services, Bagley has generally been considered the No. 1 overall prospect in the group. The Arizona native moved to California midway through his high school career, and he averaged 24.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game as a junior, playing for a team that was ranked No. 1 nationally for a good portion of the season. He continued that stellar play on the Nike circuit this summer. It now appears possible — maybe even likely — that Bagley will attempt to reclassify to 2017 and play college basketball this season. If that happens, Duke, Arizona, Southern Cal and UCLA should be considered the favorites in his recruitment. If he sticks in 2018, Kentucky and Kansas would remain possibilities, too.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-11
Weight: 220
Hometown: Tempe, Ariz.
High school: Sierra Canyon (Calif.)
Travel team: Nike Phamily (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 1
Scout ranking: No. 1
ESPN ranking: No. 1
247 ranking: No. 2
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Bol Bol

The son of the late NBA star Manute Bol was one of the breakout stars on the Nike circuit so far this year. Already a highly regarded prospect, Bol took another step in his game and attracted interest from the top coaches in college basketball, including John Calipari, who extended a scholarship offer to UK a few days after watching Bol play at a Nike league event in Indiana in April. Bol has the size, skill and motor to be a big-time player at the college level, and he’s definitely in the conversation as one of the top five prospects in this class. Buzz coming out of the first set of evaluation periods in April indicated that Kentucky would have a very good shot at ultimately landing his commitment, though Southern Cal has picked up steam in his recruitment and is now considered by many to be Bol’s most likely destination. He will take a visit to UK, however, and he could be in Lexington for Big Blue Madness in October. Bol is now playing for Mater Dei (Calif.), the high school powerhouse in the Los Angeles area.

Position: Power forward
Height: 7-3
Weight: 220
Hometown: Santa Ana, Calif.
High school: Mater Dei
Travel team: California Supreme (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 3
Scout ranking: No. 2
ESPN ranking: No. 4
247 ranking: No. 3
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Jordan Brown

Brown is a player that has been on UK’s radar for a while, though other major programs have been more involved with his recruitment. He averaged 26.3 points, 15.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game this past high school season and was named a first-team junior All-American by MaxPreps.com. Brown is a smooth post prospect who hasn’t said a whole lot about his recruitment so far. California, Kansas and UCLA are among the teams involved. He was the last invitee to John Calipari’s USA Basketball training camp in Colorado in June, and the UK coach praised his abilities at that event, though Brown did not make Calipari’s U19 squad.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-11
Weight: 205
Hometown: Roseville, Calif.
High school: Woodcreek
Travel team: Team Arsenal (Adidas)
Rivals ranking: No. 6
Scout ranking: No. 11
ESPN ranking: No. 8
247 ranking: No. 9
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Moses Brown

Brown is generally considered the No. 1 center in the 2018 class, and John Calipari has already shown considerable interest in his recruitment. The 7-footer has the tools to be a top-notch rebounder and post defender at the next level, while his offensive game continues to progress. He made it clear this spring that his goal is to be a one-and-done college player, and Calipari and other big-name coaches are selling their programs as the best destinations to accomplish that goal. Duke, Louisville, Florida, Kansas and Maryland are among the top schools pursuing him.

Position: Center
Height: 7-0
Weight: 225
Hometown: Queens, N.Y.
High school: Archbishop Molloy
Travel team: New Heights (Under Armour)
Rivals ranking: No. 7
Scout ranking: No. 6
ESPN ranking: No. 6
247 ranking: No. 25
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Darius Garland

According to the 247Sports composite rankings, Garland is the No. 1 point guard in a 2018 class that includes several five-star players at that position. Garland grew up in Indiana — the Hoosiers are recruiting him heavily — but plays his high school ball in the Nashville area. He’s a quick, shifty point guard who can score with ease and also does a great job of getting his teammates open look. Several top recruits — Marvin Bagley and Cameron Reddish, included — have talked about playing alongside Garland in college. UK extended a scholarship offer in July, though the likely commitment of Immanuel Quickley and the possible/likely return of both Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander might lead to a crowded backcourt in Lexington. Duke and Vanderbilt have been the two schools mentioned most for Garland this summer.

Position: Point guard
Height: 6-1
Weight: 170
Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
High school: Brentwood Academy
Travel team: Bradley Beal Elite (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 12
Scout ranking: No. 8
ESPN ranking: No. 11
247 ranking: No. 10
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Quentin Grimes

The second point guard from the 2018 class to receive a UK scholarship offer, Grimes fits the description of some of Calipari’s best point guards of the past: a big body with proven scoring ability and the willingness to play team basketball. Grimes — a 6-5 prospect — averaged 28.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists during his junior season and will battle with several other talented players – such as Tre Jones, Darius Garland, Immanuel Quickley – for the No. 1 point guard ranking in the 2018 class. He can also be effective off the ball and has said that he would still consider Kentucky even if the Cats get a commitment from Quickley. Kansas is considered by some to be an early favorite, though other Big 12 schools, UK, Arizona and more top colleges will all be pursuing him.

Position: Guard
Height: 6-5
Weight: 180
Hometown: The Woodlands, Texas
High school: College Park
Travel team: Basketball University (Adidas)
Rivals ranking: No. 20
Scout ranking: No. 24
ESPN ranking: No. 29
247 ranking: No. 16
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Keldon Johnson

A Virginia native, Johnson moved to Huntington Prep (W.Va.) before his junior season and — after showing an improved game there — carried that momentum over to the Nike circuit this summer. He’ll also be transferring to Oak Hill Academy for his senior season. Johnson is a great scorer who is starting to develop an outside shot and has already visited Kentucky on multiple occasions. He told the Herald-Leader in July that he’s still holding out hope for a UK scholarship offer. Johnson has mentioned Texas and Maryland as a couple of the schools recruiting him hardest.

Position: Guard/forward
Height: 6-6
Weight: 205
Hometown: South Hill, Va.
High school: Oak Hill Academy
Travel team: Boo Williams (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 24
Scout ranking: No. 23
ESPN ranking: No. 13
247 ranking: No. 11
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Louis King

A Nike league teammate of top UK target Cameron Reddish and a fellow top-50 recruit, King has not tried to hide the fact that he would love to see more interest, and a scholarship offer, from Kentucky as his recruitment continues. The New Jersey native is highly skilled for his size — he hit a recent growth spurt to get to 6-7 — and has attracted heavy interest from Maryland, Indiana, home-state Seton Hall and others. He made John Calipari’s USA Basketball U19 team in July and appeared to impress the UK coach during that squad’s trip to Egypt. A scholarship offer could be coming for King sometime this summer or fall.

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 205
Hometown: Jersey City, N.J.
High school: Hudson Catholic
Travel team: Team Final (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 16
Scout ranking: No. 12
ESPN ranking: No. 16
247 ranking: No. 14
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Romeo Langford

One of the most sought-after recruits in the 2018 class, Langford has racked up scholarship offers from Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville and a host of others. A native of New Albany, Ind. — that’s right across the river from Louisville — he averaged 28.7 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game as a junior. Langford has been on John Calipari’s recruiting radar since early in his high school career — and he played for Calipari’s Team USA U19 squad in July — but UK will have to battle all of those blue bloods for his commitment. Though Langford hasn’t really tipped his hand on possible favorites, Louisville and Indiana are thought to be the two leaders in his recruitment as the summer season comes to an end. He did visit U of L several times during the 2016-17 season and some recruiting insiders have pegged the Cardinals as the team to beat in his recruitment. Langford is one of the best perimeter scorers in the 2018 class.

Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-5
Weight: 195
Hometown: New Albany, Ind.
High school: New Albany
Travel team: Twenty Two Vision (Adidas)
Rivals ranking: No. 5
Scout ranking: No. 5
ESPN ranking: No. 5
247 ranking: No. 4
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David McCormack

UK jumped into McCormack’s recruitment this spring, hosting the Oak Hill Academy (Va.) center for an unofficial visit in Lexington on Easter Sunday. McCormack has reshaped his body in recent months — losing about 40 pounds — and entered the spring circuit as one of the top centers in the class of 2018. He’s still a big prospect who can bully opponents around in the post. Duke — a possible favorite — has offered, as have Kansas, Louisville, Georgetown and several other top programs. McCormack told the Herald-Leader in July that John Calipari is keeping in regular contact.

Position: Center
Height: 6-10
Weight: 260
Hometown: Norfolk, Va.
High school: Oak Hill (Va.)
Travel team: Team Loaded (Adidas)
Rivals ranking: No. 35
Scout ranking: No. 69
ESPN ranking: No. 34
247 ranking: No. 24
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Immanuel Quickley

The first point guard from the 2018 class to receive a UK scholarship offer, Quickley is also the most likely point guard from that group to ultimately commit to the Wildcats. He has Team USA experience — winning a gold medal with the U17 squad last summer and then playing for John Calipari’s U19 squad in July — and is a smooth, smart floor leader who has also shown that he can knock down shots from three-point range. Kentucky is expected to land a commitment from Quickley later this year, after he takes visits to fellow finalists Kansas, Maryland and Miami. Quickley also told the Herald-Leader in July that he plans to actively recruit for the school of his choice, and he’s already lobbying five-star sensation Zion Williamson to join him at the college level.

Position: Point guard
Height: 6-3
Weight: 180
Hometown: Bel Air, Md.
High school: John Carroll
Travel team: Team BBC (Adidas)
Rivals ranking: No. 10
Scout ranking: No. 10
ESPN ranking: No. 14
247 ranking: No. 13
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Cameron Reddish

Reddish is considered to be one of the top five prospects in the 2018 class, and his mix of size and skill make him one of the most coveted recruits in the country. At 6-7, he’s comfortable and highly effective playing on the perimeter. He can create his own shot, make shots from deep and set up others for easy baskets with his high basketball IQ and top-notch passing ability for a player of his size. He played high school ball with Mohamed Bamba and was a Nike league teammate of five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker last summer, so he knows what it’s like to play alongside other top players. Reddish was one of the first players in the 2018 class to get a UK offer — he told the Herald-Leader last year that it was a “dream offer” — but many others are pursuing him. Duke has been the subject of most of the buzz surrounding Reddish’s recruitment this spring. Reddish did play for John Calipari’s USA Basketball U19 squad in July and later said that the experience helped UK’s chances in his recruitment. Duke and Kentucky appear to be the most likely landing spots for the five-star prospect.

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 205
Hometown: Norristown, Pa.
High school: Westtown School
Travel team: Team Final (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 4
Scout ranking: No. 4
ESPN ranking: No. 3
247 ranking: No. 5
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Naz Reid

A former high school teammate of Isaiah Briscoe, this post prospect from New Jersey has been on UK’s recruiting radar for several years. Reid is a force near the basket, though he’s sometimes been criticized for playing on the perimeter and forcing up outside shots. The Herald-Leader watched him over the spring and he seemed to be re-focused on his inside game, and he was dominant in that regard. John Calipari is keeping a close eye on him, and he could land a UK offer later in the process. Reid cut his list to Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Louisiana State, Seton Hall and UCLA in June. LSU has emerged this summer as a possible favorite in his recruitment.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-10
Weight: 240
Hometown: Asbury Park, N.J.
High school: Roselle Catholic
Travel team: Sports U (Under Armour)
Rivals ranking: No. 13
Scout ranking: No. 9
ESPN ranking: No. 7
247 ranking: No. 21
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Simi Shittu

Shittu — a native of Canada — has been a well-known prospect for years now, but UK has shown varying amounts of interest in his recruitment so far. Wildcats assistant coach Kenny Payne did watch him at a Nike event this spring, so UK is at least keeping an eye on him. Shittu is an athletic power forward who can do a number of things offensively. If UK gets more involved, the Cats could be a major player in his recruitment.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-8
Weight: 220
Hometown: Burlington, Ont.
High school: Vermont Academy
Travel team: CIA Bounce (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 9
Scout ranking: No. 15
ESPN ranking: No. 9
247 ranking: No. 7
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Emmitt Williams

Williams is a powerful post prospect and one of the best rebounders in high school basketball. Kentucky has come in as a possible player in his recruitment this summer, and Williams said at Nike’s Peach Jam in July that it would be a “blessing” to get a scholarship offer from the Wildcats. Duke, which offered during the spring, has also emerged as a possible favorite in Williams’ recruitment, and he had high praise for Coach K and the Blue Devils’ program during his Peach Jam interviews. Florida, Florida State and Kansas are also prominent teams in his recruitment.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-8
Weight: 220
Hometown: Lehigh Acres, Fla.
High school: IMG Academy
Travel team: Each1Teach1 (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 17
Scout ranking: No. 21
ESPN ranking: No. 12
247 ranking: No. 20
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Zion Williamson

The most exciting player in high school basketball, Williamson has become a YouTube sensation with his crazy collection of in-game dunks, some of which have already been featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter. MaxPreps.com named him the national junior of the year after he averaged 36.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season while leading his team to a state title. Hip-hop icon Drake — a friend of John Calipari and fan of the Wildcats — has been photographed wearing Williamson’s high school jersey, and his recruitment is likely to turn into one of the most watched in recent years. UK, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas — and home-state schools Clemson and South Carolina — are all considered possibilities to land Williamson, who is planning to make a college decision before his senior season. Williamson has talked about playing alongside Immanuel Quickley at the next level, and many recruiting analysts are now predicting UK as the most likely destination for both five-star prospects.

Position: Guard/forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 230
Hometown: Spartanburg, S.C.
High school: Spartanburg Day
Travel team: South Carolina Supreme (Adidas)
Rivals ranking: No. 2
Scout ranking: No. 3
ESPN ranking: No. 2
247 ranking: No. 1
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