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 evaluation period — 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 was the only 2018 prospect to average a double-double on the Nike circuit last summer, and he’s continued that individual success in the Nike EYBL so far this year. Bagley has narrowed his list to UK, Duke, Kansas, Arizona, UCLA and Southern Cal, but he has not announced any kind of timetable for his college commitment.

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 former NBA player Manute Bol has been one of the breakout stars of the Nike circuit so far this year. Already a highly regarded prospect, Bol has taken 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’ll definitely be 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. He’s now playing for Mater Dei (Calif.), the high school powerhouse that has produced Stanley Johnson and Aaron Gordon in recent years.

Position: Power forward
Height: 7-2
Weight: 220
Hometown: Santa Ana, Calif.
High school: Mater Dei
Travel team: California Supreme (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 7
Scout ranking: No. 13
ESPN ranking: No. 41
247 ranking: No. 5
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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.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-11
Weight: 205
Hometown: Roseville, Calif.
High school: Woodcreek
Travel team: Team Arsenal (Under Armour)
Rivals ranking: No. 4
Scout ranking: No. 5
ESPN ranking: No. 5
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, 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. 6
Scout ranking: No. 6
ESPN ranking: No. 6
247 ranking: No. 6
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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 Darius Garland, Immanuel Quickley and Javonte Smart – for the No. 1 point guard ranking in the 2018 class. 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. 12
Scout ranking: No. 24
ESPN ranking: No. 14
247 ranking: No. 8
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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 – has carried that momentum to the Nike circuit so far this year. He’s a great scorer who is starting to develop an outside shot and has already visited Kentucky on multiple occasions. The proximity of Huntington to Lexington – about 125 miles – will allow for continued visits to UK, and the Wildcats are planning to continue to monitor his recruitment throughout the summer and heading into his senior season. Johnson has mentioned Texas, Kansas and Maryland as some of the schools recruiting him hardest.

Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-6
Weight: 205
Hometown: South Hill, Va.
High school: Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
Travel team: Boo Williams (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 33
Scout ranking: No. 38
ESPN ranking: No. 18
247 ranking: No. 15
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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 6-8 – and has attracted heavy interest from Maryland, Indiana, home-state Seton Hall and others. It’s not yet clear how involved UK will get in his recruitment.

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-8
Weight: 195
Hometown: Jersey City, N.J.
High school: Hudson Catholic
Travel team: Team Final (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 32
Scout ranking: No. 16
ESPN ranking: No. 38
247 ranking: No. 25
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Romeo Langford

One of the most sought-after recruits in the 2018 class, Langford might end up being the prospect that Kentucky fans hear about the most over the next few months, especially if he ends up making a late college decision. 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, but UK will have to battle a number of blue bloods for his commitment. Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Indiana and Kansas have all extended scholarship offers, though Langford hasn’t really tipped his hand on possible favorites. 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. 3
Scout ranking: No. 3
ESPN ranking: No. 3
247 ranking: No. 3
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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 20 pounds – and entered the spring circuit at about 6-foot-10 and 275 pounds. 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.

Position: Center
Height: 6-10
Weight: 275
Hometown: Norfolk, Va.
High school: Oak Hill (Va.)
Travel team: Team Loaded (Adidas)
Rivals ranking: No. 61
Scout ranking: No. 51
ESPN ranking: No. 35
247 ranking: No. 56
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Immanuel Quickley

The first point guard from the 2018 class to receive a UK scholarship offer, Quickley might be 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 is a smooth, smart floor leader who has also shown that he can knock down shots from three-point range. The early offer from Kentucky could go a long way in his recruitment, and the Herald-Leader was told this spring that the Cats are in very good shape to land his commitment down the road.

Position: Point guard
Height: 6-3
Weight: 180
Hometown: Bel Air, Md.
High school: John Carroll
Travel team: Team BBC (Adidas)
Rivals ranking: No. 15
Scout ranking: No. 10
ESPN ranking: No. 12
247 ranking: No. 17
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Cameron Reddish

Reddish is considerd 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, so the Blue Devils will definitely be a team to watch as this process continues.

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 200
Hometown: Norristown, Pa.
High school: Westtown School
Travel team: Team Final (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 5
Scout ranking: No. 4
ESPN ranking: No. 4
247 ranking: No. 4
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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. Syracuse, Seton Hall, Rutgers and St. John’s are among the local schools recruiting him, and several national powers are also in the mix.

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. 14
Scout ranking: No. 12
ESPN ranking: No. 11
247 ranking: No. 14
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Simi Shittu

Shittu – a native of Canada – has been a well-known recruit 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 in April, 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. 10
Scout ranking: No. 8
ESPN ranking: No. 9
247 ranking: No. 20
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Javonte Smart

Smart was considered the No. 1 point guard in the 2018 class during his junior season, and John Calipari has visited with him several times over the past couple of years. He also played on the gold-medal winning Team USA U17 squad last summer and has been regarded as one of the best prospects in his class for the past couple of years. He’s another bigger point guard with the ability to get to the basket or create for teammates. His outside shot has been a weak point in the past, but it seems to be improving. Hometown LSU is expected to be around until the end of his recruitment. New Tigers Coach Will Wade visited Smart’s high school as soon as he took the job. Smart averaged 25.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game while leading his team to a state title as a junior.

Position: Point guard
Height: 6-4
Weight: 190
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
High school: Scotlandville Magnet
Travel team: Houston Hoops (Nike)
Rivals ranking: No. 11
Scout ranking: No. 9
ESPN ranking: No. 24
247 ranking: No. 16
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Zion Williamson

Perhaps 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 has said that he doesn’t plan to make a college commitment until after his senior season.

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. 2
ESPN ranking: No. 2
247 ranking: No. 1
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