Four-star small forward Bryce Hopkins has picked up a scholarship offer from Kentucky, becoming the second recruit from the 2021 class to land the honor from UK on Friday night.
Shortly after five-star point guard Hunter Sallis announced his scholarship offer from the Wildcats’ staff, Hopkins received the same treatment during a video conference with UK’s coaches. The 6-foot-6 prospect from the Chicago area has emerged in recent days as a major Kentucky target. Rivals.com ranks him as the No. 34 overall player in the class of 2021.
Hopkins had been committed to Louisville since last November before backing out of his commitment to the Cardinals earlier this month. Indiana, Michigan and Oregon are among the many major programs that have expressed heavy interest in his recruitment, but the Herald-Leader was told this week that Kentucky is the clear team to beat for his commitment, which could come in the very near future.
UK is still in search of its first commitment for the 2021 class, and Hopkins joins Sallis, shooting guard Jaden Hardy, and small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. as the only players from the group with confirmed Kentucky scholarship offers.
Hopkins — a gritty player with a 7-foot wingspan — projects as an instant-impact contributor at the next level, and the uncertainty surrounding his immediate NBA potential could make him a multi-year college player.
“He’s an athlete, and he’s tough and rugged and physical,” Rivals.com national analyst Corey Evans told the Herald-Leader. “He kind of reminds me a little of Keldon Johnson, to that extent — just the physicality, the alpha mentality, the versatility, and the willingness to impact both sides of the floor.”
Evans also compared Hopkins to a more physical version of UK sophomore Keion Brooks, who played the ‘4’ role at various points during his freshman year despite being billed as more of a perimeter-oriented wing player out of high school.
“With Bryce’s length, he can slide down to that ‘4’ spot and bring a physicality that’s much greater,” Evans said. “If Keion Brooks and Bryce Hopkins were enrolling at the same time, I think Bryce would have been an easier option for the ‘4’ than Keion was. And that just comes from a physicality perspective. A strength and muscularity perspective with those guys.”
Hopkins averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and 3.5 assists per games as a high school junior.