basketball Edit

Cassidy: More NIL drama, KJ Evans and Ugonna Kingsley

The college basketball season is long over, the coaching carousel has stopped spinning and the deadline to enter the transfer portal without penalty has passed. Still, the headlines keep coming. This week in his column, Rivals national recruiting director Rob Cassidy has a look at the busy week that was by covering more NIL firsts and a pair of developing recruiting stories.


MORE: The Cassidy Awards from Baltimore

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Rivals150

2024 Rankings: Top 40


This week in NIL madness 

Antoine Davis
Antoine Davis (AP Images)

This week NIL/Transfer Portal Land featured another first of its kind. On Monday, Detroit’s all-time scoring leader and transfer portal dweller Antoine Davis, who took multiple official visits and announced a group of finalists that included BYU, Kansas State and others, decided to return to his previous, Horizon League home following the announcement of a six-figure NIL deal with a Chinese basketball company called … GlowBalls.

Man, 2022 REALLY IS the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to sentences I never imagined I’d type. Anyway, some publicly speculated that Davis’ decision to enter the portal was simply a play for a better NIL deal. If that’s the case, it was genius and it could also help set a precedent for such a maneuver going forward.

Sure, the NCAA released new NIL “guidelines” this week, but most of the bullet points seem unenforceable and read mostly like a decree to keep things on the pay-for-play front a little quieter. The document certainly won’t effectively put the toothpaste back in the tube, and players like Davis should 100% continue to use the transfer portal in an effort to test the NIL waters following successful seasons. Like it or not, performance is tied to payday now and, like any other industry, an employee oftentimes has to threaten to leave their job in order to get what they're worth.

The overarching point here is, as always, that each new week of the NIL era seems to bring about another loophole nobody accounted for, and, however you feel about the direction of the sport, the drama has been incredible to watch.


Arizona makes an offer to KJ Evans 

KJ Evans
KJ Evans (Nick Lucero/

KJ Evans’ recent Arizona offer could be more impactful than some assume. I’d stop just short of calling the Wildcats the “leader” at this juncture, but it’s clear that they sit right beside Oregon at the top of the five-star forward’s recruitment for the time being. Next up is a visit to Indiana, but sources indicate that the Hoosiers remain a bit of a long shot to actually land Evans, who has a pair of high school teammates currently signed with Mike Woodson’s program.

Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd has a strong relationship with Evans’ grassroots coaches at Team Durant, and Lloyd has a history recruiting skilled big men like Chet Holmgren, whom he lured to Gonzaga before leaving the school for his current post. The quickness with which Lloyd flew out to see Evans after extending a scholarship offer also resonated with the Montverde Academy star.

There’s a long way to go here, but the way things are starting to sound, I’d be shocked if Evans landed anywhere outside of Eugene, Tucson or possibly Lexington.


Kentucky kicking the tires regarding Kingsley 

Ugonna Kingsley
Ugonna Kingsley (

Kentucky has made preliminary calls to the camp of four-star big man Ugonna Kingsley, who for the time being is totally deferring to his high school and grassroots coaches when it comes to the recruiting process. The Putnam (Conn.) Science Academy star has no plans to speak to college coaches until the end of the summer at the earliest, and will continue to let the adults in his life handle the rapidly increasing recruiting attention in the interim.

“Kentucky has reached out,” said Jay David, who coaches Kingsley’s NY Jayhawks grassroots team. “Really, basically everyone in the county, aside from Duke and North Carolina, has called.”

Kingsley’s most recent major offer came from Kansas. On Saturday, the 6-foot-11 center said he is intrigued by the offer and knows the Jayhawks are a perennial power. David said that parties have not started discussing a possible visit to Lawrence just yet, but one will possibly come at summer’s end.

“We haven’t really talked about visits with anyone,” David said. “(Kingsley) is just focused on his game and getting better right now and letting us handle the calls.”