Twitter Tuesday: Kentucky, Courtney Ramey, Arkansas, Butler
Kentucky may have missed on top-ranked 2018 wing R.J. Barrett on Friday, but the Wildcats could still end the early signing period on a strong note. Saturday, just 24 hours after Barrett’s decision, UK found its alpha-dog scorer for next year in Keldon Johnson. Now how might Kentucky round out its class?
John Calipari already has a powerful backcourt class with point guard Immanuel Quickley and Johnson. That situation could become even better if Tyler Herro committed to the Wildcats on Tuesday. It would be a giant, giant shock if Herro didn't pull the trigger, as he visited Lexington this past weekend. He's one of the most polished scorers in high school basketball, so UK’s backcourt should be all but set for the 2018 recruiting class.
From here, look for Kentucky to address the frontcourt with at least one commitment. The Wildcats remain involved with Bol Bol, though Oregon is the heavy favorite. Zion Williamson is another option, but several top programs are in contention for him and a commitment date is up in the air. UK is also in the mix for 7-foot center Moses Brown but he is likely to wait until April to sign.
By Tuesday evening, Kentucky should have three commitments in the 2018 class with Quickley, Johnson and Herro. The Wildcats will likely finish the spring with four in all, with the addition of either Williamson, Brown or another top-flight prospect that may emerge this winter.
Clemson is a sleeper in the recruitment of Ramey. The Tigers have put together a sneaky good class this fall and can sell Ramey on the ACC and potentially playing alongside five-star forward Zion Williamson.
Ohio State is also heavily in the mix as the Buckeyes have picked up where they left off prior to Ramey’s originally commitment. Chris Holtmann and his staff have created a strong four-man class this fall, but none of its perimeter additions come in the pass-first, facilitating variety. Ramey would fit that bill and could immediately walk into starter’s minutes in Columbus.
While Texas, Clemson and Ohio State are in a good spot, Missouri and Villanova may be the favorites. Mizzou has the hometown sell, is an up-and-coming bunch and also hold the commitment of long-time travel teammate Torrence Watson. Villanova could use Ramey to solidify its point guard position, especially with the potential departure of Jalen Brunson after this season.
Look for a sped up recruitment in the coming weeks with a handful of official visits on tap.
Michigan native Markese Hastings committed to Butler on Saturday, becoming the first member of the program's 2018 class.
It has not been an easy recruiting cycle for the Bulldogs as they have missed on most of their top targets. There are not many consolation prizes in recruiting, but Hastings is a sneaky addition for a program that has become known for finding undervalued prospects.
The issue for Butler is that it must replace outgoing seniors Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman. Can Hastings be that guy? LaVall Jordan and his staff would sure like to think so. He may not be a better college prospect than some of the targets Butler missed on this fall, but Hastings is someone that can provide solid minutes early on at Butler thanks to his rebounding abilities, finishing skills and versatile perimeter defense.
Arkansas fans should be pretty excited about what the Razorbacks having come their way next fall. Mike Anderson's 2018 recruiting class boasts more Rivals150 pledges (5) than any program in America.
What makes this group of six seniors that much better is the fact that each brings something different to the table and should flourish in Anderson's up-tempo system.
Desi Sills brings toughness to the point guard position; Isaiah Joe is one of the best shooters in the graduating 2018 class; Keyshawn Embery might be the most productive of the group as a freshman thanks to his playmaking and shot-making skills; Jordan Phillips brings tremendous versatility as a capable combo forward; Reggie Chaney is one of the top rebounders in his 2018 class; lastly, Ethan Henderson is a quick-footed power forward that is a solid rim protector and drop-off finisher.