Ranking the Contenders: Jaden Hardy
The top ranked guard in the class of 2021, Jaden Hardy has opened up some separation between himself and all the other backcourt prospects in the rising senior class.
Very reminiscent of current Washington Wizards star Brad Beal, Hardy has a beautiful looking jump shot, deep range, ability to create and cause damage from the mid range along with a solid frame and sneaky athleticism. Bottom line, he's a scorer who has released a top 12 of Arizona, Arizona State, Georgetown, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Michigan, Oregon, Texas Tech, and UCLA during the spring.
So who do we think has the best chance to land Hardy? Today we rank the contenders.
Kentucky is Kentucky and John Calipari is John Calipari, they have the luxury of sitting back, waiting and choosing their moment to make a move.
With Hardy, they have made their move early and often. The Wildcats have been have a steady presence with Hardy and word is that their history with one and done prospects has gotten through to Hardy. B.J. Boston and Terrence Clarke are both likely to be gone to the NBA during the 2021-22 season, so the playing time and need are there.
Though the Wildcats appear to be in good shape, alternatives to college are showing up and some think Hardy could be one to explore those routes.
Now that Hardy's older brother Amauri Hardy has transferred to play for Dana Altman and the Ducks, things could get really interesting.
There will be plenty of room for a two guard to come in and make things happen and even though Hardy grew up in the Midwest, he's pretty much a West Coast guy at this point so there is a fit that makes sense. No matter the program, there is room for Hardy but if things go well for his older brother in Eugene it is hard not to imagine that it would help Oregon's chances.
He is only in his second season in Westwood, but Mick Cronin really looks to have developed the plug in Las Vegas.
Technically, Hardy and McClendon are both two guards, but Hardy is so good off the dribble that he can play some point guard and McClendon is so strong and tough that he can play some minutes as a small forward. It can work.
Sean Miller and the Wildcats went heavy on International players in 2020 but it remains to be seen how that works out.
What doesn't need to be questioned is the time Miller and his staff have already spent with Hardy. They have made it clear they want him and the opportunity to step in and be the man as a freshman is there.
Talking Hardy into staying out West isn't as much as an issue as will be talking him into making Tucson the place he can't say no to.
At this point, a guy like Hardy would be a luxury recruit for the Wolverines who already have three Rivals150 recruits from the class of 2021.
They would love to have him and spent a good amount of time following him during the 2019-20 season, but now that they have landed top 65 combo guard Kobe Bufkin, Hardy isn't a must have.
But, if Hardy wanted to tell Juwan Howard yes, he would be the easiest take ever and the possibility, while a long shot, isn't totally off the board,