Twitter Tuesday: Kentucky, Charles Bediako, Kansas, Tennessee
In today’s Twitter Tuesday mailbag, Rivals.com Basketball analyst Corey Evans looks at the latest commotion in Lexington, discusses the leaders in Charles Bediako's recruitment and more.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
Kentucky and the g league seem to be battling it out for Jaden hardy with Arizona and UCLA behind. Do you think the addition of possibly hunter Sallis with Nolan Hickman will affect kentuckys chances with hardy. That’s 2 PGs and 1 SG— Kentucky 4L💙 (@kentuckyblue_4L) August 22, 2020
Listen, if there is one program that can add another five-star to an already embarrassment of riches, it is Kentucky. Let’s say that the Wildcats eventually land Hunter Sallis. He would join recently committed Nolan Hickman and potentially Devin Askew in the backcourt next season. There is also a chance that Skyy Clark commits and then reclassifies into the 2021 class.
That would make for one of the best backcourts that John Calipari has ever had. If Jaden Hardy is added to the picture, it would arguably make for the best perimeter core of Calipari's tenure in Lexington.
Kentucky is the leader for Hardy, let’s get that out of the way. However, it is never easy to hold that label for as long as the Wildcats have had with Hardy. Odds are that Hardy's recruitment will extend through the winter and, with him living on the West Coast, Arizona, Oregon and, more importantly, UCLA should be monitored. Ultimately, the G League may be the biggest rival for Hardy.
Calipari and his staff are being proactive. The Wildcats taken back the leverage with Hardy and, instead of focusing all of their efforts with him, they decided to take what they could get now, which is where they find themselves with Sallis and the already committed Hickman.
Damion Collins and Kentucky? Is he a lock to Kentucky with Jai Lucas on the way supposedly?— Ryan (@RyanMarchand04) August 22, 2020
No, Daimion Collins is not a lock to Kentucky. First, an offer would actually have to be handed out, which has not occurred. Second, Collins has been focused on relationships and finding the best fit which is why Oklahoma is the leader, and Texas was not too far off when Jai Lucas is still employed in Austin.
While many Kentucky fans have grown anxious over who is going to fill the center position this year if Olivier Sarr doesn't receive a waiver to play immediately and the years to follow, there is a good chance that both Lance Ware and Isaiah Jackson will return for their sophomore seasons. Ware will be used primarily as a 5-man and, by this time next year, Jackson will hopefully have put on enough weight to fill a similar role.
Speaking of Jackson, if there is anyone that can be compared to Collins in the college game, it is the Kentucky freshman. Both are light of foot, elite shot blockers that lack the ideal muscle composition but make up for it thanks to their freaky athleticism and overall versatility.
Collins is not a must-have for Kentucky. He could become more of a need if Keion Brooks does leave after the season and Pat Baldwin does not pick UK. With the looming hiring of Jai Lucas, who has developed great in-roads with Collins and his family, this could develop into be the first head-to-head Oklahoma-Kentucky recruitment since Trae Young.
How confident are you in your Charles Bediako prediction?— Matt Landry (@Landry1117) August 22, 2020
Don’t look too deep into my Charles Bediako FutureCast prediction, but Alabama has been the constant chatter with the top-20 center for the past year. Nate Oats and his staff have done an awesome job of recruiting the standout Canadian and the Crimson Tide's work north of the border has been impressive, recently enrolling Josh Primo and Keon Ambrose-Hylton, two incoming freshmen that played travel ball alongside Bediako as recently as last summer.
Sure, Duke, Michigan and Ohio State are three others that are involved with Bediako, but the Blue Devils' recruitment of Bediako is a bit overblown. Adding another big of his talent would be nice, but Paolo Banchero’s commitment may have solidified Duke's frontcourt needs in the 2021 class. I would watch out for Tennessee and Texas and while I do not foresee a commitment happening anytime soon, the Tide are definitely among the favorites for one of the best centers in the nation.
It’s not as if Kansas was not already making a hard push for Hunter Sallis, JD Davison and Tamar Bates prior to Nolan Hickman’s decision, but with the four-star guard off the board in favor of Kentucky, the pressure has picked up a few notches in Lawrence.
To be fair, the Jayhawks do not have a dire need for a guard in the 2021 class despite losing out on Hickman. He would have helped ease some concerns heading into the fall, but a home run addition is not necessary.
Kansas is not leading the pack for Sallis or Davison, but the Jayhawks are in a great spot for Bates. The Sunflower State product will finish his career at IMG Academy in Florida and, if he picks KU, would give Bill Self's program a tough-minded scoring guard that can play point guard in a pinch. However, it is not as clear-cut of a pick-up for the Jayhawks as previously presumed in which Missouri and Texas have just as good of a chance with Bates as do the Jayhawks.
Thoughts on Tennessee? Springer and Keon make a big impact as freshmen?— Zach (@Zbales23) August 22, 2020
Zach, you’re not going to find anyone outside of the Tennessee program or fandom more optimistic about the Volunteers' chances this season than me. I just don’t know what they are missing personnel-wise that would have them come up short when compared to other probable national title contenders.
Tennessee has elite talent on the roster, headlined by Josiah-Jordan James, Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson. EJ Anosike brings a tremendous pedigree and production to the program as a grad transfer. John Fulkerson was the most improved player in the SEC last season. Yves Pons is a complete defender, Santiago Vescovi is a shot-maker and Corey Walker is an intriguing freshman that can play many parts.
The Volunteers also have Rick Barnes running the show. The talent is there and man, just wait for the Johnson highlights, which makes an SEC and national tile run attainable for the Vols.