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I just don’t think Kentucky was right fit for Jaden McDaniels

Jaden McDaniels


Before I got to the McDonald’s All-American Game a few months ago I thought Kentucky had a solid chance to sign Washington’s Jaden McDaniels, a talented 6-foot-9 wing player. Once I left the McDonald’s Game I was convinced there was no way he would sign with Kentucky — and he didn’t as he ended his recruitment this week by finally picking home-state Washington.

McDaniels certainly has the skills to play at UK. But as coach John Calipari says, Kentucky is not for everybody and McDaniels’ personality was just not a fit for the Cats.

He seems like a nice enough young man but it was obvious he didn’t like the media spotlight. He refused to discuss recruiting at the McDonald’s Game and made it clear he was not comfortable doing interviews.

I thought then if the small media numbers at the McDonald’s Game intimidated him, he didn’t belong at UK because he would just not be happy. The best UK players normally are extremely confident and talkative in high school. They have to embrace the limelight.

McDaniels didn’t seem ready to embrace the Kentucky fan and media spotlight and Washington clearly was the best choice for him and probably best for UK that he also made that choice.


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  1. Well said! You need self confidence to play and succeed at UK, Duke or NC. I think that has been the problem with several of our big’s lately. They need more time to develop and they feel like they have fallen behind the others that leave after a year.

    1. Well said Ben…..Cal seems to have problems recruiting passion, grit, and winning attitudes. He gets too caught up chasing * ratings.

  2. 100% Agree and furthermore, if he can’t cope with the bright lights of a blue blood program…What about the NBA ?
    I wish the kid well, but he has a lot of growing left to do.

  3. big fish – little pond

  4. Not taken anything from Kenny Payne, in my opinion when Orlando Antugue left our bigs hasn’t been as good as they should be.

    1. KP may be vulnerable on both recruiting and development stages.

    2. McDaniels would most likely have been another Skal Labiserre at UK. He picked the right school for what he needs. If they can coach him up and get him used to physical play, he could be a force by tournament time.

    3. Interesting observation Cats. That should not be the case, but the bigs have not developed like they should have. Of course, Issac Humphries never did much in his 2 years here until the loss to Carolina in the regionals. He went on to be the newcomer of the year in the Australian pro league. I feel like he was held back here, just like Reid.

  5. Mike use your I Q knowledge before you being so negative. This so call experts telling who’s got the best recruit class doesn’t mean crap. Your so call team Duke prove the facts last season

  6. The “drag out decision making type kids” generally don’t do well at Kentucky…time to move on.

    1. I’m not impressed with kids who string different colleges along in their recruitment. I would much rather have a kid who really wants to be a Kentucky Wildcat than one who straddles the fence and just can’t make up his mind for months on end.
      BTW: I think the press conference college choice announcements are a croc. All the sports writers and coaches involved know what the destination will be before the kid ever sits down at the table with all those hats…IMO.
      It’s all juvenile theater and I think it’s gotten way out of hand.

  7. Kids used to come to KY because they wanted to come here and be a Wildcat. Now its all about where can I go that gives me the best chance of being a star and getting in the NBA. Let the dreamers go pro right out of high school. Have the rest come to be students first, and plan on being here 3 to 4 years to get a degree. I am tired of KY being an NBA farm team.

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