By LARRY VAUGHT
The more time John Calipari spent continuing to recruit Cade Cunningham, the more I wondered what in the world was going on.
Almost everyone figure the five-star guard was a lock for Oklahoma State since his brother is now on the coaching staff there. Never mind that the Monteverde (Fla.) Academy star kept insisting his recruitment was not a done deal and scheduled visits to several schools, including Kentucky.
He was one of 10 recruits at Big Blue Madness Friday and now 247Sports recruiting director Evan Daniels has made a bold prediction of Cunningham to Kentucky. Sure, he’s the only one of the 247Sports analysts picking Kentucky. But Daniels is one of the nation’s best recruiting analysts and takes great pride in his recruiting picks. His percentage of successful picks when it comes to Kentucky is really high and when he says Kentucky, pay attention.
The 6-5 Cunningham was the MVP of the Nike EYBL when he averaged 25 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.5 blocks per game and he followed that up by averaging 11.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game for Team USA when it won the FIBA under 19 World Cup in Greece.
Last week Daniels wrote that Cunningham was one of the “harder recruitments to handicap” but indicated then not to write off Kentucky. Then Sunday he tweeted that his pick for Cunningham was now UK.
Calipari has visited Cunningham at least three times in the last month and the No. 2 player in the 2020 recruiting class came to Big Blue Madness after initially calling off the visit so he could attend a USA Basketball minicamp.
The Kentucky coach has pulled off some huge recruiting moves during his 10 plus years at Kentucky but if he somehow lands Cunningham as Daniels now thinks he will, this could be Calipari’s biggest recruiting win at Kentucky. However, don’t count on it yet.
Two other recruiting analysts said “absolutely not” when I asked them if they thought Cunningham was Kentucky-bound.
“Unless Cal hired his brother over the weekend, then no,” one analyst joked.
But with Calipari, you never say never. We all know that.