By LARRY VAUGHT
One of the more unusual Big Blue Madness visits will be the one that guard Cade Cunningham will make Friday.
Cunningham is not an ordinary player. He’s ranked as the No. 2 player in the 2020 recruiting class and had seemed to be a UK priority. After the Cats got a verbal commitment from Terrence Clarke, Calipari backed off other recruits but never slowed his pursuit of Cunningham, who most believe will go to Oklahoma State where his brother is now an assistant coach.
That scenario seemed to fit perfectly when Cunningham called off a scheduled Big Blue Madness visit so he could attend USA Basketball’s minicamp this weekend. Even when he said then he would reschedule his UK official visit, many thought he would never visit UK.
Cunningham will now be in Lexington Friday for Big Blue Madness along with other recruiting targets in 2021 power forward Paolo Banchero, one of the top players in the 2021 class; Bardstown forward JJ Traynor; 2020 four-star forward Trey Kaufman of Indiana; 2022 five-star wing Brandon Miller and 2022 win James Jewell of Louisville Eastern.
Cunningham has visited Oklahoma State, North Carolina and Florida. He also has a visit set to Washington State.
Calipari visited Cunningham at Monteverde Academy in Florida the first day of the fall recruiting period and met with his family less than a week later.
The 6-6, 210-pound Cunningham was the MVP in Nike EYBL play and averaged 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup when it won the gold medal.
Rivals.com recruiting writer David Sisk is among those who believe Cunningham will end up at Oklahoma State.
“But John Calipari is smart enough if he did not have a shot at a guy, he would move on,” Sisk said. “Cunningham was one of the first guys he visited. He’s got to feel like something is there. So we will see what happens.”