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Kentucky gaining ground for 2019 PF Jaden McDaniels

Could the Kentucky Wildcats be catching up to the 2019 Texas basketball recruiting class in the race to land elite forward Jaden McDaniels?

A key target for this 2019 Texas basketball recruiting class is getting some interest from programs almost quite literally coast-to-coast of late. The elite power forward that this 2019 Texas basketball recruiting class would like to add in the coming months might also be slipping away from head coach Shaka Smart now. That elite prospect is the five-star Federal Way, WA, power forward Jaden McDaniels.

The nation’s fifth rated overall 2019 high school prospect is one of the few remaining top 20 uncommitted recruits. He doesn’t have a set decision date yet, but it should be coming soon since National Signing Day for this recruiting cycle is looming next spring. McDaniels could also have some urgency since every other commit in the 2019 Texas basketball recruiting class signed each National Letter of Intent during the Early Signing Day 2018.

However, one of the concerning trends that came up in the recruitment of McDaniels within the past few weeks for this 2019 Texas basketball recruiting class lies with his commitment decision. McDaniels recently got a visit from the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats basketball program, John Calipari, on Dec. 9. That came less than two weeks after he received an offer from Kentucky.

The offer from the “big blue” came on Nov. 28, and that seems to be the fastest rising program to land his commitment. Before that offer from Kentucky came into play for McDaniels’ recruitment, the Texas Longhorns and San Diego State Aztecs appeared to be the favorite to snag him.

According to the 247Sports Crystal Ball Predictions, Kentucky has jumped up in the pursuit of McDaniels to carry the same odds of landing his commitment as the 2019 Texas basketball recruiting class. Both the Horns and Wildcats have a 20 percent shot at landing McDaniels’ pledge.

This Texas basketball recruiting class does have the presence of one elite five-star big man, but a commitment from McDaniels would easily push this group among the top 10 ranked classes in nation. The presence that both McDaniels and five-star Austin, TX, big man Will Baker would bring for the Horns would make a massive immediate impact for the 2019-20 season.

The favorite the emerged for McDaniels a while back during his recruitment was the most geographically relevant among his top five finalists, San Diego State. Per 247Sports, the other two schools that encompass his list of five finalists includes the UCLA Bruins and Washington Huskies.

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Moreover, the Horns could really use some depth in the front court from the addition of this Federal Way High School standout power forward if true freshman breakthrough big Jaxson Hayes becomes a one-and-done. Adding depth in front court would help the Horns keep a formidable rotation for next season.

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