Home » Breaking Down UK’s Stellar Recruits by Likelihood to Go All Hog

Breaking Down UK’s Stellar Recruits by Likelihood to Go All Hog

photo credit: Nick Wenger/SportsCenter Next

FAYETTEVILLE — One of the main takeaways from John Calipari’s introductory press conference Wednesday night was that he has to completely rebuild the Arkansas basketball roster.

He made it a point to emphasize that there are currently no scholarship players set to play for the Razorbacks in 2024-25.

“You can say rebuild; there may not be a roster,” Calipari told the crowd at Bud Walton Arena. “I’ve got to put a roster together. You laugh, but that’s not funny. I just met with the team. There were three guys in there and they were in the portal. We’ve got work to do.”

The transfer portal will play a key role in fixing that and he could convince some players from last year’s team to return, but where Calipari has made a living through the years is with elite high school recruiting.

Before losing its coach, Kentucky had the No. 2 recruiting class in 2024. The six-man group consisted of four five-star recruits and two four-star prospects. Since Calipari left for Fayetteville, though, three of them have either de-committed or asked out of their National Letter of Intent.

It’s widely expected that a good chunk of that class will eventually follow him to Arkansas and it sounds like the first domino could be falling soon.

Karter Knox, a McDonald’s All-American and top-20 prospect, re-opened his recruitment earlier this week and recently updated his Instagram bio to read “CHICKEN MAN” with a chicken emoji.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots, as the change is almost certainly in reference to Arkansas booster and Tyson Foods chairman John Tyson. In fact, college basketball analyst Aaron Torres discussed it on his podcast Thursday night.

“Maybe he’s hungry and he’s just saying, ‘Chicken, man. I need some chicken, man,’” Torres said. “But there was no comma and it can only lead me to saying one thing… I believe he is set to commit to Arkansas.”

Torres doesn’t think it stops with Knox, either. He also believes five-star center Jayden Quaintance will follow Calipari to Arkansas and thinks “there’s a good chance” top-50 center Somto Cyril will do the same. Both of them have requested to be released from their NLIs.

Nothing has come out about the future of Boogie Fland, another five-star recruit, but Torres speculated that he could end up in Fayetteville, as well, especially if assistant coach Orlando Antigua — an elite New York City recruit — joins Calipari’s staff at Arkansas.

The other two commits/signees are Billy Richmond and Travis Perry, with the latter being the only one believed to be sticking with the Wildcats.

“I think there’s a possibility that five of the six recruits follow John Calipari to Arkansas,” Torres said. “That would be unbelievable.”

Let’s dive into which of the six current commits are most likely to flip their commitments to follow Calipari.

Most Likely Flip Candidates for Arkansas Basketball

Jayden Quaintance | 6-9, F/C | Raleigh, N.C.

**Released from NLI**

Starting at the top of the list, Jayden Quaintance is a consensus five-star recruit who checks in at No. 7 on On3, No. 8 in the 247Sports Composite, No. 11 on Rivals and No. 14 on ESPN.

Quaintance is a big, powerful forward with plenty of raw talent to be a high-level NBA player someday soon. His 7-foot-3 wingspan and athletic ability make him a dangerous weapon out of the dunker spot as both a lob threat and offensive rebounder.

He’s shown shooting potential, but outside touch – along with cleaning up the focus at times defensively – will make Quaintance a true problem on the court as he develops.

Perhaps the most appealing thing about Quaintance to Razorback fans, however, is his age. After reclassifying, the five-star prospect is only 16 years old and not eligible for the NBA draft until after his second year of college basketball.

Karter Knox | 6-5, G/F | Tampa, Fla.

**Decommitted from Kentucky**

Karter Knox just barely missed the cut for ESPN and On3’s five-star status, but he ranks as a five-star in both the 247Sports Composite and Rivals rankings. He also ranks in the top 25 on all four major recruiting services – ESPN being the lowest at No. 24, the only service where Knox falls outside of the top 20.

The tall wing is the younger brother of former Kentucky star and NBA lottery pick Kevin Knox. He’s a three-level scorer with good instincts and a soft touch. He’s most comfortable attacking inside the perimeter, but has shown the ability to score from all over the court.

Knox has the size necessary to be a plus-defender, especially when surrounded by the right pieces and playing the shooting guard position at 6-foot-5.

There was a report that he had reopened his recruitment, but that appears not to be the case just yet, as he is in a “wait-and-see” mode:

Billy Richmond | 6-6, F | Memphis, Tenn.

Billy Richmond ranks inside the top 25 on Rivals (No. 20), On3 (No. 20) and the 247Sports Composite (No. 24). He holds five-star status from both 247Sports and Rivals.

The 6-foot-6 swingman is an athletic, powerful driver with the ball in his hands. He’s capable of playing through contact on drives and thrives when getting downhill with his dominant left hand. His size and natural strength should allow him to continue this style of play at the collegiate level.

Outside shooting has been Richmond’s weakest part of his game to date, converting only 25% of his three-pointers during the EYBL 2023 regular season. However, his hard-nosed, physical style of play should make him a dangerous competitor and asset on both sides of the ball.

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John Calipari Could Potentially Flip

Johnuel “Boogie” Fland | 6-2, G | White Plains, N.Y.

Boogie Fland is the second-best player in the Wildcats’ recruiting class based on sheer rankings, as he also lands in the top 25 in all four major recruiting outlets — No. 10 on Rivals, No. 15 on ESPN, No. 18 in the 247Sports Composite and No. 21 on On3. He holds five-star status on all but On3.

Fland is a natural shooter capable of getting hot in a hurry, though he has a tendency to pull the trigger on some contested looks. He’s got good touch inside the arc as well, though he’s not one to play bully ball against other guards.

His size at 6-foot-2 combined with his score-first mentality lands him in the awkward “in between” position as he pursues a professional career because he’s not quite tall enough to contend with certain shooting guards, but he also has work to do as a ball handler and facilitator to become a full-time point guard.

He’s quick with long arms, making him a good candidate to become an issue for opponents on the defensive side of the ball. As he improves his efficiency and understanding of the game at the next level, Fland holds the potential to become one of the more notable and well-rounded combo guards in the nation.

Flip Chances Unknown

Somtochukwo Cyril | 6-10, C | Atlanta, Ga.

**Released from NLI**

Somtochukwo Cyril holds consensus four-star status, ranking between No. 41 and No. 46 on the four major recruiting sites.

To put it simply, he’s a force of nature physically. His huge frame, wingspan and natural muscle mass make him an immediate force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball. Cyril is a ferocious dunker with high energy, has a knack for rebounding and has good timing when attempting to block shots.

He’s not overly skilled at any other offensive aspect aside from finding the right spots to receive a pass and slam home a dunk, but he doesn’t necessarily have to be to impact the game in a positive way.

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Travis Perry | 6-1, G | Eddyville, Ky.

Travis Perry is the lowest rated commit in Kentucky’s incoming recruiting class, falling outside the top 70 on all four major recruiting services and ranked as low as No. 123 by On3, where he’s labeled a three-star recruit. He holds four-star status on the three other sites.

Perry is a high-energy point guard with a high basketball IQ. He has a knack for setting up others and can make things happen off the bounce while also being a threat from the perimeter. He’s not overly athletic or explosive, but his adept feel for the game allows him to always seem to make the right play and be net-positive on both sides of the ball.

It’s worth noting that he’s from Kentucky, growing up about three hours away from Lexington as a high school basketball legend in the state. He may want to stay home and play for the Wildcats regardless of the coach.

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