Kentucky basketball recruiting: John Calipari visits 5-star forward E.J. Montgomery

  • Joe Mussatto
  • SEC Country
9:08 a.m. Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 Sports

It’s clear that John Calipari wants 5-star power forward E.J. Montgomery to be the final piece in Kentucky’s 2018 recruiting class.

Calipari and assistant coach Kenny Payne were in Marietta, Ga., Wednesday to visit the 12th-ranked prospect in the 2018 class. Payne was there by himself last week to visit Montgomery.

The former Auburn commit is the top-ranked uncommitted big man in the class. Montgomery is the second-ranked power forward in the 2018 class behind Vanderbilt signee Simi Shittu.

Kentucky has plenty of competition for Montgomery. Duke, North Carolina, UCLA, South Carolina, Clemson, Georgetown, USC, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Georgetown are all on his list, in addition to Kentucky.

Duke and North Carolina are scheduled to host him on unofficial visits over the next week, according to Rivals.com. Montgomery and Larry Thompson, his coach at Wheeler High School, discussed some of the schools on his list with Rivals.

“They have been extremely aggressive,” Thompson said of Kentucky. “I got a text from them right before they played Tennessee. Coach Calipari is supposed to come for practice today. Coach Payne wanted Coach Cal to make the offer official today. I think he’s definitely interested. I mean, it is Kentucky.”

Kentucky has the No. 6 class, according to 247Sports composite, but the Wildcats might again be looking up to Duke for another top prospect. The Blue Devils already have collected the Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 9 prospects in what might be the best class ever.

And Mike Krzyzewski and Co. might not be done.

Duke is the heavy, albeit early, favorite to land Montgomery. Eighty-nine percent of the Crystal Ball picks have Montgomery headed to Durham, N.C. The only non-Duke picks are old ones, back when Montgomery was committed to Auburn.

Kentucky’s three-man class has a point guard and two shooting guards. Montgomery would fill the need of a front-court player.

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