After two years of recruiting 2021 five-star guard Jaden Hardy, the time has officially come for a decision.
Hardy, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard out of Detroit, Michigan, is set to choose between the G League, Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State at 9:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The five-star prospect is considered a consensus top-three prospect in the senior class, with ESPN and Rivals both listing Hardy as the No. 2 overall prospect in the class.
At one point, Kentucky was widely seen as the favorite to land the dynamic scoring threat, with Corey Evans of Rivals.com – now with the Oklahoma City Thunder – even writing back in June of 2020 that Hardy ending up anywhere but UK “would be one of the bigger surprises” of this recruiting cycle.
“It is still a bit early to judge with the 2021 class, but there is one prospect that many assume is practically done for Kentucky and that is Jaden Hardy,” Evans said at the time. “If Hardy were to select any program but Kentucky, it would be one of the bigger surprises in the 2021 cycle. Whenever the Wildcats offered (in 2019), Hardy was put on commitment watch.”
“They say that their best shooters shoot the ball, and they see me as a shooter,” Hardy told KSR back in December of 2019. “They think I can come in there and make an impact right away. … Kentucky is recruiting me really hard.”
Now on May 15, 2021, all signs are pointing to Hardy signing with the G League, with six Crystal Ball predictions in favor of the professional route over at 247Sports.
Money talks, and we’ll find out just how much money talks when Hardy makes his final decision this evening. Will he officially bypass the college route and take the quick cash now with the G League, or will he favor branding, exposure, development and competition at a place like Kentucky?
We’ll find out officially at 9:30 p.m. ET on Instagram Live when Hardy announces his decision one way or the other.
What’s up with Sahvir Wheeler?
Speaking of decisions, what’s up with Georgia guard transfer Sahvir Wheeler, who was rumored to be on the cusp of an announcement late in the week?
Wheeler – a second-team All-SEC honoree last year – is down to four finalists in Kansas, Kentucky, LSU and Oklahoma State, with the Wildcats emerging as the late favorite this past week. On two separate occasions – Wednesday, May 12 and Friday, May 14 – rumors of an imminent commitment spread, though those dates came and went with nothing official going public. On his Instagram page Friday afternoon, Wheeler said he would be making his commitment “soon,” but revealed no specific timetable.
Rumblings have grown louder that Monday could be the final decision date, though we’ve already heard two tentative dates in the past week alone.
The 5-foot-10 guard, who led the SEC in assists at 7.4 per contest and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.68, averaged 14.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 34.8 minutes per contest as a sophomore. He tells KSR that the ultimate goal at his next stop is to play winning basketball for a winning program.
“I consider myself a dynamic playmaker, a guy who can make the right play. I’m not pass-first, I’m not score-first, I’m a guy who will make the right play,” Wheeler told KSR. “If the game calls for me to get 10 assists, 15 assists, four points, so be it. If the game calls for me to get 20 points and five assists, I’m gonna do that too. I’m just trying to do whatever it takes to win the game, a guy who can do it on both ends of the court. I’m always looking to expand my game, work on areas I need to improve.
“Ultimately, I’m just trying to win, that’s my main thing. I’ll impact games, impact winning, impact the community, impact people around me who just want to watch me play basketball. That’s my biggest thing.”
Will he be bringing that winning mindset to Lexington with him? We’ll (hopefully) find out in the coming days.
After being postponed until October last season due to COVID-19, the 2021 Preakness Stakes is back where it belongs, running at Pimlico Race Course with fans in the stands in mid-May.
Roughly 10,000 fans will be allowed inside the famed race track, with post time scheduled for 6:47 p.m. ET. It’s a race filled with controversy, as Bob Baffert’s Medina Spirit, who failed a drug test following his win at the Kentucky Derby, has been cleared to race in the Preakness Stakes after passing all drug tests leading up to the race. Medina Spirit opens as the 9-5 favorite and will come out of the No. 3 post.
Here are the complete odds:
Medina Spirit 9-5
Concert Tour 5-2
Midnight Bourbon 5-1
Crowded Trade 10-1
Unbridled Honor 15-1
Risk Taking 15-1
France Go De Ina 20-1
UK VB seniors to host signing at KSBar & Grille from 12-4 p.m.
Who wants to meet three national champions on Saturday? Now’s your chance.
Three graduating seniors from the Kentucky Volleyball team, Madison Lilley, Kendyl Paris and Gabby Curry, are hosting a fan event from noon to 4 p.m. at KSBar and Grille to meet their supporters from Big Blue Nation and to show off the new hardware they won in Omaha.
Fans interested in an autograph can get two signed items for $40 and a photo with the national championship trophy.
Need some gear to get signed? Kentucky Branded has you covered, as they will be on site to sell championship hats and t-shirts.
REMINDER – UK Volleyball seniors in the house tomorrow from 12 – 4 signing autographs and showing off that National Championship vibe.@kentuckybranded will be here selling all the gear you need.
Come raise a glass to the champions! pic.twitter.com/dJZNMp2GXK
— KSBar & Grille (@KSBarAndGrille) May 14, 2021
We’ll see you there. Go Cats.
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