Well, it’s official. Another top 10 recruit has fallen through the cracks and Jaden McDaniels is on his way to the University of Washington. While losing a top player to a school that our girlfriend told us not to worry about is a tough pill to swallow, all Kentucky fans should take solace in the fact that we never needed Jaden McDaniels in the first place.
Sure, McDaniels would have been nice to have, but it was a far-fetched idea to ever think that born and raised Washingtonian who is a lifelong Huskies fan would ever go anywhere but Washington. He’s a great player and we can only wish him the best in the Pac-12. There should be no ill feelings towards a kid who decided against us, especially since the impact he would have had in Lexington will not be the difference in whether or not we win the championship next year.
Hear me out. I am in no way saying that I don’t want McDaniels at UK, but there is a huge difference between need and want. And we did not need McDaniels. If he had picked UK, it would have been incredibly likely that EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards would stay in the Draft or transfer. And even if they did decided to come back, we would lose any hope of securing Kerry Blackshear who has more experience and is arguably a better player. Meanwhile, we still have Nate Sestina from Bucknell and three more recruits who are 6’7″ or taller. At what point is there simply too many cooks in the frontcourt?
The impact Jaden McDaniels would have had on Kentucky Basketball next season would not be a difference maker. It’s not like he is the deciding factor on if we make the NCAA Tournament. At Washington, McDaniels is exactly that. And that’s another point. He is going to Washington, not Duke, UNC, Kansas or another SEC school. He will have never have an opportunity to influence the outcome of a single Kentucky game.
Personally, I am glad Jaden McDaniels is not coming to Kentucky. Sure, I may sound like a pompous Kentucky fan, but really I’d rather see the investment of Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery pay off at UK instead of seeing them transferred off and rot in the NIT. Especially with how recent frontcourt recruits have panned out in college, I would rather keep the ones we have now than roll the dice on another.
So be happy that you are a Kentucky fan and that losing one recruit won’t make or break your season. And if you do want to be salty about, that’s fine; just remember that it is never okay to berate an 18 year old on Twitter for where they want to play basketball.