By KEVIN McNAMARA
No shock here but Chicago schoolboy hoop star Bryce Hopkins has picked a college and he’s joining John Calipari’s program at Kentucky.
Hopkins was down to Kentucky, Providence and Illinois, according to sources. The top 30 recruit’s mother hailed from New Bedford and his father, Clyde, owned a strong relationship with PC coach Ed Cooley.
“We’ve really liked getting to know Ed Cooley,” said Clyde Hopkins. “We speak all the time. He’s a first class person.”
While Hopkins clearly would own a chance at instant playing time as a freshman at Providence (and likely Illinois), he’s signing up for a major challenge at Kentucky. This is no shock. It’s what Calipari sells. You come here, compete against future first round pick pros and own a chance to become a star. It’s a recruiting pitch that is really only matched by one other program – Duke – in the country.
But here’s the flip side, a possibility that most prep recruits barely think of: you get beaten out, for multiple seasons. That’s led to many top 50 recruits leaving Lexington after a year or two and getting buried on the bench.
Just look at Kentucky’s roster for this season. The Cats are filled with top 30 recruits and a few top transfers. One is Jacob Toppin, the long, talented 6-9 transfer from the University of Rhode Island. Instead of staying in Kingston and being one of the Rams’ top two or three players, Toppin rolled the dice and will compete for playing time this season.
Providence has been involved with numerous top 50/top 30 recruits with Cooley as the head coach and failed to nab most of them. That’s recruiting, you lose more than you win. The Friars have run up against numerous `national programs’ in the last few seasons and lost out to Florida, Duke, Louisville, Kansas, North Carolina and now Kentucky.