There’s been a turn in the recruitment of Trevor Keels, a five-star shooting guard in the 2021 class and one of the biggest remaining Kentucky targets for next season.
Three Duke insiders on the 247Sports network changed their Crystal Ball predictions this week from the Blue Devils to Villanova, marking a significant shift in the perception of Keels’ recruitment.
Keels — a 6-foot-5 prospect from Clinton, Md. — is the No. 20 overall recruit in the 2021 class. He had narrowed his college options to Duke, Villanova and Virginia several months ago, but Kentucky recently jumped in with a late scholarship offer as the Cats look to bolster their backcourt for the 2021-22 season.
At the time of the UK offer, the consensus in recruiting circles seemed to be that Keels would seriously consider Kentucky but that Duke and Villanova would be the most likely landing spots. The three Duke 247 insiders — Chad Lykins, Adam Rowe and John Watson — had all predicted that the Blue Devils would land Keels’ commitment. 247Sports national analyst Eric Bossi also put in a pro-Duke on Feb. 17, but he noted at the time that it was a low confidence prediction and he could see Keels’ recruitment ending a few different ways. There have also been some pro-Duke picks by prominent analysts on Keels’ Rivals.com page in recent days.
With all three of those Duke insiders switching their picks away from the Blue Devils this week, it certainly seems as if the trajectory of Keels’ recruitment is changing quickly.
Kentucky missing out on Keels wouldn’t be a huge surprise, since the Cats came to his recruitment so relatively late in the cycle. It would be a bigger loss for Duke, however, after the Blue Devils were seen as a possible leader for so long (and as they continue to look for roster help next season following what has been a disappointing 2021-22 campaign).
UK is also pursuing five-star combo guards Jaden Hardy and Hunter Sallis, but neither seems to be leaning toward the Wildcats right now.
The more likely outlet for a backcourt addition to next season’s Kentucky team appears to be the NCAA transfer portal, which is expected to include well over 1,000 players by the end of this cycle and added former Auburn standout Justin Powell to its ranks Wednesday morning.
Kentucky is already seen as a possible leader for Powell, a 6-6 guard who can play on or off the ball and made 44 percent of his three-pointers as a freshman this season.