Kentucky Offers Unranked 2018 Power Forward Jaxson Hayes


Kentucky dropped a recruiting bomb on Tuesday evening when Jaxson Hayes, a 6-foot-10 power forward out of Cincinnati (OH) Bishop Moeller, announced he had picked up an offer from John Calipari and the Wildcats.

Offers occur almost daily in the high school ranks. Players pick up an offer and often tweet it, especially if it’s from a Division 1 school, so the fact that Hayes tweeted his offer from Kentucky was nothing unusual.

What is unusual is that John Calipari, a coach who has ruled recruiting since joining Kentucky in 2009, offered a player ranked No. 230 in the 247Sports composite rankings.

As a writer, researching to confirm information you want to report is a must, but in this case I think it’s safe to say that since Calipari joined Kentucky, he has never offered a player that at the point of offer ranked anywhere close to No. 230.

The flip side is the experts believe Hayes is a true up-and-comer. Scout just named Hayes one of their three biggest breakout performers of the summer. High praise from a site devoted to player rankings.

“Hayes is a kid who went from not starting and playing very limited minutes as a junior in high school to being a priority recruit for schools all over the Midwest as well as the University of Texas,” said Brian Snow of Scout in a recent article.

Hayes now holds well over 20 offers. Texas, Xavier, Butler, VCU, Ohio State and Xavier, are just a few. For a player ranked No. 230, that alone is an impressive list.

Now Hayes holds a Kentucky offer. An offer that the No. 1 power forward in the class of 2018 and one of Kentucky’s top targets, Simi Shittu, doesn’t hold. This from a player who has yet to start a game.

“Think about it, I’m not sure Jaxson has ever started a game in high school. Not on varsity, not on junior varsity, and not even on the freshman team,” Moeller Head Coach Carl Kremer told Scout back in August.

Kremer went on to outline Hayes’ development over the last few years.

“He was a total late bloomer,” explained Kremer. “As a freshman I am going to guess he was 6-foot-1 tops and maybe 120 pounds. He was literally the 20th guy we kept out of 20 on our freshman team, but you knew he had great upside.

“His sophomore year he grew to be about 6-foot-4 and started to get some JV minutes, but he wasn’t a starter,” Kremer continued. “His junior year he grew to 6-foot-7, maybe 6-foot-8, and really helped us a lot. Now he is a legit 6-foot-9 or 6-foot-10, and this summer everything went to another level. He is a kid who deserves it. He has waited his time and it is kind of neat to see.”

Hayes’ development might remind you of another late bloomer who ended up as the No. 1 overall player and the catalyst behind Kentucky’s 2012 National Title team, Anthony Davis.

No, I am not comparing him to the NBA All-Star. Davis was on a different level, a level that was on full display his only year at Kentucky and a level that continues to grow amongst NBA ranks.

But his story is similar. Starting at 6-foot-1, and ending his final AAU season at 6-foot-10 and on the rise, all the way to an offer from Kentucky.

“He was a kid who not even mid-majors were really on during the season, and by the end of July everybody knew who he was and high-major schools were issuing offers,” explained Brian Snow.


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