Kentucky ups recruiting class with Quaintance

Kentucky landed five-star forward Jayden Quaintance on Tuesday, giving a huge boost to John Calipari’s recruiting class and pushing it into the top three nationally.

Quaintance picked Kentucky over Missouri, although he also took visits to Florida, South Florida and Ohio State.

A 6-foot-9 power forward from Cleveland who attends Word of God Christian Academy (North Carolina), Quaintance is ranked No. 14 in the ESPN 100 for the 2024 class — the No. 3 player at his position in the country. He was originally a member of the 2025 class, but reclassified in 2024. Because he only turned 16 years old in July — and therefore won’t turn 19 until 2026 — he will have to spend two years at Kentucky before entering the NBA draft.

Quaintance averaged 14.5 points and 11.1 rebounds in the Overtime Elite league last season, following it up by averaging 9.9 points and 6.2 rebounds with Team Thad on the Nike EYBL circuit this past spring and summer. He also represented USA Basketball with the U16 team at the FIBA U16 Americas Championship last summer, putting up 6.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in six games en route to a gold medal.

He’s off to a strong start so far this season, going for 23 points and eight rebounds against City Reapers and 14 points and eight boards against Cold Hearts in Overtime Elite action earlier this month.

Quaintance is one of the most explosive, skilled and highest-upside forwards in the class. He has advanced mobility, ball skills and strength. He presents matchup problems for opponents because he can step out to make open mid-range shots and 3s. Once he gets into the paint, he aims to play above the rim and finish through — or above — defenders. He is comfortable handling the ball and displays instincts as a passer. On the glass, he can rebound outside of his area and he will aggressively challenge shots. Quaintance is also a legitimate post defender who demonstrates enough lateral foot speed to guard the dribble and hedge on ball screens near the arc.

He is Kentucky’s second five-star and fourth overall commitment in the 2024 class, joining five-star guard Boogie Fland, ESPN 100 big man Somto Cyril and ESPN 100 in-state guard Travis Perry, who committed this past weekend. The Wildcats’ class was unranked entering the early signing period, but the additions of Quaintance and Perry should push them inside the top three.

ESPN recruiting director Paul Biancardi contributed to this report.

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