A giant recruiting domino is set to fall on Wednesday evening as five-star Class of 2022 prospect Chris Livingston, the No. 6 player in the 247Sports Composite rankings and the top-rated talent out of Ohio, will make his college commitment. Livingston, a 6-6 small forward for Akron's Buchtel High School, is choosing between a final three of Kentucky, Tennessee State and Georgetown.
Memphis was previously considered a contender as recently as this month before bowing out of the race near the finish line, making clear in the final days of his recruitment that Kentucky and John Calipari are the big dogs to beat in this recruitment. UK owns every Crystal Ball prediction at 247Sports and can wrest the No. 1 spot in the 2022 recruiting rankings from Ohio State on Wednesday if Livingston chooses the 'Cats.
Livingston maintains that Tennessee State and Georgetown are still in the mix even if UK looks to be in prime position here so with his decision imminent, I've ranked his best fits below and laid out my own prediction on where I think he lands come Wednesday.
Calipari earlier this month said that Kentucky may be looking to shift its system to more four-guard lineups to maximize roster versatility and talent. Given the timing it seemed to be an indirect-but-somewhat-direct wink at Livingston, a combo forward who fits the profile of what would probably qualify as the fourth guard in a four-guard lineup because of his do-it-all skill set.
"That doesn't mean I'm starting four guards, but if you want to be in one of those four positions, you're going to have guard skills," said Calipari. "That means you'd better be able to get in that lane and lane touch. You'd better be able to make shots. You don't have to make them all, you just can't miss them all. And if you don't have guard skills, you're going to be playing as one of our big guys."
247Sports' Jerry Meyer scouted Livingston last fall and his evaluation seems to indicate that what Calipari described there fits exactly what Livingston can bring to the table:
Loves to attack the rim. Has a powerful spin move to finish off drives. Shoots it well enough from deep but an area for improvement. Handles well in space but needs to tighten and refine his handle. Can deliver a pass on the move. Active player who comes up with balls off the glass and the floor. Has great potential as a multi positional defender.
Patrick Ewing at Georgetown has proven time and again that he will not box himself into one particular playing style. If he has the personnel he'll play fast if necessary, slow if it's more suitable. If the team's backcourt is particularly talented he'll run through them and eschew the frontcourt to some degree, and vice versa. So with the Hoyas it's likely Ewing would unlock what Livingston does best as a driver, slasher and scorer, and what he'd bring to the table in terms of roster flexibility could ultimately benefit both him and Georgetown.
3. Tennessee State
Livingston would dominate touches at Tennessee State, an HBCU in the Ohio Valley Conference, but the opportunity here just doesn't quite stack up to his other finalists. The Tigers went 4-19 last season and rated at KenPom as a bottom-20 offense in America (among 357 Division I teams). Visibility and publicity probably would not be the same at Tennessee State as compared to Kentucky or Georgetown, either, which in the NIL era is a strong consideration for prospects of Livingston's caliber.
After Kentucky entered the mix with an offer earlier this spring, the Wildcats earned a visit this summer and are expected to again host him later this fall for a visit. It seems unlikely that visit would be scheduled if he wasn't all but officially Kentucky-bound.
UK coaches put in the work to make sure they got in good graces with Livingston, too, with an emphasis on what NIL means for him and how Kentucky can position him well for the future.
"They were really wowing me," Livingston told The Athletic's Kyle Tucker this summer of his visit to Lexington. "I really liked going on the visit, how they treated me. I liked the things I saw, the campus, Coach Cal, all the coaching staff. We had a media meeting for name, image and likeness, and they talked about the fan base, how many games they have televised and the media (covering the team). That was a really big part. They went in-depth on how your social media will grow once you get to Kentucky, about their TV ratings being more than NBA teams'."
Livingston admits that growing up he was a Kentucky fan, plus he has some family ties to the school including an aunt who is an alum and still lives in the area, so all signs point to Kentucky leading into Wednesday.