John Calipari recruited the Boozer twins hard to UK basketball. What is Mark Pope’s plan?

Under John Calipari’s leadership, the Kentucky men’s basketball program was synonymous with recruiting five-star prospects.

If a prospect was considered to be at or near the top of their respective recruiting class, there was a good chance their recruitment — to some extent — involved the Wildcats.

Even during the course of what became his final season as UK’s head coach, Calipari frequently hinted that recruiting was going well with class of 2025 prospects, who will soon start their final high school seasons.

And with Cal at the helm, two players from this talented 2025 class had extreme interest in potentially becoming Wildcats.

Cameron and Cayden Boozer are the twin sons of former Duke college basketball star and NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer, and they’re well on their way to forging their own basketball legacies.

Cameron, a 6-foot-9 power forward, is ranked as the No. 2 overall player in the 2025 recruiting class, per the 247Sports Composite. Cayden, a 6-3 guard, is ranked No. 17.

Calipari offered them both Kentucky scholarships last May, and the duo took an official visit to Lexington together last September. This marked the first official visits in each of their recruitments.

Plenty has changed since then, with the headline news being Calipari leaving UK for Arkansas and ex-BYU coach Mark Pope now leading the Wildcats.

With Pope in charge, the expectation is that top-ranked high school recruiting classes will become a thing of the past for Kentucky. At the same time, Pope — who has only been the UK head coach for a little more than a month — hasn’t shied away from UK’s big-time expectations.

That includes on the recruiting trail.

And as far as the Boozer twins go, last weekend provided clear evidence that Pope is interested in continuing to recruit them to UK.

While watching the third session of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) near Indianapolis — which occurred during a live recruiting period for college coaches — Pope made it a point to be courtside for the Boozers’ games with Nightrydas Elite, their star-studded EYBL team that is currently top of the standings.

In fact, the very first game Pope watched during his first live recruiting period as UK’s coach was a Nightyrdas game in which Cameron scored 20 points and grabbed eight rounds and Cayden scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out eight assists.

“We haven’t really spoke yet, but (Pope) talked to my mom earlier,” Cameron said Saturday afternoon. “We’ll see what happens there.”

At one point last weekend, three Kentucky coaches — Pope along with associate head coach Alvin Brooks III and assistant coach Jason Hart — were all together with courtside seats to watch the Boozer twins in action.

“You notice all of them. How can you not?” Cameron said of the dozens of high-major coaches who were in attendance for last weekend’s Nike EYBL session.

Kentucky’s competition for the Boozer twins is steep: The duo star at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, and plenty of local schools like Miami (Fla.) and Florida are making both players a priority.

There’s obviously Duke, the school with which their father, Carlos, won the 2001 NCAA championship. Duke’s archrival, North Carolina, is also pushing hard for both Cameron and Cayden.

The Kentucky basketball brand carried big weight on the recruiting trail under Calipari, and Pope’s recruitment of the Boozers could tell us plenty about how the new UK coach measures up in a top recruiting race.

Cayden Boozer is ranked as the No. 17 overall player in the 2025 recruiting class by the 247Sports Composite.
Cayden Boozer is ranked as the No. 17 overall player in the 2025 recruiting class by the 247Sports Composite.

Cameron Boozer and Cayden Boozer talk Kentucky basketball

So what do each of the Boozer twins have to say about Kentucky, Pope and the abrupt offseason coaching change that took place in Lexington?

Cameron said Kentucky “might get in there, a little bit” with regard to his recruitment. In the same response, he also singled out Arkansas (Calipari’s new program) and Michigan (a program now led by former Florida Atlantic coach Dusty May) as schools with a presence in his recruitment.

Kentucky obviously has ground to make up in the recruitment of the Boozer twins, but the Wildcats can benefit from having already had the two players on campus for a visit.

“Kentucky has some of the best facilities I’ve seen,” Cameron said. “I haven’t really seen much of their play style (with Pope), but I’m sure (Pope) is a great coach and we’ll see where that goes.”

Cayden — who specified that Arkansas, Duke, Florida, Miami (Fla.) and North Carolina are the schools he has the most contact with — expressed continued interest in being recruited by UK.

“They’re a winning program,” Cayden said. “Obviously when I visited, Coach Cal was still there, but the facilities there are amazing and if they reach out, I’ll definitely be interested for sure.”

For as long as the Boozer twins have been known in recruiting circles, there’s been talk of the twin brothers being a package deal in college. All four of their official visits so far — to Kentucky, Miami (Fla.), Florida and Duke — have been taken together.

But, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re tied at the hip when it comes to a college choice.

“Obviously, it would be awesome if I could play with (Cameron) in college, but it just has to be the best fit for both of us,” Cayden said. “Obviously, we’ve visited the same schools at the same time, so we just talk about each school. But I mean, it just has to be the best fit for both of us.”

Both Cameron and Cayden said they don’t have any recruiting visits lined up in the near future, with a big summer of basketball on the horizon for both.

Cameron was noncommittal when discussing his recruiting timeline, while teasing a surprise visit and a plan of action when it comes to announcing his commitment.

“I’d say it’s not really pressure, but a decision is definitely hard to make,” Cameron said of his recruitment.

Cayden established a time frame for when he wants to make his choice.

“I’m not really worried about when I’m signing, or when I’m committing, but I’d like to do it before the high school season starts,” Cayden said.

How much Kentucky will end up ultimately factoring in either Boozer brother’s recruitment remains to be seen.

But it’s clear that, despite last fall’s visit to Lexington, plenty of big-time schools are ahead of the Cats for both players.

“It’s still a whole new recruiting process,” Cameron reiterated about being recruited to Kentucky by Pope. “I haven’t really spoken to (Pope), don’t really know what he’s about, what kind of play style he runs, anything like that. So, it’s still a whole new recruiting process if he were to reach out.”

Cameron Boozer (12) and twin brother Cayden Boozer (2) are two of the top college basketball recruits in the class of 2025.
Cameron Boozer (12) and twin brother Cayden Boozer (2) are two of the top college basketball recruits in the class of 2025.

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