Is anyone worried that Kentucky will not be able to reload in 2014?
Kentucky’s class is currently ranked 18th in the country with one commitment from 5-star Karl Towns. The casual fan will look and see North Carolina sitting on top of the rankings with a trio of 5-star commits. Louisville and Florida are both in the Top-10, and Tennessee is just one spot away in 11th.
With these teams that may play Kentucky in 2014 getting such a head start, is the school’s reign on the recruiting world coming to an end? Not so fast.
Much like football recruiting, the bigger the recruit, the more time they will take to make a decision. Recruiting rankings are really not something to focus on until most of the recruits have pledged to their respective schools. Only three players ranked in the Top-10 of the 2014 class have made college choices, and Karl Towns is one of them.
Kentucky should land PG Emmanuel Mudiay, SG Rashad Vaughn, SG Stanley Johnson, PF Trey Lyles, and PF Angel Delgado.
Mudiay has a lot of love for Kentucky and head coach John Calipari, and I think anyone who has any inkling about recruiting believes he is going to Kentucky. As of now, Mudiay’s only official visit is to Lexington for Big Blue Madness. I haven’t heard much from Vaughn as of late, but I’ve always heard he may be a Kentucky lean.
For now, I think I’m split on Johnson coming to Kentucky. Arizona has recruited him very long and hard, and west coast kids like Johnson usually stay on that side of the country. Think of Aaron Gordon is the 2013 class: Calipari and Kentucky wanted him, but he went to Sean Miller and Arizona.
Kentucky is more than capable of landing talent from the west coast (Marcus Lee, Kyle Wiltjer), but both players are not as high profile compared to Gordon and Johnson. While Miller has offered other shooting guards, Calipari has only offered Johnson. Since Calipari has singled out Johnson, he may get an edge over Miller.
Since Lyles defected from Indiana’s recruiting class, I have always heard it was because Kentucky came calling. Lyles may come to Lexington, but I would waver on calling him a lock. If Calipari offers Delgado, he will play at UK — mark it down.
Kentucky fans are probably the most competitive fan base in America. They want to win every battle on the court and in the recruiting world. With Calipari’s habit of bringing in the top class every single year, ‘Cats fans are expected to receive the best of the best.
The most important thing to remember is that winning on the court will be far more important than having the top-ranked recruiting class. Since Calipari has been in Lexington, he has assembled the top ranked class every year since 2009. However, Kentucky has only one national championship during that era. A No. 1 recruiting class does not mean a national championship, but that will not stop Kentucky and Calipari competing for both.