Kentucky Wildcats have Star-Studded 2013 Recruiting Class
Like any college basketball fan knows, Kentucky head coach John Calipari seems to attract the top high school players in the nation to come to his school. While at the University of Memphis, Calipari recruited the likes of Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans. Now, at Kentucky, he had John Wall and Demarcus Cousins on the same team. Calipari finally won a national championship in 2012 with Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague.
Despite not making the NCAA tournament this season, this recruiting season may be the best that Calipari, or any coach, has ever seen. So far, Kentucky has either signed or received commitments from six McDonalds All-Americans. There are two top-10 recruits remaining. No. 1 rated Andrew Wiggins and no. 4 rated Aaron Gordon are still available to be signed and have both received offers from Kentucky, as well as other top schools.
Calipari basically has to reload his team mainly because Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley-Stein are all projected first-round picks. Alex Poythress may stay because his draft stock is not high at this point. With six All-Americans and the second-leading scorer is returning, this sets up Kentucky for another top team and another championship run. This recruiting class has been compared to the Fab 5 at Michigan, which made it to the National Championship game twice.
Julius Randle is the top power forward in the 2013 class. The Texas native is 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds, and committed to Kentucky on March 20. The lefty is strong around the rim when he catches the ball on the block, or can knock down jump shots from mid-range. A hard worker, Randle has the ability and talent to be a top rebounder. As he gets older, Randle will want to improve his perimeter game. Randle has all the tools to be a top player next season.
Andrew Harrison is the best point guard and is ranked fifth overall in the ESPN100. John Calipari has dipped into Texas again to sign Harrison, who signed on October 4, 2012, and his brother, Aaron Harrison. Andrew is 6-foot-5, which is a big size for a point guard. The ability to change pace in transition or off the dribble, Harrison will be a handful for anyone guarding him. His length also gives him the ability to defend any perimeter position.
James Young from Rochester, Michigan is the third-best small forward, behind Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker in the class of 2013. Young signed with Kentucky on October 11, 2012. Young has the ability to take over a game offensively, by either attacking the rim or hitting a long range three. Also, Young's 6-foot6 frame gives him the tools to rebound as well.
Aaron Harrison signed the same day as his brother Andrew Harrison on October 4, 2011. Aaron is the top shooting guard in the recruiting class. Partnered with is brother, Aaron and Andrew may combine to be one of the best backcourts in the nation. Aaron is best known for knocking down the 3-pointer. In transition, he looks for the open spot on the floor and can really get in a groove when his feet are set.
The 6-foot-10 monster from Brooklyn, New York, Dakari Johnson is the top-rated center in the 2012 class. Johnson committed to Kentucky back on January 5. For a young player, Johnson has good hands and good footwork that will only get better. A force in the paint, teammates of Johnson need to make significant effort get him the ball. Also, with his size and good hands, Johnson could also be a top rebounder in the nation.
Marcus Lee will be a nice rotation/squad player to have on the team. A top player on any other team in the nation, Lee is a long 6-9. Lee committed to play at Kentucky on October 17, 2012, and is a player that any fan should want to monitor of the long term. Known for swatting shots, Lee is a major presence around the rim.
The last player to commit to Kentucky is Derek Willis. Willis was the first player in the class to sign and that was back on January of 2012. He is a skilled power forward who can be used as a small forward at times. At 6-foot-9, Willis can handle ball-driving towards the basket and can hit from 20 feet.