Posted: 10:29 a.m. Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Greatest class of all time? Before the Kentucky Seven (a number not set in stone, by the way) ever play a game of college basketball, they're already legen--WAIT FOR IT!--dary. The 2013 Kentucky Wildcats recruiting class has an astounding six McDonald's All-Americans. Per the 247 Composite, the Wildcats have the #1 C (Johnson), #1 PF (Randle), #1 SG (Harrison), #1 PG (Harrison), #4 SF (Young) and #5 PF (Lee). That's simply astounding.
What's more, the Wildcats may not be completely done. Kentucky still has offers out to two additional McDonald's All-Americans that remain uncommitted. Further, the Wildcats could still offer another local star, which would add to the Kentucky native they already have (Willis). OK, now we're done.
On-court results will truly determine their places in college basketball lore. But on paper, yes: greatest class of all time.
|Name||Pos||School (Hometown)||247 Composite Ranking||Status [Offer / Commit / Sign]||Other Finalists|
|Dakari Johnson||C||Montverde Academy|
(New York, NY)
|5*, 11th||[O] 11/12|
[S] Exp 04/13
|Marcus Lee||C/PF||Deer Valley|
|5*, 15th||[O] 09/16/12|
|Julius Randle||PF||Prestonwood Christian|
|5*, 2nd||[O] 2012|
[S] Exp 04/13
|Derek Willis||PF||Bullitt East|
(Mt. Washington, KY)
|4*, 128th||[O] 2011|
|5*, 9th||[O] 06/12|
(Fort Bend, TX)
|5*, 5th||[O] 2011|
(Fort Bend, TX)
|5*, 4th||[O] 2011|
|Name||Pos||School (Hometown)||247 Composite Ranking||Status [Offer]||Other Finalists|
|Aaron Gordon||PF/SF||Archbishop Mitty|
(San Jose, CA)
|Andrew Wiggins||SF||Huntington Prep|
|5*, 1st||Offered||Florida St|
|Dominique Hawkins||PG||Madison Central|
|3*, 255th||Not Yet Offered||Morehead St|
|Name||Pos||School (Hometown)||247 Composite Ranking||Status||Other Finalists|
|Kennedy Meeks||C||West Charlotte|
|4*, 49th||Signed with North Carolina||Georgetown|
|Johnathan Williams III||PF||Southwind|
|4*, 47th||Signed with Missouri||Michigan St|
|Jabari Parker||SF||Simeon Vacational|
|5*, 3rd||Committed to Duke||Michigan St|
|Tyler Roberson||SF/PF||Roselle Catholic|
|5*, 33rd||Signed with Syracuse||Villanova|
|Troy Williams||SF||Oak Hill Academy|
|4*, 46th||Signed with Indiana||Ohio St|
|Wayne Selden||SG/SF||The Tilton School|
|5*, 17th||Signed with Kansas||Florida|
|Kasey Hill||PG||Montverde Academy|
|5*, 8th||Signed with Florida||Florida St|
Kentucky currently has seven players on scholarship for the 2013-14 season (rising class indicated): Jon Hood (RS senior), Ryan Harrow (RS junior), Kyle Wiltjer (junior), Nerlens Noel (sophomore), Willie Cauley-Stein (sophomore), Archie Goodwin (sophomore), and Alex Poythress (sophomore). In addition, Jarrod Polson (senior) is a preferred walk-on who has earned a scholarship going into his final year.
All four rising sophomores are considered NBA Early Entry candidates. Here are their rankings, per Draft Express: Noel (1st overall), Poythress (16th), Goodwin (18th), Cauley-Stein (26th). All except Noel have indicated they plan to return, though their decisions are by no means final.
If everyone returns except Noel, Kentucky has only 6 available scholarships. The Wildcats have 7 players committed or signed, meaning someone (likely Polson or Hood) would have to go off scholarship. Glenn did a great job documenting the scholarship situation here and here.
Since the release of the October '12 Big Board, the Wildcats added three 5* prospects to go along with their first commitment in the 2013 class, Derek Willis. A frontcourt rotation of true 4 Julius Randle, true 5 Dakari Johnson, and combo big Marcus Lee is formidable. Add in the possibility that freshmen Cauley-Stein and Poythress could also return, and the Wildcats could have 5 NBA first-round prospects splitting minutes at two positions.
Lee and Willis signed Letter of Intents (LOI) in November. Since Johnson and Randle committed after the Early Signing Period, both are eligible to sign LOIs when the Regular Signing Period kicks off in April.
One offer, to Aaron Gordon, remains outstanding. Gordon is set to announce at the McDonald's All-American game on April 3. With the recent commitment of Randle, Kentucky is not likely a player for Gordon. He is expected to remain on the West Coast and choose among Pac-12 schools Arizona, Washington and Oregon.
Off the radar: Noah Vonleh reclassified to the 2013 class along with Johnson but did not receive interest from Kentucky and ended up committing to Indiana. Kentucky was recruiting Kennedy Meeks, but backed off after the Lee commitment. Meeks ended up choosing North Carolina. Johnathan Williams III held a tangential offer but hadn't been in contact with Kentucky prior to committing to Missouri. Jermaine Lawrence remains uncommitted, but Kentucky has stopped recruiting him.
This past year, the Wildcats sorely missed having a long perimeter threat. The luxury of throwing a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Darius Miller, or DeAndre Liggins to wreak havoc on the wing was clearly missing during last year's trying season. James Young, who signed with Kentucky during the Early Signing Period in November, hopes to fill that role.
If Kentucky truly wants to live on the bed of luxury, top overall prospect Andrew Wiggins would be the last piece of the puzzle. He's unanimously considered the top prospect in the 2013 class and the expected #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Any other year, and he'd probably be a Wildcat already. Unfortunately, Kentucky's class is so stacked, Wiggins might opt to head elsewhere. Florida State, his parents' alma mater, has long been considered a co-favorite. Two other schools, North Carolina and Kansas, have been gaining positive buzz in recent weeks. Wiggins does not have a timetable for a decision.
Off the board:Tyler Roberson took an official visit to Kentucky in November, but ultimately chose Syracuse shortly thereafter. Both Jabari Parker and Troy Williams had strong interest from Kentucky during their junior seasons, but that fizzled going into last fall. Parker ultimately chose Duke, and Williams Indiana.
With the Harrison twins, Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison, committed and signed, the Wildcats have locked in their starting backcourt for the 2013-14 season. Wing player James Young is also available to play spot minutes at the 2. This year's past two starters, Archie Goodwin and Ryan Harrow, are both 50-50 to return to the team. If one or both leave, Kentucky could opt to add another guard, providing future depth.
The name to know is local star Dominique Hawkins from Madison Central. Hawkins recently led his school to the KHSAA Sweet 16 Title, a tournament in which Kentucky's coaches came to watch him play multiple times. Hawkins was also awarded the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Kentucky. In another year, Hawkins could have already gotten a scholarship offer. But with scholarships tight this year, he might have to wait and see how things play out. Hawkins has stated that he is waiting on a Kentucky offer before making a decision, but does not want to walk-on. Stay tuned.
Off the radar:Wayne Selden possessed a Kentucky offer had he stayed in the 2014 class. After he reclassified, Kentucky did not pursue him, and he ultimately picked Kansas. Kasey Hill, who committed to Florida eons ago, officially signed with the Gators in November.
With seven players on board, Kentucky could close up shop right now and still go home as the big winners of 2013. That the Kentucky name is still being bandied around by the two remaining uncommitted 5* prospects is simply incredible.
It's plausible that both Gordon and Wiggins would have already been Kentucky commits had things broken differently. As it stands, it's possible that Wiggins becomes a Wildcat, anyway. Hey, one can dream, right?
No matter how things shake out, a tip of the cap is in order. John Calipari and his staff have put together one hell of a class.