Today, Matt Jones discussed possible worry about the class of 2012 in recruiting. He has a point. Some of Cal’s top targets in this class seem to be leans for other schools, as you’ll read below. It’s not time to fret just yet because Cal has a chance to do some of his most magical work in the July recruiting period beginning tomorrow. With one post each of the next three days, we here at KSR will be examining the top 15 targets for UK in the 2012 class. Below you’ll find profiles for 5 elite players who are on Cal’s wish list.
6′6″, 215 pounds
Las Vegas, Nevada
Rivals rating: #1 Overall, #1 F
Bio: Shabazz didn’t start the summer off on top, but instead wowed scouts in June to grab the #1 spot. He’s a long, lefty forward with guard skills, which is why UK and others are recruiting him as a shooting guard. Basically, the kid can do it all except battle centers on the post (but don’t put it past him to try and prove me wrong). He is fast and lanky, getting to the rim with ease and flushing dunks on helpless defenders. And if it weren’t unfair enough, his shooting ability is great from both mid-range and 3pt distance. He is a prototype player for the DDMO, scoring-wise especially. Bazz has played his recruitment close to the vest. It may be hard to steer this West Coaster from UCLA (the near-consensus favorite at this point) or Arizona, but if anyone can do it, it’s UK and Calipari. Shabazz commented on how Lexington has great tradition and is a great place to focus on basketball without distractions, which is understandable if you’re coming from Sin City.
Other schools in play: UCLA, Arizona, Duke, Kansas, UNC, UNLV, Texas
6′8″, 280 pounds
Dewitt, New York
Rivals rating: #18 Overall, #5 C
Bio: Coleman is an absolute monster, as you’ve seen with recent posts on KSR. He has a big body, and knows how to use it in such an efficient manner in the post that it makes other centers look like slouches. His nimble footwork is only rivaled by his soft hands. He lost weight and trimmed down, and as long as he stays in shape, he should be a college star who puts up big numbers in points and rebounds. While UK is considering other centers strongly as well (possibly because they fear losing Coleman and they still sting from Isiah Austin committing early). Starting today, Calipari will likely be Coleman’s shadow, as will Jim Boeheim. Coleman is in Syracuse’s NY-backyard (unless he transfers for his Sr. year, unlikely) and the Orange very well may have the high ground here against UK. But remember, as the July period starts, it will be a surprise to see summer end with Calipari missing out on someone he makes a true priority.
Other schools in play: Syracuse, Ohio State, Syracuse, UNC, Syracuse.
6′5″, 185 pounds
Rivals rating: #8 Overall, #2 G
Bio: Along with Shabazz, Ledo embodies what Calipari looks for in players for the DDMO. In late 2010, he committed to Providence not long after being labeled a UofL lean because he visited with Purvis. By February, he was decommitted and rumors of him loving Kentucky flew everywhere (no quick trigger was pulled for UK, but would Cal have been in a position to accept a commitment that early anyway? No). With hangers-on and a tough childhood, Ledo looked to correct his path – a process including moving to his 4th high school and away from Rhode Island. On the court, he’s a quick, thin guard with great height at the SG position. Ledo leaves you with the impression that, no matter what, he’s going to find a way to put the ball in the hole. Jumpers, floaters, jams, circus shots – he can do it all and do it well. Imagine Doron Lamb mixed with Jeremy Lamb, then add a little more rise and lankiness (and, okay, a slightly lower 3pt %). Some call him a gun who takes difficult shots, so he has proving to do in the passing dept. Questions of defensive effort exist, but a good defensive coach will force him to use his fantastic athleticism on defense as well as his brain, or put him on the bench. Bottom line: he’s one of the most talented players in this class and fits right in with Cal’s system. I wouldn’t be surprised if he loves UK at the moment and wants to be here, but he is the type of guy who can change his mind at anytime they say. It seems Cal would love to have him here too, so long as he keeps the off the court stuff from becoming an issue again.
Other schools in play: UConn, Syracuse, Providence (prev. committed), and newly Florida, Arizona, FSU, Miami
6′8″, 220 pounds
Rivals rating: #19 Overall, #10 F
Bio: One of the very first 2012 recruits we heard about Coach Cal visiting was Perry Ellis. This happened not long after Cal took the helm, when many thought Perry might end up the #1 guy in his class. That didn’t pan out, but he’s still a great player who makes any team he plays for better. In the same mold as Gilchrist and Chuck Hayes, he has a (I refuse to say ‘motor’ at this point) knack for giving a strong effort at all times running the floor and going for any and all rebounds. Problem is, Ellis is not known as a perimeter player, and as he isn’t a true center either, that leaves him as an odd man out in Cal’s DDMO. That’s not to say that he couldn’t do great as a complimentary PF to a true center, but it would be tough for him to beat his man off the dribble with limited space from the wing. Imagine pre-Cal Patrick Patterson and the Morris twins of KU – Perry resembles them in that he can work hard for buckets in the paint til the defender’s eyes bleed, or he can bring them out for a nice 15ft-er. Getting Perry out of Kansas as always been considered a long-shot in the minds of most (except those who know that Cal gets what he wants – question is whether Cal really wants or needs Perry). A big deal was made of Duke’s recent offer to Perry, so it shows that him leaving the state isn’t that crazy of an idea.
Other schools in play: Kansas, Duke, Memphis, KSU.
6′4″, 181 pounds
Little Rock, Arkansas
Rivals rating: #11 Overall, #4 G
Bio: There was a time when Archie Goodwin was thought to be the imminent first UK 2012 commit. Contrary to that, Archie (@A1Laflare10) just tweeted: “For anyone who thinks I’m going to be the first person to commit to Kentucky. You are 100% wrong so stop thinking that. #wasteoftime“. This probably just means he is nowhere near a decision and that fans should stop expecting one soon. Archie is in a logjam of elite SG-type players (like Shabazz and Ledo). Does Cal only want one? If one commits will the attention to the others cease? These are questions that are still unanswerable and could determine whether we land 2 2012 wings. Like the others, Goodwin is a skinny but tall-ish SG who can slash to the rim but also fill it up from outside. While this are is a deadly combination, he isn’t quite as tall or strong as the other two wings. But Archie’s ability to play as a PG and facilitate an offense gives him a different level of desirability. He would fit right into the DDMO. While he was a UK lean at one point, Mike Anderson’s arrival in Arkansas (along with whether Cal kept the heat on him) allowed the race to tighten up. The home-state school will certainly be a factor in the end. Goodwin says he is looking for a team/family-oriented mentality in his school choice, but that he is also going to wait to make his decision. Earlier this summer, Archie broke his wrist but he is nearly ready to return to action, just in time to show off during the July recruiting period for anxious onlookers and suitors.
Other schools in play: Arkansas, UConn, Memphis, Baylor