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Why all the hand wringing over basketball recruiting?


Welcome back to some semblance of (a really, really good) reality.  Since Calipari’s arrival in Lexington, I think Kentucky fans may have lost touch with what basketball recruiting is really like.  For the past few years, John Calipari has had his pick of the litter when it comes to top-flight high school basketball prospects.  Basketball recruiting–which I used to follow religiously–became boring.  The Kentucky fan no longer needed to obsess over which players in the top 100 would hopefully pick the Cats.  Coach Cal and his crew took care of it for us, and we were able to put our armchair recruiting tactics to rest.  Not surprisingly, the outrageous streak of number one classes that Cal has put together has (probably) come to an end.  It had to at some point.  Cal cooled off.  But guess what? He didn’t cool off much. Judging by the reaction by some of the faithful over Kentucky’s recent recruiting losses, one might think we were back in the dark days of fretting over which pre-schooler Billy Gillispie would sign next.

The reality is this: Kentucky has commitments from three of the premiere basketball players in the country at their respective positions. What’s more, each of these guys probably aren’t of the one-and-done variety that some of us complain about.  These are three players that could provide a foundation to a more steady Kentucky basketball program. That isn’t to say they won’t all provide an immediate impact (let’s be honest–they will have to), but at this juncture, I think we all would agree that they will be around for longer than a year.  While Kentucky did miss on a few guys this year, the cupboard is not yet bare.  Trey Lyles, Stanley Johnson, and a handful of other talented players still remain.  The wind may be blowing in the direction of Arizona for Johnson, but I think we can all give Cal the benefit of the doubt if he pushes all the chips to the center of table. Even if we miss on Johnson, and despite what Kentucky fans may now believe, good players do exist outside of the upper-echelon of the rankings.

Things are still very good in the world of basketball recruiting. If you want some real excitement, and you aren’t already, start keeping tabs on the other recruiting gurus in Lexington–Mark Stoops.

Article written by Matt Wheatley

21 responses to “Why all the hand wringing over basketball recruiting?”

  1. Joe

    I’ve not heard one person fretting about our recruiting class

  2. Billy Clyde

    Where’s daggum Cutler chasing his ass dammit!

  3. James

    2-then you make the wise decision of staying off internet message boards

  4. Cincy Cayt

    Very good post. Totally agree. I think the reason some Cats fans are nervous about not cleaning up in 2014 recruiting is because of the 2012-13 season. Perception now is we have to do better than 2012’s class (Noel, Poythress, Goodwin, WCS) to just make the tourney. People have forgotten about the Brandon Knight team’s overachieving. We need to stop underestimating Cal as a bench coach and motivator.

  5. James

    Great points

  6. gotagetemall

    We need the Turner kid. We land him with lyles and or Johnson we are looking at another #1 class.

  7. Some Guy in Kentucky

    FoxSouth is replaying the UK Basketball Season Preview at 12:30-1:30pm ET today, right after the Stoops show.

  8. Mr. Self Destruct

    Excellent article. Really. I am often a harsh critic of the writing on this site, but this was great. Keep up the good work.

  9. Vindicator

    I have been trying to get people on here to realize this class would not be the #1 or 2. And it will be ok. Just a strange group, without many elite prospects. Hope Cal can snag some good kids to add depth.

  10. Dr

    Keep in mind all the guys on this year’s team may not go to he NBA. It would not surprise me at all to see Lee, Willis, and Poythress back. Add those with the three commits we already have and we have a solid team.

  11. CatsfanMike

    I have great trust in Cal! I think he learned allot from last year and he is looking at bringing in players that will be here longer than one year; Hawkins and Willis are good examples. When the 2014 class is completed, things will be good in BBN

  12. bosshog

    This is the most reasonable offered on KSR in a while. Thanks for offering it to help bring some perspective.

  13. bleedingblue

    Well you can look at it this way…. Our back court play is what landed us in the NIT this past season. WCS performed admirably in the loss of Noel, yes Noel probably would of gotten us into the NCAA…maybe but our guards (Harrow) just quit. And this was a #1 class and we had no depth, no competition in practice and relied on walk on’s to push our starters. These walk on’s were horrible btw.

    Now lets turn next season, most guards are off the board right now and the ones that are left have scratched us off their list or we have ground to make up. Yes if we land a Juco guy or a senior transfer then things will look better for NEXT season. But as it is right now our back court will consist of Hawkins, Ulis and Booker. I expect Poythress to be back unless he just wants to go pro. Hopefully Aaron Harrison returns but I’m not holding my breath on that.
    Now tell me with having 3 guards for 3 positions how well that is going to work out next year in our backcourt? Yes our front court should be fine, not elite but could be if Johnson returns or WCS along with Lee but the NCAA is dominated by guard play. If Ulis gets hurt then Hawkins slids from the 2 to the point and hopefully no one gets in foul trouble. If that happens who is going to provide minutes at our guard position? Lee can guard a 1,2,3 but how is our offense going to adjust to having a 2 guard 3 forward lineup?
    Are you positive that Ulis and Booker will compete at a high level like a top 10 player would? Even a top 10 player has growing pains, ask Teague about that, much less a player ranked in the 30’s in a weak class.
    Yes the recruiting year is not over nor is our season to which we will find out who is going pro, who is returning and who is transferring. But next season is looking like a sweet 16 but I will take it if we are in the hunt for the title at the end of this year.
    Their are going to be some really good teams next year, hopefully we will be one of them.

  14. True Story

    #4 nailed it. I was heading into ‘oh no’ mode as well, given what happened last year. Thanks for reminding me of Brandon Knight’s crew #4. We’ll be fine.

  15. whodat

    Lee and Willis def back next year plus prolly Poy…. Johnson? Hawkins providing guard depth and EJ with enough talent to get a scholly b4 he leaves. “Every little thing gonna be alright”

  16. Joe Dirt

    Dang #13 did you use a ghost writer for that novel ?

  17. caliparty

    good article.
    We need to get 2/3 of the Johnson, Turner and Lyles lottery to be considered elite next year. willis Hawkins, lee, Poythress plus either WCS or Dakari will be back. Floreal will be awarded a Scholarship.
    The biggest question next year is the PG position. unless Hawkins proves he can be a starter we are SOL. Ulis is not a D1 starting PG as a Freshman.

  18. Radio Ron

    Good Gawd!! UK fans fretting about NEXT Year’s recruiting class in November???
    Have you forgotten that many of the ELITE wait until the spring to make their choices?
    Down thru the years…I remember many, many great players waiting until May to commit…..including Dan Issel from Batavia, IL….after George Jankey turned down an offer from Adolph Rupp.

  19. Ho Hum

    With the college landscape the way it is, who cares at this point? There will be transfers into UK, out of UK…teams will not be set until August. Too much real basketball to be played to be worrying about next year.

  20. Mike

    I like turtles

  21. ukfan

    Not to mention in 2015 we will be ASBOLUTELY stacked again if the predictions are correct, another potential recruiting class that resembles are current team. Harry Giles is the real deal!!