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Heat Check: John Calipari’s Best Recruiting Heaters


John Calipari is on a heater right now.

Since bowing out of the NCAA tournament, Calipari has received commitments from three elite prospects: E.J. Montgomery (2018), Ashton Hagans (2019) and Tyrese Maxey (2019). Throw in DJ Jeffries (2019), who committed before the first weekend of the tournament, and Kentucky has a fourth commitment in a two-month span, all of whom are five-star prospects in their respective classes. He’s also made up a ton of ground with several other targets in the 2019 class.

But is this Calipari’s best run in recruiting?

Not quite. He’s had some pretty hot stretches on the recruiting trail over the years:

 

2009: First Class

In his first season at Kentucky, Cal locked up John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Darnell Dodson in a 41-day span. He had only been on the job a couple of months and he completely revamped the program with his first recruiting class, which also included leftovers Jon Hood and Daniel Orton from Billy Gillispie’s efforts.

DeMarcus Cousins – 4/8/2009
Eric Bledsoe – 4/24/2009
Darnell Dodson – 4/24/2009
John Wall – 5/19/2009

Spring of 2010

After his first full year of recruiting in Lexington, Cal brought in six newcomers (although one, Enes Kanter, never played) that would eventually lead him to his first Final Four on the job. He earned commitments from four of them — Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb, Eloy Vargas and Terrence Jones — in only 41 days after the 2010 season ended.

He also added two players to the following class with early commitments from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague in that same 41-day span. Kanter was only a month earlier.

Enes Kanter – 3/23/2010
Brandon Knight- 4/14/2010
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 4/15/2010
Doron Lamb – 4/17/2010
Marquis Teague – 4/22/2010
Eloy Vargas – 5/15/2010
Terrence Jones – 5/19/2010

October 2013

Calipari’s next great heater came in the fall of 2012 when he added four commitments in only two weeks. He got the top two guards in the country in Andrew and Aaron Harrison, and two top-20 five-star forwards in James Young and Marcus Lee.

Aaron Harrison – 10/4/2012
Andrew Harrison – 10/4/2012
James Young – 10/11/2012
Marcus Lee – 10/17/2012

He would later add the No. 1 power forward and the No. 1 center, plus two Kentuckians, for what is his best class on paper.

Fox, Monk and Bam in one week

Cal filled out his entire 2016 class in the early signing period, and landed the three biggest commits of the bunch within days of each other. De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo and Malik Monk all committed in a one-week span to join Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones, who had already committed earlier that fall.

De’Aaron Fox – 11/12/2015
Bam Adebayo – 11/17/2015
Malik Monk – 11/18/2015

Class of 2017

The freshmen we just watched in the 2017-18 season had a group commit together in the fall period. PJ Washington and Nick Richards committed on the same day to get the ball rolling, and were followed by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Quade Green the following week.

PJ Washington – 11/10/2016
Nick Richards – 11/10/2016
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 11/14/2016
Quade Green – 11/19/2016

Jarred Vanderbilt wasn’t too far behind with a late-December commitment.

Spring 2018

Cal’s current heater is among his best, too.

DJ Jeffries – 3/12/2018
EJ Montgomery – 4/9/2018
Ashton Hagans – 4/10/2018
Tyrese Maxey – 5/10/2018

For a trip down memory lane, see the commitment date of every player in the Calipari era.

2009
Jon Hood* – 5/8/2008
Daniel Orton* – 10/12/2008
DeMarcus Cousins – 4/8/2009
Eric Bledsoe – 4/24/2009
Darnell Dodson – 4/24/2009
John Wall – 5/19/2009

2010
Stacey Poole – 9/24/2009
Enes Kanter – 3/23/2010
Brandon Knight- 4/14/2010
Doron Lamb – 4/17/2010
Eloy Vargas – 5/15/2010
Terrence Jones – 5/19/2010

2011
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 4/15/2010
Marquis Teague – 4/22/2010
Anthony Davis – 8/14/2010
Kyle Wiltjer – 8/29/2010

2012
Archie Goodwin – 9/21/2011
Willie Cauley-Stein – 10/31/2011
Alex Poythress – 11/10/2011
Nerlens Noel – 4/11/2012

2013
Derek Willis – 1/20/2012
Aaron Harrison – 10/4/2012
Andrew Harrison – 10/4/2012
James Young – 10/11/2012
Marcus Lee – 10/17/2012
Dakari Johnson – 1/5/2013
Julius Randle – 3/20/2013
Dominique Hawkins – 4/10/2013

2014
Karl-Anthony Towns – 12/4/2012
Tyler Ulis – 9/13/2013
Devin Booker – 10/31/2013
Trey Lyles – 11/5/2013

2015
Charles Matthews – 2/26/2014
Skal Labissiere – 11/13/2014
Isaiah Briscoe – 11/13/2014
Mychal Mulder – 4/28/2015
Jamal Murray – 6/24/2015
Isaac Humphries – 8/1/2015

2016
Sacha Killeya-Jones – 8/19/2015
Wenyen Gabriel – 10/1/2015
De’Aaron Fox – 11/12/2015
Bam Adebayo – 11/17/2015
Malik Monk – 11/18/2015

2017
PJ Washington – 11/10/2016
Nick Richards – 11/10/2016
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 11/14/2016
Quade Green – 11/19/2016
Jarred Vanderbilt – 12/23/2016
Hamidou Diallo – 1/7/2017
Jemarl Baker – 4/11/2017
Kevin Knox – 5/6/2017

2018
Immanuel Quickley – 9/22/2017
Keldon Johnson – 11/11/2017
Tyler Herro – 11/14/2017
EJ Montgomery – 4/9/2018

2019
DJ Jeffries – 3/12/2018
Ashton Hagans – 4/10/2018
Tyrese Maxey – 5/10/2018

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

13 responses to “Heat Check: John Calipari’s Best Recruiting Heaters”

  1. Cmart0907

    Still only one title.

    1. UKfaninTX

      Why are you even commenting? Why are you even a fan? Are you even a fan? What planet do you live on? TROLL.

    2. runningunnin.454

      Only one title, only one title…then it’ll be only two titles, only two titles; on and on and on.

    3. Cmart0907

      Don’t get mad at me for stating facts ?. Villanova don’t have half of the Mc Donald all Americans Uk had. Still won 2 out the last 3. You guys only worry about recruiting class ranking ?. Shit is blasphemy.

    4. UKfaninTX

      Don’t play dumb. Your use of the adverb “still” insinuates a negative reflection on the last 9 seasons. My assessment of you (or at least how you present yourself on social media) is that you’re the type of person who no matter what, chooses to be unhappy with the facts of life. Here’s a fact you won’t like: Kentucky Basketball isn’t about you, or me, National Championships or Calipari. It’s about gaining an experience and education to better prepare you for life. And if we win a trophy or two along the way, that’s called a bonus. As long as one and done is a thing, I’d much rather have smart, GOOD, talented kids playing FOR the team I love rather than against me.

    5. Soylentbeans

      Let’s not forget that Villanova lived in mediocrity for 15 years under jay Wright before he got those 2 titles. Just sayin.

  2. dynaformer

    Trying too hard to be clever with the headline and graphic imo. Otherwise, good topic to discuss.

  3. ScottGreene22

    All that talent and 1 banner gotta win at least one more and soon.

  4. UKfaninTX

    It never ceases to amaze me. The consistent displeasure and outright insult some of our so called “fans” throw at Calipari and the talent he recruits every year. You guys must lead terribly, terribly, banal lives if all you can do is express negativity in such a golden age of Kentucky Basketball. It will never be this good again.

    1. Bobbum Man

      Just trolls, I’m sure they’d rather have Billy G back so we can have a team full of Kentucky guys who will all stay 4 years and we maybe can make it out of the second round once

    2. wyatts1

      I hate pitino now but some could argue that we’ve had several golden ages including during his time in the early to mid 90’s. Billy G was a freakishly bad hire lol and it did suck while he was at the healm. But for those that thinks we would be just another program if coach left needs to understand that we was the most winningest college before he showed up and had 2nd most title’s. I’m a fan who enjoys the talk of great commitments but it does get disheartening when players declare for the draft when they shouldn’t or transfer after they’ve had a couple years of growth 🙁 coach needs to put 1/2 the effort into keeping these kids here that he does recruiting them cause it’s clear NCAA basketball teams needs some sorta 2-3 year guy(s) to help lead them and show them the ropes.

    3. Soylentbeans

      But who are we to say they shouldn’t declare for the draft? Also would you really prefer that we don’t go after all the best guys in a class? The problem is not this we are recruiting over the players stuff. it’s the fact that when we do get players that look like they will be around for a couple of years (which fans then complain about why didn’t he get drafted he must be terrible) they leave because they don’t wan to compete for a spot(which would lead to more guys staying in the long run).

  5. Luether

    Rivals has DJ Jeffries ranked as the 53rd best HS player and a 4 star recruit…