A realization came to me a couple of weeks ago that I never thought I would ever come to see. However the last few months have proven it true: I am bored with recruiting and I think that is a good thing. That is hard to really process for me because in many ways, this site was really built on the backs of following basketball recruiting. While I never claimed to be a recruiting “scout”, (I dont love it like Evan Daniels, follow enough tournaments like the Rivals and Scout guys or put enough color in my hair like others), following UK recruiting was a big part of our gathering our early following. What is now the nightly “News and Views” was once a nightly recruiting roundup, which I would then link on other websites (back before my name was a four letter words on TCP and the Kentucky scout site) and we would talk recruiting with the depth and interest that really wasnt available in a lot of places. I didnt particularly love it even then, but I knew it was a niche that needed to be filled and during the Tubby and Clyde eras, there always seemed to be a new recruit to follow and new stories to pursue.
But that has changed. Recruiting under John Calipari is an entirely different animal. Kentucky is not looking for British players with funny nicknames, 14 year olds who might grow or “beasts” from MEAC schools ready to take over a pickup game at the blink of an eye. No, now Kentucky recruits like Duke did at the beginning of the decade and North Carolina did towards the end….only better. Calipari narrows his targets down to about ten guys, he ranks them by priority and then either their decision or his fills the class. The names may not be certain but the result will be….the #1 class in America. He had it in 2009, 2010 and will surely have it in 2011 and beyond. If one player doesnt come for whatever reason, another will take his place. Dont get Will Barton, take Doron Lamb. No CJ Leslie, how about Terrence Jones. No Josh Selby, thats ok, we have Brandon Knight. Honestly it doesnt particularly matter who the player is unless you like an individual trait about him (a la my love for Enes Kanter’s obsession with the Undertaker). The names will be in flux, but the class will be top notch.
So now we begin recruiting season and I find myself not particularly caring who Kentucky ends up with. The Cats have already locked up 2 of the 3 best players in America in Micheal Gilchrist and Marquis Teague and after that, I trust that Calipari will get more five and four star gems. Whether Calipari takes Quincy Miller, Lebryan Nash, Johnny O Bryant, Tony Wroten, Anthony Davis Jr or whoever is sort of irrelevant to me. Calipari has already shown that whoever he gets will be great and if they aren not, he will get someone great to replace them. Gone are the days where we sweat over a particular star and hope he pans out. Yes we are excited when Knight or Jones commits, but now we know that even if they dont, Calipari will fill the void. So the summertime, where we once OBSESSED over such names as KC Ross-Miller, GJ Vilarino, Michael Sanchez, Chris Barnes, Tyler Zeller, Dominique Ferguson, Jai Lucas, Marshall Moses, Hunter McClintock, etc can now be spent worrying about actual games and the team on the court. No matter what happens, we will be good.
We will still cover recruiting here and Alex Kline and I will give you what news is out there to be had. But I admit that my excitement for it has waned. Recruiting was once a roller coaster where we never knew what would happen and the result could be good or horrendous. Not anymore, because now it is a sure thing. Kentucky is going to get a dominant class every year that Calipari is here. The rest is simply details. Calipari has taken away serious summer recruiting as an obsession of mine and for that, I dearly thank him.