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Can the 2014 class keep up? And what will it take?

Earlier this week Emmanuel Mudiay threw everyone in a bit of a tailspin when he chose SMU and Larry Brown, shifting the balance of power away from John Calipari and Kentucky, if only momentarily. Calipari has generally been able to get the cream of the crop when it comes to elite point guards, but Mudiay decided to go against the grain in picking SMU. For a while now, Mudiay had been rumored to be a Kentucky lean. The fit between his style of play and Calipari’s system made the pairing seem nearly a foregone conclusion. For whatever reason, that didn’t come to fruition though. Now, Kentucky moves forward in trying to solidify yet another consecutive top-ranked recruiting class. The road to that top class might not be as much of a guarantee as in the past few years. Kentucky has its work cut out, with a few of its top targets strongly interested in other schools as well.

Matt Jones outlined how he suspects the rest of the 2014 recruiting class might shape up for Kentucky on Sunday night. Looking at those predictions, even though Kentucky missed on its top point guard option, can the 2014 class keep up with the caliber of the previous Calipari classes at Kentucky? What combination of players left on the board will it take to keep pace?

Let’s take a look at the previous recruiting classes at Kentucky under John Calipari, only looking at the players ranked in the Top 50… (Rankings according to Rivals)

 

2009 Class

#1  John Wall

#2  DeMarcus Cousins

#22  Daniel Orton

#23  Eric Bledsoe

#40  Jon Hood

 

-Average player ranking:  17.6

– Top 10 prospects: 2

– Elite prospects (top 25) at the following positions: PG, SG (combo guard),  C

 

2010 Class

#3  Enes Kanter

#6  Brandon Knight

#13  Terrence Jones

#21  Doron Lamb

#33  Stacey Poole

 

-Average player ranking:  15.2

– Top 10 Prospects: 2

– Elite prospects (top 25) at the following positions: C, PG, PF, SG

 

 

2011 Class

#2  Anthony Davis

#3  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

#5  Marquis Teague

#22  Kyle Wiltjer

 

– Average player ranking: 8

– Top 10 Prospects: 3

– Elite prospects (top 25) at the following positions: C, F, PG

 

2012 Class

#2  Nerlens Noel

#8  Alex Poythress

#14  Archie Goodwin

#40  Willie Cauley-Stein

 

– Average player ranking: 16

– Top 10 Prospects: 2

– Elite prospects (top 25) at the following positions:  C, F, SG

 

2013 Class

#2  Julius Randle

#5  Andrew Harrison

#7  Aaron Harrison

#9  Dakari Johnson

#11  James Young

#19  Marcus Lee

 

– Average player ranking: 8.83

– Top 10 Prospects: 4

– Elite prospects (top 25) at the following positions: PF, PG, SF, SG, C

 

Potential 2014 Class #1:

#1  Jahlil Okafor

#5  Trey Lyles

#8  Stanley Johnson

#9  Karl Towns

#27  Devin Booker

#49  Tyler Ulis

 

– Average player ranking: 16.5

– Top 10 Prospects: 4

– Elite prospects (top 25) at the following positions: C, PF, SF

 

Potential 2014 Class #2:

#5  Trey Lyles

#9  Karl Towns

#27  Devin Booker

#33  James Blackmon Jr.

#49  Tyler Ulis

 

-Average player ranking: 24.6

– Top 10 Prospects: 2

– Elite prospects (top 25) at the following positions: PF, C

 

Potential 2014 Class #3:

#5  Trey Lyles

#8  Stanley Johnson

#9  Karl Towns

#33  James Blackmon Jr.

#49  Tyler Ulis

 

– Average player ranking: 20.8

– Top 10 Prospects: 3

– Elite prospects (top 25) at the following positions: PF, SF, C

 

Looking at the various potential combination of players Calipari could bring in for the 2014 recruiting class, a few things stick out:

1) Kentucky is in a good position with great guards (point guards and shooting guards) in the 2014 class, but not necessarily the elite of the elite (top 25). In each of his other classes, Calipari has had at least 1 elite player at the guard position.

2) The average player ranking for the 2014 class in each of these scenarios is slightly worse than the norm for Calipari, but the number of top 10 prospects will likely be in the same 2-4 player range.

 

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

35 Comments for Can the 2014 class keep up? And what will it take?



  1. Mike
    8:20 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    So I guess you are completely ruling out the possibility if tyus jones joining.



  2. Lonnieb
    8:21 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Its all relative…..last years class of high school kids as a whole were terrible compare to some of the other classes. And this years high school class is far superior maybe to all others in cals era at UK…many future nba all stars in this senior class



  3. blah
    8:23 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    IMO this just shows how much Cal has changed the recruiting game. Not too long ago it was absolutely unheard of to get 3 top 10 players in a class, now that doesn’t stack up? Cal has forced us (and fairly I might add) to compare this class to 5 of the 7 greatest recruiting class in history (arguably THE 5 BEST). It is truly absurd when you think about it.



  4. Danny Mac
    8:37 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Can someone please explain why KSR has failed to mention Rashad Vaughn in every single one of these lists. He’s a top 10 prospect, the number 1 SG, and happens to like the cats. Most experts have UK as the leader for Vaughn or as one of a couple frontrunners. Does KSR have some information on why they think he will not come here? Are they forgetting him? Seems unlikely as I’ve seen other posters mention the same thing. If anyone has a thought, theory, or explanation on why this is the case please enlighten us all.



  5. big O
    8:42 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    The sky is not falling just because one player opted to stay close to home and shun the BBN! We are all spoiled when tocomes to recruiting. Trust coach. He is the MAN!



  6. STEVE!
    8:49 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Have we lost Vaughn at SG, too? He has constantly been a UK lean according to the KSR Big Board, and now he isn’t even mentioned as a possibility. Is that why Cal offered Blackmon, Jr?



  7. mike
    9:06 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    And how did that work out for us last year?



  8. 94Feet
    9:09 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    IMO. Rashad Vaughn isn’t so much a surprise not to be on the lists. What will suprise people is the combo of Johnson and JUSTISE WINSLOW. In general, Cal has recruited character and Winslow is class.
    Feel much the same about Turner and Trey Miles, very high character. In this day in time, being a character will get you dropped quick. BUT good character will elevate your ranking because teams know all too well what a cancer can do.



  9. crappy face
    9:19 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Rivals is the worst of the 3 recruiting services by far. If you’re going to take the time comparing recruiting rankings for a post, at least use scout….. or even espn.



  10. Rei
    9:22 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    ESPN and 247 are pretty terrible imo. Rivals is more accurate.



  11. barn
    9:23 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    why no mention of dante exum? he’s still a possibility for 14 and is the prototype guard that cal likes.



  12. tdogg40330
    9:26 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    a great class, 1 or 2 returning players and we’ll be just fine. Lets enjoy the
    great team we’re gonna see this year 1st.



  13. louisville fan
    9:29 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Louisville will beat ky in rape arena I like randle he’s a beast twins are no match up for Louisville guards jones and russ arena



  14. wedding planner
    9:39 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Previous posters are raising some good points.. why is Vaughn never mentioned? 24/7’s Crystal Ball has him coming to UK.

    To a lesser extent, I am surprised Turner and Winslow are not mentioned.

    I understand that Tyus Jones is a very long shot because his mom is a Duke fan.



  15. bmt22033
    9:46 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    I think Kentucky ends up with:

    – Ulis
    – Lyles
    – Vaughn
    – Blackmon Jr.
    – Towns

    I think we miss on Booker (Mich. St.), Johnson (Arizona), Jones/Okafor (Duke) and Exum (NBA or stay in Australia).



  16. itzbadandy
    9:48 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    This is the 2nd post in two days without a Rashad Vaughn reference. Please get it together KSR. You’re better than this…



  17. Danny Mac
    9:58 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    @bmt – You and I have basically the same exact prediction, the only difference with mine is I’m not totally sold on Johnson going one way or the other, too much information going both ways to make an educated guess. However, I completely agree with the rest of your post. Which is why the omission of Vaughn really confuses me.



  18. Dr. Wildcat
    10:17 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    What concerns me most isn’t what our composite rating is going to be for the whole class, but the individual parts. So far we are in the best shape with the front court players, and are struggling at landing top of the line back court players. However, we most certainly will be losing our back court from this year, and should return at least 2 or 3 front court players (likely Lee, Johnson, Young, and/or Poythress). Our biggest need will be our biggest blind spot in the 2014 class. We all saw last year what happens when Cal doesn’t have a strong PG, and at the very least we will have 0 back court depth.



  19. Little Whoadie
    10:28 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Great post Ally, nom nom nom nom nom nom nom



  20. IndyCat644
    11:03 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Isn’t Willis 2013???? Ffs guys.



  21. IndyCat644
    11:04 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Never mind…just read the disclaimer.



  22. sterve
    11:35 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    I actually don’t mind getting a class like those listed. It would mean that, more than likely, a few of them would stay for another year or two. Be kind of nice to see how that worked out



  23. BCS
    11:38 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Everyone has this all wrong, we will end up with the #1 class and it will look like this:

    Tyler Ulis
    Rashad Vaughn
    James Blackmon
    Stanley Johnson
    Trey Lyles
    Karl Towns Jr

    Rashad Vaughn’s place at UNC is taken now… We lead and he can flat out ball. MSU just offered Snyder so that pushes Ulis to UK. The player Cal wants most in this class is Stanley Johnson, who i think is the best player in the class… Cal will get him, Blackmon will pull a “like father like son” and Lyles will follow suit… Add that to Marcus Lee and Hawkins and that is still a solid team.



  24. BCS
    11:40 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    18) Young is a top 10 pick in 4 mock drafts… Dakari is a lottery pick in those same 4 and Poythress is a top 20 pick…. If it stays that way or improves for any guy, kiss them all goodbye.



  25. Rashad Vaughn
    11:49 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    hey… you guys forget about me again? How come every time you talk about UK recruits I’m not mentioned. I’m pretty good. I can play at UK… I think. Maybe I can’t. You guys are pricks.



  26. Real UK fan
    11:58 pm August 27, 2013 Permalink

    Everyone needs to chill. Cal has brought life back to the Kentucky program and with that he has earned my trust. He knows what is coming and he will put a winning squad on the floor. I agree that he will get Vaughn and Johnson. Those 2 with Towns and a few other pieces and we will have a good squad. And who knows what college basketball will look like by then. That may be enough for a tourney run and I’m fine with that. Cal had been good to us and if he is gonna put together a final four favorite together every other year I am more than happy with that. In Cal we trust. We will be fine year after next so just enjoy the all star team that’s gonna be playing in Lexington next season.



  27. bigcatstanding
    12:13 am August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Julius Randle. #2. Andrew Harrison. #5. Aaron Harrison. #7. Alex Poythress. #8. dakari Johnson. #9 next year’s possible starting lineup average ranking. 5.2. never in the history of college basketball can anyone say that. using only one player from the starting line up to make the second team is Andrew Harrison #5. Marcus Lee. #19. James Young. #8. Willie cauley-stein. #39. Derek Willis. #86 average. 31.4. the starting line up having all five players in the top 10 get real we won’t lose a game. The second team having two players in the top 10 three are in the top 20. that is nuts can’t wait to get operation beatdown underway. what I really like is to read on here is Louisville fans open their mouths and inserting size 22 shoes, can’t wait for the game on December 28 so that they will be stuck in their mouth lol!!!!!!



  28. bigcatstanding
    12:19 am August 28, 2013 Permalink

    #26. I really have a problem with hearing that we will most likely get Vaughn, when coach hasn’t even offered him a scholarship, that tells me coach isn’t that high on him at all. I have seen him play a couple times doesn’t impress me at all. I also watched him in the 3 point contest and in one round only made 5 opening shot from 3 that was really weak. Devin Booker on the other hand is a lights out shooter, understand he is a SG but if you are being real so is Vaughn. GO BBN



  29. bigcatstanding
    12:34 am August 28, 2013 Permalink

    #13. you miss it by a mile booker is the one most likely to be a cat, he speaks openly how much he can’t wait to visit. Vaughn will not be a Cat, and I could care less far as I’m concerned let Coach assemble the kids he wants, and us as fans can watch and enjoy them. All this other stuff does is cause panic I guess and is a total waste of time.



  30. freecubnature
    12:38 am August 28, 2013 Permalink

    #28, Rashad Vaughn has an offer according to ESPN, Scout, and 247. Rivals says that he does not. Clearly one is wrong or 3 are wrong. We are talking about the #1/#2 (depending on the source) shooting guard in the class. Do you really think that we haven’t offered?



  31. Oscar Combs
    2:44 am August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Ramel Bradley is a strong Kentucky lean



  32. Jeffrey
    7:14 am August 28, 2013 Permalink

    @13: As delusional as they come.



  33. kentuckyjoe
    7:43 am August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Why make combinations of players when not even one of the players you mention can be predicted with confidence? And you leave out two really important ‘gets’, Tyus Jones and Rashad Vaughan. Scratching my head.



  34. Chicago Chris
    10:44 am August 28, 2013 Permalink

    I asked myself “What happened to Stacey Poole?” so naturally, I did a Google search. Suffice to say it took quite a while to find anything about Poole the basketball player for Georgia Tech, who averaged just 1.5 points a game. Also I might be getting fired.



  35. bigcatstanding
    9:48 am August 29, 2013 Permalink

    #30. sorry it took me so long to get back and most likely you won’t even get back to you this but, if ESPN says he has offered they seem to be more up to date. But from what I saw of him I wasn’t impressed, Devin Booker on the other hand was most impressive he’s a lights out shooter.