With the McDonald’s game going on, the NCAA tournament winding down and signing day quickly approaching, this week provided a lot of recruiting news for UK fans. So I’m going to try my best to give you a little review of what’s happened so far and what might be coming in the future:
– First off, it looks like Calipari is going to have a ton of spots open on the roster and he isn’t making that a secret on the recruiting trail. All of these openings may worry some, but for those who are interested in UK’s recruiting efforts, it only makes things easier for Calipari. It is looking more and more likely that Calipari is going to seal up another monster class this year and you probably saw a nice chunk of that class playing in Columbus this week.
– Brandon Knight: Knight made the most noise this week by using “we” when talking about UK. Although reports of his commitment to UK were premature, Knight is looking very strong for Kentucky right now. For those worrying about Knight’s play at the McDonald’s game, don’t. It was just one game and that was not the normal Brandon Knight that you saw out there. His shot was a little off and he was forcing way too much. Nothing has changed with Knight, who will remain the most talented incoming point guard in his class. He’s going to announce on ESPN (probably ESPNU) on April 14th.
– CJ Leslie: CJ also made news when he spoke of the 5 freshman leaving. When Luke Cothron left NC State, many speculated that CJ was going to be State bound for sure because of the newly available playing time. That argument looks pretty weak when you hear Leslie talk about UK’s openings. From the standpoint when we might know for sure, Leslie is still looking like he’s going to wait it out until the last minute. Much of his recruitment has mirrored his good buddy John Wall and he’ll probably follow in his footsteps by waiting it out as well. I’m confident Leslie will probably the very last decision we’ll get to know.
– Terrence Jones: Not much has changed with Jones except the fact that Kentucky keeps looking like a stronger and stronger option for him. Most of the talk seems to be that Jones is going to decide for Kentucky or for Washington. Jones has always had great things to say about Calipari’s system and how he would fit into that system and he continued that trend by reiterating how well his dribble forward play would fit into a dribble drive offense. Jennifer O’Neill, UK women’s signee, was actively recruiting him and Knight, according to Jones, and was seen hanging with both of those young men during the McD’s week. It’s always nice to have any kind of help you can get on the recruiting trail.
– Josh Selby: Selby didn’t change much, except to add Tennessee to the list and say that he could co-exist with Knight if Knight was to choose UK. I agree that they could co-exist but most feel that the two of them playing anywhere together is a long shot at best. But we were saying the same thing about Bledsoe and Wall last year…and then Cal waved his magic wand.It’ll be a good sign for UK if they can get Selby on campus in near future, which is a discussion Selby said they are having. Whatever the decision, we’ll know for sure on April 17th during the Jordan Brand Classic.
– Doron Lamb: Lamb left Arizona off his list while in Columbus, but then his father later said that Arizona wasn’t off the list and that it was just a mistake. Lamb has good ties to Arizona’s coaching staff so I was surprised to see them crossed off the list before decision time. However, sometimes these kind of slips are actually pretty telling (See Brandon Knight, above). There was also plenty of buzz at the McD’s game about WVU making a very strong late push for Lamb. Their final four appearance can only help their cause. Lamb is a tough one to call. I wouldn’t be really surprised to see him pick any school on his list and I can’t really say that for anyone else out there. He’s also announcing at the Jordan game.
– Marquis Teague: Take a look at this article by the Indy Star that sums up the situation pretty well. The Star speculates that a decision could be coming soon and also looks at Pitino’s contract extension as a reason.
– Elisha Justice: Calipari has been in touch with Justice but the scholarship hasn’t been extended yet. From people that talk to Justice, it sounds like he is still pretty settled on going to UL, which you would expect since they were the first big school to jump in, but a scholarship offer from Kentucky would change things greatly. We’ll have to watch this one for awhile to see what happens and what kind of inroads Cal can make with the back-to-back state champ.