The Rivals.com staff met at the recruiting roundtable this week and were asked which school was the most impressive in the late signing period. Kentucky was the focus of the discussion amongst the four writers.
David Fox’s answer:
Kentucky closed well, but we should expect that from coach John Calipari. What was most impressive was N.C. State hanging onto C.J. Leslie. He committed to the hometown Wolfpack as an underclassman before re-opening his recruitment. He elected to stick with N.C. State, giving Sidney Lowe two top-20 prospects. If you hadn’t noticed, N.C. State is treading water at the bottom of the ACC. This signing class could turn N.C. State around — or cost Lowe his job if it underachieves.
Mike Huguenin’s answer:
I think you have to go with Kentucky — and not just for the guys who actually signed. Given UK’s early departures to the NBA, it was vital that John Calipari restock his talent cupboard. Not surprisingly, he made some big splashes while doing so. Perhaps even more impressive was that he got the commitments from the top two prospects in next year’s class, Mike Gilchrist and Marquis Teague. It seems unlikely that either would renege on his commitment because chances are, UK will lose guys early to the NBA again next year — which means Gilchrist and Teague will be the focal points of the team as freshmen.
Jason King’s answer:
Some analysts are saying Kentucky’s recruiting class this year is better than the one last year featuring John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton. I think that’s a stretch, but the Wildcats’ 2010 haul is impressive, nonetheless. Calipari signed three instant starters in point guard Brandon Knight, shooting guard Doron Lamb and big man Enes Kanter, who may be the most seasoned of the bunch thanks to his experience in international competition. It may take a bit longer for the 2010-11 Wildcats to “click.” And I definitely don’t think they should open the season as a top-10 team. But this could be pesky squad by mid-January or February.
Steve Megargee’s answer:
I have to go with Kentucky for the way it boosted its recruiting in both the short and long term. Even though Kentucky lost out on Josh Selby and C.J. Leslie, the additions of 6-foot-9 center Enes Kanter, 6-3 point guard Brandon Knight and 6-4 guard Doron Lamb give the Wildcats three of the top 21 prospects in the 2010 recruiting class. The bonus for Kentucky is that it also received commitments from 6-6 forward Mike Gilchrist and 6-2 guard Marquis Teague — the top two recruits in the 2011 signing class. When you regularly have as many one-and-done players as John Calipari has coached in recent years, it’s always important to have that kind of elite talent stocked away for future seasons.