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The Art of Reclassification

In the current recruiting climate, it has become a trend for exceptionally talented young high school players to reclassify to the class above. It could even be labeled a phenomenon of sorts. With the reclassification of Andrew Wiggins to 2013, the last two recruiting classes will very likely be headed by two kids who reclassified. Kentucky’s very own Nerlens Noel did the same thing as Wiggins and became the #1 player of his class, and Wiggins will do the same. There are others who have not had the same effect: Alex Murphy of Duke reclassified and ended up redshirting his first year. When the best of the best are stepping out of high school a year early, it makes one ponder both how and why.


Elite recruits are in a special position sometimes, leading to possible ways to leave high school as soon as they can. There are pros and cons to this. While I am sure we all would have loved to leave high school as quick as we could, there are plenty of lasting memories that kids make in high school. (See: Julius Randle attending his homecoming instead of Big Blue Madness.)

However, these major athlete kids have are given great advice from people who know how college academics and entry standards work. Also, great recruits often end up at prep schools, where summer work and fast-track classes are often offered. All of this requires pretty good grades and the ability to earn extra credits (and a 19th birthday that falls before end of that draft year).


If you were one of the best athletes playing your sport in the world with loads of potential earnings at your door and NBA GMs drooling over your game, you know what you’d do? You’d go straight to the NBA out of high school.

Oh, wait…you can’t do that anymore. Nevermind.

Instead, you need to be of a certain age, which often includes playing a year of college ball (unless you’re Brandon Jennings). So it makes total sense given the one-and-done rule for the best of the best to get to college early and thus become one year removed from high school. For many of these players, it is a business decision — if you get to the NBA quickly, then you have an immediate income, a longer shelf-life, more time to learn the pro-style game, and your rookie contract will be up one year earlier, at which point you can negotiate that career-making free agency contract.

Of course, getting to college a year early is great for that elite player’s national exposure and his first primer to high-level basketball before he gets to the NBA. When a player possesses the athletic and skill tools necessary to make this reclassification jump, the benefits are great.

However, only the absolute best players should consider reclassifying. The jury is still out on Nerlens Noel, but Alex Murphy’s redshirt is a good example of the pros and cons cancelling each other out and just leaving a kid with one year less of the high school carefree lifestyle and memories.

This interesting classification trend is solidified by today’s announcement regarding Andrew Wiggins. It will be very interesting to see how the next superstar recruit goes about his recruitment. (Pure speculation, but the next superstar seems to be Karl Towns of 2015.)

Reclassifying can be a tool for a kid to reach his dreams faster and change his life, along with that of his family. If you think about it, it represents everything Coach Calipari strives for when it comes to seeing players succeed.

Article written by Chris Thomas

22 Comments for The Art of Reclassification

  1. gog8ors
    6:09 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    Dave Telep tends to believe that UK hurt themselves in the Wiggins lottery when Young committed to UK. Either way, it Wiggins goes to UK then Young is probably not going to be too happy about his chances for playing time next season. This could get interesting or maybe not if Wiggins goes to Florida State.

  2. RIP Mel Turpin
    6:24 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    Is Bob Wiggins the uncle of Andrew Wiggins? Maybe he can invite Andrew over for Thanksgiving…or maybe the family reunion.

  3. Walsh is Gay
    6:25 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    That’s exactly what Coach Cal sells though.. that it will be tough, that you have to earn minutes and that playing time isn’t guaranteed. Listen to the post-announcement interview of the Harrison twins. They echoed that this is exactly what Cal says. Same with the current squad in Kentucky All Access.

  4. goochie goo
    6:25 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    Buried on is a blurb about UConn’s graduation rate being 11%. Imagine the coverage if it was UK and not UConn.

  5. bigredleedsblue
    6:27 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    Should not make a difference. Cal gets players to the NBA. Wall and Bledsoe both were point guards and yet played together. I have no idea what Wiggins will do but, he is one of the best players we’ve seen come out of high school in the last ten years. He’ll start wherever he goes and Young would probably start as well. Possible line-up: Harrisons, Wiggins, Young, and power forward/center- that is an unbeatable team!

  6. Bobbum man
    6:41 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    UK bound…. Bet my left nut on it

  7. Rumor
    6:49 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    There are rumblings that the NCAA is working on putting major restrictions on reclassifying, per pat forde.

  8. Floyd
    6:54 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    One of these names is not like the others: Harrison Barnes; Josh Selby; Anthony Davis
    There are millions at stake.
    It will come down to: FSU(heart) vs. UK(head). Again, there are millions at stake.

  9. Wiggins2UK
    6:57 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    1. I’m not so sure that there would be a glaring issue over minutes. The twins, young, and wiggins could all Avg. 25ish minutes a game with Young coming off the bench. Andrew gets a breather, Aaron plays point, young SG, & wiggins SF. Aaron gets a breather, Andrew is at point with Young at SG and Wiggins at SF. Wiggins gets a breather and we have a line-up of twins at guard and young at SF. Young prefers SG anyway, he just has the size necessary to play SF. It would be similar to last year with Darius coming in off the bench playing SG or SF. The versatility of the back-court would be NBA-level crazy. There is also the chance to play small ball with all 4 on the court, and keep in mind the twins are BIG guards, so small ball would really be ‘slightly less big’.

  10. Wiggins2UK
    7:00 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    Of course that line-up hinges on having a starting 4 & 5, Randle/Gordon & potential holder/Lee presumably.

  11. Social Security
    7:09 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    I am thinking about reclassifying up two years so I can begin receiving my Social Seecurity benefits sooner….hmmm…wonder if that will work?

  12. Han
    7:39 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    In most of these reclassifying situations (not including that kid at Duke or UNC recently), the kid reclassifying is going back into his original class. That means he’s the same age as the other guys in the class, but because of bad grades, being held back, or previous transfer issues, he was in the next grade.

    We’re not talking about 16-17 year olds coming to college as freshmen. These guys are still 18 when they come.

  13. Mack
    8:00 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    This is the reason Coach gets paid the big bucks! Coach will make the correct picks and we will still be great. Now what is this about Social Security?

  14. Not a hater
    8:08 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    Seriously, though, Wiggins does not need Calipari or UK to go to the NBA after one year. He’s pretty much there already. But, I think if he chooses UK he’s pretty much guaranteed to add an NCAAC to his resume. Don’t know how big of a deal that would be for the kid.

  15. Eric
    8:22 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    He doesnt need big numbers to be the number 1 draft pick. NBA teams arent retarded, they will realize that he is playing with other studs and that he doesnt need to do as much if he were to be at UK. Its pretty much a fact that hes the number 1 draft pick, unless theirs an injury.

  16. Turner the Burner
    8:51 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    4. — It is not buried on ESPN… It is right next to the piece talking about NCAA graduation rates being up.

    Does anyone know UK’s BBall graduation rate? UK fan here — Just curious

  17. kentuckyjoe
    9:15 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    Chris, do you think that Wiggins is not a superstar? You say Karl Towns is the next one. If so I beg to differ; Wiggins is a superstar for sure.

  18. The guy who tries to turn this into a political site
    9:56 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    Blah blah blah it’s a freakin UK sports site people take ur political BS elsewhere sick of reading this crap on every single comments section

  19. StudentAthlete
    10:24 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    The NCAA is such a joke. Kids that don’t know how to read are able to ‘reclassify’ and graduate from HS early? And UK is able to admit these guys? It sure does cheapen my UK degree!

  20. Jus Sayin
    11:16 pm October 25, 2012 Permalink

    I told yall. He WILL NOT come here. We already have two top 5 players at his postion. Yes he is better than both of them but he wants to be the guy.

  21. bigredleedsblue
    2:10 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    19, maybe you didn’t mean for it to come out this way, but your statement is close-minded. What you insinuated is that a student like WIggins can’t read. You might be a troll and if so I am sorry I took the bait, but if you really are a student then you know nothing about what others have to go through to obtain a degree.

  22. 502Cat
    2:37 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    19 -I believe the post said you have to have really good grades to reclassify.