Like most of you, and most of the others in the recruiting world, up until just prior to Emmanuel Mudiay’s decision to take his talents to Southern Methodist University I had assumed without doubt he would end up at Kentucky. He seemed like the perfect lead guard to run the Dribble Drive offense, but if there’s anyone that can afford to lose on a player some believe is the best in the nation, it is John Calipari. Moving forward there appear to be 4 guards that the Kentucky coaching staff will be pursuing, although this list is tentative, and will surely be updated all the way up until Signing Day.
Tyus Jones — 6’1 171lbs.
Apple Valley, Minnesota
Choices: Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Baylor, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State
Much has been made about the Tyus Jones-Jahlil Okafor package deal and in general, most have assumed Duke was likely to be the eventual choice. Kentucky has kept up with Jones even when most thought Mudiay was a Kentucky lock, and they have also kept up with Okafor. Okafor is scheduled to visit Kentucky on September 9th, the date of the Alumni Game at Rupp Arena while Jones will wait til September 27th to visit Lexington. They will both visit Baylor, Kansas, and Duke together but will visit Lexington on seperate dates. With Mudiay out of the picture, there is an open spot for Jones at the PG position and mutual interest with his running mate Okafor which means Kentucky may stand a much better chance than before at landing the duo.
Tyler Ulis — 5’9 150lbs.
Chicago Heights, Illinois
Choices: Kentucky, Iowa, Michigan State, USC
A recent offer went out to the diminutive PG from Chicago a week or so before the Mudiay decision and was probably the biggest sign that tides may had turned in SMU’s favor. Ullis is not the prototypical Calipari guard but impressed the head coach in person at the Peach Jam when he put up a stat line of 22 points and 17 assists in a game against Tyus Jones, playing for the same “MeanStreets” AAU team that Anthony Davis played for. Ulis is the 38th ranked player in the nation according to ESPN and is a viable option at PG that still leaves open the opportunity of Tyus Jones committing as well. Since receiving an offer from Kentucky on an unofficial visit 2 weeks ago some have speculated that Kentucky may have jumped to the top of Ulis’ list of schools.
Dante Exum — 6’6 188lbs.
Choices: Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, NBA
Exum may be the biggest question mark recruit in college basketball next season, for the simple fact that he has the option to go straight to the NBA next June if he so wishes. Exum is an elite prospect at the PG position due to his size and explosiveness to the basket, which is why Chad Ford at ESPN has him listed as the #3 ranked prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft class, behind Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle. It’s hard to picture what Exum’s recruitment will look like considering he has said he is still “undecided” on whether to go to the NBA or the college route, but he has also stated he plans to visit all 5 schools on his list after he graduates high school in December, so I’m saying there’s a chance.
Dominic Magee — 6’3 173lbs.
Choices: Kansas State, LSU, Memphis, Oklahoma State
Magee is the latest name at the PG position to be linked to Kentucky, after his father and AAU coach were contacted by assistant coach Kenny Payne. Magee is an athletic guard who his AAU coach compares to a slightly bigger version of Eric Bledsoe, and is ranked the 15th best PG in the nation by 247Sports. He’s probably more of a backup option at this point considering Kentucky is yet to offer, but still a player the staff will keep an eye on as basketball season goes on.