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ESPN: Kentucky boasts 11 of the top 25 recruiting classes of one-and-done era

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John Calipari has been a tenacious recruiter from the moment he set foot on Kentucky’s campus, raking in top-ranked recruiting classes year in and year out. Just yesterday, UK’s incoming recruiting class was officially ranked No. 1 by all of the major outlets, making it the fourth consensus No. 1 recruiting class of the John Calipari Era.

But how do his individual classes stack up against one another? And where does that fit in with the rest of college basketball?

Yesterday, ESPN’s Jeff Borzello published a breakdown of the top 25 recruiting classes since the beginning of the one-and-done era, and unsurprisingly, every one of Kentucky’s classes under Coach Cal made the list.

In the official ranking, two classes finished in the top three, four classes finished in the top ten, and eight finished in the top 15. The leader of the pack? Kentucky’s historic 2013 recruiting class that included five top-ten prospects, along with an additional top-25 signee.

Check out the entire breakdown:

  • 1. Kentucky 2013: Julius Randle (No. 3), Andrew Harrison (No. 5), Dakari Johnson (No. 7), James Young (No. 8), Aaron Harrison (No. 9), Marcus Lee (No. 25)
  • 3. Kentucky 2017: Kevin Knox (No. 10), PJ Washington (No. 12), Nick Richards (No. 17), Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 19), Quade Green (No. 24), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 35), Jemarl Baker (No. 66)
  • 6. Kentucky 2011: Anthony Davis (No. 1), Michael Gilchrist (No. 4), Marquis Teague (No. 8), Kyle Wiltjer (No. 19)
  • 7. Kentucky 2016: Bam Adebayo (No. 5), De’Aaron Fox (No. 6), Malik Monk (No. 9), Wenyen Gabriel (No. 14), Sacha Killeya-Jones (No. 24)
  • 11. Kentucky 2010: Brandon Knight (No. 4), Terrence Jones (No. 9), Enes Kanter (No. 25), Doron Lamb (No. 29), Stacey Poole (No. 51)
  • 12. Kentucky 2009: DeMarcus Cousins (No. 4), John Wall (No. 5), Daniel Orton (No. 13), Jon Hood (No. 92), Eric Bledsoe, Darnell Dodson (JC)
  • 13. Kentucky 2012: Nerlens Noel (No. 1), Alex Poythress (No. 13), Archie Goodwin (No. 15), Willie Cauley-Stein (No. 40)
  • 15. Kentucky 2018: Keldon Johnson (No. 7), E.J. Montgomery (No. 14), Ashton Hagans (No. 20), Immanuel Quickley (No. 25), Tyler Herro (No. 30)
  • 16. Kentucky 2015: Skal Labissiere (No. 2), Jamal Murray (five-star), Isaiah Briscoe (No. 13), Charles Matthews (No. 42), Isaac Humphries (No. 49), Mychal Mulder (JC)
  • 19. Kentucky 2014: Trey Lyles (No. 6), Karl-Anthony Towns (No. 9), Devin Booker (No. 18), Tyler Ulis (No. 25)
  • 24. Kentucky 2020: B.J. Boston (No. 6), Terrence Clarke (No. 9), Devin Askew (No. 24), Isaiah Jackson (No. 31), Lance Ware (No. 43), Cam’Ron Fletcher (No. 58)

Duke finished second on the list with six classes in the complete rankings, while North Carolina and UCLA were the only two other schools with multiple classes on the list. Ohio State, Memphis, and Kansas are among the other schools to make the list once.

For the full list and ESPN’s reasoning for each pick, check out the entire post here. 

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

20 Comments for ESPN: Kentucky boasts 11 of the top 25 recruiting classes of one-and-done era



  1. UKLugo
    10:10 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Cool, but one title to show for it.



    • 4everUKBlue
      10:19 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

      some fans will never be happy.



    • BowdenQB4ever
      10:32 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

      Yep. And we’re supposed to be excited about extreme roster turnover with our second worst class in the era coming in. Look, it’s been a fun run but we’re encountering the law of diminishing returns. I’m under no illusions about Cal going anywhere, we just have to hope he sees a need to change. This is frustrating and exhausting for the fans, and it makes a lot of us sick to have it laid out so plainly that these kids have no interest in being in Lexington.



    • UKBigBlueForever
      10:41 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

      And what do you propose he does coach? Go get a life



    • BowdenQB4ever
      5:19 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      UkBigBlueForever lmao, whatever man. Keep pretending everything is fine. We’re a nuisance on the way to a meager payday and international career for most of these kids. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but there aren’t any KAT, Boogie, Wall, Davis level guys walking through that door these days. We’re essentially a clearing house for marginal pro talent.



    • dcforuk
      1:59 am May 24, 2020 Permalink

      https://www.sportingnews.com/us/ncaa-football/list/top-10-recruiting-schools-since-2010-alabama-fsu-ohio-state-michigan-lsu-texas/ued2sx7rbi9t182ihz0cqt8bp

      Since 2010, Ohio St has the second best recruiting record with one National Championship during that span. Not having excellent recruiting is a guarantee that you won’t win a national championship. Having excellent recruiting is not a guarantee that you will win a national championship. Kentucky basketball is no different than Ohio State football in that regard. The reality is it’s not easy to win a national championship in any sport. Everyone knows that.



  2. UKBigBlueForever
    10:38 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Second worst class in the era coming in?????? Are you nuts?



    • T-Town Cat
      11:51 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

      That’s correct, if you agree with ESPN’s list. Only 2019 did not make the Top 25.



    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      2:46 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      #24 is this class



    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      2:52 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      Of course it is ESPN so you have to take it with a grain of salt. They’re not a sports network because they know anything about sports, they don’t, they’re called one because that’s all they show.



  3. 4everUKBlue
    11:21 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    How many of the young men have told you personally they have no interest in being in Lexington? Is it wrong for these young men to try to fulfill their dreams of playing in the NBA or should they just settle for a job they hate like the rest the fanbase? U-n-r-e-a-l-i-s-t-i-c e-x-p-e-c-t-a-t-i-o-n-s leads to frustration, maybe you frustrated fans should ask other top coaches just how hard it is to win a championship even with a top recruiting class.



    • desertCard
      7:18 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      So why not recruit the normal way so at least you see the players for more than a few months? The returns are the same all things being considered. There are no NCs given for top recruiting classes, no NCs given for failure to win more than 1 NC with 100 top classes, and no NCs given for most lottery picks. Bragging rights mean nothing in that context.



  4. T-Town Cat
    11:44 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Shows how important team chemistry is. The No. 3 ranked 2017 squad also had Wenyon and Sasha left over from 2016, and that was probably Carl’s most disappointing team.



    • T-Town Cat
      11:45 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

      Cal, not Carl.



  5. T-Town Cat
    11:55 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    2014 seems way too low considering three of them became lottery picks.



  6. VirginiaCat
    1:08 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    When it comes to personal finance, there is a saying that it isn’t what you make, it’s what you keep. I think the same can be said about college basketball. We get a lot of talent coming to Lexington, but they don’t stick around long enough for the program to get a full return on investment. Number one recruiting classes are great for bragging rights, but the reality is that there isn’t a positive correlation between top classes and national championships. You can’t build a championship caliber team without a strong base, and our base turns over annually. it is like trying to build a snowman atop a hot oven.



    • CrystalBall
      3:49 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      Agree with you, VirginiaCat.



  7. Ipeeblue
    2:40 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    I just laid an egg I swear!! Mom don’t believe me, she says I’m a 37 year old dumbass lol



  8. Ipeeblue
    2:50 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Dukes new uniforms are awesome!!!!!



  9. just a guy
    10:25 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    The OAD is fools gold. We caught lightning in a bottle with a generational talent and 3 guys that coulda gone to NBA and didn’t, and a senior KY kid that refused to lose. Other than 2012 the OAD has proven to be no more effective than recruiting 4 star guys that develop over 4 years. If they stay 4 years and never go NBA at least they will be remembered, someone mentions a former UK player these days and I’m like oh yea, I remember him.