Texas basketball is no stranger to bringing in high-profile athletes on the recruiting trail, signing the likes of five-star prospects Greg Brown III, Jarrett Allen, Mohamed Bamba, and Myles Turner in recent years.
At Kentucky, though, it’s a whole new animal.
Signing at least three five-star prospects by at least one recruiting service every year since John Calipari arrived in Lexington back in 2009, Kentucky has established itself as the recruiting powerhouse of college basketball. And former Texas assistant coach Jai Lucas is now in charge of it, signing on to become the program’s recruiting coordinator, effective immediately.
While Lucas will turn his attention to the class of 2021 and beyond, the new Kentucky staff member is giddy that all the hard work has been done for him for the upcoming 2020-21 roster, with elite talent lining the team from top to bottom.
In particular, Lucas is excited about Kentucky’s backcourt, adding that he “can’t imagine a better trio of freshmen” than what the Wildcats are working with.
“I think the guards in the backcourt with BJ [Boston], Terrence [Clarke], and Devin [Askew], I can’t imagine a better trio of freshmen than those three right there,” Lucas told the media on Wednesday. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to just be around them and get to work with them and help them grow, I know that.
He’s also familiar with the likes of Isaiah Jackson and Cam’Ron Fletcher, but noted that college basketball teams are “only as good as [their] guards.” Other players can be productive, but it starts in the backcourt.
“Isaiah [Jackson] is also someone who is just continuing to get better, he’s going in the right direction,” Lucas said. “This is just outside looking in, I haven’t been able to be in the gym with them yet , but I’m excited about that. Then you look at Cam [Fletcher], you know, somebody who I think will develop into a really good player, he’s got all the athletic traits everything, the size, the mentality.
“This is a really good class, but in college basketball, you’re only as good as your guards, so to have those three guards, it’s always a good feeling.”
Lucas’ optimism regarding Kentucky’s guards goes hand-in-hand with that Bruiser Flint, UK’s other new addition to the coaching staff, who was announced as an assistant last week.
In terms of pure talent and star power, Flint said Clarke was “as good as you’re going to get.”
“A big guard. A big guard who can do a little bit everything,” Flint said of Clarke. “Unbelievable versatility. Shoots it. Puts it on the floor and can almost play the point. I mean, that’s one of the reasons he was ranked as high as he was. I mean, in terms of versatility, there wasn’t many as good as him in the country. You saw it. You watched him, he could do a little bit everything. So, when I look at him. I just see his versatility and what he can do on the floor.
“I’m sort of old school though. I’m a guy that believes that, you know, it’s a little different level so you’ve got to prove it. But in terms of his talent, I think his talent is as good as you’re going to get.”
Boston and Clarke finished the 2020 recruiting cycle ranked as consensus top-ten prospects, with Askew ranked as high as No. 26 overall in the final ESPN player rankings.