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John Calipari says Kentucky is “ahead of the game” on the recruiting trail

The world of recruiting has come to a halt, as coaches are currently not allowed to meet with or host recruits during the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, coaches are only allowed to speak with recruits via text message, phone, and/or video chat mediums such as FaceTime and Skype.

For some schools, it’s a major punch in the gut, as many top tier programs are still scrambling to close out their 2020 recruiting classes with the few elite prospects still on the board. If not high school prospects, transfers and graduate transfers are not allowed to take visits to schools at this tine.

To take it a step further, coaches are unable to visit, host, or watch recruits in in the class of 2021 and future recruiting classes, setting them back in the evaluation process and in developing relationships with prospects and their families.

Luckily for John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program, they put in the work last year to give themselves an early advantage over the competition in 2020 by signing six high-profile recruits in the fall.

Those signees? Five-star guards BJ Boston, Terrence Clarke, and Devin Askew, five-star forwards Isaiah Jackson and Lance Ware, and four-star forward Cam’Ron Fletcher.

“Thank goodness we’re ahead of the game,” Calipari in a mid-week videoconference with the media. “Fate, it wasn’t designed obviously, but we’re in pretty good shape and anything we add becomes, ‘All right, we have a chance with this or that.’”

Not only has Kentucky signed the No. 1 recruiting class in 2020, they’ve also built a strong foundation in 2021 and beyond, with UK establishing itself as the early leader for the likes of Jaden Hardy (2021), Paolo Banchero (2021), Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (2022, likely reclass to 2021), Skyy Clark (2022), and DJ Wagner (2023), among others.

If this break in recruiting continues into the summer – and it certainly seems we’re headed that direction – it’s actually a scenario Calipari prefers.

According to the Kentucky head coach, recruiting should take place in the spring, take a break during the summer, and then get rolling again in the fall and into the winter during high school basketball season.

“I think what may come out of this, reading tea leaves, which I’ve said since my UMass days, why are we recruiting in the summer? Why are we doing this?” Calipari asked. “Let’s recruit April, May. Let’s recruit some in September and then let’s do it during the school year. We get a chance to be with our own team. We get a chance to lead normal lives, like we are leading now. This is–I mean, it’s not normal, but being able to be home for three days, I mean four days, it’s crazy.”

Instead of spending thousands of dollars recruiting during the summer, Calipari sees a benefit in giving coaches an opportunity to build relationships with their own players during those months leading up to the college basketball season.

“So why are we spending all of this money for that when it may make recruiting a little more localized, which is not all bad?” Calipari asked. “‘Well, you may make mistakes.’ Well, they’re transferring without penalty now. So, they’ll transfer. Tell me. I don’t understand that money spent in June, July and August which if you go across the country and figure out how much that is, it’s a ridiculous number. Let’s just do stuff during the school year. Let’s do it in May. Let’s do it in September and then let’s get down to a more normal life for all coaches. That may come out of this when college presidents say, ‘Tell me why we need this summer now? Because we just went without it and everything’s OK.’ So, that may happen.”

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

4 Comments for John Calipari says Kentucky is “ahead of the game” on the recruiting trail

  1. JT55
    7:43 am March 27, 2020 Permalink

    I have a bad feeling we won’t see any college basketball next season either. Unless a vaccine is developed and ready by fall, I have a difficult time seeing kids back on campuses again.

    • CJKAssassin123
      9:49 am March 27, 2020 Permalink

      I disagree, I think we will have some basketball this coming season the NCAA will probably start the season out with empty arenas and then after a while when the virus starts to die, down, we’ll start seeing fans in the stands. The NCAA can’t afford to cancel whole season especially after canceling March Madness. They would almost go bankrupt if they do. So they’ll just take this time to prepare and put a system in place that best protects their athletes that includes screening and proper sanitation.

      Actually I think when all of this is said and done,I think most of them come back if not all of them come back,Maxey,and probably Nick are gone for sure. However I think everyone else will come back.

      Why? Well I think with the timing of this coronavirus pandimic, and not knowing when the NBA draft is going to take place,and with not being able to meet/work out with teams is going to be very hard for guys like EJ, Brooks, Quickly,Nick to raise their draft stock. Majority of our guys are being projected to barely get drafted. The thing is due to Coronavirus,there will not be an NBA combine this year which is a massive blow to every college player,who are thinking about going pro.

      The Combine would of been college basketball players best chance to increase there draft stock,our guys especially. I think players are just going to think about it may just be better to stay where they are rather than risk it. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out and as always GO CATS.

    • Wall2Cousins
      11:25 am March 27, 2020 Permalink

      I’m with you JT55. I just can’t get my head around any sports conversation right now. Everything is stopped with no good news in sight, that leads me to believe we won’t see sports for a very long time. It seems silly to talk about NFL free agency and the NBA draft when both are incapable of playing games indefinitely.

  2. Racerr11
    8:51 am March 27, 2020 Permalink

    Of course non of us know for sure but I do not think that’s even close to correct. If we can get true accurate account of what’s really going on it would be nice. I believe we will return to as close to normal as possible within couple of months. I do believe basketball will return to normal next season.