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Kentucky sits tight at No. 1 in 2020 recruiting rankings

Despite some new commitments and players entering the professional ranks, one thing remains true: John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program boast the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation.

In ESPN’s latest recruiting class rankings, the Wildcats came in at No. 1 overall, followed by Duke at No. 2 and UNC at No. 3.

From there, programs from the Southeastern Conference make up the next three schools on the list in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Auburn at No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6, respectively. Gonzaga, Oklahoma State, Michigan, and NC State then round out the top ten.

Elsewhere in the SEC, LSU was the biggest mover in the class, jumping 12 spots all the way up to No. 13 overall with their five signees. They are also in great position with 2021 top-ten prospect Moussa Cisse, who could reclassify to 2020 in the coming months and push the Tigers into the top ten.

The bluebloods sitting tight at the top of the list is no surprise, considering the Wildcats and Blue Devils had been either No. 1 and No. 2 every year since 2014 until that streak came to an end last season. Instead of yet another top-two finish, Kentucky dropped all the way to No. 3 in the team recruiting rankings. This time around, however, UK managed to secure commitments from all six signees in the early signing period, cementing their status as the No. 1 team in the rankings from the jump.

Kentucky’s top-ranked class is headlined by top-ten prospects B.J. Boston and Terrence Clarke, followed by five-star guard Devin Askew and four-star forwards Isaiah Jackson, Lance Ware, and Cam’Ron Fletcher.

Check out the entire top 25 below:

  1. Kentucky
  2. Duke
  3. North Carolina
  4. Tennessee
  5. Arkansas
  6. Auburn
  7. Gonzaga
  8. Oklahoma State
  9. Michigan
  10. NC State
  11. Stanford
  12. Arizona State
  13. LSU
  14. Texas Tech
  15. Illinois
  16. Virginia
  17. Iowa State
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Florida State
  20. Marquette
  21. Baylor
  22. Xavier
  23. Kansas
  24. Miami
  25. Michigan State


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

14 Comments for Kentucky sits tight at No. 1 in 2020 recruiting rankings

  1. BobbyBlue
    1:51 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

    I thought Jackson was a 5 star,when he signed, and Ware eventually became a 5 star ?

    • Mbivinsuk007
      4:24 pm April 30, 2020 Permalink

      I actually agree with most of what he said in this comment, I mean recruiting #1 class every year means absolutely nothing if they are leaving after 1 year.. College is about winning championships and UK is not doing that. So unless some of these 5 star kids play for more than a year it doesn’t mean a whole lot. What would you rather have #1 rec class or National Titles??

  2. VirginiaCat
    2:19 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

    We make the mistake of equating highly ranked recruiting classes with equally high results. Kentucky currently has the #1 ranked recruiting class, but will be far from the #1 team in the country. There are many reasons for the disparity, i.e., five star freshmen in high school aren’t five star talents in college, with some notable exceptions. It’s also important to have a well balanced team and a blend of experience. Kentucky has had a ton of talent pass through Lexington during Cal’s tenure, but the results have been underwhelming considering the level of talent. Players leave the program as soon as possible, which depletes the program of experience. The roster is typically unbalanced; it seems that Kentucky is always missing a piece or two. Bringing in top ranked recruiting classes has been good for bragging rights, but it hasn’t paid dividends in recent years. If the metric of success is top recruiting classes and number of players in the NBA, Kentucky is unquestionably the most successful program in the country, but if the metric is championship banners, not so much.

    • Newtype
      2:23 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink


    • Catsfan1715
      3:46 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

      So by your logic, Villanova and Duke have 2 championships (1 more than us) since Cal has been here. So that’s makes us unsuccessful? Especially considering other championship banners where we are far and away #1 (ff, conf etc)? I’m just making sure I understand your point correctly. So what is success? Dominance in every winning metric that exists?

    • Cousins Fake Tooth
      5:39 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

      95% of the time I don’t even bother reading the comments. I seen the headline of this article, and I just knew there would be someone in here in the comments saying something stupid like this. So I take a look, yep, I found stupid.

  3. dave1964
    2:25 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

    And that will be of zero use once the season starts and don’t have a center to be found.

    • Newtype
      2:27 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink


  4. VirginiaCat
    5:10 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

    Catsfan1715: Legitimate question, thank you. The metric that I set forth in my post was national championships. I think most would agree that Cal has been the most prolific recruiter in college basketball for decades, but has won only one national championship in 28 years. (Coach K has won five in the same time frame) This would suggest that the return on investment, i.e., incoming talent, has been less than one would expect. My cardinal point is that it’s nice to get top rated recruiting classes, but we shouldn’t get overly excited because it rarely results in a national championship due to a lack of player retention, experience, balanced roster, program focus, etc. If past is prologue, our chance of winning a championship under Cal is 3.5% in any given year. That’s actually a much better percentage than the majority of college coaches, but not great when you consider the level of talent that has been at Cal’s disposal.

    • Cousins Fake Tooth
      5:40 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

      You should do some actual research before you open your mouth. Since Cal has been at UK, hes been one of the most, if not the most successful coach in the nation. Stats don’t lie.

    • Catsfan1715
      7:19 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

      Ok but if you’re going to insinuate (nba star) recruiting should equal national championships (and if doesn’t it’s considered failure) and also use Coach K as your comparison, then let’s analyze that for a minute. Coach has won 1-one championship recruiting (onendones). His other 4 were with stacked with 3-4 year player rosters over 2-3 decades. Cal, on the other hand, recruited “okay” at Umass, considering it was Umass and they had one player go on to be a decent nba player. And he did decent at Memphis, and the one year he had solid nba talent he made it to a final four. One year at Memphis, he had comparable recruiting to what you are discussing in your post. Just the one year. So, if you were to narrow the context to just “Cal’s time at UK”. As I said before, two programs have 1 more championship than he does. So does being #3 in championships, and #1 in a myriad of other winning metrics mean he’s been unsuccessful? Well, if you’re using coach K as a the litmus test, I’d say you’ve proven my point.

    • Catsfan1715
      7:38 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

      By the way I agree with a lot of what you said. We shouldn’t get overly excited and assume we will win a national championship because of our recruiting class. And it can be frustrating, the roster turnover and lack of certainty with the players we get. But I’d hardly call our program, or Cal, or our recruiting unsuccessful. Maybe it doesn’t meet our (crazy ass UK fans) expectations year in and year out. But the truth is, there isn’t a coach/class that ever could every year! We get to watch some of the best basketball players in the country year in and year out and have a solid chance to win a title (as you pointed out) . So I’m grateful for that. Only a handful of programs can say that.

  5. RAGE
    5:45 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

    Maybe if we don’t have a true Center on the roster next season could be a blessing in disguise… I mean the Rockets were able to make it work… Maybe this will cause Cal to change up his style of play.. We all agree at times he is extremely stubborn about refusing to change his system…

    Maybe I am just hoping but we get after people next year with a full court press and play really fast… Spread the floor and just play a more position less game… All five players hitting the boards make up for a true big man… It ain’t like we have no size.. I mean we will be an extremely long team with athletes all over the floor… It may help us in the long run.. I for one would love to see us play more up tempo and press teams into submission the way we used to…

    I know the game has seemed to went away from this style of play.. I mean even coaches like Bruce Pearl for example made a living at Tennessee with this style.. He has rarely used it at Auburn the last 3 or 4 years… Seems to me that the full court press has fell out of style.. Everyone just plays half court man to man.. May deny the inbounds but yet once the ball is in they back off and go back to their half court defense… I just love to see us play like that next year and maybe it will help us with our lack of a true center

  6. VirginiaCat
    8:43 pm April 29, 2020 Permalink

    CatsFan715: You raise another good point. We do have the privilege of watching some of the best basketball in the country. We have seen it all, from AD swatting balls away to Ullis showing immense grit and determination, and talented young players like Maxey whose smile could light up Rupp. Cal has said on at least two occasions that the name on the back of the jersey is more important than the name on front, and I get that to a certain extent. But the balance between what’s good for the program what’s good for the players needs adjustment. Cal needs to change the mindset that getting to the NBA as fast as possible is the goal. It short changes the program and often disadvantages the players who could use more seasoning. Top recruiting classes are impressive, but not that meaningful if we don’t retain talent long enough to reap the benefits. Had Cal slowed the migration to the NBA by just a little bit, he would have several more titles to his name.