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Top Ten Kentucky Recruits as they Entered their Freshman Season

When clicking around on 24/7 Sports’ website this afternoon, I found an interesting statistic that the website has started compiling.

Each recruit that they rank is given a rating on a 0-1 scale. For more information on how they compile this number you can click here. If you are a stats nut like myself than it is definitely something to check out.

Using this rating from their senior season of high school, 24/7 ranked the top ten players that Kentucky has recruited.

A few notes, this does not take into effect how they did after the made it to Lexington. This also only features players that have been a Cat since 2000. Here is the top 10 list:

1. Nerlens Noel

24/7 Rating: 0.9999

Kentucky Stats: 10.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.6 apg

I don’t think this will be a surprise to many people. Noel was one of the more hyped recruits that has come to Kentucky in the Calipari era. Especially coming in as the class after Anthony Davis. Noel’s season was filled with blocks, but talent lacked around him. The Massachusetts native season was cut short after an injury in the game at Florida.

From that point on, a rough season really only did get worse for the Cats.

2. Anthony Davis

24/7 Rating: 0.9999

Kentucky Stats: 14.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.25 apg, 4.7 bpg

Anthony Davis arguably had one of the best seasons of any player in the history of Kentucky basketball. Now as one of the top three or four players in the league, Davis has continued to improve after leaving Lexington.

“The Brow” is an unbelievable talent that one day will probably find his name in the rafters at Rupp Arena. Looking back at his stats just made me realize how good he really was at Kentucky.

Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

3. Skal Labissiere

24/7 Rating: 0.9998

Kentucky Stats: 6.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.3 apg, 1.6 bpg 

Ah Skal… he quite possibly could go down as one of the most frustrating players in Kentucky history. This only just proves why. The number one player in the class of 2015, Labissiere, was expected to be a player with similar capabilities to that of Davis or Noel. To say that wasn’t the case was an understatement.

Other than a few games throughout the season, Skal never could find his way as a consistent offensive force.

4. Julius Randle

24/7 Rating: 0.9996

Kentucky Stats: 15.o ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.4 apg

One of the best rebounders to ever put on a Kentucky uniform, Randle immediately became one of my favorite players. He played with a firepower that can’t be taught. The top player in what was one of the best recruiting classes that Calipari brought in, Randle has continued to make his mark in the NBA.

5. John Wall

24/7 Rating: 0.9994

Kentucky Stats: 16.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.5 apg

Right after being hired by Kentucky, John Calipari made it his priority to get Wall to Lexington. The former Kentucky point guard wasted no time becoming a fan favorite from dancing at Big Blue Madness to hitting the game winner against Miami Ohio in his first game.

Since being drafted number one overall in 2010, Wall has made himself one of the top point guards in the NBA and one of the best in Kentucky history.

6. DeMarcus Cousins

24/7 Rating: 0.9993

Kentucky Stats: 15.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.0 apg

How can you not love DeMarcus Cousins? Like Randle, Cousins was a fiery player that would never back down from a challenge. Since entering the NBA, Cousins has played himself into the conversation as maybe the best true center in the league. With the Pelicans last season, the former Cat was turning in one of his better statistical seasons before tearing his achilles.

7. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

24/7 Rating: 0.9990

Kentucky Stats: 11.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.9 apg

I can hear John Calipari already. “Anthony Davis took the fifth most shots, he was the number one pick! Michael Kidd-Gilchrist took the fourth most shots, he was the second pick!” Like so many of the players on the list, Kidd-Gilchrist was easy for fans to fall in love with. An integral part of the 2012 title team, Kidd-Gilchrist has had a quiet NBA career in Charlotte.

Sports Illustrated

8. Andrew Harrison

24/7 Rating: 0.9987

Kentucky Stats: 10.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.8 apg

While his brother took the spotlight in his freshman year at Kentucky, Andrew Harrison was a solid point guard for Calipari. Before people come out and criticize, we do need to remember that he took two teams to the Final Four as the starting point guard. In fact, he probably should have won both national titles.

Harrison really began to come into his own making quite a few starts for the Memphis Grizzlies last season.

9. Karl-Anthony Towns

24/7 Rating: 0.9986

Kentucky Stats: 10.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.1 apg

Towns is yet again another definition of a fan favorite. The best player on maybe the best team in the history of college basketball, Towns was a star in the making. Most fans don’t remember his slower start, but once he set in to his own in late December/January, the former Cat became the star that he now is in the NBA.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

10. Brandon Knight

24/7 Rating: 0.9983

Kentucky Stats: 17.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.2 apg

Matt has been mentioning Brandon Knight’s name a lot on the radio show over the past week or so. Knight very well could be the most underrated player in the Calipari era. He is never one that fans immediately go to as one of the better players, but his season was among the best. Not to mention that he led a team to the Final Four.

Knight’s NBA career has been riddled with injuries, but this coming season he has a chance to become the starting point guard for a young Phoenix Suns team.

Again, before you write a comment complaining that this ranking is completely wrong, this is using the final recruiting rankings from each year.

So what does this mean? Well, it does show that sometimes these recruiting rankings really don’t mean anything. When you scroll through the list, you will see some players rated lower than they really performed during their time at Kentucky.

For fun, we can also look at the lowest rated recruit that has played for the Cats since 2000. The answer? Adam Williams. He appeared in four games his freshman season before transferring to Marshall to finish his college career. The lowest rated player ever recruited by John Calipari? Eloy Vargas.

If you are curious for the entire rankings since 2000, you can click here. It is really interesting reading some of the names that are on the list. A definite throwback for some of these names that you will read.


Article written by Sam Gormley

Follow me on Twitter @GormleyKSR; "The Whitest Man in the World"-JRock

5 Comments for Top Ten Kentucky Recruits as they Entered their Freshman Season

  1. michaelb
    6:47 pm August 19, 2018 Permalink

    It seemed like Davis averaged 4.7 blocks but I’m not sure … that would be 188 blocks . I could be wrong – did he get that many ? Wouldn’t surprise if you told me that lol. Good article btw

  2. ScottGreene22
    7:50 pm August 19, 2018 Permalink

    Brandon Knight was a stud!!!

  3. UKWildcatNation
    11:47 pm August 19, 2018 Permalink

    Great article! Perfect illustration as to why I do not take much stock in ranking services…I have to see the kids in person and I could care less if they are ranked 50th, if they can play, they can play. Examples of guys that were ranked way too low nationally and ended up being GREAT college players:
    National rankings in parentheses
    Tyler Ulis – (19)
    Devin Booker – (22)
    SGA – (31)
    Tyler Herro – (37)
    Jodie Meeks – (39)
    Eric Bledsoe (68)

  4. friendsofcoal
    12:21 am August 20, 2018 Permalink

    Bledsoe at 68 is comical!