Coach John Calipari has always been known for recruiting and coaching great point guards. He also has an impressive list of big men that he has coached, especially since he has been at UK. One position that he hasn’t really seen much success recruiting, however, is at small forward. The only player he has recruited and coached at UK that is strictly a small forward is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He didn’t recruit Patrick Patterson or Deandre Liggins. Alex Poythress isn’t a true small forward and plays power forward often. James Young is more of a shooting guard that played small forward because of the Harrison twins occupying the other two guard spots. Cal has a chance to change this trend and pick up a big-time small forward in this year’s recruiting class. He comes in the form of a 6’7”, 220 lb. player from Marietta, Georgia and his name is Jaylen Brown. He is rated a top 3 player in every major recruiting service and is #1 overall in Scout’s rankings.
If you aren’t familiar with his name now, you probably will be in the future regardless of where he chooses to play next year. He has superstar written all over him; not only while in college, but also when he decides to join the NBA. He is one of the most athletic and explosive players that I have watched in high school. If he gets his shoulders squared up to the goal…well you might want to get out of the way or you will be put on a poster. He is the total package and has everything you want in a small forward. He is uber-athletic, a powerful rebounder, finishes at the rim with ease, and is a very good defender. Only part of his game that you could say might need some work is three point shooting. However, he has very good mechanics in his three point shot; he just needs to continue to become more consistent in knocking them down. This will come with experience and hard work. Jaylen Brown is a very, very impressive player and John Calipari would be ecstatic to have him on his team.
But, there is major uncertainty regarding Jaylen Brown. That uncertainty would be his recruitment. No one knows what he is thinking and there is a good chance that he isn’t even sure. He has added random schools after cutting his list and taken a visit to California, a place people didn’t know he was even considering. It will be another whirlwind recruitment of a top prospect and will be a dramatic finish to land the elite small forward. John Calipari and UK should feel pretty good about Brown since they have remained on his list from the beginning and he visited for Big Blue Madness last fall. UK might not land him, but they have as good of a chance as anyone.
Landing Jaylen Brown can take this 2015 class for UK to another level. The class is good as it is and is already ranked #1. They have three very good players in Charles Matthews, Isaiah Briscoe, and Skal Labissiere. They also could get combo guard Malik Newman and one or two other big men like Thomas Bryant or Stephen Zimmerman. It will be another top recruiting class for Calipari regardless of who else he adds, but Jaylen Brown is the missing piece that can make it one of his best. John Calipari is hoping to land Mr. Brown and buck the trend of missing on elite small forwards, while building a team to make another run at a title in 2015-2016.