Let’s all think back to the morning of June 24, 2015. For most of us it was a regular Wednesday until it was time for Jamal Murray to make his college decision between Oregon and Kentucky. The day then became arguably the most important date for John Calipari and the recruiting trail.
Until Murray committed to the Cats, the two most important recruits in the school history were Jamal Mashburn and John Wall. Both were for the same reason. They made Kentucky, well, Kentucky again. Mashburn showed the world that it was okay to come to Lexington amidst the probation and that whole period, while building the ‘Roman Empire’ Rick Pitino so often talked about.
Flash forward a couple decades and it was John Wall’s turn to do the same. The Wildcats were in a rut. Billy Gillispie, well, let’s just say he showed up. The hire of Coach Cal brought a ton of excitement to the area, but also plenty of questions. Mostly, what recruits will follow him from Memphis to Kentucky? On May 20, 2009 Wall did just that. He became one of the best talents to ever put on the blue and white jersey and showed everyone in Big Blue Nation what to expect during the Calipari era.
So, what about Murray? Now, if you remember everyone was saying Cal lost his touch on the recruiting trail. That kids didn’t want to come play in the platoon system. That people were worried did the one year combining nearly two great recruiting classes to form the superteam that was 2014-15. People were wondering would Kentucky face another season like 2012-13, where the mass exodus led to an NIT year. Kids were choosing Kansas, Duke and even schools like UNLV, California and Purdue over Kentucky.
But, Murray solidified not only the roster but the fact Calipari still had it. He could go get anyone and really anywhere and convince them to come play for Kentucky. Now, obviously Murray still hasn’t played a game for the Wildcats yet, but if he plays the way we saw him in the PanAm Games, he’ll be one of the greats. For what it’s worth, he has this guys vote for most important commitment.