Much has been made of the 2015 recruiting class. Most “experts” say that there is no real star outside of LSU commit Ben Simmons. Also, Coach Calipari has offered many more scholarships this year than in the past for a couple of reasons; first off we will need to bring in a pretty big class after presumably losing around 5 guys, and secondly with no clear cut stars left in the class it is harder to distinguish a list of top targets. There have been rumblings of even more negative recruiting going on against Kentucky than normal and some have wondered if getting top players like the Harrison twins to return, on top of a good 2014 recruiting class, has scared away some of the top 2015 recruits. However, despite the skepticism that surrounds the ‘Cats developing 2015 recruiting class, I think Coach Cal has a better handle on the class than he is getting credit for.
I generally try to take the 247Sports Crystal Ball ratings with a grain of salt because the predictions being made are just an educated guess at best. Some of the scouts and recruiting analysts have good sources and may have a good feel for what a prospect will do, but others are simply either guessing or piggy-backing off what others do. If we look at the Crystal Ball Predictions, as of this morning, Kentucky would land the #3, #4, and #16 prospects in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Also, the ‘Cats are tied for the top spot with three other recruits, so just landing one of those would round out another excellent recruiting class.
As the Malik Newman/Diamond Stone package deal rumors start to die down I continue to feel more and more confident we will land the standout guard from Mississippi. Kentucky also appears to be in a very good position for dynamic perimeter player Jaylen Brown and we are locked in a battle with Louisville for electric scorer Antonio Blakeney. If Coach Calipari can land those three prospects, along with commit Charles Matthews, UK will once again have a top recruiting class and the backcourt will be set for the next couple of years.
When it comes to post players in the 2015 class, that is where UK is locked in some big time recruiting battles. Power Forward Carlton Bragg, the #9 prospect in the class, has his Crystal Ball split three ways between Kentucky, Kansas, and Ohio State. Another Power Forward, Cheick Diallo, is split evenly between Kentucky and Kansas as well. Top ranked Center Diamond Stone has Kentucky, UCONN, and Wisconsin all within a few percentage points and Doral Moore’s Crystal Ball shows UK trailing Illinois by just a slight margin. If Coach Calipari can simply get a commitment from one of those four post players it will round out one of the top two recruiting classes in the country.
While Kentucky only has one commitment right now, the “experts”, based on Crystal Ball ratings, have UK in a pretty good spot for a number of top prospects. With all of the good post players that Coach Cal has right now, and assuming that a few return next season, it isn’t as important to land all of the top post targets as it is to get guys like Malik Newman, Antonio Blakeney, and Jaylen Brown.
I can absolutely admit to being spoiled when it comes to recruiting success as a Kentucky fan. I count on Coach Calipari to bring in the very best players every year and have simply come to expect a #1 class. While this 2015 class may not have the marquee players and is developing a little more slowly, the ‘Cats are still in a good position to land a handful of the top prospects.