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Where UK Stands w/ 2015 Basketball Targets


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.  

Top 2015 target Malik Newman

Top 2015 target Malik Newman

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.

UK 2015 commit Charles Matthews

UK 2015 commit Charles Matthews

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.  

Brandon Ramsey


Article written by BrandonRamsey

21 Comments for Where UK Stands w/ 2015 Basketball Targets

  1. UK
    3:22 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

    No way do we get 4 wing players (Matthews, Newman, Blankeney, Brown) when we already have Devin Booker in the mix…it just wont happen. We probably get 1, hopefully 2 of those guys, since Matthews is already committed.

    Also, it would make more sense for Cal to take a power forward, like Diallo and Bragg, along with a center. Sure we will be alright in the post, but there’s an better than alright chance that Johnson, Cauley-Stein, and Towns all leave and the center position looks pretty empty.

    • Ridge Runner
      3:24 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Reference to your second paragraph is another reason I mentioned Zimmerman below.

    • John
      4:11 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Newman and Blakeney are definitely guards and not wing players.

    • Surprising
      4:11 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Surprised there are still “Calipari cant get (# of recruits) at this position” people out there. He absolutely can and using the DDMO, they all can play 20+ min/game as well. These guys are versatile, Cal has this.

    • Bobbum man
      5:02 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Well going off of your logic we’d have returning wing players like Hawkins and ullis to pick up some of those minutes

    • UK
      5:39 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      I’m not saying Cal can’t get them….I’m saying they won’t come if the position is so crowded.

      And yes Blankeney and Newman are guards. Shooting Guards. Who play on the wing. And are therefore “wings.”

    • John
      6:58 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      So to you, any player other than point guard and center is a “wing?” Most people who follow basketball consider a “wing” to be a player that plays small forward or shooting guard/small forward combo. Newman and Blakeney are 6’2″-6’3″ish and cannot and do not play on the “wing.” And therefore are not “wings.”

  2. Ridge Runner
    3:23 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

    I think we would have to add the increase in attention we are getting from Stephen Zimmerman -not to mention his recent plans to attend Madness.

    • Jake
      5:33 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      You think he’s worth the time and not focusing on Brown Or Blakeney? Everything I have read on Zimmerman is he’s slow and no heart. I know it’s hard to judge that in the summer AAU circuit. You can’t teach desire they either have it or they don’t.

  3. SoCal Will
    3:23 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

    Hey, it is all tea leaves and dry ice but how about the revised choices of Brown, Blakeney, Zimmerman and Swanigan to go with Mathews…. We keep hearing out west that Zimmerman’s mom thinks Cal is best for her son.

    • Jake
      5:35 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      I’d rather have Swanigan than Z. That kid has a desire that can’t be touched. Plus i think he would stick around another year or 2 until he’s satisfied with his improvement.

  4. Jughead
    3:33 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

    Doesn’t matter, Cal will coach the Cavs after Kevin Love plays his last year for the Wolves and goes to the mistake on the lake.

    • JayCatz44
      3:53 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      You’re dreaming!

    • DCS195
      4:02 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      JayCatz44. No. Jughead is not dreaming. He’s hoping.

    • SoCal Will
      4:13 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Cal had the leverage this summer and got the Cavs to $80M and still didn’t go. Next summer the Cavs have the leverage and even if there is an offer it won’t be in the $80M ballpark. The train has left the station…

    • Oh, Wow
      5:58 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Are you like gifted or something? Your brilliance is absolutely blinding. Your posts continue to amaze.

  5. JayCatz44
    3:54 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

    UK is looking iffy for Brown and Matthews right now.

    • ya
      4:37 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      And diallo. And newman maybe

  6. Robro
    4:56 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

    Stone will go to Uconn, Newman to Kansas…I’m hoping for Blakeney, Matthews, Brown, Bragg, Rabb/Zimmerman/Swanigan to go with Ulis, Booker, Hawkins, Willis, Lyles, Lee. I dont think we get Rabb, but I like him. I think everyone else leaves, this will be a special year!

    • no
      6:33 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      We won’t get blakeney matthews and brown. Maybe two of them. And I assume you mean any one of those bigs cause there is no way we get all three

    • no
      6:33 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Or 4 bigs