Ever since Kentucky missed out on Stanley Johnson on Friday, there has been growing speculation that John Calipari and the Wildcats may be turning to Montague Gill – Caeser as their top remaining target for the 2014 class. Only problem is that Gill – Caeser is a 2015 recruit and would need to reclassify into 2014.
Word is that he is on schedule academically to be able to do so, and that Kentucky is one of the schools that are interested in him doing so. John Calipari, of course, is very familiar with Gill – Caesar’s game as he was a team-mate of Andrew Wiggins at Huntington Prep. And Rob Fulford, the coach at Huntington Prep say that exposure to the Wiggins show can help Montague with his decision now.
Fulford said the added confidence in Gill-Caesar’s game is natural. The coach called Wiggins “the best on-ball defender in college” and described the experience of playing against him every day as “invaluable” for Gill-Caesar’s growth.
“Regardless of who we play, it’s not Andrew,” Fulford said. “So obviously his confidence is a little higher when he’s playing someone else because he’s used to going against Wiggins every day.
“It’s huge. It’s invaluable. I don’t think you can put a tag on it, really — how important it was.”
Seeing those matchups was apparently enough for John Calipari.
The UK coach expressed interest in Gill-Caesar early last season and invited him to attend last weekend’s game against Northern Kentucky, which he did.
“It was cool,” Gill-Caesar said. “I was comfortable there and I talked to Coach (Calipari) a little bit and heard what their philosophy was. I liked it.”
Fulford, who also made the trip, said they didn’t specifically ask whether Gill-Caesar has a UK scholarship offer, and Calipari didn’t explicitly say that he did.
The UK coach did make it clear that he expects to lose the majority of his players after this season.
Calipari is also in need of at least one more wing player, and Daniels noted that he’s not currently recruiting any of the available perimeter prospects in the Class of 2014.
It seems pretty clear.
“From my understanding, just in conversation, if Teki wanted to go to Kentucky, he can go to Kentucky,” Fulford said.
Gill-Caesar said there’s no timetable on when he’ll make a decision on whether to reclassify, and he’s even further away from a college announcement.
According to some recruiting databases, Myles Turner is the top 2014 recruit available. And it appears that Kentucky has next to no chance to landing him. At least as of now. It appears that the addition of Trey Lyles may have effectively ended the pursuit of Turner. You never know what can happen, but for now, the odds seem astronomical against Cal.
Lather, rinse and repeat the sentiments regarding Duke. Kentucky has Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson this season and has already signed Karl Towns Jr. and Trey Lyles to man the frontcourt in 2014-15. We can’t officially rule out anything when it comes to John Calipari and recruiting, but it’s incredibly unlikely that Turner will be moving to Lexington next summer.
So … are John Calipari’s days as the best recruiter in college basketball over now? Has he lost his mojo?
I certainly would not say that but some seem to think that Bill Self has passed Cal as the best recruiter in college basketball.
On Friday, Bill Self became the best recruiter in the country.
I can already feel the blue blood boiling in Big Blue Nation. Call anyone but John Calipari the nation’s best recruiter and it feels like heresy. It’s almost become an article of faith in today’s college basketball world that if you’re a one-and-done talent looking for the best place to develop your game before heading to the NBA, you take your talents to Lexington, no questions asked.
But when Cliff Alexander — the No. 5 overall recruit for next season according to Scout.com, a Dwight Howard-like basketball talent who is the most athletic player in the 2014 class — sat at a table at Curie High School in Chicago and put a Jayhawks hat on his head, he very well might have helped shift the balance of power in the recruiting world.
Forget for a moment the immature pump-fake Alexander made when he pretended to pick up an Illinois cap, then went for the Kansas cap (You could hear the hearts shattering in Champaign-Urbana from hundreds of miles away).
When Alexander chose Kansas, the Andrew Wiggins effect showed how powerful it can be.
Bill Self has always been an impressive recruiter, but he’s yet to have that breakout NBA star come out of his system. He’s been incredible at developing talents like Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey, who turn into NBA-caliber players by their junior or senior year, but one-and-dones haven’t been his signature. Wiggins, the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, changed all that.