Both John Calipari and Sean Miller arrived at their schools at the same time and both have done a fantastic job of reviving their programs. John Calipari has won a national title and Miller’s Arizona Wildcats are currently number one in the land. So both are amazing recruiters in their own rights. CBS’s Matt Norlander made a comment that Miller had surpassed Calipari and Ben Roberts expounded on the debate.
While Kentucky fans would readily say Calipari is the better, Roberts offered some compelling arguments for Miller.
On the other hand, the four prospects with reported Kentucky offers who ultimately picked Arizona all had UK among their final schools. Those players are Stanley Johnson, Aaron Gordon, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski.
So, if you go by the recruitments that included UK and Arizona as finalists, Miller is the clear winner.
It’s also worth noting that Calipari and Miller both offered Myles Turner and Rashad Vaughn — the top two uncommitted players in the Class of 2014. Turner is still considering both schools along with five or six others. Vaughn has UK in his final five, but he has cut Arizona.
Another interesting point: Three of Miller’s four recruiting victories over UK have been with players from California (and all of them played for the Oakland Soldiers summer program). The other one, Tarczewski, is from New Hampshire. Calipari’s six have come from Texas (2), California, New York, Oregon and Michigan.
In the end, I have to go with Calipari with the slight edge over Miller due to the sheer numbers of five-star players. But Miller is very, very tough in the West and it is going to be increasingly tough to pull players from California and Vegas in the future. It’s a good debate but no one would argue that Miller, Calipari, Coach K and Bill Self are absolutely shaming the rest of the NCAA in recruiting right now.
So what will the critics of John Calipari say if Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson, James Young, and Alex Poythress all stick around in Lexington and don’t go the “one and done” route? Heads will explode as the Cats will be even more loaded than this years team. And while it is generally just parlor talk to discuss the NBA draft in January, that is what we do. And it looks like there could be fewer departures in Lexington this summer.
The consensus among draft gurus at this point is that three Kentucky players — not five or six as once thought — will go in the first round.
Ford has Willie Cauley-Stein going at No. 12 to the Minnesota Timberwolves and James Young going No. 17 to the Chicago Bulls. Mannix has Cauley-Stein and Young going 11 and 12, respectively. DraftExpress.com has Cauley-Stein at No. 9 to the Denver Nuggets (via the Knicks) and Young at No. 14 to the Orlando Magic from the Nuggets.
Andrew and Aaron Harrison remain in various 2015 mock drafts, with NBA personnel believing they would be best to wait until then, which, in turn, could make Kentucky especially loaded next season.
That said, I’m just waiting for the inevitable knee jerk reaction drop by the draft pundits for WCS. Don’t worry, Willie, you are always welcome in blue. Don’t mind me though. I’m just going to print up some “40-0 for 2014″ t-shirts in my basement.
Oh hey. Has anyone mentioned that Alex Poythress has been awesome lately?
Poythress, who is riding quite a hot streak, scored a season-high 16 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots. He scored 12 of 14 UK points during one seven-minute stretch that pretty well put away Texas A&M in the second half.
“He was dominant,” Kennedy said. “He’s a really good player, and he’s one of their more upper-class guys, so he played like it.”
Two gravity-defying Poythress plays stood out: a soaring swat of an A&M 3-point try and a sky-high slam that elicited first a gasp, then a roar from the Rupp Arena crowd. Poythress drove, elevated, started a finger-roll layup then changed his mind when he appeared to land on an invisible trampoline and spring even higher. He slammed the ball hard instead.
“I guess I didn’t realize how high I was and didn’t realize how close I was to the basket, so I just flushed it down,” Poythress said. “I mean, I guess I’m blessed with great athleticism.”
In both the way he talks and the way he’s suddenly playing, it seems Poythress is just now figuring out exactly what his 6-foot-8, 240-pound body can do. While he hasn’t started a single game this season — after starting 31 in a somewhat disappointing freshman year — Poythress has become the Cats’ go-to energy source lately.