Kentucky Wildcats Morning Headlines: Bruce Pearl sliding back in the SEC with a top 5 class

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He’s back … While it seems a bit unusual to lead the Kentucky Wildcats Morning Headlines with a non Kentucky story, you can’t ignore what Bruce Pearl is doing at Auburn.  Plus, we take a look at Cal’s recruiting and Damien Harris.

Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

I know, it seems a bit unusual to lead a Kentucky site with a Bruce Pearl story, but you can not ignore the job that Pearl is doing at Auburn. He has given the Tigers a top five class for 2015 already (per 24/7) and more importantly, gives the SEC a super villain coach they can all hate as well as a big personality.

I know that ESPN named Billy Donovan as the top coach in college basketball and whether you agree or not with that ranking (I do not), I think we can all agree that Donovan is actually kind of boring personality wise and does not stir up the Big Blue Venom like his father mentor Rick Pitino does.

Bruce Pearl does that and he is just as driven as John Calipari is and has the press clip snippets to Rival Calipari. And he will be formidable on the recruiting path. Granted, Pearl does not have the guns right now to rival UK and Cal, but it’s good to see an old favorite super villain emerge again.

 

Although it’s August, Auburn was the biggest story in college basketball for four days. On Friday, it was Purifoy. On Saturday, it was Pearl’s show-cause ending. On Sunday, it was Spencer. And on Monday morning, it was Dunans. When is the last time a non-blue blood owned headlines like this?

There was little question that Pearl would make an impact at Auburn. He’s won at every stop, and his enthusiasm, energy and style are attractive to prospective recruits. Players want to play in his up-tempo system. But no one could have foreseen a weekend like this for the Tigers.

Auburn might not be an NCAA Tournament contender in 2014-15, but Pearl has the Tigers relevant in the national college basketball landscape again – and this weekend cemented made sure of it.

The gauntlet has been laid down by Pearl and Auburn: He’s back.

 

Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

One of Pearl’s commits, Daniel Purifoy, had a Kentucky offer (per Rivals) so Pearl is definitely getting Cal’s attention. Calipari will still have a top five class of his own and it appears that Eric Davis may be the next offer. Davis took an unofficial visit to Lexington this weekend and it looks like an offer may be on the way.

 

There’s still no Kentucky scholarship offer for talented guard Eric Davis, but his high school coach says everything is “moving in the right direction” for the four-star basketball prospect.

Davis — a 6-foot-3 player from Saginaw, Mich. — made his second unofficial visit to UK over the weekend. He was also in town last October for Big Blue Madness, an event that attracted a few more immediate recruiting targets.

“He really didn’t have a chance to see the campus and spend time with Coach (John Calipari) the last time he was there, because it was so busy,” Arthur Hill Coach Greg McMath told the Herald-Leader. “So he wanted to get back down there and take a look at the facilities, the school and everything that you’re trying to get a feel for.

“He thought it went well.”

The other big recruiting news this weekend is that Doral Moore did not make his trip to Lexington and had to reschedule. If Davis get the offer, he will become the 23rd player from the 2015/16 class to get one.

 

Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of Doral Moore, there is some buzz that he could be a Wildcat soon. He would be a nice addition to the class and more than one analyst has compared him to Willie Cauley-Stein.

 

After all, Moore is similar to Cauley-Stein in so many ways. Their games are a bit different with Cauley-Stein being more of a defensive stopper in his high school days and Moore perhaps being more offensively skilled at the same stage. But, Moore is every bit as big and he is also quite athletic (though not quite as fluid and agile as Cauley-Stein) and he also suffers from inconsistency like Cauley-Stein did. When Moore is fully engaged and playing with energy on both ends, it isn’t tough to envision him playing in the NBA. The problem is that he is often quiet on the floor and has many outings where his production doesn’t seem to match his physical gifts.

The key for Moore is that he is still very young and that he does have that next level type of talent. Now, it is up to him to find the college situation and coach who is most likely to help pull all of that ability out of him.

 

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