Which 2010 recruits will fall to Calipari the next six weeks?


by Paul Jordan

Like his Kentucky Wildcats storming to another SEC title, John Calipari is heading into the homestretch in finalizing his 2010 recruiting class. Despite being ranked in the top five almost all season, the 2010 recruiting class still stands at just one member, Stacey Poole. UK still is aggressive pursuing five members of the top 25 players in the country.

Granted, Calipari is expected a big 2011 class as well and may need to go with 11-12 scholarship players next year in order to pull in that big haul for 2011. Regardless, with Kentucky losing Stevenson, Krebs and Harris to graduation, and probably Wall, Patterson, and Cousins to the NBA, Calipari needs to nail down about 3-4 more players in 2010 to even get to that 11-12 scholarship level. Let’s take another look at the top players and see where they may be headed down the stretch. Of course, it’s unrealistic to expect Calipari to pull more than one or two of these five players, but a couple of these players, teamed with Pole can put Kentucky in the top 10 class rankings. As we have learned, Cal is definitely capable of more however.


All has been fairly quiet on the Brandon Knight front, but this is something to be expected as most major players are finishing their HS seasons. If Knight’s teams makes the state championships, his season would be over around March 8, at which time he is said to re-focus his energy on the NCAA teams. Part of Knight’s decision will be based on who stays school for the pros, which could mean a decision may not be likely till the middle of April or so. As of now, Knight seems to be looking at Kentucky, Miami, Florida, Kansas, UConn and Syracuse. Some reports have left Syracuse off this list. Despite rumors that Florida or Kentucky may be leading, his dad has said in the past that “no one is leading” for the services of his son.

Regardless, the rumors are going to prevalent. One UK blogger caused quite a stir a few weeks ago when he said that UK was not in the lead for Knight’s services according to a “source”, but that point has never been clarified and the source never named. Most media in the print speculate that Kentucky is the fit for Knight, but there appears to be a good bit of pressure for Knight to go to Florida. Knight’s dad dismisses that in the above Zagoria piece, but the Florida pressure is mentioned again in this article along with a rumor that Brandon is leaning toward the Gators.

MY TAKE?: I think this has boiled down to a Kentucky/Florida battle and I think it is still pretty open. I do think that Knight is Kentucky’s to lose, but Florida is charging hard down the stretch and UConn, Kansas, and Miami are still possibilities. In the end, it’s all about Calipari and Knight will go to Kentucky.


Josh Selby has recently cut his list and is now down to a final four of Arizona, Kansas, Connecticut, and Kentucky. Josh has been busy lately, cutting Baylor, Indiana, Miami, and Syracuse from his list. UConn and Arizona were thought to be on the outs, but have made reappearances in his final four list. Josh has two visits remaining: to UConn on 2/28 and Kentucky on 3/7 for the Florida game. Like Knight, Selby has his sights on a HS state title and that is first priority for now. There is still some confusion about whether or not Indiana is on the list, but Selby’s mom has denied that it is not a two team race between Kansas and Arizona.

From some reports, Josh Selby’s mom was very impressed with the environment at Kansas and called it the best environment they had experienced thus far. Of course, Rupp awaits for Josh on March 7. Connecticut is still very much in the running for Selby as they and Kentucky have been prominent since Selby de-committed from Tennessee. Speaking of Tennessee, they recently attended a Selby game and are trying to get back into the race, but that appears to be an act of desperation by the Vols.

MY TAKE?: I do not forsee both Selby and Knight both attending the same school, but I think Kentucky is very much a player and if UK does not get Knight, they will get Selby. I know that Calipari is pitching both players to attend ala Wall and Bledsoe, but don’t expect similar magic as Bledsoe will more than likely still be a Cat next year. If UK is Knight-less, Selby will be a Wildcat. If not, he will be a Huskie. I do wonder what would happen if Selby is ready to give his commitment on March 7. Would Cal accept it then? Or still wait on Knight, knowing that a Selby commit will send Knight elsewhere?


Since is is on the West coast, it is easy to forget about Jones, but he is still considering Kentucky in his final list of Oregon, Kentucky, UCLA, Oklahoma, and Washington. Since playing at the next level is a concern, you would think that places Kentucky high on his list as none of the other schools have that history of being a gateway to the NBA like Kentucky and Calipari offer. Jones has had some good things to say about Kentucky recently:

“Well, with Kentucky they’re a powerhouse right now. They win and they put guys in the NBA”

Jones has said that he will make his decision sometime between the end of his team’s season and April 14, which is the first day of the college late signing period and it will be announced at a press conference. Oregon is rumored to be a leader, but the Ducks are struggling and the fate of head coach Ernie Kent is up in the air.

MY TAKE?: It’s hard to say right now. Kentucky is obviously having the best season of all the teams on his list, and Calipari would seem to be the best route to the pros. We have been hearing so long that Jones prefers to stay on the West Coast however … but Jones does seem open to the Wildcats. I would make Kentucky a serious darkhorse, due to the NBA possibilities, but still think he will remain near home. If Kent keeps his job, I think Jones will be a Duck or end up at Washington, who he visitted this weekend.


Some pundits have speculated that C.J. Leslie may be one of the last players to commit, ala his former teammate John Wall, and it is starting to look that way. NC State commit Ryan Harrow recently made a statement about the incoming class for the Wolfpack and he included his friend in the class. When asked about that, Erasto Hatchett, Leslie’s, coach at Word of God Academy kind of threw cold water on that speculation:

“That is just a little wishful thinking on Ryan’s part. C.J. is not that far along in the process. Don’t read anything into it.”

Never the less, Sidney Lowe is still actively pursuing former commit Leslie, but questions have popped up as to whether Lowe would even return as coach. Seeing that Leslie could make his 2010 class a top 5 class, landing Leslie could be a job saver for Lowe. Regardless C.J. LEslie remains very interested in Kentucky and has been following their season closely and even made the Wildcats his pick to win the national title. Despite his friendship with Wall, Leslie has been pretty noncommittal on naming a leader but right now it appears it is between Kentucky, Florida, and NC State, but other schools are in the mix. He recently gave a hint that he may be paring his list a bit between the McDonald’s All Star Game (March 31) and the Jordan All Star Game on April 17.

MY TAKE?: I think winning is important to Leslie and it would be a shock if he did NOT choose the Wildcats.


Ah Doron, what are you waiting for? Lamb seemed to be a Kentucky lean in the spring and early summer and then that seemed to shift to Kansas. Yet, he remains uncommitted. He did recently cut his list to a final four of Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas, and West Virginia. He has said that he will announce his decision after the NCAA Tournament. Despite recent self imposed sanctions, Arizona still is recruiting Lamb very hard and is making Lamb and Josh Selby the possible centerpiecves of their 2010 class.

The final four list is something of a surprise because at one time, Oklahoma was considered a leader and both them and UConn were deleted. There is speculation that Lamb is waiting to see where Knight goes and if Knight goes somewhere other than Kentucky, he may be a Wildcat. I still think that Calipari has the persuasion powers to convince Lamb to sign, regardless of who else is on the roster.

MY TAKE?: I honestly have no clue. Right now, I have to put all teams equally at 25% and then maybe a coin toss can decide this. Kentucky has been on his list too long to not be a serious option. But at the end of the day, this is one of the most well guarded recruitments.

There you go. Even with the most guarded of optimism, I see two of these five becoming Wildcats. That paired with Poole, would give UK three recruits and a roster of 10 players if the previous six UK players leave this year. Kentucky still is looking at players like Enes Kanter, Eloy Vargas and Terrence Ross and I w
ill break down some of the other options in a later post.

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