Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: John Calipari’s streak of top college basketball recruiting classes to end in 2014?


Mar 9, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari reacts during the game against the Florida Gators in the second half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Florida 61-57. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari has reeled in the top recruiting class for five strong years in a row. So far it’s looking like the streak could possibly end . A combining eight of the top 20 recruits in ESPN’s top 100 prospects in the Class of 1014 all have powerhouse programs such as Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke in the picture. At this point, Jahlil Okafor, Myles Turner, Cliff Alexander, and Tyus Jones have yet to announce their decision. ESPN had five of their college basketball experts give some feedback about which team will be coming up on top:

Paul Biancardi from ESPN basically stated that he ultimately thinks that Kansas and Duke are in the greatest position to claim a few of the top players. The package deal involving Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, according to Paul, will end up being apart of the Duke Blue Devil family. Coach K already has the number 24 ranked player in the Class of 2014 in Grayson Allen, but if the Blue Devils catch Tyus and Jahlil then Duke claims the top spot.

Adam Finkelstein also thinks that the Blue Devils will land Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor. The two guys bonded together while playing for USA Basketball…which has a straight connection with Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Another anticipated recruiting target, Justise Winslow , has been recruited upon by Tyus and Jahlil themselves to follow their lead. If that comes to be true then Duke shouldn’t have a problem being number one when it’s all said and done.

Joel Francisco decided to change things up a bit. He believes that Ohio State and North Carolina have a legitimate shot at clinging to a top spot. Duke and Kentucky could eventually overtake the two schools, depending on how things pan out. If Duke gets commitments from the package of Jones and Okafor then they will be on top. The Kentucky Wildcats have gotten a commitment from point guard Tyler Ulis. If the Cats receive Trey Lyles as well as James Blackmon Jr. and Stanley Johnson to add onto the Class of 2014, John Calipari could nudge his way closer to the top of the list but fall short to Duke if they pursue getting commitments from Tyus and Jahlil.

John Stovall states that if the Buckeyes get another big man along with Myles Turner, then they will be number one. However, if they get neither and Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky hit home runs then there could be some shifts in the rankings.

Reggie Rankin of ESPN says that when it is all said and done, Duke will get the two best players (Okafor and Jones). The Kansas Jayhawks aren’t out of the question because Bill Self is a good and solid recruiter. The Jayhawks could end up with a monster class with getting either Myles Turner or Cliff Alexander. Their reputation of ending strong shouldn’t be a problem, just like last year with the addition of Andrew Wiggins late in the recruiting season.

Duke is looking like the strong front-runners for landing Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, and I think they should be number one if they land those guys. Having the top point guard and center of the freshman class could end up being dangerous for Coach K. On the other hand, I think John Calipari has changed his style of recruiting from past experiences. It’s looking like he is getting guys that can potentially stay for many years at a time. Solid bench play and experience is what John is going after and if he keeps getting a few top players along with it, then it could be something interesting in the making. The streak might end at five, but experience could be the way that Coach Cal is aiming.