Summer vacation ends now for John Calipari and staff


Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Fourth of July holiday is past us, it’s time to really get to work for John Calipari and his staff. Today at 5:00PM marks the beginning of the July evaluation period, which is probably the most crucial part of the college recruiting season. Unclear about exactly what the evaluation period is?  Here ya go:

"For three consecutive weekends during the month, coaches are allowed to evaluate prospects from 5:00 p.m. on a Wednesday until 5:00 p.m. on a Sunday. What that means is that during a 15-day stretch in the middle of the summer, these high school players will be in gyms across the country, essentially auditioning for the coaches that they hope to one day play for.Audition is the proper word to use here as well.No in-person contact is allowed between the college coaches and the recruits or the families of the recruits. It’s strictly an opportunity for scouting and evaluation, which creates a surreal environment at the events that take place. Family, friends, AAU coaches and the athletes themselves are all ushered onto one side of the court after entering the gym through one entrance. The college coaches are fenced in on the other side of the court after entering through a different entrance."

This recruiting cycle is especially crucial for Kentucky, who has just one recruit committed in the form of Charles Matthews.  With Kentucky there is a lot of uncertainty as to how many players will leave, but it should be a large number.  And while Kentucky is recruiting a lot of 2015 players, it still seems as if no real leader has emerged yet.  The July period should clarify who Calipari’s main targets are and the eval period is a time when players either stand out or fall back.  It will be interesting to see who stands out for Kentucky.

"Five of the past six years John Calipari has signed the top recruiting class in the country and usually heading into July there’s a player or two, typically at the top of the rankings, that you point at and say he is going to Kentucky. This year, I’m not quite sure who that is. The Wildcats are heavily recruiting top 10 players Diamond Stone (how hard has remains to be seen), Jaylen Brown, Malik Newman, Cheick Diallo, Stephen Zimmerman, Skal Labissiere and Carlton Bragg. Since 2009 they’ve picked up 15 top 100 players, so they are sure to get one or more, but it’s not clear cut which player Kentucky will walk away this go around."

Even though Kentucky is going to lose a ton of talent after this season, they should still have most of their 2014 class hanging around another year. Only Karl Towns may be a one and done player and you get the feeling that he may stick around another year. The above players will be the leaders of the 2015-16 team and now is a good time as any to be thankful that Kentucky will have Tyler Ulis then.

The 2015 class is a very thin class for point guards and most teams that need one will be scrambling. The bit from Evan Daniels just stresses the importance of Tyler Ulis.

"I’ve received countless phone calls from college coaches searching for point guards in the 2015 class. 13 of the top 30 lead guards in the class are already committed. It’s already a thin group, as just 16 point guards are in the 2015 top 100. There will be ample opportunity for some new guys to emerge. If I were a betting man the best chance for a new name to emerge would be at Reebok Breakout Camp, the Victor Oladipo/Ty Lawson All-American Camp, out in Las Vegas or at one of the Hoop Group events."

I would not expect any commitments to come the rest of the summer for Kentucky basketball, but as we have learned, we don’t have to worry about recruiting with John Calipari at the helm. This year seems as confusing as any, but I would expect the late signing period in May to be the busier one for Kentucky. That said, look for Calipari to lock target on a couple of recruits after the eval period and turn up the pressure. We should have a clearer picture of recruiting in the Fall.