Kentucky loses first member of 2024 recruiting class in wake of John Calipari's departure

Arkansas enticed John Calipari to divorce Kentucky on Sunday night, and now pieces of Cal's No. 2 ranked high school recruiting class could start following him to Fayetteville.
2024 McDonald's All American Game
2024 McDonald's All American Game / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

It was inevitable that with John Calipari off to Fayetteville to become the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, his recruiting class at Kentucky would fall apart. Within 24 hours of the news, Karter Knox, the No. 19 overall player by 247 Sports, de-committed from the Wildcats and reopened his recruiting. 

Calipari’s 2024 Kentucky class was ranked No. 2 in the country, only behind Duke with Cooper Flagg, but the Cats’ six-player class will continue to be raided by other schools and coaches. There is a high likelihood that Knox, whose older brother Kevin played for Calipari and Kentucky in 2017-18, will follow the coach to Arkansas. Knox was also considering, Louisville and South Florida prior to committing to Kentucky on March 9, but had not yet signed his letter of intent. 

So far, Jayden Quaintance, a 6-foot-9 center and the No. 8 overall player in the class, has remained committed to Kentucky. He is the biggest prize of Calipari’s final recruiting class, but he along with four-stars Billy Richmond, Boogie Fland, Somoto Cyril, and Travis Perry are currently still committed. 

The job of whoever AD Mitch Barnhart hires to replace Calipari, will be get older and more experienced, but this 2024 recruiting class will still be the foundation of the program and retaining as much of it as possible will be priority No. 1, even before attacking the transfer portal. 

Knox is a 6-foot-5 225 pound wing from Atlanta who played his high school ball with Overtime Elite. He projects to be an efficient wing-scorer, even as a freshman, but like his brother, could look to be one-and-done in college. 

With Knox almost certainly out of the picture, retaining Justin Edwards becomes and even more crucial piece of the rebuildi in Lexington. Though Edwards had a disappointing freshman year, he still has the potential to develop into one of the best players in the SEC and a first round NBA draft pick, that just won’t be this summer.

Next. Nate Oats is the early favorite to replace John Calipari. Nate Oats is the early favorite to replace John Calipari. dark