Kentucky Basketball: Recruiting and Reloading

An interesting thought just occurred to me:  What if the rest of UK's 2010 recruiting does not go according to plan?

Let's take a look at the worst-case scenario first.  Right now, UK has the following commitments to play in 2010 (I don't distinguish here between verbals and LOI's.  Lets just assume they all show up.):

  1. Brandon Knight
  2. Enes Kanter
  3. Stacey Poole
  4. Doron Lamb

Now, let's consider the possibility that all four freshmen from this year's team move on to the NBA (a fairly good probability) and that for whatever reason, the rumors are true and Darnell Dodson decides not to return to Kentucky.  That would leave:

  1. Josh Harrellson
  2. Darius Miller
  3. DeAndre Liggins
  4. Jon Hood

Keep in mind, I'm just playing with hypotheticals here.  I don't know anything about Dodson leaving, or the freshmen signing with agents, or any of that stuff.  This is all, "Just suppose."

More after the jump.

Assuming the above scenario, that leaves Kentucky with eight scholarship players.  Of the remaining Kentucky recruits, their status is as follows:

  1. C.J. Leslie (F) -- Currently visiting the Connecticut Huskies.  Announcement by the end of this month.
  2. Terrence Jones (F) -- Visited Kansas over the weekend, to announce Friday.
  3. Terrence Ross (G/F) -- Reportedly committed to the Washington Huskies over the weekend, to officially announce Friday.
  4. Marcus Thornton (F) -- Plans to visit schools starting in May.
  5. Corey Joseph (G) -- Not really recruited by Kentucky but now committed to the Texas Longhorns.  Mentioned only because some speculated UK interest due to his high ranking.

Assuming that Ross and Joseph are both off the board, that leaves three more players that Kentucky is known to be recruiting that could be available, all three of them play approximately the same position -- versitile forwards who can play either the wing or the four.

That means in the worst-case scenario, there have to be some players to be named later.  Obviously, two or even three could come from the return of Orton, Dodson and/or Bledsoe, (and you might argue that ambiguity is why there are not more names on UK's list) but we are looking at worst-case here.  That would put Kentucky's roster at only nine (or possibly even eight in the unlikely event of a Calipari strike-out), and talented though those nine might be, that just isn't enough for a college basketball season.  UK was lucky last year in that the Wildcats were largely injury-free, but that good fortune isn't likely to hold indefinitely.

The bottom line here is that there is a pretty good chance, probably 50/50, that UK can't fill their roster with the players it is currently either recruiting or could have returning.  I'm confident Calipari has planned for this contingency, and there are always players out there that change their mind or become available for some reason even as late as June or July, so I think we are still in a pretty good spot.  But what we see here is one of the dangers of having so many hold-outs to the late signing period -- if everything goes against you, you might wind up with serious needs unfulfilled.

In the best-case scenario, all three of the remaining holdouts would sign up with UK, Kentucky would again have the #1 class in the land, and whether any of the two freshmen or Dodson return wouldn't be particularly important.  Even if two of the three remaining hold outs matriculate to UK, the roster would be sufficiently deep at ten for UK not to worry -- sure, Cal could find a player or two, or some people could return, but the pressure would be off.

These next four weeks will be interesting, to be sure.

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