Kentucky Basketball: Recruiting Analysts Invite The Big Blue Nation To Panic

This article by the generally awesome Dave Telep writing for ESPN.com notes that Kentucky doesn't have a single player on the board yet for 2012:

Understand this, we aren't pushing the panic button, but this is Big Blue Nation and you can never underestimate the passion Wildcats fans have for their Kentucky team. The facts are this: Kentucky has three straight No. 1-ranked recruiting classes, which is absurdly successful. However, coach John Calipari enters this summer without a single commitment in the 2012 class. If he's to make it four straight No. 1's, he'd better hurry because the clock is ticking.

Translation:  You might want to panic just a little tiny bit.

Dave's a great talent evaluator and knows college recruiting, but John Calipari is, at this moment in time, the best recruiter in the game by a mile. Yes, it is late, and yes, UK has no commitments yet from high schoolers, but there are a ton of recruits still on Kentucky's radar.

Here are just some of the players thought to have Kentucky interest, courtesy of Rivals.com.  There are several others at the 3 star level and below, but I have discounted those as unlikely targets for UK, although you never know for sure.  To date, Calipari has not recruited anyone I know of below a Rivals 4 star level, but I point out as a caveat that he could if he needs bodies to fill out the roster.  Based on his record, though, I don't see that happening.

Pos Name School Height Weight Stars Position rnk
G Ricardo Ledo Fitchburg, MassachusettsNotre Dame 6'5" 185 5 stars 1
F Shabazz Muhammad Las Vegas, NevadaBishop Gorman 6'6" 215 5 stars 1
F Devonta Pollard Porterville, MississippiKemper County 6'7" 190 5 stars 2
C Kaleb Tarczewski Southborough, MassachusettsSt. Mark's 7'0" 220 5 stars 2
G Archie Goodwin Little Rock, ArkansasSylvan Hills 6'4" 181 5 stars 3
C DaJuan Coleman Dewitt, New YorkJamesville-Dewitt 6'8" 280 5 stars 4
F Brandon Ashley Oakland, Calif., NevadaFindlay Prep 6'8" 225 5 stars 5
F Winston Shepard Henderson, NevadaFindlay Prep 6'8" 206 4 stars 6
G Katin Reinhardt Santa Ana, CaliforniaMater Dei 6'4" 175 4 stars 8
F Perry Ellis Wichita, KansasWichita Heights 6'8" 220 5 stars 9
F Anthony Bennett Henderson, NevadaFindlay Prep 6'7" 230 5 stars 10
C A.J. Hammons Mouth of Wilson, VirginiaOak Hill Academy 7'0" 260 4 stars 11
G L.J. Rose Houston, TexasWestbury Christian 6'3" 175 4 stars 14
F Elijah Macon Columbus, OhioMarion Franklin 6'7" 200 4 stars 14

By my estimation, Calipari will need between five and seven players to replace losses from next year. We will surely lose Eloy Vargas and Darius Miller to graduation, and I'd be shocked if at least three (and as many as five) of Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, and Anthony Davis did not jump to the NBA in 2012.

With so many dominos yet to fall, it's way to early even to be mildly concerned about recruiting, as far as this writer is concerned. Calipari is about to go on what I figure to be a major recruiting push, one that seems certain to yield at least two commitments between now and the end of August.  Some of these guys, like Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb in 2010, will likely wait until the spring to commit. However I have every reason to expect that at least a couple will bite before the end of the summer.

Mandatory disclaimer:  I am not a recruiting guru or expert, and don't hold myself out as one, so my speculation could be entirely wrong.  This is just my gut feeling based on the past two years, and nothing more.

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