Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: 2012 Recruiting Big Board (Version 2)

Kentucky's 2012 basketball recruiting landscape has gotten a lot clearer after the arrival of the July recruiting period, while still managing to stay relatively murky. It's crystal clear that top targets have arisen. At each position (save point guard, which transfer Ryan Harrow is expected to man), John Calipari has offered multiple prospects that he likes the most.

Yet the tricky part for Kentucky is that not a single prospect on the board considers UK a heavy favorite, or even a marginal favorite at all. Right now, Kentucky is at best running 1-B for all its prospects. Realistically, the 'Cats trail another school or three, and in many cases that school is a local one.

Of course, that's how Calipari likes it best. At point guard alone, Calipari has plucked Derrick Rose from Chicago, John Wall from North Carolina, and Brandon Knight from Florida, just to name a few high profile names and their respective basketball hot spots.

So yes, Kentucky still doesn't have a single commitment for the class of 2012. And Kentucky fans shouldn't hold their breaths for an imminent verbal, either. But the board remains strong, and the fish will bite soon enough. Just getcha popcorn ready.

Please be advised that table is best-viewed in "Wide" screen mode, which you can toggle via your dashboard. It's jam-packed with information that just can't be contained!

Name Pos School
(City Located)
Ranking
(Scout/Rivals/ESPNU)
Offer (Odds)
Commitment (Odds) Favorite School(s) News & Notes Trending (since 4/21/11)
DaJuan Coleman
C Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, NY)
Scout: 5*/4th
Rivals: 5*/18th
ESPNU: 5*/5th
Offered 45%
Syracuse
Kentucky
Ohio State
Arizona
7/12/11 - Per Matt Jones (KSR), Coleman will officially visit UK in September and may make a decision around Christmas. He is UK's top priority at the 5.
7/3/11 - In an interview with Adam Zagoria (ZagsBlog), Coleman's AAU coach Jim Hart said Syracuse and UK are the two teams pursuing Coleman the hardest.
5/31/11 - In an interview with Coast 2 Coast Hoops, Coleman named his favorites (listed), with Arizona as a strong newcomer.
Andre Drummond
C St. Thomas More (Oakdale, CT) Scout: 5*/2nd
Rivals: 5*/2nd
ESPNU: 5*/1st
Not Yet Offered (25%)
N/A
UConn
Louisville
Georgetown
Kentucky
UNC
Pittsburgh
WVU
7/1/11 - Rumors continue to abound that Drummond is considering declaring for the NBA Draft after his senior year (due to his age, he's eligible). In an interview with Jeff Goodman (CBS Sports), Drummond admits he's keeping all his options open.
5/30/11 - Drummond's AAU and HS coaches denied the rumor that Drummond was considering reclassifying to the 2011 class. He maintains the same favorites, with local UConn in the lead.
Kaleb Tarczewski
C St. Mark's (Southborough, MA) Scout: 5*/6th
Rivals: 5*/12th
ESPNU: 5*/9th
Not Yet Offered (5%)
N/A
Kansas
UNC
Arizona
7/6/11 - Tarczewski's AAU coach John Carroll said UK was still in the mix after UK's staff watched Tarczewski during the Adidas Invitational. So you're saying there's a chance...
6/29/11 - Per Dave Telep (ESPN), Tarczewski's has three favorites (listed) and unofficially visited all 3 this summer. He would like to make a decision by August.
Willie Cauley
C Olathe Northwest (Olathe, KS) Scout: 4*/36th
Rivals: 4*/41st
ESPNU: 4*/31st
Not Yet Offered (5%) N/A
Alabama
Florida
Okla St
Kansas St
New Mexico
7/7/11 - At the LeBron James Skills Academy, Cauley listed the five schools above. He noted that he'd like to hear from UK, but it's unlikely unless other bigs start committing elsewhere.
Mitch McGary
PF/C Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH) Scout: 5*/5th
Rivals: 5*/5th
ESPNU: 5*/4th
Offered 25%
UConn
Maryland
Texas
Florida
Kentucky
7/8/11 - UK offered McGary after watching him participate in the LeBron James Skills Academy camp.
7/1/11 - McGary has flown up recruiting boards and holds offers from a multitude of schools. He has not announced a favorites list.

*NEW*
Anthony Bennett
PF/SF Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV) Scout: 5*/11th
Rivals: 5*/7th
ESPNU: 4*/46th
Offered 25%
UConn
Kentucky
WVU
Florida
UNLV
6/27/11 - Per Thomas Beisner (KSR) Bennett received an offer from UK. Bennett, like McGary, has been a fast riser up recruiting boards and has not narrowed down his list.

*NEW*
Robert Carter
PF/C Thomasville (Thomasville, GA) Scout: 5*/17th
Rivals: 5*/16th
ESPNU: 5*/14th
Reportedly Offered
25%
Florida
Florida St
Georgia
GA Tech
Kentucky
VA Tech
Ohio St
7/11/11 - Veteran Bob Gibbons (All Star Report) tweeted that he expects Carter to commit to UK soon.
6/21/11 - Per Jeff Borzello (CBS Sports), Carter may not have a firm offer, but is definitely interested in UK and provided a list of 7 schools.
5/25/11 - Per Cats Pause and ESPN, UK has offered a scholarship to Robert Carter from Thomasville.

*NEW*
Perry Ellis
PF Wichita Heights (Wichita, KS)
Scout: 5*/22nd
Rivals: 5*/19th
ESPNU: 5*/19th
Offered 25%
Kansas
Duke
Kentucky
Kansas St
Memphis
Oklahoma
Wichita St
7/15/11 - Surprisingly, UK made Ellis its most-watched target during the July recruiting period. It appears to be a three-horse race between KU, Duke and UK.
6/20/11 - Duke offered and is coming on strong as a major player for Ellis.
Brandon Ashley
PF Findlay Prep (Las Vegas, NV) Scout: 5*/8th
Rivals: 5*/14th
ESPNU: 5*/6th
Offered 15%
UCLA
Texas
Syracuse
Oregon
Kentucky
GA Tech
Arizona
7/21/11 - According to Evan Daniels (Scout), Ashley has a final 7 with no overwhelming favorite. He will play for Nevada powerhouse Findlay Prep in his senior season.
Jarnell Stokes
PF Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA) Scout: 5*/19th
Rivals: 5*/10th
ESPNU: 4*/18th
Not Yet Offered (5%) N/A
Arkansas
Memphis
UConn
Tennessee
Florida
Kentucky
7/25/11 - Per Jim Tirey (Nation of Blue), Stokes hasn't heard from UK recently and may move on, given the lack of an offer.
7/12/11 - In an interview with Adam Zagoria (ZagsBlog) at the Peach Jam, Stokes named 6 schools, with Arkansas and Memphis leading. UK is the only school of the 6 that has not yet offered.

*NEW*
Shabazz Muhammad
SF/SG Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Scout: 5*/1st
Rivals: 5*/1st
ESPNU: 5*/3rd
Offered 40%
UCLA
Kentucky
Duke
UNLV
Texas A&M
Texas
Arizona
Kansas
Memphis
7/24/11 - Per Ben Bolch (LA Times), Muhammad's the following list, but is not planning to decide anytime soon. He notes that UCLA will receive an official visit.
7/23/11 - Per Mike DeCourcy (Sporting News), UCLA is the "presumptive favorite," but Muhammad will narrow down his list after AAU season.
7/1/11 - Strong AAU and All-Star performances have vaulted Muhammad to the top of the Rivals and Scout recruiting boards.
Alex Poythress
SF/PF Northeast (Clarkville, TN)
Scout: 5*/15th
Rivals: 4*/38th
ESPNU: 4*/17th
Offered 30%
Tennessee
Memphis
Florida
Missouri
Georgia
Kentucky
Louisville
7/17/11 - Per Jim Tirey (Nation of Blue), Poythress is definitely interested in UK and will likely take an official visit there. He's a unique fit for UK, who obviously will hold out for Muhammad at the 3; however, Poythress can flex to the 4 a la Terrence Jones.
7/16/11 - Poythress picked up an offer from UK after a strong performance at the Nike Peach Jam.

*NEW*
Devonta Pollard
SF Kemper County (Porterville, MS)
Scout: 4*/13th
Rivals: 5*/6th
ESPNU: 4*/23rd
Offered 15%
Miss St
Mississippi
Alabama
Missouri
LSU
Kentucky
NC State
7/17/11 - A strange incident occurred with Pollard was benched in an AAU game...by his mother. Let's just move on.
6/6/11 - Per Jeff Borzello (CBS Sports), Pollard has no clear-cut favorites and will take his time making a decision.
5/31/11 - Per Dave Telep (ESPN), Pollard has the following schools listed. UK, Mizzou and NC State are the latest to offer.

*NEW*
TJ Warren
SF Brewster Academy (Wolfesboro, NH)
Scout: 4*/39th
Rivals: 4*/36th
ESPNU: 4*/39th
Offered
10%
Louisville
Georgetown
Florida
NC State
Kansas
Texas
Kentucky
UNC
7/10/11 - Warren had dropped UK from his final 6, but a surprise offer from UK (along with UNC) has reopened Warren's recruitment.

*NEW*
Kyle Anderson
SF/PG St. Anthony (Jersey City)
Scout: 5*/14th
Rivals: 5*/4th
ESPNU: 4*/10th
Possibly Once Offered
0%
Seton Hall
St. John's
Georgia
UCLA
Florida
6/10/11 - Per Rivals, Anderson has narrowed his list down to five finalists, with UK not a finalist. He reportedly had a UK offer at one point, but that may have been smoke. He'll drop off the next big board.
Winston Shepard
SF Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV)
Scout: 4*/58th
Rivals: 4*/44th
ESPNU: 4*/64th
Not Yet Offered (5%)
N/A
Texas
OK State
Kansas
Memphis
New Mexico
SDSU
UCLA
UNLV
UTEP
Kentucky
Missouri
7/19/11 - Per Jeff Borzello (CBS Sports), Shepard is considering 11 schools (listed), but no favorites, with UK included.
7/8/11 - Per Jody Demling (Courier-Journal), UK is still pursuing Shepard but has not offered. An offer doesn't appear likely at this point.
Archie Goodwin
SG Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, AR)
Scout: 5*/20th
Rivals: 5*/11th
ESPNU: 5*/8th
Offered 45%
Arkansas
Kentucky
Memphis
Baylor
UConn
Tennessee
Missouri
Louisville
Georgetown
7/14/11 - Per Jeff Borzello (CBS Sports), Goodwin has about "20 schools" and plans to narrow down his list by the end of summer. Arkansas and UK should still be considered the top two.
6/6/11 - In an interview with Next Level Connect at the Pangos AA Camp, Goodwin named his favorites (listed).
Ricardo Ledo
SG Notre Dame (Fitchberg, MA)
Scout: 5*/9th
Rivals: 5*/8th
ESPNU: 5*/13th
Offered 25%
Kentucky
UConn
Providence
Texas
Arizona
Syracuse
Florida
7/8/11 - Per Jerry Tipton (Herald-Leader) and Steve Jones (Cats Illustrated), Ledo will definitely visit UK. He also named a few other schools (listed).
6/30/11 - Per Chris Fisher (Cats Pause), Ledo thinks UK would be a "good fit."
Gary Harris
SG Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, IN)
Scout: 5*/16th
Rivals: 4*/28th
ESPNU: 5*/16th
Not Yet Offered (<1%)
N/A
Indiana
Louisville
Michigan St
Notre Dame
Pittsburgh
6/17/11 - Per Jeff Borzello (CBS Sports), Harris is down to five favorites (listed). At this point, it's very doubtful UK offers.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera
SG/PG North Central (Indianapolis)
Scout: 5*/25th
Rivals: 5*/20th
ESPNU: 4*/32nd
Not Yet Offered (<1%)
N/A
Xavier
Texas
Tennessee
UCLA
Louisville
Kansas
Mich St
Memphis
Georgetown
4/9/11 - Jim Tirey (Nation of Blue) interviewed Smith-Rivera's mother, who named a few schools (listed). She noted that Smith-Rivera liked UK but there's been little reciprocating interest.
Torian Graham
SG Word of God (Durham, NC)
Scout: 4*/34th
Rivals: 4*/27th
ESPNU: 4*/24th
Not Offered (0%)
0%
NC State 5/16/11 - Graham committed to NC State on Mar 16 without receiving a Kentucky offer. He'll drop off the next big board.
JP Tokoto
SG/SF Menomonee Falls (Menomonee Falls, WI)
Scout: 4*/65th
Rivals: 4*/55th
ESPNU: 4*/37th
Offered 0%
UNC 3/4/11 - Tokoto committed to UNC over Wisconsin on Mar 4.
Omar Calhoun
SG/PG Christ the King (Brooklyn)
Scout: 4*/41st
Rivals: 4*/39th
ESPNU: 4*/38th
Not Offered (0%)
0%
UConn
6/10/11 - Calhoun committed to UConn on June 10 after an unofficial visit without receiving a Kentucky offer. He'll drop off the next big board.
LJ Rose
PG Westbury Christian (Houston)
Scout: 4*/60th
Rivals: 4*/69th
ESPNU: 4*/47th
Offered <1%
UCLA
Texas
Georgetown
Virginia
Memphis
Kansas
Baylor
7/13/11 - Per Mike DeCourcy (Sporting News) and Steve Jones (Rivals), Rose no longer lists UK as a favorite and has a top 2 of UCLA and Texas.

 

Note: Offer status is per Rivals where appropriate. Likelihood of offer and likelihood of commitment are estimates based on available information. Percentage statuses change as new information becomes available.

Scholarship Situation

As of today, Kentucky has two graduating seniors in Eloy Vargas and Darius Miller. Returnees in 2012 would include Jon Hood (senior), Stacey Poole (junior), Doron Lamb (junior), Terrence Jones (junior) and the 2011 class of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Anthony Davis and Kyle Wiltjer. Jones, Lamb, Kidd-Gilchrist, Teague and Davis are strong early entrant candidates. Kentucky will also add NC State transfer Ryan Harrow, who is eligible starting in 2012 (redshirt sophomore), and return two preferred walk-ons, Jarrod Polson (junior) and Twany Beckham (senior).

Based on the above, Kentucky could have as many as 10 scholarships open, or as few as 4. Expect it to be closer to the former rather than the latter. This is admittedly a projection far into the future, and Kentucky's needs can and will change accordingly.

Remaining Targets - Bigs (Needs: 2-4)

Calipari will likely be looking for at least one stud each for the 4 and 5 spots.

At the 5, it looks like DaJuan Coleman or bust for Kentucky at this point. Coleman is rumored to be down to two teams, but the second is hometown (and current favorite) Syracuse. He will likely take an official visit to Kentucky in September; expect a full court press from the Cats. Andre Drummond and Kaleb Tarczewski are unlikely options this point (neither has an offer), and Willie Cauley hasn't heard from UK in a while. If Coleman doesn't choose Kentucky, Calipari will likely look to a PF/C hybrid, much like Anthony Davis this year.

At the 4, your guess is as good as mine. Kentucky has four definitive offers out. Perry Ellis and Brandon Ashley are the holdovers, and two new offers have gone out to "hot" names Mitch McGary and Anthony Bennett. The past consensus thought was that Kentucky was falling out of the Ellis race and would turn on the burners for Ashley. Now, the converse is true. Calipari and company have made Ellis a top priority during the July recruiting period; Ashley, not so much.

McGary and Bennett should also be considered top targets. Both have received a ton of interest in recent weeks as their recruiting rankings have skyrocketed and do not appear to be trimming down their list. However, they are both prospects that Kentucky is willing to wait on.

There have been conflicting reports as to whether Robert Carter has an offer, but assuming he does, he's in strong contention to be the first commit for the 2012 class. A sixth name to keep in mind is Jarnell Stokes, who doesn't officially have a Kentucky offer but has (or perhaps had) the 'Cats on his short list.

Because frontcourt depth will be precariously thin going into the 2012 season (at this point, only Kyle Wiltjer should be considered a likely returnee), some lesser-known names may start appearing as the recruiting season continues as Kentucky tries to balance top-tier talent with four-year depth.

Remaining Targets - Wings (Needs: 1-2)

Shabazz Muhammad remains the hot commodity for the class of 2012. He parlayed a strong summer into the number one ranking on the Rivals and Scout recruiting boards, and the only reason he's not number one on ESPNU is because they haven't updated the board as recently. He's still heavily tied to UCLA, but there's no reason to think Kentucky won't be fighting for him until the very end. 

Behind Muhammad are two new prospects that hold Kentucky offers, Alex Poythress and Devonta Pollard. Both are "SEC kids," Poythress from Tennessee and Pollard from Mississippi. It's a tad surprising that Calipari offered both, which may provide some intuition about Kentucky's chances with the more highly regarded Muhammad.

Even more surprising is that Calipari offered TJ Warren, who played at Word of God before announcing his intentions to transfer to Brewster Academy for the upcoming school year. Calipari is familiar with both schools: Word of God is John Wall's alma mater, and Brewster Academy is where fellow prospect Mitch McGary is playing. Warren had previously dropped Kentucky from his list, only to reopen his recruitment after receiving a Wildcats offer.

The fifth name to be aware of is still a holdover, Muhammad's AAU teammate Winston Shepard. He's still keeping Kentucky on his list, although the 'Cats haven't offered. Another name, Kyle Anderson, left Kentucky off his final list. Both sides have moved on there.

Right now, Big Blue Nation should feel good about Kentucky's chances with Muhammad. The longer he doesn't commit to UCLA, the bigger a win it is for UK. But with Darius Miller leaving and Michael Gilchrist possibly following suit, Calipari knows he needs players at the 3. Don't be surprised if Kentucky pursues two wings in the end, with or without Muhammad in the fold.

 

Remaining Targets - Guards (Needs: 1-3)

Archie Goodwin is a name that has been longed linked to Kentucky. While UK is still a favorite for him, Goodwin has maintained he still hasn't made a short list, nor is he inclined to decide anytime soon. That may explain UK''s recent rise in interest for Ricardo Ledo, a Goodwin clone that is big and can score at will. It's unlikely that Kentucky will take both (or that either would want to play together), so this could be a "first-come, first-serve" offer.

With Stacey Poole and Jon Hood likely to return in 2012, a smaller 2 guard isn't high on the priority list. That's good, because Kentucky has seen interest wane from its potential options there. Two players that had Kentucky interest but no offer, Torian Graham and Omar Calhoun, committed to NC State and UConn, respectively. Two more, Gary Harris and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, haven't been hearing from Kentucky and have moved on as well. So if Calipari wants to go fishing, it'll have to be for some new names.

One position where Kentucky appears done is point guard. Calipari seems satisfied with the transfer of Ryan Harrow, a former 5* recruit from NC State. Kentucky will also have Twany Beckham on hand as a backup. The only offer out at the 1 was to LJ Rose, and both parties backed off after the Harrow news due to mutual disinterest.

Outlook

What's the best case scenario? DaJuan Coleman at the 5, Shabazz Muhammad at the 3, and either Archie Goodwin or Ricardo Ledo at the 2. The 4 is the most wide-open. There doesn't appear to be a clear-cut favorite, although of the names listed, it appears Kentucky likes Perry Ellis the most. Not to get greedy, but one more super-prospect, preferably a combo position player like Anthony Bennett, would be the cherry on top.

Here's the deal, though. It's quite possible that none of these prospects will be committing anytime soon, and if they do, they probably won't be donning a UK hat. In a way, blame the NBA lockout. Top players are concerned that any new Collective Bargaining Agreement will stipulate that players have to be two years out of high school before they are eligible for the NBA Draft. Who gets hurt the most by that rule? Schools like Kentucky, which have multiple freshmen that could be NBA-ready come April 2012.

Not that Kentucky fans would complain if they got to experience Year 2 of Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist and Marquis Teague. Still, expect some recruits to hold on until the late signing period before decisions are final. Don't worry, folks: it's a market Calipari is intimately familiar with. In the interim, the Kentucky coaching staff is continuing to plant seeds and give clear signals to the prospects they like the best.

Follow my Twitter feed (@JC_at_M2M) for the latest updates and keep an eye out for the next big board update.

Other Recruiting Big Boards

2012 | Version 1 (4/21/11)
2013/14 | Version 1 (5/25/11)
2011 | Version 2 (4/25/11) | Version 1 (4/15/11)

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