Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: 2014 Big Board - July '12 Edition

Calipari is going mining for some diamonds in the 2014 class.

With Glenn's recent post about Canadian phenom Andrew "Ender's Game" Wiggins on the ledger, I thought it would be a great time to take a look at Kentucky's targeted 2014 prospects. Wiggins is the obvious top prospect on the board, and possibly the only one with a committable offer. As Glenn mentioned in his post, Wiggins is a candidate to reclassify to the 2013 class, so no, it's not a given he stays in 2014.

Aside from Wiggins, five-star point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has also claimed a Kentucky offer. He's a top-flight point guard, and we all know how John Calipari loves his point guards. Though Mudiay is not likely to make a decision soon, I don't doubt Calipari would accept an earlier than expected commitment from him, a la Marquis Teague.

Beyond those two offers, Kentucky has a lot of cards in play. The Wildcats recently hosted visits from two five-star prospects, point guard Jaquan Lyle and shooting guard D'Angelo Russell. Kentucky is also on solid footing with other prospects. For example, Kentucky has long known about center Dakari Johnson, who was a freshman at St. Patrick (Elizabeth, NJ) when Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a senior. Johnson has since followed former St. Patrick head coach Kevin Boyle to Montverde Academy in Florida.

John Calipari may be coming for some coaches' souls, and for good reason: recruits all have Wildcat fever. For example, center Cliff Alexander called UK a "dream school," and small forward Stanley Johnson said Lexington was a "must visit" destination. Yup, the Kentucky Effect is out in full force.

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
(Hometown)
Ranking
(Scout
/Rivals/ESPN)
Offer (Odds)
Commitment (Odds) Favorite School(s) News & Notes Trending (since 5/25/11)
Jahlil Okafor
C Whitney Young (Chicago) Scout: 5*/2
Rivals: 5*/2
ESPN: 5*/2
Not Yet Offered (45%)
N/A
Duke
Michigan St
Ohio St
Arizona
UNC
NC St
5/4/12 - Currently starring for the U-17 USA team, Okafor told Jeff Borzello (CBS Sports) the top 4 teams listed were pursuing him the hardest. UK is interested, but with Johnson and Alexander high on UK's radar, Okafor may not end up receiving serious interest from Calipari.
**NEW**
Dakari Johnson
C Montverde Academy (New York) Scout: 5*/4
Rivals: 5*/7
ESPN: 4*/6
Not Yet Offered
(85%)
N/A
Syracuse
Florida
Kentucky
Kansas
Stanford
Georgetown
Ohio St
Louisville
6/16/12 - Johnson, who is also playing for U-17 USA, told Adam Zagoria (Zags Blog) he doesn't have a list yet. UK has been on Johnson a long time. Johnson attended Sayre High in Kentucky for 8th grade, St. Patrick (alma mater of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) in 9th grade, and will suit up for Montverde alongside 2014 target D'Angelo Russell this year.
Cliff Alexander
C Curie
(Chicago)
Scout: 5*/3
Rivals: 5*/4
ESPN: 5*/10
Not Yet Offered (75%) N/A Michigan St
Indiana
Kentucky
Florida
Florida St
Kansas
Providence
DePaul
Illinois
Louisville
UConn
Wisconsin
Ohio St
6/24/12 - Alexander gave a pretty substantial list to Scott Burgess (Chicago Hoops). He's one of three very highly rated centers in the 2014 class. It remains to be seen which center Calipari will pursue the hardest, though Calipari did, earlier this spring, ask Alexander to visit his self-proclaimed "dream school."
**NEW**
Noah Vonleh
PF New Hampton
(Haverhill, MA)
Scout: 5*/6
Rivals: 5*/3
ESPN: 5*/4
Not Yet Offered (75%) N/A Arizona
BC
UConn
Syracuse
Providence
Indiana
6/15/12 - Vonleh received a call from Calipari on the first day of the contact period. Per Brian Bosworth (NBE Basketball), Calipari "all but offered" Vonleh, who is the top power forward on UK's board.
**NEW**
Leron Black
PF White Station (Memphis) Scout: 4*/29
Rivals: 4*/18
ESPN: 5*/21
Not Yet Offered (40%) N/A Memphis
Kentucky
Georgetown
Tennessee
Missouri
6/15/12 - Black has been a fan of Calipari ever since Cal's Memphis days, and would likely commit with a UK offer. He heard from UK on the first day of the contact period.
**NEW**
Shane Hall
PF Johnson Central (Prestonburg, KY) Scout: 4*/73
Rivals: 3*/UR
ESPN: 3*/UR
Not Yet Offered (5%) N/A
UAB
Western KY
Cincinnati
Indiana
Alabama
Kentucky
6/19/12 - Per Garrett Tucker (Nation of Blue), Hall has heard from assistant Orlando Antigua. As a borderline top 100 prospect, Hall is more likely mid-major bound but could be a local product to keep an eye on.
**NEW**
Andrew Wiggins
SF Huntington Prep (Toronto)
Scout: 5*/1
Rivals: 5*/1
ESPN: 5*/1
Offered 50%
Kentucky
Florida St
UNC
Duke
Syracuse
7/9/12 - Per Adam Zagoria (Zags Blog), Wiggins has a top five but, as repeatedly mentioned, UK and FSU are heavy favorites. Wiggins' HS coach did not rule out the possibility that Wiggins could reclassify to 2013.
Justise Winslow
SF St. John's (Houston) Scout: 5*/10
Rivals: 5*/8
ESPN: 5*/11
Not Yet Offered (35%) N/A
Arizona
Texas
Baylor
Texas A&M
Houston
UCLA
Duke
6/12/12 - Winslow recently took a trip to Arizona and wants to visit Duke and UCLA, per Josh Paunil (NRS). Calipari visited Winslow in Houston last winter and has him on UK's radar. Winslow is also currently playing for the U-17 USA team.
**NEW**
Theo Pinson
SF Weslayan Christian (Greensboro, NC)
Scout: 5*/16
Rivals: 5*/16
ESPN: 5*/13
Not Yet Offered (35%) N/A
Indiana
Louisville
Kentucky
Syracuse
Florida St
Florida
Duke
UNC
Baylor
Wake Forest
6/15/12 - Per Jody Demling (Courier-Journal), IU's Tom Crean was the first to contact Pinson during the contact period. Pinson remains on UK's radar.
Jalen Lindsey
SF Christian Presbyterian Academy (Franklin, TN) Scout: 5*/23
Rivals: 4*/23
ESPN: 5*/19
Not Yet Offered (35%) N/A
Kentucky
UNC
Miami
Georgetown
Marquette
Vanderbilt
Alabama
Memphis
Tennessee
NC St
Louisville
Florida
7/10/12 - Per Steve Jones (Cats Illustrated), Lindsey plans on visiting UK in August. Lindsey does not have any favorites but earlier provided Jeff Borzello (CBS Sports) with a pretty extensive list.
**NEW**
Shaqquan Aaron
SF William Howard Taft (Woodland Hills, CA) Scout: 4*/28
Rivals: 4*/28
ESPN: 4*/35
Not Yet Offered (15%) N/A
Arizona
UConn
Syracuse
UNLV
UCLA
St John's
Washington
SDSU
7/3/12 - Per Michael McAllister (Nation of Orange), Aaron mentions that UK has shown interest, though the Wildcats have not offered.
**NEW**
Paul White
SF Whitney Young (Chicago) Scout: 4*/30
Rivals: 4*/33
ESPN: 4*/31
Not Yet Offered (15%) N/A
Ohio St
Arizona
Wisconsin
Baylor
DePaul
Illinois
Iowa
4/24/12 - While Calipari hasn't contacted White personally, White told Garrett Tucker (Nation of Blue) that UK has expressed interest. As a teammate of top prospect Jahlil Okafor, White is an intriguing top 50 swingman that may receive further UK interest.
**NEW**
Stanley Johnson
SF Mater Dei (Fullerton, CA) Scout: 4*/40
Rivals: 4*/17
ESPN: 4*/27
Not Yet Offered (15%) N/A
Arizona
UCLA
USC
Missouri
Arizona
SDSU
Oregon
6/4/12 - Johnson told Chris Fisher (Cats Pause) that a UK visit was a "must" for him, along with Arizona and Oregon. Can Calipari go out west to mine more talent again?
**NEW**
D'Angelo Russell
SG Montverde Academy (Louisville) Scout: 5*/12
Rivals: 5*/10
ESPN: 5*/15
Not Yet Offered (75%) N/A
Indiana
Louisville
Kentucky
Cincinnati
Missouri
Ohio St
Xavier
6/25/12 - Russell took an unofficial visit to Kentucky and chatted with Calipari, who flew in to meet Russell. Originally from Louisville, Russell will play for powerhouse Florida program Montverde next fall. He appears to be the top shooting guard target on the board.
**NEW**
Isaiah Whitehead
SG Abraham Lincoln (Brooklyn) Scout: 4*/31
Rivals: 5*/13
ESPN: 4*/47
Not Yet Offered (25%) N/A
Syracuse
UConn
Rutgers
Iowa St
Arizona
Kentucky
6/21/12 - Per Zach Braziller (NY Post), Whitehead received a call from Calipari, and he thinks that UK, his "dream school," may be close to offering.
**NEW**
Tyus Jones
PG Apple Valley (Apple Valley, MN)
Scout: 5*/5
Rivals: 5*/5
ESPN: 5*/3
Not Yet Offered (25%) N/A
Michigan St
Ohio St
Minnesota
Baylor
Indiana
Duke
Arizona
6/20/12 - Jones told Adam Zagoria (Zags Blog) that the schools listed have showed the most interest. UK has reached out, although right now it appears that Calipari would prefer Mudiay or Lyle. Jones is also currently playing for the U-17 USA team. **NEW**
Emmanuel Mudiay
PG
Grace Preparatory (Arlington, TX) Scout: 5*/7
Rivals: 5*/6
ESPN: 5*/5
Offered 40%
Texas
Baylor
SMU
Oklahoma
Kentucky
Arizona
Kansas
Marquette
6/22/12 - Per Jeff Borzello (CBS Sports), Mudiay lists the following schools as those pursuing him hardest. Mudiay earlier told Five Star Basketball that he has a UK offer, though that may not necessarily be committable. He will be hard to pull out of the Big 12, but if any school can do it, it's "Point Guard U" led by Calipari. Mudiay has consistently praised Calipari and UK's PG-friendly system.
**NEW**
Jaquan Lyle
PG Benjamin Bosse (Evansville, IN)
Scout: 5*/14
Rivals: 4*/19
ESPN: 5*/8
Not Yet Offered (50%) N/A
Texas
Louisville
Indiana
Kentucky
Purdue
Ohio St
Xavier
Illinois
Michigan St
6/26/12 - Lyle visited UK a day after Russell's unofficial visit, which is a great sign for his recruitment. However, in a previous interview with Jeff Borzello (CBS Sports), Lyle called Texas his "dream school" and also had good things to say about Louisville. Should he receive a UK offer, it would be a spirited battle at PG between Mudiay and Lyle.
**NEW**

Scholarship Situation

Kentucky currently has six players on scholarship for the 2014-15 season: Ryan Harrow (RS senior), Kyle Wiltjer (senior), Nerlens Noel (junior), Willie Cauley-Stein (junior), Archie Goodwin (junior), and Alex Poythress (junior). Honestly, there is a pretty good chance all of them are playing professionally by 2014.

Prospect Overview

As discussed, small forward Andrew Wiggins and point guard Emmanuel Mudiay are currently Kentucky's top two targets in the 2014 class. Wiggins is arguably the best high schooler in all of college basketball, and whether he's in the 2013 or 2014 class, Calipari will pursue him aggressively.

At point guard, Mudiay faces stiff competition from fellow five-stars Jaquan Lyle and Tyus Jones. With Kentucky now known as "Point Guard U," it's no wonder distributing wizards everywhere want to play for the Wildcats. Mudiay, from the greater Dallas area, is in the heart of Big 12 country, but has been consistent in his praise of Calipari. Lyle, who just visited Lexington, is another intriguing option. For now, I am keeping Mudiay as UK's perceived top PG target, but that may change quickly as the Wildcats express more interest in Lyle. Jones is another name to monitor. Kentucky has not been heavily linked, but could get in the mix if it wanted.

At shooting guard, local product D'Angelo Russell has been drawing raves on the AAU circuit and has also drawn the attention of the Kentucky coaching staff. Russell recently visited Lexington, with John Calipari flying in from his time with the Dominican Republic National Team to see Russell. Isaiah Whitehead, from the recruiting hotbed of NYC, has also received attention from Kentucky. Right now, though, it appears that bringing Russell back to the Bluegrass is the preference at the 2.

With Wiggins a question mark to stay in the 2014 class, the Wildcats have cast a wide net at small forward. Jalen Lindsey is the hot name right now, and the Tennessean is planning a visit to Lexington in August. Lindsey is friends with incoming freshman Alex Poythress, and that connection may benefit the Cats. Fellow five-stars Justise Winslow and Theo Pinson have also been on Kentucky's big board for a while, while high four-stars like Shaqquan Aaron, Paul White, and Stanley Johnson have also heard from the Wildcats coaching staff. Yup, there are a lot of options. This one may take a while to shake out.

Power forward's diaper dandy prize is Noah Vonleh, a talented player from the Northeast. But the two names that might be more familiar to Kentucky fans are Leron Black and Shane Hall. Black, from nearby Memphis, has been a fan of Calipari ever since his Tigers days and could jump at an offer from Kentucky. Hall is a native Kentuckian, though as a fringe top 100 prospect, he might not garner a coveted scholarship offer from the Cats.

Finally, center is a top-heavy position of strength in this year's class. After Wiggins, Jahlil Okafor, Dakari Johnson, and Cliff Alexander are arguably the best three prospects in 2014. Of the three, Okafor may be the best. Kentucky fans would no doubt love to see Okafor, a Chicago product, follow in the footsteps of Windy City alum Anthony Davis. However, Kentucky seems to be in a better position with Johnson and Alexander, both of whom have been more repeatedly linked to the Wildcats than Okafor.

There are a bunch of exciting names on the board, and the bottom line is that Kentucky is recruiting the best of the best from across the country. But the reality is that any commitment from a 2014 prospect is likely a long way off. Until then, just enjoy the chatter.

Other Recruiting Big Boards

2012 | 4/10/12 | 2/24/12 | 11/21/11 | 9/23/11 | 7/25/11 | 4/21/11
2013 | 7/5/12 | 12/6/11 | 5/25/11
2014 | 5/25/11

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