With a big man and a point guard already in the fold, the Kentucky Wildcats are looking for spacing and shooters to fill out the 2014 class. At small forward, two names have risen to the top. Kentucky head coach John Calipari has honed in on two five-star wing players: Stanley Johnson and Kelly Oubre.
Johnson, from Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei, has long been on Kentucky's radar. Meanwhile, Oubre just recently received his offer earlier this summer. The Texan transplant will play his senior season at Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep.
Johnson and Oubre are expected to take official visits to Lexington in mid-October for Big Blue Madness. The latest news on both sounds very promising.
Calipari has been all over Johnson during the fall visit period. He first visited Johnson on September 12, then made a return visit yesterday. Two visits in one month? No wonder I called Johnson Kentucky's most important recruit.
The return visit comes after news that Johnson cut the UCLA Bruins and Kansas Jayhawks from his list, leaving five teams that will receive official visits. Currently, Kentucky is considered a co-favorite along with the Arizona Wildcats, who just received an official visit in mid-September. Johnson also lists the Florida Gators, USC Trojans, and Oregon Ducks.
Johnson has also expressed interest in pairing up with elite talent, most notably with Oubre or Justise Winslow, another small forward with a Kentucky offer. The usual caveats apply, but the takeaway is that Johnson isn't shying away from competing against the best in practice. Kentucky has a good shot here.
Furthermore, things have heated up with Oubre. The Wildcats still look like heavy underdogs to the presumed favorite Kansas Jayhawks. However, Kentucky and Kansas are the only two schools to visit Oubre this fall. In that linked article, Oubre's father also mentioned that the Louisville Cardinals, once a frontrunner for Oubre, have stopped contacting him. Kentucky still has a way to go before acquiring "leader" status for Oubre, but check back after Big Blue Madness and Coach Cal's recruiting wizardry show.
October 18 looks to be an important date for Kentucky. Along with Oubre and Johnson, the Wildcats will also host uncommitted prospects Trey Lyles and James Blackmon. Could some good news be coming in a month? We can only hope.