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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: 2012 Big Board (Late Signing Period Primer)

All eyes are on Kentucky target Shabazz Muhammad and fellow top player Nerlens Noel.
All eyes are on Kentucky target Shabazz Muhammad and fellow top player Nerlens Noel.

Let's cut right to the chase. Shabazz Muhammad. Nerlens Noel. Nerlens Noel. Shabazz Muhammad. The top two prospects in the 2012 class also happen to be Kentucky's top two remaining targets. Further, Noel and Muhammad both plan on announcing their decisions live on ESPN this Wednesday--April 11, the first day of the Late Signing Period.

Beyond that, nothing else is definitive. Kentucky remains heavily involved with Anthony Bennett, who has taken just one official visit to date. He plans to announce sometime in May. Amile Jefferson is another potential Wildcat; he has finished all his visits but has yet to announce a decision. Two other prospects with Kentucky offers, Tony Parker and Devonta Pollard, have seemingly cut Kentucky from their lists.

With uncertainty surrounding the prospects above, the Wildcats have also reached out to Alex Oriakhi, who helped Connecticut defeat Kentucky in the 2011 Final Four. Oriakhi has requested a transfer from UConn and is eligible to play immediately, thanks to the postseason ban levied by the NCAA on the Huskies.

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
Offer (Odds)
Commitment (Odds) Favorite School(s) News & Notes Trending (since 2/24/12)
Nerlens Noel
C The Tilton School (Everett, MA) Scout: 5*/1st
Rivals: 5*/NA
ESPNU: 5*/1st
Offered 40% Kentucky
4/10/12 - Noel plans to decide amongst three finalists, announcing his decision on April 11 at 7:30 EST on ESPNU.
Willie Cauley
C Olathe Northwest (Spearville, KS) Scout: 4*/35th
Rivals: 4*/39th
ESPNU: 4*/40th
Offered Committed (10/31/11)
Signed (11/9/11)
4/10/12 - No new news.
Anthony Bennett
PF/SF Findlay Prep (Brampton, Ont) Scout: 5*/7th
Rivals: 5*/7th
ESPNU: 5*/7th
Offered 40%
4/10/12 - Bennett took his first official visit to Oregon following the Nike Hoop Summit. He plans to take four more officials before deciding in early May.
Tony Parker
PF Miller Grove (Lithonia, GA) Scout: 5*/20th
Rivals: 4*/33rd
ESPNU: 4*/26th
Offered <1%
Ohio St.
4/10/12 - Parker is expected to announce during the Late Signing Period, though not on April 11 as initially expected.
Amile Jefferson
PF/SF Friends Central (Philadelphia) Scout: 5*/22nd
Rivals: 4*/36th
ESPNU: 4*/25th
Offered 5% Duke
NC State
4/10/12 - Jefferson plans to announce his decision in the Late Signing Period, with no definitive date.
Alex Oriakhi PF Connecticut
N/A (Transfer) N/A 20%
4/10/12 - Oriakhi is transferring from UConn and is eligible to play immediately. He received a visit from John Calipari and plans to visit Lexington in late April.
Andrew Young
PF Monterey Peninsula College (Juco)
N/A (Transfer) Not Yet Offered (5%)
Texas A&M
NC State
4/10/12 - Garrett Tucker (Bluegrass Hoops) report that Young has received preliminary interest from UK.
Shabazz Muhammad
SF/SG Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Scout: 5*/2nd
Rivals: 5*/1st
ESPNU: 5*/2nd
Offered 30%
4/10/12 - Muhammad plans to decide amongst three finalists, announcing his decision on April 11 at 7:30 EST on ESPNU.
Alex Poythress
SF/PF Northeast (Clarksville, TN)
Scout: 5*/15th
Rivals: 5*/19th
ESPNU: 5*/13th
Offered Committed (11/10/11)
Signed (11/10/11)
4/10/12 - No new news.
Devonta Pollard
SF/PF Kemper County (DeKalb, MS)
Scout: 5*/25st
Rivals: 5*/9th
ESPNU: 4*/28th
Offered <1%
4/10/12 - Pollard plans to decide in late April from amongst four finalists.
Archie Goodwin
SG Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, AR)
Scout: 5*/17th
Rivals: 5*/12th
ESPNU: 5*/15th
Offered Committed (9/20/11)
Signed (11/15/11)
4/10/12 - No new news.
DaJuan Coleman
C Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, NY)
Scout: 5*/10th
Rivals: 4*/27th
ESPNU: 5*/14th
Offered 0%
10/25/11 - Coleman committed to SU over UK and OSU on Oct 25.
Mitch McGary
PF/C Brewster Academy (Chesterton, IN) Scout: 5*/21st
Rivals: 5*/3rd
ESPNU: 5*/27th
Offered 0%
11/3/11 - McGary committed to Michigan over Duke and UF on Nov 3.
Brandon Ashley
PF Findlay Prep (Oakland, CA) Scout: 5*/5th
Rivals: 5*/13th
ESPNU: 5*/16th
Offered 0%
Arizona 8/29/11 - Ashley committed to Arizona over UCLA, Oregon, and UK on Aug 29.
Jarnell Stokes
PF Southwind (Memphis) Scout: 5*/NA
Rivals: 5*/11th
Offered 0%
12/23/11 - Stokes committed to Tennessee at mid-term over Memphis and UK on Dec 23.
Perry Ellis
PF Wichita Heights (Wichita, KS)
Scout: 4*/36th
Rivals: 5*/24th
ESPNU: 4*/35th
Offered 0%
9/21/11 - Ellis committed to KU over UK, KSU, and Wich St on Sep 21.
TJ Warren
SF Brewster Academy (Durham, NC)
Scout: 5*/26th
Rivals: 5*/23rd
ESPNU: 4*/29th
NC State
11/2/11 - Warren committed to NC State over Georgetown on Nov 2.
Gary Harris
SG Hamilton Southeastern (Indianapolis)
Scout: 5*/11th
Rivals: 5*/25th
ESPNU: 5*/11th
Michigan St
11/9/11 - Harris committed to Michigan St over IU, UK and Purdue on Nov 9.
Ricardo Ledo
SG Notre Dame (Providence)
Scout: 4*/14th
Rivals: 5*/8th
ESPNU: 4*/21st
Offered 0%
9/5/11 - Ledo committed to Providence over UK, Syracuse and UConn on Sep 5.
JP Tokoto
SG/SF Menomonee Falls (Menomonee Falls, WI)
Scout: 4*/90th
Rivals: 4*/68th
ESPNU: 4*/70th
Offered 0%
UNC 3/4/11 - Tokoto committed to UNC over Wisconsin on Mar 4.
LJ Rose
PG Westbury Christian (Houston)
Scout: 4*/67th
Rivals: 4*/95th
ESPNU: 4*/63rd
Offered 0%
Baylor 9/3/11 - Rose committed to Baylor over Georgetown and Virginia on Sep 3.

Note: 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. Doron Lamb (would-be junior), Terrence Jones (junior), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (sophomore), Marquis Teague (sophomore), and Anthony Davis (sophomore) are all expected to declare for the NBA Draft.

Returnees in 2012 will likely be Kyle Wiltjer (rising sophomore), Ryan Harrow (RS sophomore), and Jon Hood (RS junior). The Wildcats also return two preferred walk-ons, Jarrod Polson (junior) and Twany Beckham (senior).

Based on the above, Kentucky would have 10 scholarships open, though Calipari would not fill all 10 spots. 6 appears to be the magic number for the 2012 class, with three spots already filled.

Remaining Targets - Bigs (Needs: 2-4)

Committed/Signed: Willie Cauley

Defensive wizard Nerlens Noel is the key target, and Kentucky will find out shortly whether Noel will be a Wildcat or not. If Noel picks Georgetown or Syracuse over Kentucky, expect the heat to turn up on Alex Oriakhi, who is a natural power forward but could play center if needed. Oriakhi and Noel aren't mutually exclusive; the two are alumni of The Tilton School and are close. In a dream scenario where both choose Kentucky, Noel would likely start at center with Oriakhi starting at power forward.

Currently, Wiltjer is penciled in as the starting four next year, but either Anthony Bennett or Amile Jefferson could challenge Wiltjer for a starting spot. Bennett and Oriakhi are likely mutually exclusive, as both are looking for a starting spot next year. Jefferson looks like a more developmental player, similar to Wiltjer this year or Willie Cauley next.

A guy like junior college player Andrew Young may become a consideration if some key decisions turn out unfavorably for Kentucky.

Tony Parker has stopped listing Kentucky.

Percentages: I'm guessing Noel has UK as his non-favored leader at 40%, with Georgetown trailing but close. Bennett has UF and UK as 1A and 1B, 40% for each. UK is on the fringes for Jefferson at 5%, and Oriakhi's recruitment is early, so I'm putting each of his listed schools at 20% each.

Remaining Targets - Wings (Needs: 1-2)

Committed/Signed: Alex Poythress

Shabazz Muhammad is the only guy on the board, and like Noel, Kentucky should know shortly. If Muhammad chooses Duke or UCLA over Kentucky, the Wildcats are likely to hold steady with signee Archie Goodwin. Goodwin looks like a better fit as a high energy sixth man, but with the Wildcats' rotation thin going into next year, he probably starts at the 2 or 3, depending on Muhammad's decision.

Devonta Pollard has stopped listing Kentucky.

Percentages: Call UCLA a 51% favorite for the dynamic Muhammad, with UK in second place at 25%.

Remaining Targets - Guards (Needs: 1-3)

Committed/Signed: Archie Goodwin, Ryan Harrow (transfer)

No activity is expected here, with Goodwin on board and Ryan Harrow the likely starter at point guard next year. Depth is a concern, with Hood and Polson in line for more playing time than fans may feel comfortable with.

Like in the frontcourt, a late flyer on a backcourt transfer is not out of the question, especially if Muhammad opts for another school. No names have been mentioned as of yet, however.


If I haven't stressed this enough, April 11 is a big day for Kentucky's 2012-13 team. It could be a great day if both Noel and Muhammad opt for Kentucky, it could just be solid with one commitment, or it could be back to the drawing board.

Regardless of Noel's and Muhammad's decisions, Calipari will still be working hard to complete the 2012 class. The decisions of Bennett and Oriakhi are farther away on the timeline, but no less important.

With just six scholarship players currently on tap for next year, Kentucky is in need of both a talent and depth infusion. Who will be next in the Bluegrass?

Fearless Prediction Sure to go Wrong: Muhammad disappoints the Kentucky faithful by picking UCLA, but Noel follows that up by announcing he will play for UK. Oriakhi decides before Bennett, but the former UConn star picks Missouri. Consequently, Kentucky zeroes in on Bennett and lands him in early May. With depth still a concern, Kentucky adds one more warm body with potential to round out the class.

Follow my Twitter feed (@JC_Hoops) for the latest updates.

Other Recruiting Big Boards

2012 | Version 5 (2/24/12) | Version 4 (11/21/11) | Version 3 (9/23/11) | Version 2 (7/25/11) | Version 1 (4/21/11)
2013 | Version 2 (12/6/11) | Version 1 (5/25/11)
2014 | Version 1 (5/25/11)