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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Are the Wildcats Done for 2012?

Forward Amile Jefferson is just one of two prospects left with a Kentucky offer.
Forward Amile Jefferson is just one of two prospects left with a Kentucky offer.

With the news that Xavier transfer Mark Lyons has picked Arizona, Kentucky's 2012 big board shrinks by one. There are still quite a few targets left, though there has not been much positive recruiting news since Nerlens Noel committed to Kentucky way back on April 11.

Let's start with top target Anthony Bennett. After the apparent good news that Bennett had cut Florida, his presumed favorite, from his finalists, ESPN's Dave Telep had to throw cold water on the recruitment by stating that he felt Kentucky was in a distant third behind UNLV and Oregon for Bennett's commitment. The fact that Bennett has taken recent visits to the two nearby West Coast schools, while he has not visited Kentucky since last fall, cannot be overlooked. The thought was that Bennett would take a few official visits in the spring before committing, giving Kentucky head coach John Calipari another chance to impress. Per Telep, Bennett is now more likely to commit without taking any more official visits, a bad sign for Kentucky.

If Kentucky is indeed faltering with Bennett, Calipari may turn his full attention to another uncommitted prospect, Amile Jefferson. Jefferson has long been thought to favor Duke and North Carolina St., with the issue being that neither is an overwhelming favorite in his eyes. For Kentucky fans, the positive spin to his lack of a commitment is that Kentucky has continued to stay in Jefferson's ear throughout the spring. Every day that passes without a commitment from Jefferson is another day that Kentucky continues to keep him in mind. However, until we hear otherwise, the Wildcats should be considered third in this race too, with the Blue Devils and Wolfpack leading.

Beyond Bennett and Jefferson, pickings are slim. The only other remaining uncommitted 5* prospect in the class is Devonta Pollard, a swingman who repeatedly expressed interest in Kentucky but never got much love from the Wildcats coaching staff. Pollard is expected to pick from Alabama, Texas and Missouri sometime soon. Another top 100 prospect linked to Kentucky is Montrezl Harrell, who may ask for a release from his Virginia Tech LOI after former head coach Seth Greenberg was fired. As of today, Harrell is still undecided on his future with the Hokies.

In the backcourt, Kentucky took a long look at Croatian guard Mislav Brzoja, who played his senior season at Traders Point High School in Indiana. Brzoja, a member of the Croatian National Team, took an official visit to Kentucky on April 26 but left without an offer. Kentucky has also stayed in contact with Top 100 recruit Torian Graham, though the rumor is that academic issues may force Graham to prep school or junior college. Like Brzoja, Graham does not have a committable offer.

With Calipari searching for more immediate help in the backcourt, the Wildcats may turn their attention to Julius Mays instead of an incoming freshman recruit. Mays, a transfer from Wright State, is in the same boat as Lyons in that he can play immediately next year after graduating the spring with his undergrad degree. Also like Lyons, Mays would be a more college-ready guard that could step in immediately and play a valuable role on next year's team. Mays is just starting his recruitment, and Kentucky appears to be very interested, especially with Lyons out of the picture.

As it stands, Kentucky has only two offers on the table to Bennett and Jefferson. Calipari has said that he plans on taking just one more recruit in this year's class, but if both Bennett and Jefferson say "thanks but no thanks" to Kentucky, the Wildcats may just be done for 2012.