It's November 18th, 2015 and John Calipari may have just put a bow on his 2016 recruiting class. I can't remember a class coming together so fast and furious for coach Cal in his time at Kentucky.
With the additions of Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo in a 24-hour time span, John Calipari has filled his roster spots for 2016 and can now focus on the 2017 class. No matter who stays and who goes to the NBA, Calipari has all of the players he needs.
Isaac Humphries is only 17 and cannot enter the draft. Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins will most certainly return for their senior seasons. JUCO transfer Mychal Mulder will be a senior next season and Charles Matthews is also a player that may be back for another season at Kentucky. New Zealand big man Tai Wynyard has signed with Kentucky and will join the team in the spring semester and will return for the 2016 season.
Skal Labissiere, Jamal Murray, Alex Poythress will all be NBA bound. I also believe that Marcus Lee will enter the draft and there is the likely possibility that Tyler Ulis may test the waters under the new NCAA rule that college players can attend NBA combines. Depending on the feedback he receives, Ulis may also enter the NBA.
With all of that in play, let's take a look at the stellar freshmen that will be Wildcats in 2016.
6'3", 185 lbs
ESPN- #2 Point Guard, #7 Player Overall
Rivals- #1 Point Guard, #5 Player Overall
Scout- #1 Point Guard, #4 Player Overall
24/7- #1 Point Guard, #3 Player Overall
Fox has the speed of John Wall and a better shooting touch. He can get to the rim at ease and can be an elite defender under John Calipari. His relentless motor is only matched by his physical ability. Some say that he may be the best point guard prospect that John Calipari has ever recruited. Time will certainly tell.
6'3", 185 lbs
ESPN- #1 Shooting Guard, #5 Player Overall
Rivals- #1 Shooting Guard, #6 Player Overall
Scout- #1 Shooting Guard, #6 Player Overall
24/7- #1 Shooting Guard, #6 Player Overall
Monk was a bit of a early signing period surprise. Everything pointed to him waiting until the spring signing period, but with the commitments of Fox and Bam Adebeyo, Monk pulled the trigger. He is a good sized shooting guard that can shoot the lights out and is extremely athletic. A back court of him and Fox might even be better than what Kentucky has right now with Ulis, Murray, and Briscoe.
Edrice "Bam" Adebayo
6'8", 235 lbs
ESPN- #2 Power Forward, #6 Player Overall
Rivals- Five Stars (No other rankings available)
Scout- #2 Power Forward, #15 Player Overall
24/7- #3 Power Forward, #10 Player Overall
I'm not sure there has been a player under Calipari quite like Bam. Physically, he's a brute. He attacks the rim with abandon and will rip rebounds down with force and anger. I know Kentucky fans won't like this, but I liken his game to Montrezl Harrell. Bam is physically intimidating and he is great at running the floor. One word for him: dominant.
6'9", 210 lbs
ESPN- #6 Power Forward, #23 Player Overall
Rivals- Five Stars, #17 Player Overall
Scout- #3 Power Forward, #10 Overall
24/7- #4 Power Forward, #16 Overall
Although Gabriel is listed as a power forward, he has the skills and the shooting touch to step out on the win and play small forward. He is kind of like Brandon Ingram without the guard skills. Many experts compare him to Kevin Durant but he needs to work on his shooting. He can be a major weapon for the Wildcats.
6'11", 210 lbs
ESPN- #7 Power Forward, #31 Player Overall
Rivals- Five Stars, #26 Player Overall
Scout- #7 Power Forward, #29 Player Overall
24/7- #8 Power Forward, #26 Player Overall
Killeya-Jones is a bit of a project and will most likely play at the 5, even though he is listed as a power forward. At 210 pounds, he needs to add weight and muscle. He has a very big upside and is very athletic. He may not be physically ready for college basketball, so having Issac Humphries is going be to be huge.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. BBN still has an amazing year of basketball to look forward to as this current Kentucky Wildcats team is off to a roaring start. But it is comforting to know that next season's roster is almost set and the worry/anxiety the fan base felt as we saw player after player spurn Kentucky for smaller programs will not occur.
The tales of Cal's demise as a recruiter were premature and greatly exaggerated.