John Calipari and Kentucky basketball have been raising the bar ever since Cal's arrival in Lexington.
Heck, UK did just land five five-star recruits in the 2016 class, not to mention landing six five-star guys in the 2013 class. When it comes to recruiting, no one has done it better since the 2009 cycle than Cal and Kentucky. The allure of playing for the best program in college hoops combined with the best coach at getting his guys to the pros is the dream for many of today's best high school prospects.
But is is it possible for the Wildcats to land nine five-star prospects in one class? As Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader writes, the Cats are in great shape for 9-10 different guys in the 2017 class, so it's not completely out of the question.
Going into this weekend, Meyer's "Crystal Ball" page on the 247Sports website included pro-UK predictions for nine highly touted prospects from the 2017 class: Hamidou Diallo, John Petty, Michael Porter Jr., Trae Young, Nick Richards, Jarred Vanderbilt, Kris Wilkes, P.J. Washington and Ikey Obiagu.
"It’s a good thing," Meyer told the Herald-Leader. "I don’t think it’s unusual. Kentucky is Kentucky. A lot of kids want to go there, and they’re excited when they do get offered.
"I think it’s more that Kentucky is going to have to decide who they really want out of a lot of these guys. It’ll be interesting to see how many spots they have available. I think Kentucky has a really good chance at landing any of these guys if they make them a priority."
As of now, I feel really good about UK's chances to land John Petty, Trae Young, Nick Richards, Michael Porter Jr. and Hamidou Diallo. That's five right off the back, so who's to say Calipari can't sign four more?
The Cats have put themselves in good position with Jarred Vanderbilt, Mohamed Bamba, Ikechukwu Obiagu, Kris Wilkes and P.J. Washington, not to mention DeAndre Ayton if Uk starts going hard after him again. UK is also pushing hard for Wendell Carter, Kevin Knox, Gary Trent Jr. and Tremont Waters, though Duke is the favorite right now for those four.
It seems out of this world that any school could sign nine players in one class, let alone nine guys who are ranked as top 30-40 prospects in their class. As good as Calipari is, I don't think he'll ever pull off that kind of haul, but it's not completely out of the realm of possibility.
After all, UK may have as many as 10 scholarships open in 2017. Dominique Hawkins, Mychal Mulder and Derek Willis will graduate. Whether Marcus Lee stays in the draft this year or returns as a senior to graduate next year, that's four scholarships free before NBA draft declarations in 2017. Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo and Isaiah Briscoe will likely go pro, and so too may Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha-Killeya Jones if they show enough promise as freshman.
That's anywhere from 7-10 free scholarships potentially being open for 2017, so it may actually be possible to sign 7-9 top-30 prospects for UK in the 2017 class. It's still very hard to see nine elite prospects all willing to go to the same school, but if anyone can pull that kind of minor miracle off, it's Calipari and Kentucky basketball.
And heck, as crazy as it sounds, Calipari has never shied away from setting ridiculous standards for himself and his program, so trying to sign nine guys may be the latest tall task he looks to accomplish.
In the end, I think UK misses on adding that many five-star guys, but are able to top the previous record of six by landing seven of them in the 2016 cycle. They're just in too good of a position with too many guys to not end up with at least five, and I think Cal is able to pull off seven.