The Kentucky Wildcats could be facing another “mass exodus” at the end of this upcoming season.
I know, it’s weird to think about next season when this season hasn’t even tipped off, but this is becoming a norm at John Calipari’s Kentucky.
Looking at the roster for this season, it’s likely that Kentucky loses De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, and Isaiah Briscoe to the NBA Draft. Couple that with Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins, and Michael Mulder being seniors. Then there is always the possibility that a guy like Wenyen Gabriel or Sacha Kileya-Jones has a better than expected year and an NBA team falls in love with their potential.
Either way, Kentucky stands to likely lose seven or more players. That means the 2017 recruiting class is essential for Kentucky to land several top talents in the class to fill out the roster.
However, Calipari noted Thursday that he is only recruiting “eight or nine” players in the Class of 2017. With the randomness that exists in college basketball recruiting, one would think that Calipari would look to recruit a larger number than in years past, knowing what is coming ahead.
Over at 247 Sports, Chris Fisher notes that Kentucky has offered 13 scholarships in the class, though it seems Calipari has cooled off on players such as Wendell Carter and Gary Trent Jr. Those two have often mentioned being a package deal and Duke seems to be the heavy favorite to land both.
The Lexington Herald-Leader’s recruiting site “NextCats” lists 14 members of the Class of 2017 with confirmed scholarship offers. That list includes DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba, Wendell Carter, Hamidou Diallo, Quade Green, Kevin Knox, John Petty, Nick Richards, Gary Trent Jr., Jarred Vanderbilt, Lonnie Walker, P.J. Washington, Tremont Waters, and Trae Young.
It seems as if out of that list, Calipari has cooled off on players that he believes are set on committing to another school and instead focusing on players he has a better chance with. Out of those mentioned above, here are the eight or nine that I believe Calipari is recruiting most, in no particular order.
- Mohamed Bamba
- Hamidou Diallo
- Quade Green
- John Petty
- Nick Richards
- Trae Young
- P.J. Washington
- Lonnie Walker
- Jarred Vanderbilt
I think Calipari has likely conceded Carter and Trent to Duke, even though I’m sure he would love to see them in Kentucky blue. Ayton has been an odd case throughout the recruitment, and while Calipari is likely still recruiting him, he knows that Kansas is probably the likely leader.
Kentucky was a little late to get in with Knox, and while he said that doesn’t matter, Knox is another Duke lean with Florida State strongly in the running as well.
As for Tremont Waters, I believe Calipari is confident he will either land Green or Young for his point guard.
I’m not a recruiting insider, so this is all just purely speculation and my own opinion. Calipari’s recruiting strategy could change as the year goes on and players make early decisions, but if he is targeting such a small number, he must feel very confident.
We will see.