Will John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats score another top-two recruiting class?
Every year under Calipari, UK’s recruiting class has finished No. 1 or 2, and with so many talented players still on the board in 2018, one would think they’ll finish in that 1-2 range yet again.
Immanuel Quickley is already on the board, and there’s also program-changers Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett having yet to make their decisions. There are plenty of other big-time prospects UK is in great shape with, including Quentin Grimes, Tyler Herro, Moses Brown and Keldon Johnson.
However, this could also turn into one of, if not the smallest class Calipari has signed in Lexington. With very few clear one-and-done NBA prospects on this year's roster, we could see just 2-3 players leave for the draft in 2018.
That, in turn, would leave UK with enough room to only add 4-5 players in the 2018 signing class, which is why we haven't seen Calipari casting as wide of a new in this class as we have in previous years.
That’s why not every recruiting expert is convinced the Cats have a great 2018 signing class, including some of the experts at Rivals. Their four-man recruiting panel gave their picks on several remaining UK targets, and Corey Evans thinks the Cats come up small.
Evans has UK landing five-star center Moses Brown and four-star guard Tyler Herro, but that’s it. He has UK missing on Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Keldon Johnson, Bol Bol and Quentin Grimes.
That’s hard to envision, but again, with UK’s current roster having few players that will obviously leave for the NBA, it’s making next year’s roster appear to be crowded, making a lot of elite recruits not want to join the fray (or so it appears).
Saying this, I still think UK lands at least two of their big-time targets, which may include Zion and Johnson. That’s who Rivals recruiting guru Eric Bossi expects UK to land along with Herro, though he expects Brown to pick Maryland.
That’s more realistic, as it’s just too hard to envision UK missing on all of their biggest targets and ending up with a class of Quickley, Herro and Brown, which is still a great class, but it may not be enough to even be a top-five class.
The lack of a consensus from the Rivals experts is shared around the national media, including the 247 Sports Crystal Ball, which has just UK getting at least 70-percent of the picks for just one recruit:
During Calipari’s tenure, there has never been an early signing period with this much uncertainty than this year. By this time last year, UK was the heavy favorite for PJ Washington, Nick Richards and Shai Alexander, and they also added Quade Green in the early period.
But this year, the only guy that appears to be a near-lock is Herro, though Johnson appears to be leaning toward UK more than a 61-39 split like the crystal ball or Rivals thinks.
At the end of the day, I feel good about UK coming away with four players in the 2018 class and two of them being top-10 prospects (Quickley and Johnson). Anything after that is a toss-up at this point, but if we’ve learned anything during Calipari’s tenure, expect UK to feast.