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Ranking the Kentucky Wildcats’ biggest 2017 recruits still available

Who does Kentucky have to get to round out their 2017 class?

High School Basketball: McDonald's All-American Portraits Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2017 recruiting window closing, there are still some big names and potential key role players out there that Kentucky is hoping to bring in.

The Cats have six commits (not counting Diallo), all of them five or four-star players. But for Kentucky to truly be great next year, they still have some holes to fill. With the departures of Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis, Mychal Mulder, Isaac Humphries and potentially Diallo, Kentucky is losing almost all of its production from last year. They’re going to need more recruits if they’re going to make up for it.

So, here’s who they need the most.

1. Mohamed Bamba

Bamba would be a significant get because of the fact that he would add star power and fill a huge hole for the Cats at the same time. With Bam Adebayo signing an agent and leaving no doubt that he’s going to the NBA Draft, Kentucky no longer has that commanding inside presence that helped them get as far as they did last season.

Add in the fact that Humphries is gone, and that hole inside gets even bigger. Bamba is a five-star, 6-11 forward, so he’d go a long way in helping fill the void down low. Sure, Kentucky could use more depth at the guard position, or another versatile wing, but more than anything they have to have another capable big man.

2. Cameron Johnson

John Calipari might hate the idea of graduate transfers, but that doesn’t mean he won’t take one, especially when the now-former Pitt Panther Johnson would do a great job of making up for all that scoring production Kentucky lost this offseason (which is pretty much all of it).

And that’s what makes him a vital get for Kentucky. Johnson averaged nearly 12 points per game last year, and shot 41.5% from deep. That was good enough for fifth in the ACC. He’d be eligible to play immediately, and he’d have two years of eligibility left. He’s experienced, he’d score well, he’d make an immediate impact, and for those of you who are tired of the one-and-done, he’d possibly be around for a couple of years.

3. Kevin Knox

Versatile wing players are a commodity in basketball these days, and Knox is just that. He can handle the ball, shoot, drive, pass, lead a fastbreak, and, well you get the point. The only problem is Duke and North Carolina seem to be the favorites for Knox, especially if he makes his decision before Diallo makes his about the NBA Draft.

4. Mark Smith

I really hate putting Smith last, because after all the departures, it doesn’t seem like there’s enough depth at the guard spots. But then I thought about just how many guys are leaving and realized there’s really not enough depth anywhere. Smith fills a need for Kentucky, but there’d be several guards above him. He’d be a huge help in the Cats’ guard rotation, but the hole he’d fill isn’t quite as big as the hole that Bamba or Johnson would fill.