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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: The one that got away

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Who is the Kentucky basketball recruit that got away? Fans and media had wide-ranging responses.

Kentucky v North Carolina Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Which basketball recruit will forever go down as "the one that got away" for Kentucky?

I posed that question on Twitter a few days ago, and the question drew wide-ranging responses.

Many people went just a few years back to the 2013 recruiting class and pointed out Andrew Wiggins. Kentucky was one of Wiggins’ finalists on a recruitment that seemed to drag out for quite some time before he ultimately chose Kansas.

Wiggins didn’t exactly set the world on fire his one year in Lawrence. He averaged 17 points, pulled down about 6 rebounds, and just over a steal and block per game while shooting almost 45 percent from the floor and 34 percent from three.

However, one would think that Wiggins would’ve been a nice asset to have during a tumultuous regular season as well as during the tournament run.

Possibly one of the most popular responses was 7’4 high school All-American Ralph Sampson. Sampson was arguably the best recruit in the country, and Kentucky fans were dreaming of pairing him with Sam Bowie to create an immensely talented front court. Sampson’s recruitment is detailed even more on the Big Blue History site, which can be found here.

Kentucky Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover chimed in, stating Sampson was the UK recruit that got away.

One of the other most popular responses was Kentucky native Chris Lofton. One of the biggest stains on former Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith’s legacy while at Kentucky was letting Lofton, the top player in the state, get away after playing his high school career in Maysville before heading south to wear Tennessee orange for four years.

Lofton became one of the best three point shooters in SEC history, knocking down threes at an over 42 percent clip over four years in Knoxville, while averaging 16.6 points per game and leading Tennessee back into national prominence. Lofton was also named SEC Player of the Year his junior season.

There were several intriguing responses, including Tracy McGrady and Dirk Nowitzki (both who have spoken about considering Kentucky before jumping straight from high school to the NBA), Tyler Hansbrough (who became the ACC’s all-time scoring leader and led UNC to a national title), and Mohamed Bamba (we will wait to see on that).

One of the other interesting responses, from none other than UK Media Legend Oscar Combs, involved Larry Bird and the Wildcats.

Of course, Bird is one of the best players in NCAA and NBA history and single handedly took Indiana State to the championship game in 1979. The idea of Bird in a Kentucky uniform seems hard to imagine, but what a sight that would have been.

So let us know what you think. Who was the Kentucky basketball recruit that got away?